ASHLAND, Ky. — In 2019, the Jesse Stuart Foundation published True Christmas Stories From the Heart of Appalachia, a book that captures the spirit of Christmas in 43 stories by 39 authors. Thirty-five of the stories are from Kentucky and the others are from neighboring states.
These stories are from the geographical heart of Appalachia, but, more importantly, they are from the emotional heart of the region. Many share the joy and excitement that Christmas brings to little boys and girls who hope to receive a special gift they have selected from their Christmas wish book (a mail order catalog). Some of the stories go beyond the excitement of receiving gifts and express the never-forgotten satisfaction of giving to family, friends, and strangers. “It is better to give than to receive” is an old adage that finds powerful expression in several of these stories.
This book was sponsored by JSF Board Member Ronald Cartee and his wife Diane and dedicated to their great-niece, Rhonda Nunley, a Greenup county educator who died of cancer on December 3, 2013.
The stories are presented chronologically, beginning with Thomas D. Clark’s “Christmas in the Country Store,” set in 1900 and progressing through more than a century of Appalachian Christmas stories to several set in 2019. A few of these stories are written by some of Kentucky’s finest writers, Jesse Stuart, Billy C. Clark, Thomas D. Clark, Cratis Williams, and Edwina Pendarvis, but many excellent new authors are represented, too.
Some authors from northeastern Kentucky include Boyd County: Loretta Payne, Brenda Evans, James M. Gifford, Eleanor Kersey, Mark Maynard, Christina St. Clair, and Ernie Tucker.
Greenup County: Julie Baker, Judith Kidwell, Lew and Barbara Nicholls, and Sam Piatt. Rowan County: Cathy Corbin, Peggy Gilley, and Keith Kappes. Johnson County: Clyde Pack and Julianne Williams Perry. Floyd County: Don Osborne.
This oversized, softcover book is full color throughout its 216 pages. Kentucky residents, please add 6% ($1.50) for sales tax.
This book would be a great Christmas gift for any adult. Uncle George doesn’t need another tie and Aunt Ginny doesn’t need a ham or want a fruitcake, but they would love to receive a copy of “True Christmas Stories From the Heart of Appalachia”. These stories will attach themselves to the heart of your family and friends, and you don’t have to worry about the wrong size or the wrong color.