Civil War Talk Radio: September 30, 2005

by Brett Schulte on September 30, 2005 · 0 comments

Air Date: 093005
Subject: Karen B. Winnick: History in 32 Pages
Book: Mr. Lincoln’s Whiskers & Cassie’s Sweet Berry Pie
Guest: Karen B. Winnick

Summary: Karen Winnick explains the challenges of communicating important stories of the past in the format of the children’s picture book, as she has done in Mr. Lincoln’s Whiskers and Cassie’s Sweet Berry Pie, both set in the Civil War era.

Brett’s Summary: Karen Winnick spends the hour discussing the art of the children’s picture book with Gerry and the difficulty of telling a good story, imparting a meaningful lesson, and remaining historically accurate at the same time. In the first portion of the interview, Ms. Winnick talks about Mr. Lincoln’s Whiskers. Although her books are admittedly historical fiction, the author does attempt to base her stories on true events. In this case, the event is a letter written to Abe Lincoln during the 1860 Presidential election by 11 year old Grace Bedell of New York. Grace wrote a letter to Lincoln telling him he looked sad, and that growing whiskers would help him win the election. Lincoln actually took the time to write back to the little girl, and Winnick uses this story as an example of the good even young children can do.  Cassie’s Sweet Berry Pie is discussed next. It is another work of historical fiction set in Marion, Mississippi. Cassie is a young girl looking over her siblings when Union soldiers come to raid her home. Cassie has an idea to smear huckleberry juice on the children’s’ faces to simulate the measles, which in the Civil War era could be deadly to adults. Winnick found a similar true story when she was doing research, and a simple twelve line paragraph morphed into this story. Gerry recommends the author’s books to anyone wishing to introduce their children to the Civil War era, and suggests parents might also use these books as a springboard to discuss other Civil War topics with them as well.

Civil War Talk Radio airs most Fridays at 12 PM Pacific on World Talk Radio Studio A. Host Gerry Prokopowicz, the History Chair at East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina, interviews a guest each week and discusses their interest in the Civil War. Most interviews center around a book or books if the guest is an author. Other guests over the years have included public Historians such as park rangers and museum curators,wargamers, bloggers, and even a member of an American Civil War Round Table located in London, England.

In this series of blog entries, I will be posting air dates, subjects, and guests, and if I have time, I’ll provide a brief summary of the program. You can find all of the past episodes I’ve entered into the blog by clicking on the Civil War Talk Radio category. Each program should appear either on or near the date it was first broadcast.

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