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New books on GSMA shelves

Posted by | 04.02.2015

New on the Great Smoky Mountains Association bookstore shelves this spring – an autobiography written by a resident of Cades Cove and a retelling of the classic “ugly duckling” story from a flying squirrel’s point of view.


“Cades Cove: A Personal History” by Judge W.W. Oliver

CORRECTION: Book signing is Sunday, April 12, at Sugarlands Visitor Center 

Who better than Judge William Wayne Oliver, direct descendant of John and Lucretia Oliver, to tell the story of growing up in Cades Cove? Written by a judge and scholar, the book is very precise, especially in matters of feuds, murders, moonshining, and barn burnings in the cove, as well as the lawsuit over land for the national park.

However, most of the book is pure childhood delight, with personal stories about trips to the mill, to the grassy balds in summer, gathering chestnuts, Christmas festivities, fishing, chores, horses, and generally growing up in the cove.

“Judge Oliver spent his childhood in Cades Cove and knew just about everyone who lived in the valley,” said Steve Kemp, GSMA’s director of interpretive products and services. “He was present when the cove thrived as an agricultural community and bore witness to the creation of the national park and the exodus of its residents.”

Author Oliver had a strong sense of right and wrong and a healthy work ethic that many readers will find reassuring. This personal history contains dozens of historic photos from the private Oliver Family Collection, include baptisms and beekeeping, family pets and fiddle-playing neighbors.

A book-signing event has been scheduled for Sunday, April 12, at Sugarlands Visitor Center. Julia Webb, daughter of the author, will be on hand to talk about her father’s story and her family’s Cades Cove roots.


“Sabrina: A Great Smoky Mountain Story,” written and illustrated by Lisa Horstman

Lisa Horstman, author and illustrator of such popular children's books as “The Great Smoky Mountain Salamander Ball” and “The Troublesome Cub,” has outdone herself this time with “Sabrina: A Great Smoky Mountains Story.” Sabrina is the tale of a special kind of squirrel who finds herself in a strange new home after a run in with an owl.  Readers are invited to follow along as Sabrina learns how to survive, and then thrive, in her new environment.

Sabrina and her ilk are denizens of the rich and rare spruce-fir forest that clings to the Smokies highest peaks. Children will cheer Sabrina’s heroic effort to protect her new family, then discover that a much larger danger is approaching.

“Northern flying squirrels are endangered because the spruce-fir forest where they live is getting smaller,” Horstman tells her readers. “This forest in the southern Appalachian Mountains is found only on the highest mountains where the weather is always cool or cold. Scientists are concerned that if the climate gets warmer, this kind of forest will disappear.”

Horstman’s adorable illustrations are the result of a technique she has pioneered using handmade puppets and her usual whimsical style of painting. “This books is a perfect ‘sit on my lap and I’ll read you a story’ book,” said Kemp.

Sales of both books support the mission of GSMA, which since its inception in 1953 has given more than $32 million to support the ongoing educational, scientific and preservation efforts of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Support for the non-profit association is derived primarily from visitor center sales of educational products and membership dues in nine locations in and around the national park.  Those who wish to strengthen their national park experience are encouraged to “Get Rooted in the Smokies” through membership.

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