My Louisiana Sky

My Louisiana Sky
By Kimberly Willis Holt
About the Author
• Kimberly Willis Holt was born on a Navy
base in Pensacola, Florida.
• Although as a child she lived in many
different places (including Paris and
Guam), she says that Forest Hill,
Louisiana, was the only one that ever felt
like home.
• Looking back to her teen years, the
author describes herself as a loner who
usually had one or two friends. This is a
trait shared by many of the characters of
her books.
• As a child, Mrs. Holt
enjoyed reading books by
Laura Ingalls Wilder and
Beverly Cleary as well as
the story Little Women,
which she read again and
• However, the novel that
inspired her to become a
writer herself was Carson
McCuller’s The Heart is a
Lonely Hunter, which she
describes as the first book
in which the characters
seemed real to her.
Laura Ingalls
Carson McCuller
• At the University of New Orleans and Louisiana State University,
Mrs. Holt majored in Broadcast Journalism. However, she quit
college as a senior and worked full time at a radio station, first in
news and then in the sales department.
• Her final job before becoming a writer was interior decorating.
University of Louisiana
• It was when Mrs. Holt moved to Amarillo, Texas, with her husband,
Jerry, and daughter, Shannon, in 1994 that she decided to pursue
her dream of becoming a writer.
• Her first book, My Louisiana Sky, was published in 1998.
• The idea for the novel came from an experience that she had at
the age of nine.
• She was driving down a country road in Louisiana with her mother
and commented on a woman walking by the roadside who had a
strange look. Her mother explained that both the woman and her
husband were mentally retarded and that they had several
• The memory stayed with Holt and became the seed for her novel.
• Kimberly Willis Holt has gained much recognition in a short period
of time, as evidenced by the number of best-book lists on which her
works have appeared, including the American Library Association’s
Notable Children’s Books and Best Books for Young Adults.
• Holt’s third novel, When Zachary Beaver Came to Town (Holt,
1999), earned her the National Book Award for Young People’s
Book Summary
• This coming-of-age story is set in a
small town in Louisiana during the
• Tiger Ann is a straight A student
whose parents are considered “slow”
by the people of Saitter.
• This is an embarrassment, as she
recognizes the fact that her parents
are often a source of amusement to
the other members of their
• Tiger is grateful for the loving,
practical guidance of her
grandmother, with whom the family
lives, as she faces these new
feelings of shame and attempts to
sort them out.
• To further complicate matters, Aunt
Dorie Kay, who lives in the larger city of
Baton Rouge, is very different from
Tiger’s mother, Corrina.
• Tiger views her aunt as the epitome of
sophistication and idolizes her.
• Tiger must deal with other issues
common to adolescence ,as well.
• She is a star batter and loves to play
baseball with her best friend, Jessie
Wade, and the other boys.
• However, she longs to be part of the
clique that surrounds Abbie Lynn
Anders, the prettiest and wealthiest girl
in town.
• Abbie and her friends reject Tiger. To
add to the discomfort and confusion,
Jessie Wade suggests that he would like
to be more than just friends.
• Later, shaken by death and confusion,
Tiger considers her Aunt Dorie Kay’s
offer to live with her in Baton Rouge.
• On a visit to her aunt’s apartment,
she enjoys the luxury and excitement
of the city.
• She is attracted to the idea of leaving
her problems behind and
“reinventing” herself.
• While in Baton Rouge, Tiger discovers
secrets of the past that uncover some
of the mystery surrounding her
• Upon returning home for the remainder of the summer, Tiger is
able to reach an understanding with Jessie Wade.
• She begins to sort out her conflicting emotions.
• When an unexpected hurricane hits the town, Tiger recognizes
the love her family shares and realizes Saitter is her true
• As the summer ends, Tiger discovers that Abbie Lynn has fears of
her own.
• This understanding changes their once-difficult relationship.
• She is filled with pride for her father, whose quick thinking during
the hurricane has made him a local hero.
• Tiger recognizes the fact that there are many different forms of
intelligence, and that all forms deserve respect.
My Louisiana Sky
Matlack, Maria. "About the Author." A Guide for Using My
Louisiana Sky in the Classroom: Based on the Novel Written by
Kimberly Willis Holt. Westminster, CA: Teacher Created Materials,
2002. 6. Print.
Matlack, Maria. "My Louisiana Sky." A Guide for Using My
Louisiana Sky in the Classroom: Based on the Novel Written by
Kimberly Willis Holt. Westminster, CA: Teacher Created Materials,
2002. 7. Print.

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