The Snows

Praise for The Snows:

  • Starred review from The Bulletin of The Center for Children’s Books
  • Starred review from KLIATT
  • Cooperative Children’s Book Center (CCBC) annual best-of-the-year list







It’s 1931 in Jefferson, Iowa, and what’s important to Jim Snow are the flavors served in the local ice cream parlor, the location of the apostrophe key on his typewriter, and Julia, the girl he loves. Yet the ties of family bind him in a way that’s beyond his control, shaping not only his own life but also the lives of his children and grandchildren.

Jim, Cathy, Jill, and Mona Snow all come of age in different eras (1931, 1942, 1969, and 2006). For each of them, sixteen is a departure point – a time when they cross the threshold into adulthood, a time when they become aware of the complications that will alter the course of their lives.

This story chronicles the life of a family and the threads that connect them through the years.


From the author:

The Snows is fiction, but it is based loosely on my husband Barry’s family and on my experience at Kent State University. During the Great Depression, Barry’s dad, a successful barber in Jefferson, Iowa, uprooted his family to go to California and try his hand in the grocery business.  He sold the business, their home, and most of their possessions and loaded the car with his wife (who was pregnant with Barry), and a teenage son.  As they drove West, they encountered people who said Go back, go back.  The teen son rebelled and began walking home, the parents followed, and they returned to the small town in Iowa. Had Barry been a teenager, instead of in utero, I feel sure he would have started walking.  And had there been a little sister, I feel sure he would have protected her.

Years later, I met and married Barry at Kent State University in Kent, Ohio, where the shootings occurred on campus in 1970.  It was a time of political unrest and we were in the heart of it.  The town and the events were much as I describe them.  My life was much like Mary Suzanne’s, though there was no little sister.

Henry Holt     ISBN-13:978-0-8050-7469-7     ISBN-10:0-8050-7469-4     Ages 12-18