Jan 25, 2008

The Thread That Runs So True

by Jesse Stuart

Jesse Stuart grew up in the high hill country of eastern Kentucky. As a young man, he taught seventy students in a one-room rural schoolhouse, some of them older than himself. He taught them to love learning, take responsibility for their education, and apply their knowledge to everyday life in the community. He made such a difference for these students and their community that he was asked to be the principal of a city high school. From there he went on to serve as superintendent of the county's schools. Through his entire career as an educator, Stuart worked hard to improve the school system, and met with lots of bitter opposition. The Thread That Runs So True is mostly about his efforts to make positive changes, the importance of education and the wide-ranging influence good teachers have. It reads very easily, in economic sentences that sound, after a while, as if the author were speaking aloud. Many of the incidents with his students are funny, some outrageous. I really admired reading about how he could bring people together on issues. After one PTA meeting where Stuart revealed to parents how the fathers' gambling and drinking was reflecting on the students, the parents quickly changed their behavior and truancy and tardiness nearly disappeared in the school. Then one man remarked: "All you have to do to solve a town problem that hurts your school, is to get the women on your side. Show 'em what's wrong, and they'll clean it up." That made me smile.

Rating: 3/5                   336 pages, 1949


  1. Thank you for linking your blog to mine - I have added a link from mine to yours! all the best, Tom
    26 Books

  2. I vaguely remember hearing the title of this book. Thanks for the review. I like the idea of talking about older books. (that aren't written by Jane Austen)

  3. I see you like animal-related books. I have a 1979 Bantam paperback of "Is There A Doctor In The Zoo?" The author is David Taylor I was planning to put it on Bookmooch. The spine is a little chipped and the edges of the pages are yellowing, but otherwise, it's in good shape. Anyway, it's yours if you're interested!

  4. Thanks, Bybee! I am trying to collect all of David Taylor's books (I really like them) but I am looking for hardbacks. I don't put paperbacks in my library (at least mass-market size ones) anymore because I re-read most of them and they fall apart. But thank you kindly for the offer.

  5. Having crossed Kentucky and stopped off at a couple of places, in 2006, I've made a note of this one as I think I might find it really interesting.

  6. Cath- I wonder how much Kentucky nowadays is like what Stuart described. It seemed to undergo a lot of change during his lifetime.


Comments are screened due to spam.