The Missouri Center for the Book selected The Feedsack Dress, a middle grade novel by Carolyn Mulford, as the state’s Great Read at the ninth annual National Book Festival in Washington, D.C., September 26, 2009.
The Center for the Book, Library of Congress, distributed 10,000 national maps that young readers could take to the booths in the Pavilion of the States to receive stickers or stamps. On the back of the map, The Feedsack Dress was listed as one of “52 Great Reads About Great Places.”
The Missouri State Teachers Association selected the book as part of the state’s Reading Circle Program for grades five to eight in 2008.
Midwest Book Review called the book “a charming, original, and deftly written novel by an author who has a readily discernible talent for storytelling and an impressive ability to make her readers care about her characters.”
Set in 1949, the novel focuses on the difficulties that 13-year-old Gail faces when she graduates from a one-room school and enters the ninth grade in town. She’s the only girl wearing a feedsack dress the first day of school, and this makes her a natural target for the mean queen. Every time Gail wears the feedsack dress, something awful happens. Her refusal to buckle and her defense of the mean queen’s other targets earn Gail an unwanted honor, leader of a revolt against the ruling clique.
Carolyn drew on experiences growing up on a farm near Kirksville, Missouri, in writing the book.
Carolyn has spent much of her career as a nonfiction writer and editor in the Washington, D.C. area. She now lives in Columbia, Missouri, and divides her time between writing fiction and nonfiction.