Article Title

Dear Hank Williams


Nancy Haight


Outstanding, Intermediate, Kimberly Willis Holt, Fiction, Letters, Hank Williams, Louisiana, Death, Loss, Friendship, Family Life, Singing

Document Type

Book Review


It’s 1948. Tate P. Ellerbee, age eleven, lives in a small town in Louisiana with her great-aunt, great-uncle, and younger brother, nicknamed Frog. Every Saturday night, Tate’s family listens to Hank Williams, a rising star on the radio program Louisiana Hayride, and Tate just knows she and he are kindred spirits. So, when Tate’s teacher begins the school year by asking the students to write to a pen pal, Tate knows just who to choose. Tate introduces herself, her family, and members of the town to Hank through the letters she writes. She is determined to sing like her mother, a former night club singer, and practices daily with Frog listening. When she announces that she’s going to compete in the local May talent show, her family is stunned: they obviously believe she can’t sing. After having her practice with them as her audience, they realize her voice has developed beautifully. She competes and wins.