The Carter Family: Don't Forget This Song Archives - The Birthplace of Country Music
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Radio Bristol Book Club: The Carter Family – Don’t Forget This Song

Welcome to Radio Bristol Book Club where readers from BCM and the Bristol Public Library come together each month to celebrate and explore books inspired by our region’s rich Appalachian cultural and musical heritage! We invite you to read along and then listen to Radio Bristol on the fourth Thursday of each month at 12:00 noon when we dig deep into the themes and questions raised by the books, learn more about the authors, and celebrate the joys of being a bookworm!

This month’s book choice is something a bit different for Radio Bristol Book Club – a graphic novel! For those who don’t know, graphic novels are “stories that are presented in comic-strip format and published as a book” – too often they are written off as “just comic books,” but the graphic novel format is a great platform for telling deep and meaninful stories, from Art Spiegelman’s Maus about Nazi Germany to Alan Moore’s Watchmen, an untraditional superhero tale that has been hailed as great literature, to John Lewis’s March about the Civil Rights movement. The Carter Family: Don’t Forget This Song tells the story of the original Carter Family’s beginnings and their rise to hillbilly music stardom from their first recordings in Bristol in 1927 until they split up in 1944. Each short chapter is named after a different Carter Family song, appropriate to the part of their story being told, and the words and images work beautifully together as the reader explores this interesting historical journey in an unexpected literary style.

The image to the left is the cover of The Carter Family: Don't Forget This Song. It is a drawn cover showing an orange sky with pale green hills and a small wooden cabin in the foreground. A black-and-white vignette with the Carters is to the left of the cabin -- it has AP in a suit standing beside Sara in a pale dress, and Maybelle sits in front of them with a guitar. The image to the right shows the opening panels to a chapter titled "They Call Her Mother" that depicts Sara giving birth to her first child.
The cover and one of the chapter opening pages from The Carter Family: Don’t Forget This Song.

The Carter Family: Don’t Forget This Song – written by Frank M. Young and illustrated by David Lasky – came out in 2012. (I actually bought my copy at New York Comic Con that year, underlining my geek status, and brought it back to the museum team as a book we definitely needed to stock in our store at the time!) Young is a writer and editor who has contributed to newspapers and magazines across the country, while Lasky is originally from Virginia and has written and illustrated many highly acclaimed comic books, along with another collaboration with Young about the Oregon Trail.

Two white men sit beside each other with the book The Carter Family: Don't Forget This Song in front of them. The man on the left is balding and wears a blue button-down shirt over a grey t-shirt. The man on the right has dark hair and a beard and is wearing a brown-checked button-down shirt. He also has glasses.
Frank M. Young and David Lasky with their graphic novel about The Carter Family.

Please make plans to join us on Thursday, September 23 at 12:00pm for the discussion of The Carter Family: Don’t Forget This Song, followed by a conversation with authors Frank M. Young and David Lasky. You can find us on the dial at 100.1 FM, streaming live on Radio Bristol, or via the Radio Bristol app. The book is available at the Bristol Public Library so be sure to pick up a copy and read it ahead of time. The librarians will be happy to help you find the book. We look forward to sharing our thoughts on this wonderful children’s book, and if you have thoughts or questions about the story that you would like to share with our readers, you can email (Subject line: Radio Bristol Book Club) – your book insights might appear on air with us!

Looking ahead: Our book pick for October is The Moon-Eyed People: Folktales from Welsh America by Peter Stevenson; we’ll be discussing it on Thursday, October 28. Check out our full list of 2021 Radio Bristol Book Club picks here, where you can also listen to archived shows!