The Red Hills of Alabama by Barbara J. Belisle

The Red Hills of Alabama is a beautifully written children’s book that invites readers to take a nostalgic look at the landscape of the Middle Alabama countryside through the eyes of children who love the land and all it offers.

The Heroes of The Red Hills of Alabama

We are introduced to ten-year-old Charlie Brantley, and his siblings, eight-year-old Davey and twelve-year-old Abbey, whose parents have made the decision to leave the city and live in beautiful, rural Alabama—specifically the red hills of Alabama—as much for the benefit of themselves as their children. The family is obviously acclimating beautifully to the change and little Charlie can’t get enough of the sunshine and summer air that are his new, constant companions.

The benefits reaped by enjoying The Red Hills of Alabama

The Red Hills of Alabama
The Red Hills of Alabama

Barbara Belisle writes in a simple and effective tone that is comforting and hospitable, perfect for intermediate readers who can appreciate all the adventures her characters have playing outdoors. Parents and teachers will empathize with their thoughtful mother who finds joy in seeing her children’s spirits soar in the beloved environs of the red hills of Alabama on a single summer’s day. She worries only momentarily about the mud that she knows the children will surely carry home on their clothing—it seems to be a very small trade-off for their happiness.

Belisle details the unique fun of playing in the water of a creek, gathering wild flowers, racing crawdads, and—of course—sliding down those wonderful, muddy, red hills of Alabama.

The red hills of Alabama require a little preparation—the children must make sure there isn’t too much hard land at the bottom, and they must find a smooth path downward. Once they do, they enjoy hours of what Belisle refers to as better than a roller coaster ride, “Merry-go-rounds and Ferris wheels and roller coasters are thrilling rides, but nothing beats the slide down a red hill in Alabama!”  Belisle steps us through it all—from start to finish—as we join the children in their rush of excitement over the adventure that sliding the red hills of Alabama brings to the table.

As Belisle notes, the ruined clothes and potential punishments are worth it for the measure of fun Davey, Charlie and Abby enjoy on their day outdoors.

The memories that come with The Red Hills of Alabama

For every child who has come home a little tired, and a little dirty, with holes in their knees and white shirts gone orange with muck, The Red Hills of Alabama is certain to ring true. Whether it’s red clay mud or lime deposits, or simply black dirt that has caused stains hard to remove and created memories like no other, this book will leave you reminiscing about good times when life was simple and fresh air and a little mud were simply delicious.

Bring the adventures of Charlie, Davey and Abby into the world of a young reader you love today, by ordering it here. Then, tell us—what was your favorite way to spend a day outdoors as a child?

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