Shake Terribly the Earth — 2013

Stories from an Appalachian Family

By Sarah Beth Childers

“Beautifully written, nostalgic, and indeed unique, this work will be welcomed by those who enjoy memoir or American regional history and by anyone interested in Appalachian culture.”

Library Journal

“A clear hallmark of memoir is allowing the reader to experience the author's moments of realization with her as it happens, but it requires a brave writer to share something so raw and unfiltered, and Childers does so without pause.”

Appalachian Heritage

“[Childers] weaves together complex characters, a culture shaped by faith and music, and vibrantly imagined settings to both capture and complicate an often misunderstood facet of Appalachian culture—fundamental Christianity.”

West Virginia Living

Show all quotes

Sarah Beth Childers grew up listening to stories. She heard them riding to school with her mother, playing Yahtzee in her Granny’s nicotine cloud, walking to the bowling alley with her grandfather, and eating casseroles at the family reunions she attended every year.

In a thoughtful, humorous voice born of Appalachian storytelling, Childers brings to life in these essays events that affected the entire region: large families that squeezed into tiny apartments during the Great Depression, a girl who stepped into a rowboat from a second-story window during Huntington’s 1937 flood, brothers who were whisked away to World War II and Vietnam, and a young man who returned home from the South Pacific and worked his life away as a railroad engineer.

Childers uses these family tales to make sense of her personal journey and find the joy and clarity that often emerge after the earth shakes terribly beneath us.

Picture of Sarah Beth Childers

Sarah Beth Childers is from Huntington, West Virginia, and she lives and writes in Richmond, Indiana, where she is a writer in residence at Earlham College. Previously, she served as a lecturer at West Virginia University and as a visiting professor of creative nonfiction in the low-residency MFA program at West Virginia Wesleyan College.

Cover of 'Shake Terribly the Earth'


In Series