Bountiful Red Acres

Two Farms, Two Families, and a Year on the Land

By Eileen Heyes

Bountiful Red Acres

76 pp., 7 x 10, 38 color illustrations, 1 maps, 8 graphs, 2 recipes, Glossary, Resources and Further Reading

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8652-6502-8
    Published: April 2023

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Distributed for the North Carolina Office of Archives and History

Young readers can get a taste of farm life in the North Carolina Piedmont through Bountiful Red Acres. The story chronicles a year in the lives of two neighboring families—one Black and one White—moving from season to season through the year 1900. Despite the racial inequalities built into American life by both law and custom, the Sawyers and Hauser families share an abiding friendship as they rear children, tend crops, and build community.

Author Eileen Heyes and artist Dare Coulter bring these real Surry County families to life for readers, offering a vibrant look at neighbors caring for each other as they force a living out of the red clay soil that is known today as Horne Creek Farm State Historic Site.

Published in association with The North Carolina African American Heritage Commission

About the Authors

Eileen Heyes grew up in California and has called North Carolina home for almost three decades. Her lifelong love of writing led her into a career in newspaper journalism, which lasted until the industry collapsed in the 2000s. By that time, she had published five books for young people, which have been honored by the New York Public Library, Society of School Librarians International, Child Study Council, and Mystery Writers of America. A perpetual student, she earned a certificate in documentary arts from the Center for Documentary Studies and a master’s degree in English from NC State University. She loves to read (well, of course!), travel, and work in the endless arts-and-crafts project that is her front yard garden. She lives in Raleigh with her brilliant husband and a bossy dog. www.eileenheyes.com.
For more information about Eileen Heyes, visit the Author Page.

Dare Coulter, the illustrator, is an award-winning artist. She specializes in public art, specifically monumental sculptures and large murals. She has also illustrated the children’s books Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep, You are My Sunshine, My N.C. from A to Z, and An American Story that align with her mission of positive imagery of people of color. See more of Coulter’s work at www.darecoulter.com.
For more information about Dare Coulter, visit the Author Page.

Reviews

“Using a blend of storytelling, facts and infographics, Eileen Heyes creates a picture of farm life in the Piedmont region of North Carolina during the early days of the previous century. The lives of neighboring families—one Black and one White—described over the course of a year, are interconnected in sometimes surprising ways. The joyful paintings by Dare Coulter show the hard work, tragedy and community that were part of a way of life that once was dominant in the state. Heyes and Coulter offer a vibrant look at the people who lived on the land and buildings that now make up the Horne Creek Farm State Historical Site.”—Jacqueline K. Ogburn, author of The Unicorn in the Barn

Bountiful Red Acres is a snapshot of rural life in North Carolina in the late 1800s. Eileen Heyes has given us a feast for our senses. The reader is engulfed in the aroma of freshly cut hay and the sizzle of frying apples! We move from season to season on a rollercoaster of hard work and the celebrations that follow. This story also bears witness to the structural inequalities built into American life that see African Americans working just as long and hard and receiving less compensation for the same amount of effort. Amidst the recipes, history, descriptions of farming at the turn of the century, and Dare Coulter’s beautiful illustrations, is a story of neighbors caring for each other and working together to force a living out of the red clay soil of North Carolina.”—Donna Washington, author/storyteller, cofounder of Artists Standing Strong Together (dlwstoryteller.com)