“Inspired by real events impacting rural Kentucky in the late 1930s and full of historical references, this upper-middle-grade novel is full of heart, a young girl’s drive and entrepreneurial spirit, and an exciting third act centered around the early arrival of a new sibling. . . [A] nuanced depiction of the Appalachian region, spirited girls who dream of greatness, and neighbors always ready to lend a hand. . . . The heart of this book will appeal to readers of such classic novels as Carol Ryrie Brink’s Caddie Woodlawn.” —Booklist

“[T]akes a sensitive approach that tempers the promise of progress with an appreciation of the traditions and ways of living that will be altered. Historical details about the Frontier Nursing Service and the Pack Horse Library Project add layers to the well-developed setting. . . Shines a nuanced light on rarely explored historical events.” —Kirkus

Not just about electricity coming but also about families, grief, hopes and dreams, ambition, and responsibilities. I love how spirited and thoughtful Cora is. Really eye-opening look at life in Appalachia during the Great Depression. An excellent middle grade debut.” —School Library Journal, Teen Librarian Workshop

“This immersive novel captivates readers with its charming characters and atmospheric setting. Middle-grade readers will relate to Cora’s dreams and inquisitive nature, as well as her clashes with her mother and the occasional failures of her schemes. Adults will appreciate that Buzzeo shows both sides of the debate of electrification. . . This book is a treat!” —Historical Novel Society

This is a completely engrossing and immersive historical novel. Toni Buzzeo has really made the sights, sounds, smells, speech cadence and relationships of rural Appalachian life in the 1930’s feel so real. And Cora’s quest to understand her mother, as well as to find a way to bring electricity to her mountain, are so moving.” —Youth Services Book Review

“[S]killfully introduces young readers to a world many might not recognize — one without the conveniences that come with electricity. This well-written, enjoyable story reminded me of my own favorite childhood books featuring simpler times. But while those times may be long gone, the characters that inhabit those stories continue to live on, as will Cora Mae and her family, thanks to Buzzeo’s fine storytelling.” —Meadow Rue Merrill, The Times Record

Light Comes to Shadow Mountain is a fascinating historical fiction read. Buzzeo has clearly done her research when it comes to the rollout of electricity in rural America. It’s a compelling backdrop on which her story of family, friendship and loss are explored. Many a daughter will relate to the mother/daughter dynamic that plays out here.”  —Cracking the Cover

“With each page turn, you will fall more deeply into this time and place, with all its hard reckonings. But despite the darkness, light emerges. Your heart will be filled with it.”—Kathi Appelt, Newbery Honor winner and National Book Award Finalist for The Underneath

“Cora’s spirit shines so bright the pages glow. She’s exactly the friend you’d want beside you when things are darkest.” —Sara Pennypacker, New York Times bestselling author of Pax

“This book is an invitation to meet delightful characters, dwell in an enticing place, and learn about an important time in our shared history. I love books that blend darkness and light—both literally and figuratively—to tell the truth, ignite my empathy, and show me the world from a fresh perspective. This is such a book.”  —Lauren Wolk, Newbery Honor–winning author of Wolf Hollow

Awards & Honors:

  • Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection

Teaching Resources: