Little book recalls growing up years

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Hometown girl and author Charlene Pillow Little will be at the Buffalo Island Museum in Monette from 2-4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 23, to sign copies of her new book, "The Song of Sarah."

Charlene Pillow Little will be at the Buffalo Island Museum in Monette, Sunday, Oct. 23, to sign copies of her new book, "The Song of Sarah."

Little was born and raised in Mississippi and Craighead County, Ark. She grew up in the Whisp and Hancock communities, attended Hancock, Rockey, Leachville and Monette Schools. She was a member of Rowe's Chapel Church, near Caraway.

"The Song of Sarah" presents Little's life from 1937 to 2010. She tells of her life growing up as a sharecropper's daughter with four brothers, always looking for a way to change her name to one she feels is truly her. Her story is about the human spirit that doesn't accept the notion that life is over after the 50th wedding anniversary.

Little shares a story about looking in her mirror on the wall one day and how it reflected a sober message.

"The signs of aging were obviously growing at a much higher rate than my 401K savings, and I knew I must act quickly, but not for a face lift," Little said. "It was time for me to set the record straight and go all the way back to the fifties, to the time when I was wrinkle-free, young and restless. The memories in my book are about my journey through life, the good, the bad and the not so pretty ones."

"The Song of Sarah" tells a touching personal story of Little's life from beginning, with her birth in the '30s when the family physician arrives an hour late. Her feisty grandmother assumes the role of emergency MD. Little grew up petite and scrawny in the '50s and always on the lookout for ways to change her name to the one she feels is truly her. She emerges from each hurdle stronger in character, body, and mind. Though her childhood years were lived in an environment considered poverty-stricken, the hardships and circumstances served to define more clearly and purposefully certain ambitions and values.

Little tells her story with candor and humor, and is more about the human spirit that wills itself, not only to survive, but also to triumph. She describes the hard work in the cotton fields, a passion for learning, rock 'n roll, and a pay-as-you-go lifestyle. She takes pride in her humble heritage and has found delight in penning her personal legacy.

"I am honored to have a chance to take my book back home," Little said. "I look forward to meeting some old friends and relatives."

Charlene Little is the only daughter of Odus and Gladys (McClain) Pillow, of the Hancock Community. She has four brothers, Wilburn, Jerry, Tom and Larry.

"I graduated from Monette High School in 1954," Little said. "My first job was working for Ark-Mo Power Company in Monette. I worked four years at Ark-Mo Power after high school, before moving away in 1959."

Little earned an elementary education degree from the University of Alabama in Huntsville in 1977. She taught school for four years before taking a job at ADTRAN, a telecommunications company, in Huntsville. She retired in 2007.

She and her husband Richard Little married in 1959 and celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 2009. They are enjoying retirement now and regularly play golf at the Canebrake Club, near their home in Athens, Ala.

The Littles have two daughters, Kim Little Bright, of Nashville, Tenn., and Julie Little Smith, of Athens, Ala. They also have four grandsons, Trip, Hunter, Clay and Taylor.

"My writing has primarily been for my grandsons," Little said. "I wanted to share my story with them, so they would know a little more about my life growing up."

Little will have hardback and paperback editions of her book available at the book signing on Saturday. The books can also be found on line in three formats, hard cover, soft cover and ebook. For more information see,, and

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