Bill Lynch, Mason Adams, Kelley Libby Published

A Teen Takes On Book Deserts In Appalachia

High school student Rania Zuri has made it her mission to end book deserts in West Virginia.
High school student Rania Zuri has made it her mission to end book deserts in West Virginia.
Courtesy of Rania Zuri

This week, we meet a West Virginia high school student whose love of reading inspired her to bring books to young children.

We also check in on people who were displaced by historic flooding in Kentucky. What’s happening now that we’re deep into winter? 

And we find advice for people navigating the difficulties of caring for aging parents.

You’ll hear these stories and more this week, Inside Appalachia.

In This Episode

A High School Student Combats Book Deserts

Maybe you’ve heard about food deserts. These are places where there’s little access to fresh food, but there’s another kind of desert in our region that affects the literacy rates of young children. Book deserts are areas where there aren’t libraries or bookstores. 

Rania Zuri, a senior at Morgantown High School in West Virginia, is the founder of an organization that provides books to preschool children across the state.

Sit For A Spell In The Story Parlor And Hear A Story

Appalachians love telling stories. Lies, yarns, and good ole fashioned tall tales. In fact, the International Storytelling Center is based in Jonesborough, Tennessee. Just across the state line in Asheville, North Carolina, a young family is cultivating another place for people to gather to share stories. Matt Peiken at Blue Ridge Public Radio reports.

How To Help Manage Legal Issues For Aging Parents

Helping aging parents can involve a lot more than getting them to the doctor, church and the grocery store. It might mean managing their checkbook, their bills and their treatment. 

WVPB News Director Eric Douglas explores care giving in “Getting Into Their Reality: Caring For Aging Parents.” He recently spoke with Franki Parsons, a lawyer who specializes in legal and estate planning. 

Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony Brings People Together In Moorefield, WV

Moorefield, West Virginia is home to about 3,300 people – about 1 in 10 are immigrants. That includes a small community from Eritrea and Ethiopia. Many work at the chicken processing plant in town, Pilgrim’s Pride. The hours are long and don’t leave much time for socializing. Still, members of that East African community continue to practice a tradition they’ve brought from home: the coffee ceremony.


Our theme music is by Matt Jackfert. Other music this week was provided by The Company Stores, Hillbilly Gypsies, Watchhouse, Long Point String Band and Ona.

Bill Lynch is our producer. Our executive producer is Eric Douglas. Kelley Libby is our editor. Our audio mixer is Patrick Stephens. Zander Aloi also helped produce this episode.

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Inside Appalachia is a production of West Virginia Public Broadcasting.