Throughout Lenski’s regional series on life in the American South, she always maintained an emphasis on children. First and foremost she was a children’s author, and she always loved to hear the experiences and stories of her beloved audience. Before she wrote a book, she would visit a particular region, city, or community and meet the locals. Her first-hand experiences and rough sketches became the storyline and illustrations of her future work.
The story of how Lois Lenski wrote Cotton In My Sack is an excellent example of her dedicated writing style. Lenski received an invitation in 1947 from a small elementary school class in Blytheville, Arkansas to come and visit the area to experience life in their cotton-growing town. She accepted their offer and stayed at a local hotel in Blytheville for two months while recording all of the sights, sounds, and experiences of this small impoverished rural community. Her descriptions of a life in a coarse and penniless town surviving in the face of unforgiving drought and economic troubles eventually became the book Cotton In My Sack. After her visit, Lenski dedicated Cotton In My Sack to “my beloved Arkansas cotton children”. Lenski’s attention to even the smallest and poorest of towns earned her a place in the hearts and minds of schoolchildren listening to her stories across the South and America.