Finding My Place, One Girl’s Strength at Vicksburg by Margo L Dill
Publisher: White Main Kids
Genre: Action/Adventure, Historical, YA
Length:: Full Length (185 pgs)
Age Recommendation: 12+
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Aloe
Finding My Place is the story of 13-year-old Anna Green and her family’s struggles during the Siege of Vicksburg (Mississippi) in 1863 during the War Between the States. Anna lives in caves, eats rats, works in an army hospital, experiences her first love, and strives to keep her family together during this horrible time. Anna learns where she belongs in more ways than one while Grant’s cannons shoot over Vicksburg day and night, causing misery and grief for Vicksburg’s citizens.
Anna is thirteen and trying to adjust to life at war. Her father and brother are fighting in the Civil War and Vicksburg is being shelled. Will they all make it through?
Anna has neighbors she loves and those she’s not fond of. She wishes the war was over and the men in her life were for home. She also especially wishes she didn’t have to live in a cave.
The author makes these feelings realistic; Anna is no better than she should be. She is a bit educated; she can read and write. But she’s no good at sewing and cooking.
I like the way the author introduces the blacks into the story. How they are treated is reflected by the family that owns them. There is discussion of a mean action by one nasty lady, but there is no other punishment in this story, so it’s safe for younger ages.
The story really starts getting intense when the shelling kills Anna’s mother. She has her little brother and sister and some limited food, but they can’t live on their own. Once they are sent from “cave to cave” for shelter, she ends up living with the worst lady in the neighborhood. Somehow I knew that was coming.
The light that shines in this story comes out at the latter part. Anna decides she’s not buckling down anymore. Ms. Dill makes her a rock that can’t be moved. She also helps her grow up enough to take care of her own. Life might never be the same, but Anna’s family will survive.
Not only is this a good read for young learners, there are questions in the back you can use for home schooling and additional resources for educational purposes. This author does an excellent job of giving you enough information to teach a class. That’s a very nicely done job.
We’re celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Movement this year. This is a good way of getting insight on how they were treated. Why not add a copy of this book to your curriculum?