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Penelope Anne Cole enjoys writing children’s stories to be read aloud. “Reading to children is the best way to help them love literature.” Ms. Cole has taught and tutored at every grade level, K to 12, and community college. She also reviews children's books. When not writing or reviewing children’s books, Ms. Cole enjoys dog walking, reading, gardening, church, and choir activities. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, a member of the California Writers Club:  Fremont Area Writers, SF Peninsula Writers, and South Bay Writers, and is a Reading Therapist with Read America. Ms. Cole reviews books at

http://pennyreviews-chat.blogspot.com/

See reviews of Ms. Cole's books at

http://reviewsforpenny.blogspot.com/

Her website is www.penelopeannecole.com

Contact Ms. Cole for School Author Visits, locally in-person, or by SKYPE.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Finding My Place, One Girl’s Strength at Vicksburg by Margo L. Dill



Finding My Place, One Girl’s Strength at Vicksburg, by Margo L. Dill, is a tough book.  Not because it’s not well-written or is hard to read.  It’s tough because it’s a realistic story about a very difficult time in our nation’s history.  This is a fictionalized story about General Grant’s six week siege of Vicksburg, as seen through the eyes of thirteen year old, Anna Green.  It’s a down-to-earth Civil War story made compelling and personal by the main character.

In the beginning, Anna is living in a cave with her Ma, her brother James, and her sister Sara.  Anna’s Pa and her older brother Michael are away, fighting for the South.  We see Anna as a normal teen, one who loves to write in her journal, play and fight with her siblings, and who doesn’t relish learning to cook and sew.  It’s the family life of a typical teen in 1863 -- except for the shells and bombs from the “Blue Belly Yankees” going off all around them. 

As in most war stories, personal tragedy befalls them, and then Anna, Sara, and James have to live with other families.  Anna struggles with grief and despairs about her family being separated.  Eventually she finds the strength and maturity to bring her family back together.  Anna is a survivor.  We trust she will be able to deal successfully with almost anything life sends her way. 

Margo Dill has interwoven powerful themes in this story:  dealing with grief, deprivation, and political issues -- such as slavery -- in war time; coming-of-age in devastating circumstances; the consequences of everyday choices and pivotal life decisions; and the impact of our faith in facing life’s challenges.

The cover illustration, by Doug Knutson, shows how Anna lived during the six week siege.  She’s running from the bombs and shells to the sanctuary of a cave where families lived during the shelling.  This book vividly tells the story of the Civil War more realistically than most students and children have seen before.  They can relate personally to Anna’s pain, hardship, and struggles.  Telling someone that war is devastating doesn’t compare with showing them as Margo Dill has done in Finding My Place, One Girl’s Strength at Vicksburg.
 



 Books by Margo L. Dill:


*Finding My Place, middle-grade historical fiction, White Mane Kids, October 2012
*Lucy and the Red Ribbon Week Adventure, picture book, High Hill Press, TBD
*Maggie Mae, Detective Extraordinaire and the Case of the Missing Cookies, picture book, Guardian Angel Publishing, TBD



For more information on Margo L. Dill go to:  http://www.margodill.com





15 comments:

  1. That sounds like a good book. Kid will enjoy it while learning something about history.

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    1. Thanks, Jan, for your comments. I hope that kids will read it and learn more about how hard the Civil War was on families.

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  2. Thanks, Penny, for this interesting review about a difficult time in our history.
    Congratulations, Margo. Wishing you much success.

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    1. Hi Barbara, Thanks for your comments and support. Yes, a most difficult time in history that needs more study.

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  3. A wonderful review Penny! Margo, your new book sounds like an exciting and educational read for children. I wish you great success, and hope that many children will benefit from your efforts.

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    1. Hi Susan, Thanks so much for your comments and support. This is an important area for kids to study and learn about.

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  4. Thank you, Penny, for the review. It is so kind of you. And thanks, Susan, Barbara, and Janet for stopping by and leaving comments! :) I really appreciate the support.

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    1. Hi Margo, Wishing you much success with your book on this vital but difficult period in our history.

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  5. Margot's civil war mid-grade epic seems like a gripping read. Your review makes it a "must" read, Penny. Kids must learn about the past so they do not make the mistake of repeating some of it. Your book makes learning from our past interesting as well as educational. Congrats, Margot. Another terrific book published by GAP!

    Books for Kids + FREE Book Catalog
    http://tinyurl.com/d8ppylg

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    1. Hi Margot, Thanks for your supportive comments. It is important for kids to study about war and this book brings it home to them because it's our nation torn apart by war.

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    2. Hey folks, I made a boo-boo in my post above. The publisher of Margo's book Is White Main Books - not GAP. Sorry!!

      Books for Kids + FREE Book Catalog
      http://tinyurl.com/d8ppylg

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  6. Excellent review, Penny! The book sounds intriguing and so well done, Margo. I hope it finds lots of homes during this Christmas season.

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    1. Hi Nancy, thanks for stopping by and commenting. Wishing Margo much success with this important story.

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  7. Thank you, everyone, for your support. REALLY appreciate it.

    @Margot--yes, this book is published by White Mane Kids--I had the contract FOREVER--since 2007 and it just got published 2012!

    GAP is doing a picture book for me--Maggie Mae, Detective Extraordinaire, and the Case of the Missing Cookies. It's just not out yet. :)

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    1. HI Margo, I'm glad your book is finally out and getting a lot of notice. It's important this type of story be told.

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