Finding My Place

One Girl's Strength at Vicksburg

Children - Grade 4th-6th
202 Pages
Reviewed on 07/02/2013
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Author Biography

Margo L. Dill is a children's author and freelance editor as well as a workshop leader living in St. Louis, MO. She is the author of picture books and middle grade novels and the owner of Editor-911 Books publishing company. She is the managing editor for WOW! Women On Writing and teaches classes and blogs for WOW! She also works as a quality assurance manager for Farm Journal. But her best job is as a mom to both her 10-year-old girl and 2-year-old dog, Sudsi.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Michelle Robertson for Readers' Favorite

"Finding My Place: One Girl's Strength at Vicksburg" is written by Margo L. Dill. This book was uniquely researched and written as an American Civil War Adventure Story. The genre of the book is historical fiction. Though designed as an adventure story, it is an educational story for all ages as well. The intriguing story line will not allow you to stop turning the pages as you yearn to find out what happens next. The story tells of a young teenage girl and her family's experiences and hardships, both emotional and physical, during a time when the American Civil War entered the town of Vicksburg, Tennessee.

"Finding My Place: One Girl's Strength at Vicksburg" is a great story for parents and teachers to give to young readers not only to read but to learn and enjoy. At the end of the story an explanation is supplied of what are actual facts. I loved that aspect of the book. If the reader is not an avid fan of historical fiction or historical books, they may not know the difference between facts and fiction. The author even supplies a list of questions for a discussion session or testing. The education section at the back of the book impressed me. I love discussion sections at the end of educational historical fiction books which help the readers to better understood what they have read. I myself went down through the questions after reading this book. Having the questions at the end of the book also generates further interest in an area or topic. The author also has a section where she lists books of similar subject matter and genre for the sake of readers whho want to read further in that area. Margo L Dill has done a fantastic job conveying a young girl's life and experience during this time period. I would recommend this book to parents who want a new book for their personal collection, and to public and school libraries to add to their historical fiction section.

Penelope Anne Cole

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.