Finding My Place

This is the page where you will find EVERYTHING you need to know about the middle-grade historical fiction novel, Finding My Place, published by White Mane Kids. Check back here for links to lesson plans, blog posts where I discuss the book, quotes from readers, photos of school visits, and more!


1. The Eloquent Quill Award from Literary Classics International Book Awards–to find out more about this award, go to this post here:

2. It also won 2nd place in the Missouri Writers’ Guild Show-Me Book Awards. To read more about that award, go here:

To see Finding My Place on Amazon, please go to this link:

To read an excerpt of the story, scroll past the summary and start reading chapter one!

Summary of story: Thirteen-year-old Anna Green can hardly remember life before the War Between the States touched her hometown of Vicksburg, Mississippi. For 47 days in May, June, and July 1863, the Union army bombs Vicksburg day and night, attempting to overtake the city. Anna longs for the days before Yankee bombs screeched above her, before her family was torn apart, and before they moved to a dark, damp cave to protect themselves from falling shells. During one terrible bombing, a tragedy strikes Anna and her siblings and changes their lives forever. Can Anna find the strength to keep her family together in the midst of war?

Finding My Place recounts the destitute living conditions and the horror of a city under siege, the strength of the citizens who would not surrender, and the courage of an intelligent young girl.

Excerpt: Chapter One “Under Attack”

“To the cave, children!” Ma shouted.

Yankees’ shells fell from the sky one after another. I dropped my spoon into the cornmeal batter as a tin of flour crashed to the floor. James and Sara jumped up from their game of dominoes and tipped the table.

“To the cave?” I yelled.

“Anna, just go,” Ma said, as another tin fell off the shelf–this time spilling sugar on the stove.

She opened the door, and we sprinted across the backyard as fast as jackrabbits running from a hunter. Ma led the way, and I went last, pushing Sarah along. Her short, six-year-old legs didn’t move fast enough, so I scooped her up. Ma and James covered their heads with their arms as if that would protect them from a shell.

When we reached the cave, we ran inside and huddled together. Everyone breathed heavy but stayed real quiet. I wondered where our servants, George and his son, Noah, were and then remembered Ma had sent them on an errand earlier. I hoped they were somewhere safe. Some people didn’t care whether their slaves lived or died; I was glad we didn’t treat George and Noah that way. They had come to work for us after our grandfather died.

They built this cave for us after General Grant bombed the city a few months before. Rumors flew around town that he wasn’t going to give up until he took Vicksburg. So, George and Noah dug a large room out of a yellow clay hill behind our house, like most other slaves did for their families. Then they added a board across the top for support and more on the bottom for a floor. We could all stand upright inside, except George.

Ma told them to place a few chairs, a small table, and our favorite rocker inside. Jars of water rested on a small shelf along with some candles. We ran a rope from one side to the other and hung a sheet on it, separating the room into two parts. Three small spring mattresses and a trunk full of candles, a quilt, and a tiny mirror lay on the floor on one side. It didn’t seem to matter what we put in there; the cave was still a gloomy hole instead of a home. Our things felt damp, and it smelled like rain. George and Noah had even made two openings to let more air through and to have another exit in case of a cave-in, but it was still dark and stuffy.

Ma inspected the work when they had finished since Pa and my older brother, Michael, were gone fighting with the army. “I feel closed in,” she told us. “We won’t ever go there unless we’re in terrible danger.”

We must be in terrible danger, then, since we had run to this cave today.

*To buy an autographed copy of Finding My Place, go to this page:

*To buy from a wonderful independent bookstore in St. Louis (you can have it shipped to you), plase see Left Bank Books website at:

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*To view lesson plans, writing prompts, historical facts, and more, go to this spot on this blog:
Then scroll through the titles of the posts, to find what you need. Click on a title to read the full post.

*To see the Goodreads page, go to this link:

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