A Novel of the Civil War by Margaret McMullan
It is the spring of 1861 and the serenity of Smith County, Mississippi has been shattered by Abraham Lincoln’s declaration of war on the South. Young and old are taking up arms and marching off to war. But not ten year-old Frank Russell. Although he is eager to enlist in the Confederate army, he is not allowed. He is too young, too skinny, too weak. After all he’s just “Shanks,” the baby of the Russell family.
War has a way of taking things away from a person, mercilessly. And this war takes from Frank a mighty sum. It’s nabbed his Pa and older brother. It’s stolen his grandfather, his grandmother. It has robbed Frank of a simpler way of life, food, his boyhood. And gone are his idealistic dreams of heroic battles and hard fought victories. Now all that replaces those images are questions: Will I ever see my father and brother again? Why are we fighting this war? Are we fighting for the wrong reasons? Will things ever be the same around here?
Google Earth and GIS Resources have a website to help readers of How I Found the Strong find Smith County, Mississippi where the novel takes place, Civil War battles mentioned in the book, and much more. Check it out!
- Notable Children’s Trade Book in the Field of Social Studies (NCSS/CBC)
- Booklist’s Top Ten First Novels for Youth
- Indiana Best Young Adult Book
- Winner Mississippi Institute of Arts & Letters Award for Fiction
- Winner Mississippi Library Association Special Award
- Young Hoosier Book Award Nominee
- American Library Association selection for Many Voices, One Nation
- Capital Choice Award Nominee
- Dorothy Canfield Fisher Children’s Book Award (Vermont)
- Sequoyah Young Adult Book Award (Oklahoma)
- Unanimously voted a “Great Book” by the state of Maryland Book Consortium
- One Book/One Community Youth selection (Indiana)
- Indiana’s featured book for the National Book Festival, Washington, D.C.
- New York Public Library Book Pick for the Teen Age