World War II has been over for a year but not for the Howard family. Eleven-year–old Annie worries about her daddy, who was declared missing in action, and her mama, who believes that her husband is dead. Then Annie’s appendix bursts, and she‘s stuck in the hospital for over a month.
During her stay, she gets an unusual visitor – President Harry S. Truman. Though everyone insists he’s a figment of her imagination, the president offers Annie the friendship and support she desperately needs.
Annie faces more family tension when she’s sent to recuperate at her grandma’s house. Grandma has taken in a new tenant, Miss Gloria Jean Washington, a young black woman fleeing discrimination and her own sad past. Annie’s Uncle Billy, a bitter WWII veteran, is furious because he doesn’t want “colored” so close to home.
With the help of Mr. Truman, Annie tries to understand her uncle’s behavior, her daddy’s absence, and Miss Gloria’s sorrow. And she begins to realize that some consequences of war leave permanent scars.
- IRA Children's Book Award Notable
- Kentucky Bluegrass Master List
- Children's Crown Award Nominee
Annie's War, my first novel, is based on events from my childhood.
I began Annie’s War as a story about a girl trying to help her family cope with the aftermath of WWII. It soon became clear that I was writing Annie’s story to satisfy my own curiosity about how the real Miss Gloria came to be such an important part of our family. How was it that in the 1940’s, a time when prejudice was commonplace even in the Northwest, my grandmother willingly bucked the attitudes of some of her neighbors, to give Gloria a home and a job? Why was it that I had such strong images of Gloria as a part of my young life? Since I had only my own memories of that time and a few I heard from older family members, I set out to create the story that could have been ours.
This book started with images of my grandmother and Gloria at the Corner Grocery. These were happy images, though I know the time was not always so happy for all of us. A conversation with my aunt about these images got me started, and once I began, I was encouraged by my affection and admiration for my grandmother. Later in the process, I was writing at a time when we found ourselves in another war. I felt it was a story that might resonate with young readers who have been touched by the conflict in Iraq.
PAPERBACK; Published: 1/5/2009