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ANNA WAS HERE by Jane Kurtz Kirkus Star

ANNA WAS HERE

By Jane Kurtz

Age Range: 9 - 12

Pub Date: Aug. 27th, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-06-056493-3
Publisher: Greenwillow/HarperCollins

Anna, almost 10, is a worrier, so her family’s temporary move from Colorado to her father’s hometown in Kansas seems fraught with peril to her.

Founder of her own Safety Club (with just two remaining members), which is tasked with identifying potential dangers (including escape from a pyramid) and creating appropriate safety rules, Anna is nearly always prepared for any eventuality. But when her father, a minister, receives a call to straighten out a church in Oakwood, Kan., where many of the residents are his relatives, she’s unprepared and decides the best way to handle things is to “stay folded up” and studiously avoid getting settled in the new town. She manages to keep from starting school, doesn’t get too friendly with her large extended family, tries to keep her cat inside and skips out on Sunday school. However, her growing attachment to that family—and a tornado sweeping through town—gives her an opportunity to see things differently. Anna’s internal voice is pitch-perfect, and her pithy safety rules and ability to connect the dots between religion and life are often hilarious. She imagines an encounter with a troublesome neighbor: “I was standing there frizzy with light, shouting, ‘I’m not just a girl, you know. The angel Gabriel is basically my best friend.’ ”

An amusing and richly rewarding tale that features a very likable, one-of-kind protagonist. (Fiction. 9-12)