Anna Casey's Place in the World

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Overview

Praise For Adrian Fogelin's Previous Work, Crossing Jordan:
  • ALA 2001 Best Book for Young Readers
  • 2000 VOYA Top Shelf Fiction for Middle School Readers
  • Honors List of the IRA 2001 Notable Books for a Global Society

"In this sensitive portrait of black-white relations in a changing neighborhood, Fogelin offers a tactful, evenhanded look at ...

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Overview

Praise For Adrian Fogelin's Previous Work, Crossing Jordan:
  • ALA 2001 Best Book for Young Readers
  • 2000 VOYA Top Shelf Fiction for Middle School Readers
  • Honors List of the IRA 2001 Notable Books for a Global Society

"In this sensitive portrait of black-white relations in a changing neighborhood, Fogelin offers a tactful, evenhanded look at prejudice."
--USA Today

"...Jemmie and Cass are likable, lively characters, and readers will enjoy the repartee between them."
--School Library Journal

"Readers will appreciate the honesty of Fogelin's approach and applaud [Cass and Jemmie] in their fast friendship."
--The Bulletin Of The Center For Children's Books

Anna, a twelve year old girl with strong survival instincts, tries to adjust to life in a Florida foster home in a strange neighborhood with an overly tidy single woman and Eb, another foster child who is not at all sure he wants to stay there.

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Editorial Reviews

From The Critics
Anna Casey is a twelve-year-old girl who is trying to adjust to life with Miss Dupree, her foster parent. Anna has lived with her grandmother, and later with her aunt and uncle; now, she wants to have a chance to grow up and be a part of a "real" family. Adjusting to living in this new foster home—with a distant, first time foster mother and a ten-year-old boy from a neglectful home—provides Anna with more than her fair share of challenges and burdens. The reader will see how Anna discovers a sense of self as she succeeds in finding her place in the world. Her friend Eb, her biology teacher, her friends from the neighborhood, and a homeless Vietnam veteran help her to establish a sense of belonging and a positive outlook on life. To be sure, Anna has been through much, yet her charm and good common sense manage to win the day. Fogelin tells a strong believable story and draws credible characters in this sequel to Crossing Jordan (2000). 2001, Peachtree Publishers, 224 pp., Gerlach
KLIATT
Anna Casey, at 12, has wisdom. Unfortunately, she had to gain this wisdom through her journey as an orphan from one home to another. Fortunately, she is willing to share her wisdom with Eb, the 10-year-old who has also been placed in the foster home of Miss Dupree in Tallahassee, Florida, after many other placements. Anna has decided that she has to find a home soon because "If I kept going, I'd fall right off the map." Anna is wise enough to know that a family can be formed out of an assortment of people. In her case, they include local kids, an insightful teacher, and even a homeless veteran. This is a thoughtful coming-of-age story and Anna is an intrepid heroine to whom middle school students will be able to relate. KLIATT Codes: J—Recommended for junior high school students. 2001, Peachtree, 207p., Ages 12 to 15.
—Nola Theiss
VOYA
Twelve-year-old Anna Casey wants a place to call home. Orphaned as a baby, she has been sent from relative to relative, diligently drawing maps of the places she has been in her explorer notebook. When she runs out of relatives, she is placed in the home of a new foster mom, Miss Riley, and hopes with all her heart that she will be allowed to stay. Joining Anna is ten-year-old Eb Gramlich, who is certain that his mom, Lisa, will come for him as soon as she gets resettled and dumps her boyfriend, Eddie. Anna is not the girlie-girl that Miss Riley expected her to be, and she and Eb, her sometimes-unwilling partner, spend days outside, mapping the neighborhood and having adventures. More than adventure, though, Anna wishes to belong. With each chapter titled, the book has an episodic feel. Because the year is never mentioned and the story is told mostly through dialogue and not Anna's innermost thoughts, it is almost a timeless slice-of-life tale. Although the characters and plot deal with some heavy themes such as abandonment, homelessness, Vietnam veterans, and ecological preservation, the story is neither didactic nor analytical. This book does not grab hold and hurtle readers toward the end but merely holds their hands on a nice walk through the story. The characters simply experience things, and the reader reads about them, which makes for a heartwarming and innocent, if prim, tale for younger teens looking for a nice story about a girl searching for a home. VOYA CODES:3Q 3P M (Readable without serious defects;Will appeal with pushing;Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8). 2001, Peachtree, 207p, $14.95. Ages 11 to 14. Reviewer:Blayne Tuttle Borden—VOYA, December 2001(Vol. 24, No. 5)
Children's Literature
Twelve-year-old Anna Casey is fresh out of relatives when she comes under the care of Miss Dupree, her new foster mother. Miss Dupree is new at the foster mother business. She is single, overly tidy, does not believe in junk food and runs a dating service out of her home. Lively and quick-thinking Anna is determined to make a permanent home for herself. Placed with Anna is scrawny Eb, a feisty kid with a mind of his own. Eb does not think it is necessary to please, as he is convinced that his mom will be picking him up soon. Armed with Anna's explorer's notebook, the two children set out to map the neighborhood and pick up a stone. Anna has obtained a stone from the four other places she has lived. Soon they meet two new friends, a homeless Vietnam vet who hears messages from the radio in his brain, and an unconventional biology teacher, Miss Johnette. Other children and the entire neighborhood become involved in Anna's scheme to move a forest. Just when things are looking up, something happens and Anna is sure that her placement will not last. The trials and tribulations of growing up come to life in a poignant story filled with delightful characters and a lively plot. You will want to give Anna a hug as she fights desperately to find her place in the world. 2001, Peachtree, $14.95. Ages 9 to 12. Reviewer: Laura Hummel
School Library Journal
Gr 4-6-Anna is the heroine of this orphan tale that has no real surprises and the standard, feel-good ending. A 12-year-old who has run out of relatives to care for her, she ends up in a foster home with a distant, first-time foster mother and a 10-year-old boy from a neglectful home. A colorful biology teacher and local conservationist from the neighborhood strike up a friendship with the children, as do Cass and Jemmie, the memorable runners from the author's Crossing Jordan (Peachtree, 2000). Set in the same blue-collar neighborhood during a Florida summer, the plot hinges on Anna's need for permanency and her desire to be accepted for who she is. Numerous subplots, including a homeless Vietnam vet, a wooded area being cleared for a sand mine, an adult romance, and the foster brother's long-term placement, at times detract from the arc of the story. Through her natural-sounding, first-person narrative, Anna comes off as being polite, eager to please, and with a great love of the world around her. Useful as a companion volume to Crossing Jordan or where a quiet story of belonging is needed.-Faith Brautigam, Gail Borden Public Library, Elgin, IL Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781561452958
  • Publisher: Peachtree Publishers, Ltd.
  • Publication date: 10/28/2003
  • Pages: 224
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.86 (w) x 8.48 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Anna Casey's Place in the World


By Adrian Fogelin

Peachtree

Copyright © 2001 Adrian Fogelin
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4976-9444-6



CHAPTER 1

THE EXPLORER


Mrs. Riley hadn't even started the car when the purse on the seat beside her beeped. "Shoot," she said. She pulled out the pager, checked the number, and said "Shoot" again. "I have to make a quick call, kids. Eb, Anna, talk, you two. Get acquainted." Then she dashed up the steps to the agency.

Sitting in the back, all I could see of the boy was his skinny neck and his short, bristle haircut. I undid my seat belt, slid up, and rested my arms on the seat. "Hi, Eb. So, you're ten?"

He was all scooched up against the door, staring at the Band-Aids on his knees. His legs were spaghetti-thin.

"You don't look ten," I said.

"And you don't look twelve," he shot back, still staring at his knees.

"I guess we're both small for our ages."

No answer.

"Do you think we'll like our new home?"

"No." He wouldn't look at me.

I hung over the seat a little more. He turned toward the window. "Maybe we will," I said, talking to the back of his head. "If we do, and everything works out so that we stay, I mean really stay, I'm going to get a cat."

I caught a quick glimpse of blue eyes, then he was looking out the window again. After a long pause he asked, "Why a cat?"

"I like cats. Don't you?"

"Never had one."

"I had a cat named Buck when I lived with my grandmother. When she died we moved to my aunt and uncle's—Buck and I did, I mean."

"Where's old Buck now?"

"He got hit by a car the second day we were there."

"He did?" Eb was still looking away, but I saw his ears lift, the way they do when someone smiles. "Was he like ... squished?"

"Yeah."

Up went the ears again. "Cool."

I slid back in my seat. Cool? No cat for him. Forget it. Any cat we get will be mine. But first I have to be sure that I'm staying, because cats don't like moving around. When we lived at my grandmother's, Buck spent mornings on one windowsill, afternoons on another. That's enough change for a cat. And that's why I never got another one. All the places I'd lived in the last four years? It wouldn't have been fair to the cat.

Suddenly electronic burps and bleeps started coming from the front seat. Eb must have slipped some kind of video game out of the pocket of his baggy shorts. "Die, dark lord!" he cackled, and the toy in his lap hissed like a bug zapper.

"I hope we do get to stay," I said softly, talking to myself, not him.

But his voice came back over the seat. "You can stay. Not me." There was a sizzle as he fried another lord of darkness. "Anyway, I'm allergic to cats."

The driver's door opened, and Mrs. Riley tossed her purse back in. "Is everybody ready? Seat belts on!"

I did my belt, then picked up the pack from the seat beside me and hugged it. My suitcase was in the trunk, but my explorer's pack stays with me, always. I keep all my important stuff in it: my notebook, postcards, pocketknife, waterproof matches, my family picture, my Boy Scouts of America Explorer's Manual—not that I'm a boy. But I have done some exploring.

I've seen quite a bit for twelve, lived lots of places with aunts and uncles and cousins. But relatives aren't like parents. They don't have to keep you if they get divorced, or if they need your room for a new baby, or if their arthritis gets bad. They just pass you along until, one day, you run out of relatives. Then you have to go with someone like Mrs. Riley. Mrs. Riley is a social worker for the State of Florida. I was one of her cases. So was Eb.

"We're getting close now," said Mrs. Riley. "Would you mind putting that game away, Eb?"

The chirping and beeping went on until Eb yelled, "Yes! Total annihilation!"

"Anna, dear?" Mrs. Riley gave me a smile in the rearview mirror. "Take your hat off so Miss Dupree can see what a pretty girl you are."

I slid my denim hat off, set it on top of my pack, and rested my chin on its wide, floppy brim. My uncle used to call it his bush hat. He let me keep it when he saw that I wore it every minute I wasn't in bed.

"Now kids," said Mrs. Riley, "Miss Dupree is a first-time foster mother, and a personal friend of mine, so you two will be extra nice, won't you?"

I nodded.

She turned to Eb for nod number two, but he was all slumped down, as if turning the game off had turned him off too.

We rode in silence until Mrs. Riley announced, "Here's your new neighborhood." I closed my eyes and held my breath for luck. Then I looked.

The houses in our new neighborhood were small, yards crammed with dogs and bicycles, birdbaths and huge old trees. A telephone pole with a basketball hoop nailed to it cast its shadow across the chalk drawings in the road.

"It certainly looks as if there are plenty of kids," Mrs. Riley observed. "How wonderful!"

Eb pulled his head down between his shoulders like a turtle.

We slowed in front of a white house with green shutters. No toys or bicycles littered its perfect lawn. The shrubs that guarded the door looked as if they had come out of a giant ice cream scoop. Just as Mrs. Riley turned in, I saw a small, pointy face peeking between a pair of curtains. Miss Dupree was waiting for us.

This could be better than relatives. Miss Dupree had chosen to become a foster mother. That meant she wanted us. Well, maybe not us specifically. But she must have wanted kids. It was a start.

As the front door opened, Mrs. Riley sang out, "Good morning, Miss Dupree." With a hand on each of our backs, she marched us up the walk. "Here they are! Anna Casey and Eb Gramlich." She introduced us as if we were movie stars, then gave each of us an extra little shove. "Kids, this is your new foster mother, Miss Dupree."

Miss Dupree patted our shoulders the way you'd pat a dog you were afraid was going to jump up, and then she folded her arms. She looked scared. Like Eb and me, Miss Dupree was small. Her brown hair was short and fluffy. She wore eyeglasses so thick, she seemed to peer at us from underwater. She looked Eb over first. Maybe she was wondering why he wore a long-sleeved shirt when it was so hot. Maybe she wondered how anyone could be that skinny. "Your name is Eb?"

When he didn't answer, I rushed in. "That's right, It's Eb."

Her eyebrows went up.

"I know," I said, "it takes some getting used to. E plus B. Eb. It doesn't seem like enough, does it? It's more like a hiccup than a name." I knew I was blabbering. I was pretty nervous.

"It's nice to meet you, Eb," she said.

Eb stared at his sneakers.

Then she turned to me. "So, this is Anna."

I smiled my class-picture smile, lips closed to hide my chipped front tooth. Whatever she had hoped for, it didn't seem to be a kid with too many freckles and mouse-colored hair, a girl in a hand-me-down blouse two sizes too big. But that was okay. I'd grow on her.

Mrs. Riley got our paperwork out of the car. "Emergency numbers are up front." She pushed her half glasses up on her nose and opened the folder labeled Gramlich, E. "As I told you on the phone, Eb has a little problem with asthma, but it's being managed." She turned to Eb. "You know what to do for your asthma, don't you, Eb?"

Eb's arms hung at his sides.

"Don't worry," I told Miss Dupree. "I'm sure he knows."

Mrs. Riley opened the trunk of her car. As I dragged my suitcase up the walk, I heard her say in a low voice, "Anita, I want to thank you again for taking the boy on such short notice. We just had to get him out of there."

Seeing me, she went back to her official voice. "Be good, you two. If there's a problem, here's a number where you can reach me." She gave each of us a business card and a kiss on the cheek. She engulfed Miss Dupree in a hug. "Relax, Anita. You'll do just fine." I put my hat back on as soon as she drove away.

"Come, children, let me show you your new home." Miss Dupree sounded fake-happy, with scared underneath. I kept smiling and Eb kept frowning, but it didn't matter. Our new foster mother darted up the steps and held the door without actually looking at either of us.

The entry room was tiny, with nothing in it but artificial flowers on a small table, an empty coat rack, and the strong smell of fresheners and deodorizers and cleaning products all trying to outdo each other.

"You can hang your hat up, Anna."

"No thank you, Miss Dupree. I'll keep it with me. It's my lucky hat."

"Hats are for outside, Anna. Hang it up, please."

My hat drooped on the rack. It was an old hat, and it looked lonely hanging there all by itself. Compared to the light wall-to-wall carpet, it seemed dirty. I looked down at my worn sandals and Eb's junky high-tops. What if our shoes leave marks? I worried.

We walked through the living room and into the kitchen, which was where Miss Dupree seemed to want to start the tour. "This is the kitchen," she said.

Eb rolled his eyes.

"It's nice," I said.

It was nice, but terminally clean. The glossy white table had never had a glass of orange juice spilled on it, I bet, or eraser crumbs from someone changing answers on a homework assignment. The only things on the counter were the dish soap, a bowl of potpourri, and a can of Super-Kill bug spray.

We cut back through the living room. "And this is my office," she said, opening a door. Inside, a video camera was trained on a chair in front of a blue backdrop. A computer sat on a desk. "I run a dating service called 'Perfect Match,'" she said. "It's for busy professionals who want to fall in love but need a little help scheduling it." On the wall behind her was a map of the United States with pins stuck in it.

I moved in for a closer look. "What's the map for?" I asked. Maps are my hobby.

"Some of my clients want to locate people they've lost track of. High school sweethearts, mostly. The pins are successful finds." She put a hand on my shoulder and steered me out of the room. "Everything in a business like mine is confidential, I'm afraid, so this room is off limits." She closed the door with a little click.

"This is the living room. Yes, Eb," she added before he had a chance to roll his eyes again. "The living room. I do some business in here too."

The room looked a lot like a doctor's office. All the furniture was white. On the coffee table, next to magazines arranged in neat rows, were two thick photo albums, one pink, one blue. Each said Likely Prospects on its cover. "I greet clients in here," she said, "serve them coffee, give them a first look at potential partners." She ran a hand over the cover of Likely Prospects, pink. "But most of the time the three of us can use it for sitting around or watching TV." I tried to imagine the three of us sitting around. It wasn't easy.

"Now Anna, I hope you'll like the next room." Miss Dupree looked excited. "I decorated it just for you." She flung open a door.

The room was nonstop pink—the walls, the bed, the curtains. Even the top of the trash can had a ruffle that matched the paint. It was really, really ugly.

"Well, Anna?" She held her breath a moment. "Do you like it?"

The color made my stomach hurt. The ruffles were stupid. It was totally the wrong kind of room for an explorer. But she had fixed it just for me. "It's great, Miss Dupree," I said. "Super, really."

She relaxed and smiled. "I'm so glad you like it. Now Eb, I apologize. I wasn't expecting two. Your room is not as nice as Anna's, but we can work on it." She led us up a dark flight of narrow stairs.

"Wow!" I said as we stepped into a tiny room tucked under the roof. An air conditioner hummed in one of the two small windows in its sloping walls. I ran over to the other window, which framed a huge old tree. "You're so lucky, Eb! You could climb right through this window into the tree."

"I've been meaning to get some of those branches trimmed back," Miss Dupree fussed. "But of course, Anna is kidding, Eb. That would be too dangerous."

"Not for a good tree-climber. See that branch? I'd have to stretch, but I could get to it." Then I remembered the ruffly pink room. Maybe Miss Dupree didn't want a good tree-climber. I sat down quietly on the edge of the bed and looked around.

It seemed as if all the interesting things that weren't allowed downstairs were up in the attic. Mysterious trunks and boxes were stacked on one side of the room. My hat would have felt right at home hanging with the other old hats on the rack in the corner. I flopped back on the bed, which was soft and deep and feathery. "Where'd you get all this great stuff?" I asked.

"It belonged to my mother," she said. "She never threw out a thing."

Lucky for you, I thought. And lucky for Eb. He was going to have this room. He should have been jumping for joy, but he hadn't budged from the top of the stairs.

"What happened to your mom?" he asked. "Did she croak?"

"Yes, she died several years ago."

Eb eyed the leaning boxes as if Miss Dupree's dead mother was in one of them.

"It's dusty up here," he said. "It's giving me an asthma attack. I'll sleep on the couch." He clomped back down the steps.

Miss Dupree hurried after him. I wanted to explore the attic room, but I followed them.

Back in the living room, Miss Dupree glanced at her all-white couch, then at the grubby boy who thought he was going to sleep on it.

"Hey, Eb," I said. "I'll trade rooms with you."

"But Anna," Miss Dupree cut in, "I fixed the pink room just for you." She took a second look at her couch. "You're sure you wouldn't mind?"

And that's how I got the treasure room and Eb got the one with the frilly garbage can.

I grabbed my suitcase before he could change his mind. As I dragged it up the stairs, it thumped against the edges and almost pulled my arm out of the socket. Not that there was much in it, just the usual socks and underwear plus some old clothes from my twin cousins, Jenny and Janice. What made it heavy was the stones.

The first thing I did was line them up on the windowsill, in order. Stone number one, a chunk of Maine granite, belonged to my grandmother originally. She lived in Maine all her life until she got married. When I asked her why she kept it, she said, "When you leave a place, you need something to help you remember."

Grandma died when I was eight—one of the top worst things that ever happened to me. After the funeral I ran down to the pond behind her house and grabbed a rock from the bank. It was nice and flat. My cousin Janice wanted to skip it across the pond, but I put it in my pocket. I've done the same thing in each place since—picked up a stone to help me remember.

Massachusetts, New Jersey, Virginia, North Carolina. Each stone came from a little further south, like I'd been tumbling down the map. My last stop was at the top edge of Florida, just south of the Georgia line. Now here I was in Tallahassee. My Tallahassee stone just had to be the last one. If I kept going, I'd fall right off the map.

Once my stones were arranged on the windowsill, I sat down cross-legged on the bed and undid the buckles on my pack. I slipped out the framed photograph that sat on top.

This picture came with me every time I moved to a new place. In it was a man with longish hair and a pretty woman with freckles, like mine. The baby on her hip had one sock on and one bare foot. All three of them were smiling. The one-sock baby was me, Anna. The two smiling grownups were my parents, Josh and Mindy Casey. Sitting on my new bed, I smiled back. This was the last picture ever taken of them.

I looked deeper into the picture. Swimming in the lake behind my parents and me were most of the relatives I'd lived with since the accident. There was Aunt Linda, who raised canaries in cages in her basement, and Aunt Betsy and Uncle Harry. They used to sit me in a chair in the corner when they thought I was getting too wild. The two pairs of feet sticking out of the water belonged to Jenny and Janice. They were doing underwater handstands. Off to one side I could see the back of Grandma's head. Just her white rubber bathing cap was sticking out of the water. I wished I had a better picture. One where she didn't look so much like a lightbulb.

I missed every one of them. Especially Aunt Eva and Uncle Charles, the last ones to have me. They were in the picture too, standing ankle-deep in the water, holding hands and laughing. The picture was taken before they were married. My cousins, Mark and Macy, hadn't been born. And now my Aunt Eva and Uncle Charles weren't married anymore, and all of us were scattered, me the farthest.

I put my picture on the table by the bed and took out my explorer's notebook. I opened it and wrote my new address and the date at the top of a fresh page.

Uncle Charles used to say he joined the Navy to see the world. I was seeing the world too. One neighborhood at a time.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Anna Casey's Place in the World by Adrian Fogelin. Copyright © 2001 Adrian Fogelin. Excerpted by permission of Peachtree.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Contents

1—The Explorer,
2—First You Get a Stone,
3—This Way Be Monsters,
4—In the Bone Museum,
5—Boots Just Like That,
6—Show Us Your Stuff,
7—Out There Flappin',
8—Fireworks,
9—Kings of the Race-A-Rama,
10—Listening,
11—"Earth to Sam Miller",
12—The Most Dangerous Thing in the Woods,
13—The Big Itch,
14—More Homeless Than Ever,
15—Maybe Rabies,
16—Long Distance,
17—Nursing Mr. Miller,
18—The Einstein of the Dog World,
19—Ninety-Nine Point Nine Percent,
20—The Sand Below,
21—To Move a Forest,
22—The Last View of Eb,
23—The Skeleton of the Earth,
24—Anna Casey's Place in the World,
Acknowledgments,
About the Author,

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 19, 2010

    the best book ever

    i know a girl with the same name as the main character and it makes the book an even better experience. this book is insane and a great book. i love it so much and i just cant believe how fantastic it is. a must read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 22, 2007

    A reviewer

    Anna Casey's Place in the World by Adrian Foglin is a memorable book. It is about two children who go to live with a foster mom. Anna and Eb meet a woman named Miss Johnett who later is of importance to Anna. They have lots of adventures with her and the neighborhood kids. If you like stories that squeeze your heart then you should read this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 5, 2004

    One of my all time favorets

    This is such a good story, I thought so a least. I hope that another one comes out so you can learn more about Eb...

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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