Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

Anna Was Here

Anna Was Here

5.0 1
by Jane Kurtz

See All Formats & Editions

Ten-year-old Anna Nickel is moving from Colorado to Kansas, and she is not happy about leaving her friends behind! This is a moving, often humorous coming-of-age story about family, faith, God's love, and the meaning of home, perfect for fans of Katherine Paterson and The Penderwicks.

Ten-year-old Anna Nickel's worst nightmare has come true.


Ten-year-old Anna Nickel is moving from Colorado to Kansas, and she is not happy about leaving her friends behind! This is a moving, often humorous coming-of-age story about family, faith, God's love, and the meaning of home, perfect for fans of Katherine Paterson and The Penderwicks.

Ten-year-old Anna Nickel's worst nightmare has come true. Her father has decided to move the family back to Oakwood, Kansas—where he grew up—in order to become the minister of the church there. New friends, new school, a new community, and a family of strangers await, and what's even worse, it's all smack-dab in the middle of Tornado Alley. Anna has always prided herself on being prepared (she keeps a notebook on how to cope with disasters, from hurricanes to shark bites), but she'll be tested in Oakwood! This beautifully written novel introduces a family who takes God's teachings to heart while finding many occasions to laugh along the way, and an irrepressible and wholesome ten-year-old who, with a little help from Midnight H. (her cat), takes control of her destiny.

Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review - Elisabeth Egan
…Jane Kurtz's timeless and sweetly funny middle-grade novel…delivers a gentle, optimistic story about a devout family whose spirituality functions as both a safety net and an umbrella (a must-have in Kansas). The Nickels may navigate change—and even disaster—with a lot less friction than the average family (or at least mine), but they're far from perfect. That's precisely what will make Anna Was Here a moving-day classic, destined to sidestep its boxed-up brethren for the important job of steadying someone's shaky little hands.
Publishers Weekly
Culture shock hits hard when nine-year-old Anna Nickel has to leave her beloved Colorado home for Oakwood, Kans., where her minister father—whose family roots are there—is called to help the church community get “over a hump.” “Gold Ribbon Safety Citizen” of the fourth grade, Anna prides herself on being prepared for Colorado emergencies like bears and wildfires, but her Safety Tips notebook holds no advice for the dangers of Oakwood, such as feuding relatives (including an especially hostile cousin) and rattlesnakes. Anna is lively and thoughtful, and her parents are sympathetic and credible, but her many relatives and church members are a little hard to keep straight. Liberally sprinkled with lists of tips for disasters ranging from earthquakes and floods to clouds and bees, Kurtz’s (The Feverbird’s Claw) book is distinguished by its comfortable treatment of God and faith, as Anna struggles to understand the unfairness and unpredictability of disasters—natural and otherwise—as well as of human beings: “What about all the people of Pompeii baking bread until fwoomp? Volcanic ash covered them.” An appealing mix of humor and substance. Ages 8–12. (Sept.)
Children's Literature - Bonita Herold
Always on guard for how to stay safe, soon-to-be-ten Anna makes lists. Living in Colorado and witnessing smoke from nearby forest fires leads her to join forces with Jericho, her college-aged babysitter, to spearhead the Safety Club. Fires are serious business, after all. But being prepared for a fire, a flood, or a bear does not compare to her biggest challenge of all: moving away from everything she knows and loves. And because her destination is Kansas, of all places, she has to research what to do should another natural disaster occur: a tornado. Mix in homesickness, a father who is no longer available at the drop of a hat, a grandpa whose health fails him, and a few distressed, long-lost family members--mostly in the form of eight-year-old Simon--and trouble rears its ugly head. Just because Anna’s dad is a minister in a suffering parish does not mean she has to like it; does it? While the story is heavy on the message of God’s love and the power of forgiving and forgetting, it is nonetheless charming. Reviewer: Bonita Herold AGERANGE: Ages 8 to 12.
School Library Journal
Gr 3–6—When fourth-grader Anna is told that her family has to move from Colorado to rural Kansas, she is beyond upset. Her father is a minister and is needed back in his hometown, so it's off to Oakwood, where, for better or worse, nearly everyone in the small town is a relative. Having always had a preoccupation with safety (she even has her own Safety Club), Anna has a lot to prepare for. Hesitant to start a new school, she joins up with her cousin to be homeschooled on her aunt's farm. However, things go from bad to worse when her younger sister and mother head back to Colorado without her because her grandfather is ill. Anna must try to navigate her family's history, fit into a new community, and prepare for natural disasters, all while figuring out what God has planned for her and Midnight H. Cat. Filled with biblical allusions and simple discussions of faith, this is a sweet book with a lot of heart. Anna's struggles with adjusting to a new town will be relatable to kids going through a move, although the religious themes may be a bit much for some. This gentle story ultimately has a happy resolution. Anna's safety tips on everything from rattlesnakes to clouds are sure to entertain readers.—Kerry Roeder, Professional Children's School, New York City
Kirkus Reviews
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)

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Sold by:
610L (what's this?)
File size:
664 KB
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Jane Kurtz knows a lot about moving. She was born in Portland, Oregon, but when she was two years old her parents moved their family to Ethiopia to work for the Presbyterian Church there. Jane Kurtz is the author of novels, picture books, and chapter books. After living in North Dakota (where she survived a natural disaster), Colorado, Illinois, and Kansas, she moved back to Portland, Oregon, where she now lives with her husband, the Reverend Leonard L. Goering, H.R.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews

Anna Was Here 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I haven't read it but I want. I got a free sample so.