Prairie Anna is a historical fiction novel that has Anna as its protagonist. She is the daughter of Russian immigrants who are trying to build a life in the prairies of Dakota. At only ten years old, Anna has a great deal of responsibility in helping her family survive, and throughout this book, she sees a great deal of hardship, including the death of her mother and newborn sister, the loss of the family home, and difficulty of keeping her faith in the face of all of this.
I appreciated the story for being told from a younger perspective. How Anna processes her experiences is age-appropriate and very believable. The story itself is also one that I rarely see told in children’s fiction, so I liked that it was different from the norm. More than that, however, I enjoyed that Anna’s faith had a larger role in the story. Often, in children’s books, religion is discussed only insofar as the family attends church or has religious figures in the community. With “Prairie Anna,” however, faith is a core part of the story.
I definitely recommend this. It is probably best for ages 9 to 12, which largely follow the ages Anna is in the book. This story is ripe for discussion, particularly about the historic experiences Anna and her family go through.