Reviews & Awards
2014 IBPA Benjamin Franklin Award, Juvenile Nonfiction, Gold Winner, from IBPA (Independent Book Publishing Association)
2014 YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction Award Nominee in the company of a dozen terrific nonfiction books published in 2013.
Tillie Pierce: Teen Eyewitness to the Battle of Gettysburg has been named a 2014 NCSS/CBC Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People.
Tillie Pierce: Teen Eyewitness to the Battle of Gettysburg has been selected as a Spring 2013 Junior Library Guild Premier Selection. I couldn’t be more thrilled! It is their June Level NM (Nonfiction Middle School) book.
The Junior Library Guild reviews thousands of books every year and selects the best of new and soon-to-be published books for readers in grades PreK–12. Many of their books go on to earn starred reviews and book awards. I’ll keep my fingers crossed!
April 3, 2013: Tillie Pierce is rated as an Outstanding book by the Association of Children’s Librarians of Northern California (BayViews) and is nominated for their Distinguished List for 2013.
ARTICLES & BLOG POSTS ABOUT TILLIE
“Young teens looking beyond the causes and effects of the Civil War will want to delve into Tillie Pierce’s account. When Gettysburg, Pennsylvania filled with soldiers, Tillie fled to safety. But the farm to which they fled was no safer than town. Tillie had a front row seat to the bloodiest battle of the war. Using Tillie’s own words from a book she wrote in 1889, additional research, and many photographs, Anderson paints a detailed picture of the Battle of Gettysburg. The book won’t fill readers with background, but it will give them a great sense of the time and the battle. The superior archived photographs and illustrations truly heighten the reading experience and offer as much details as the text itself. This would be a great independent read and a wonderful choice for classroom teachers looking for a nonfiction book to share with their class.” —starred, Library Media Connection
…In telling this story Anderson shows Tillie Pierce as she observes the suffering of the wounded, sees death, and is nearly killed. This brave teenager comes down through the years and once again tells her story for a new generation of readers. By framing Tillie Pierce’s experiences at Gettysburg in the way she capably does in this excellent book, Anderson offers her audience insights into the face of war and its impact on those who see it. Children’s Literature, Reviewer: Greg M. Romaneck
…Anderson combines lengthy excerpts from the memoir with a narrative that follows the teen and her family through the battle and includes background information about the Pierces and Gettysburg and its importance in the Civil War….The memoir records the girl’s anguish, and Anderson’s use of those quotes and a smooth narrative will help readers identify with Tillie’s feelings and better understand the human cost of the war. Large, well-captioned period photos and maps and sidebars about related topics supplement the text. Offering far more detail than Patricia Gauch’s fictional account of Tillie’s experiences, Thunder at Gettysburg (Coward, 1975), this book offers a unique perspective through the eyes of a young woman who observed and survived the worst of war.
School Library Journal, June issue–Mary Mueller, Rolla Public Schools, MO
…This Spring 2013 Junior Library Guild Premier Selection is also prime “complex text” with its inclusion of primary sources and detailed information about people, places, and events surrounding the bloodiest battle ever fought on American soil….
Anderson uses contemporary pictures and quotes from Tillie’s own account to bring scenes alive of trying to escape to safety, of bringing bread and water to soldiers, of catching glimpses of companies and brigades darting across yards and fields, of sitting with a dying officer who turned out to be General Weed, of witnessing amputations and piles of limbs in the farmyard. And, she guides her readers through the aftermath as the armies retreat and civilians are left to deal with the realities of war. I’ll stop there, leaving Anderson’s masterful crafting of Tillie’s experiences as your guide. She leaves no doubt that every word she shares is based in historic fact….
…My advice? Skip the chapter on Gettysburg in your history textbook, even if you’re teaching high schoolers, and let history come alive for your students through Tillie Pierce. They might just go looking for more!
—Jane Kise, reviewer for Nerdy Book Club, April 24, 2013
This is not a book about what happened on the battlefield of Gettysburg. Rather, it is a book about a real-life 15-year-old girl and the small Pennsylvania town where she happened to live in 1863. Based mostly on Tillie’s own recollection of the conflict, which she wrote and published in 1889, this book combines that writing with Anderson’s smooth retelling to describe the weeks leading up to and following the battle from the perspective of an extremely relatable young witness. Anderson describes Tillie’s fear at seeing the arrival of Confederate cavalry on an otherwise quiet afternoon at school, as well as her tireless tending of the wounded as the battle raged. The narrative is driven home by captivating photographs of the town before and after the battle and of artifacts that were dear to the Pierce family. Copious endnotes and a carefully selected bibliography with plenty of primary source documentation speak to Anderson’s careful research on one of the most exhaustively covered events in American history.
— Erin Anderson, Booklist, March 2013
Tillie Pierce was a normal teenager for her time, but she became an unlikely heroine when the Civil War literally came to her backyard in Gettysburg. . . . Anderson wisely relies heavily on Tillie’s own words in the narrative. Her eyewitness observations are vivid and compelling . . . .
Tillie’s words bring the sights, sounds and smells of a civilian and teenager experiencing war straight to today’s readers in a way a retrospective account cannot.
from Kirkus Reviews, March 2013
There have been so many books written about the Civil War it seems unlikely that another account could breathe new life upon the subject, yet author Tanya Anderson does just that in her new nonfiction historical, Tillie Pierce: Teen Eyewitness to the Battle of Gettysburg….
Just like a page out of Gone with the Wind, Tillie Pierce sees screaming, crying, and dying soldiers in the yard, piled into the barn, and overflowing in the house. And though she is almost paralyzed with fear, she finds herself talking with them and offering comfort as she and the others wait for the awful war to end.
Tillie Pierce: Teen Eyewitness to the Battle of Gettysburg is an extraordinary story of one teen’s courage and determination as a bloody battle rages all around her.
from New York Journal of Books, April 1, 2013
4.5 out of 5★ There is a lot to recommend about this non-fiction historical book which includes the interesting tidbits throughout….Haunting as well as fascinating account of the horror of war told through the eyes of teen who lived in the town while it happened.
I hope after reading this book, Tillie’s story becomes better known, especially as she was an eyewitness to this battle. Add this title to your collection as a great read for teens looking for a new take on the Civil War, possibly for an essay or other homework assignment. Hopefully they’ll find a new heroine they weren’t expecting.