Carol Lynch Williams
Aspen Books (Salt Lake City), 1995. Paperback:
Suggested retail price: $4.95 (US)
Audience: 4th grade gilrs
There are two authors in the Latter Day Daughter Series, Carol LynchWilliams and Launi K. Anderson. The books focus on young girls and theirexperiences during the early days of the Church. They draw an associationbetween present day young readers and their historical counterparts. Asthere are two authors, I received the first two books of the series, andwill review them separately.
[Editor: Follow this link to Melinda's review of Launi K. Anderson's Clarissa's Crossing.]
Anna's Gift, by C.L. Williams, is the first in the series. Anna is a ten year old aspiring artist living in Nauvoo with her two younger sisters, Charlette (8) and Sidnie (3), and her father and expectant mother (who has already buried three infants). Because her parents need extra help while Mama rests, they dismiss her drawing as "frittering away time," and forbid her to sketch. One day, after finishing her chores, she goes into town where she sketches Joseph Smith playing a game of marbles with some young boys. When her younger sister, Charlette, tattles on her for drawing and Anna is chastisized by her father, she vows revenge and plots to catch a frog and sneak it into Charlett'es pocket on a Sunday. In the meantime, we become aware of an increase of persecution against the Saints which consists of burning crops, the imprisonment of Joseph Smith, and finally his martyrdom.
Brother Joseph's death and viewing are hard on the family, who had beenclose friends, and Anna's mother is especially despondent. He son is bornwhole and healthy, fulfilling the late prophet's blessing, but shecontinues to mourn Brother Joseph's passing, lamenting that if only shecould see his face once more she would be appeased. Charlette retrievesAnna's drawing of Joseph Smith and when her parents see it, not only isher mother comforted, but they are so impressed with her talent that theygrant Anna permission to draw again.
William's writing is not as engaging as Anderson's, but she fulfills her purpose of creating an historical world in which her character experiences the sufferings and lifestyle of the early church.
Both books are easy to read and would likely engage a young reader's imagination.
© 1996 Melinda Steadman