poor is just a starting place



TIME: The Great Depression.

 PLACE: The back hills of Kentucky.

Artie Wilson’s family is dirt poor, but she is rich in one thing—determination.

This historical fiction novel for middle graders/young adults is based on Leslie’s grandmother’s life—born and raised in Grayson County, Kentucky. Many of the scenes sprang from tales she and her brother told, and incidents shared by old-timers in the area. The places—Buck Creek School, Caneyville and the two churches really do exist, as do the spring they used to draw water from and the lay of the land on the old home place.

Kirkus Review says: “…Wyatt sets the stage for a quick-fix resolution, but instead offers a realistic and satisfying ending… A fine addition to the Southern Literature Genre.”

Booklist Review says: “…written with spare beauty, this first novel tells a moving story of ‘love and hurt and hope all wrapped up together.’…The honest detail is memorable.”

School Library Journal says: “Wyatt has created an accurate portrayal of life in the South during this period…This book has a lot of heart.”

Core Collection for Children and Young Adults says: “…Relationships between family members are well drawn, and Artie’s growth in understanding life’s challenges, realistic.”



  • “I loved the part about the cave!” B.B.
  • “I’m using this book for my history report at school.” S.J.
  • “You should write more books about Artie.” S.D.
  • “Did all those things really happen?”  A.T.
  • “I liked the part where Ballard tells about the treasure.” N.W.
  • “I’m going to see if I can get it put on the Accelerated Readers list.” J. M.
  • “It is a LOVELY children’s book. All my teacher friends and those of you with children, find it on Amazon and buy it today!” D.H.
  • “I so enjoyed your book. I think about it a lot.” L.R.
  • “I just happen to know one of the readers for the Mark Twain Award for this year and she confirmed that your book is on the long list!” K.F.
  • I wish you’d been with me, because all of the librarians there have the list of 30 books to be narrowed to 20 for the Mark Twain list, so I was able to drop your name and brag, brag, brag.” V.G.

Poor is Just a Starting Place is available on amazon.com.



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