Grateful American Kids

Empty Places

by Kathy Cannon Wiechman

Age Range: 9-12 years

It is 1932, in Harlan County, Kentucky. Times are tough in the mining community, especially for thirteen-year-old Adabel Cutler’s family.

As they fight to survive, Adabel has to figure out her own identity while dealing with her volatile father, her dutiful sister, her defiant brother, and her mother’s disappearance, which she can’t seem to remember.

This is a beautifully written and deeply felt coming-of-age novel by the acclaimed author of Like a River.

Click here to learn more about the book. 

About the Author

I am the third of seven siblings born to a postal worker and a teacher. Growing up in a large family meant I always had someone around to play with (or fight with sometimes). My three brothers and three sisters are still some of my best friends. Postal worker Dad was a do-it-yourself guy, who built and repaired things around our house.

Teacher Mom was also a writer and poet. She was my first writing teacher. I used to play with her flash cards (cards with words for her students to identify), laying them out on the floor into sentences. As a writer I still get to “play with words.” Jim Wiechman has been my husband for “dang near forever.” He is a do-it-yourself guy like my dad.

Jim and I have four children together. Those children are grown now, and we are friends as well as family. We often still take family vacations together, but those vacations are usually filled with unexpected happenings. We like to say, “We don’t take vacations; we go on adventures.”

I taught Creative Writing and Beginner French for several years. I also tutored Language Arts. But I am still a student, attending lots of writers’ workshops. My favorite workshops are offered by the Highlights Foundation. One of the most important things I learned is that there’s always more to learn. And that’s fun for me.

A group of writers I met at one of the Highlights Foundation workshops began a group blog called Swagger Writers. Learn more here:

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