Dutton Children's Books

hearts of stone, civil war stories

Children's Fiction Award Winner
— Society of Midland Authors

"The prose is lively, the action dramatic. Historical details never overwhelm the story, and readers will be hooked from the start."
Kirkus Reviews

"Lessons of endurance, survival, and fierce family love linger long after the story..."
Children's Literature

The multiple award-winning novel is the tenth of Kathleen's twenty-five books. It is written for readers age 11 to adult who enjoy American Civil War historical fictionwithout sex, gore, or explicit violence.

Story Description

With her father gone to join the Yankee troops and her best friend, Ben, sympathizing with the Confederates, fifteen year-old Hannah finds her world torn apart by the Civil War. Then her mother suddenly dies.

Now responsible for holding the young family together, Hannah makes the difficult decision to leave her beloved Cumberland Mountain with her brother and sisters and set out on the long and dangerous journey to Nashville, in search of their only living relative.

Their quest to reclaim their family leads them into the very heart of the American Civil War, and could cost them their lives.

Originally released as a 248-page hardcover (but currently out of print), it is now available as an electronic book that can be read on the iPad, Kobo, Nook, Sony, and Kindle.

What Others Are Saying


Image of Council for Wisconsin Writers Award logo.  Tofte/Wright Children's Literature Award
Council for Wisconsin Writers 2006

The Council is a community of writers, poets and educators dedicated to recognizing oustanding work by Wisconsin authors.  more>> 

Image of the Historical Novel Society Review logo. Editor's Choice
Historical Novel Review
Review by Eileen Charbonneau

"Like an old-time ballad, Hearts of Stone transports readers into a lyrical, essential world brimming with life and spirit. It succeeds in that rarest of objectives – to both wrench and warm the heart. Highly recommended."  more>>
Image of the Christian Library Journal logo. Christian Library Journal
Review by Sherri Myers

"Hearts of Stone is a fantastic coming of age novel for young readers. Historically accurate and completely engaging, this dramatic book has won numerous awards. Kathleen Ernst used her knowledge and love of the Civil War era to write this remarkable novel, taking ten years to complete the task... Prejudice, hatred, forgiveness, and strong love for family combine to make Hearts of Stone a novel not soon forgotten."  more>>

About the Author

Bestselling author Kathleen Ernst writes award-winning mysteries and historical fiction for adults and young readers. Her work has earned numerous honors, including multiple Edgar and Agatha mystery award nominations, and an Emmy for children's educational programming.

To date, readers have purchased over one million printed, electronic, and audio copies of Kathleen's twenty-six published books. more>>

Related Blog Posts

Enjoy the author's insights about the story, characters, and settings.

Hearts Of Stone - The Story Behind The Story

Partial image of the book cover of Hearts of Stone by author Kathleen Ernst. I’m often asked where my interest in the American Civil War comes from. Growing up in Maryland, I had lots of opportunities to visit Civil War battlefields. Since Maryland was a border state... more>>

Reenacting For Writers

hearts of stone, civil war stories

My husband, daughter Meg, and I reached Spring Hill, TN, in a driving rain. The temperature was dropping. The parking lot—a field intended to hold the vehicles of 10,000 or so Civil War reenactors and their gear—was a sea of mud... more>>

Available From

Buy from Indiebound Books HARDCOVER
Buy from Barnes & Noble NOOK eBOOK
Buy from Amazon.com KINDLE eBOOK
Image of the World Library Catalogue (WorldCat) logo. Find this book at
libraries near you!

Author's Note

I was involved in Civil War reenacting for many years. The inspiration for this book came from a wonderful event held at Spring Hill, Tennessee. There I participated with a group of reenactors who recreated a refugee camp. Our goal was to help visitors think about the many Southern people who became homeless during the terrible war years.

People often ask me to name my favorite among the books I've written. That's hard! But I must admit, Hearts of Stone has a special place in my heart—and based on letters and email I've received, it resonates with readers and reviewers too. 

Book Goodies

Partial image of the book cover of Hearts Of Stone written by Kathleen Ernst PREVIEW
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books, educator TEACHER'S GUIDE
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Railroad Yards - Nashville Tennessee - 1864

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Newly Arrived Union Refugees


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