Sunday, January 31, 2010

Book review: Nothing Here But Stones by Nancy Oswald

Nothing Here But Stones by Nancy Oswald (Published by Henry Holt, September 2, 2004)

Eleven-year-old Emma, her widowed father, her two sisters, and her baby brother have left their home in a small village in Russia to immigrate to America. In Russia, their lives were dangerous because they were Jews, and they were not allowed to own land. Emma's father dreams of building a better life for his family and being able to own a farm. Emma's family is part of a group of Russian Jewish immigrants hoping to build an agricultural colony on the Colorado frontier. But when they arrive in Colorado, they find they have been deceived. The land is poor, and their houses are unfinished. Emma must work hard to help her family, and she is desperately lonely and longs for her mother, who died in Russia shortly before the family left for America. It is only when she saves the life of an injured horse that she finally finds a friend.

I loved this unusual historical novel. I have read many historical fiction books about Jewish immigrants, but none about Jewish pioneers who settled on the frontier. I really enjoyed reading about this forgotten piece of history and I highly recommend this book to young readers who enjoy immigrant or pioneer stories.

Note: This is an older review that I wrote when the book was first published, hence it is shorter and less detailed than my more recent reviews. I added it to my blog so I could link to it for my Macmillan books post.

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