Sunday, February 6, 2011

Historical fiction feature: life on the American frontier - part 2, middle grade books

I'm going to stop labeling these historical fiction booklists by month, because I seem to be too lazy to do one every month! Plus eventually I'll run out of topics anyway. This booklist will be include books set on the frontier, mostly in the old west but a few set further east during an earlier time period. This is part two of the list and includes the middle grade books. Over the years I have read and enjoyed most of these books, though there are a few I haven't read. This list is a lot longer than the list of young adult titles, it seems to be a more popular topic for middle grade novels, especially for the Dear America series! Also if you enjoy historical fiction and have any ideas for future lists you'd like to see, please comment, becuase I'm running out of ideas!

Dear America: Seeds of Hope by Kristiana Gregory: Susanna Fairchild and her family are on board a ship sailing from New York to the West, where they plan to start a new life in Oregon. But tragedy strikes when Susanna’s mother is lost to the sea. Hearing stories of great wealth, Susanna’s physician father decides he wants to join the hordes of men rushing to California to mine for gold.

Dear America: Across the Wide and Lonesome Prairie by Kristiana Gregory: In her diary, thirteen-year-old Hattie chronicles her family’s arduous 1847 journey from Missouri to Oregon on the Oregon Trail.

Dear America: The Great Railroad Race by Kristiana Gregory: As the daughter of a newspaper reporter, fourteen-year-old Libby keeps a diary account of the exciting events surrounding her during the building of the railroad in the West in 1868.

Dear America: My Face to the Wind by Jim Murphy: Following her father’s death from a disease that swept through her Nebraska town in 1881, teenaged Sarah Jane must find work to support herself and records in her diary her experiences as a young school teacher.

Dear America: West to a Land of Plenty by Jim Murphy: While traveling in 1883 with her Italian American family (including a meddlesome little sister) and other immigrant pioneers to a utopian community in Idaho, fourteen-year-old Teresa keeps a diary of her experiences along the way.

Dear America: A Line in the Sand by Sherry Garland: In the journal she receives for her twelfth birthday in 1835, Lucinda Lawrence describes the hardships her family and other residents of the "Texas colonies" endure when they decide to face the Mexicans in a fight for their freedom.

Dear America: All the Stars in the Sky by Megan McDonald: A girl’s diary records the year 1848 during which she, her brother, mother, and stepfather traveled the Santa Fe trail from Independence, Missouri, to Santa Fe.

Dear America: Valley of the Moon by Sherry Garland: The 1845-1846 diary of thirteen-year-old Maria, servant to the wealthy Spanish family which took her in when her Indian mother died.

Dear America: Land of the Buffalo Bones by Marion Dane Bauer: Fourteen-year-old Polly Rodgers keeps a diary of her 1873 journey from England to Minnesota as part of a colony of eighty people seeking religious freedom, and of their first year struggling to make a life there, led by her father, a Baptist minister.

My Name is America: The Journal of Wong Ming-Chung by Laurence Yep: In 1852, during the height of the California Gold Rush, ten-year-old Wong Ming-Chung makes the dangerous trip to America to join his uncle on his hunt for a fortune. The true treasure for Ming-Chung, though, is America itself. In the midst of the lawless, often hostile environment, he is able to forge an international community of friends.

My Name is America: The Journal of Jedediah Barstow by Ellen Levine: In his 1845 diary, thirteen-year-old orphan Jedediah describes his wagon train journey to Oregon, in which he confronts rivers and sandy plains, bears and rattlesnakes, and the challenges of living with his fellow travelers.

My Name is America: The Journal of Douglas Allen Deeds by Rodman Philbrick: Douglas Deeds, a fifteen-year-old orphan, keeps a journal of his travels by wagon train as a member of the ill-fated Donner Party, which became stranded in the Sierra Nevada mountains in the winter of 1846-47.

My Name is America: The Journal of Augustus Pelletier by Kathryn Lasky: A fictional journal kept by twelve-year-old Augustus Pelletier, the youngest member of Lewis and Clark’s Corps of Discovery.

My America: Meg’s Prairie Diary by Kate McMullan: The diaries of a young girl who moves to Kansas with her family in the years before the Civil War. Titles are As Far as I Can See, For This Land, and A Fine Start.

My America: Joshua’s Oregon Trail Diary by Patricia Hermes: The diaries of a young boy who travels west with his family to settle in Oregon. Titles are Westward to Home, A Perfect Place, and The Wild Year.

Remember the Alamo by Lisa Waller Rogers: A thirteen-year-old girl keeps a diary of events during the Texas Revolution, as her life changes from dances and picnics to flight from Santa Anna’s army after the fall of the Alamo.

Get Along, Little Dogies by Lisa Waller Rogers: Fictional diary of a fourteen-year-old girl accompanying a cattle drive along the Chisolm Trail in 1878.

Bluestem by Frances Arrington: With their father away and their mother traumatized by some unknown event, eleven-year-old Polly and her younger sister are left to take care of themselves and their prairie homestead.

Prairie Whispers by Frances Arrington: Only twelve-year-old Colleen knows that her baby sister died just after she was born and that Colleen put another baby in her place, until the baby’s father shows up and makes trouble for her and her family on the South Dakota prairie in the 1860s.

Charlotte’s Rose by A.E. Cannon: As a twelve-year-old Welsh immigrant carries a motherless baby along the Mormon Trail in 1856, she comes to love the baby as her own and fear the day the baby’s father will reclaim her.

Calling Me Home by Patricia Hermes: Twelve-year-old Abbie struggles to accept her father’s desire to make a new home for his family on the Nebraska prairies of the late 1850s.

Journey to Nowhere by Mary Jane Auch: In 1815, while traveling by covered wagon to settle in the wilderness of western New York, eleven-year-old Mem experiences a flood and separation from her family. (Sequels: Frozen Summer and The Road to Home)

Danger Along the Ohio by Patricia Willis: Lost in the Ohio River Valley in May 1793, twelve-year-old Clare and her two brothers struggle to survive in the wilderness and to avoid capture by the Shawnee Indians.

Orphan Journey Home by Liza Ketchum: In 1828, while traveling from Illinois to Kentucky, twelve-year-old Jesse and her two brothers and sister lose their parents to the milk sickness and must try to finish the dangerous journey by themselves.

Prairie River series by Kristiana Gregory: Nessa can’t remember a home other than the orphange, and now she has no choice but to leave. Her plan is to escape on the next stagecoach west--one headed toward Prairie River, Kansas, a town in the middle of nowhere ... (titles are A Journey of Faith, A Grateful Harvest, Winter Tidings, and Hope Springs Eternal)

Orphan Runaways by Kristiana Gregory: Harrowing adventures accompany twelve-year-old Danny and his younger brother Judd when they run away from a San Francisco orphanage and search for their uncle in a gold rush boom town.

Nothing Here But Stones by Nancy Oswald: In 1882, ten-year-old Emma and her family, along with other Russian Jewish immigrants, arrive in Cotopaxi, Colorado, where they face inhospitable conditions as they attempt to start an agricultural colony, and lonely Emma is comforted by the horse whose life she saved.

Addie Across the Prairie by Laurie Lawlor: Unhappy to leave her home and friends, Addie reluctantly accompanies her family to the Dakota Territory and slowly begins to adjust to life on the prairie. (Sequels: Addie’s Dakota Winter and Addie’s Long Summer, there is also a prequel, Addie's Forever Friend, about her life before moving west, and another sequel called George on His Own about her brother.)

Gold in the Hills by Laurie Lawlor: When they are left with relatives while their father goes prospecting for gold in the Colorado mountains, ten-year-old Hattie and her older brother depend on their friendship with a recluse who lives nearby to make their lives bearable.

Crossing the Colorado Rockies, 1864 by Laurie Lawlor: As the Civil War rages, the Hitchcocks head from Pennsylvania toward the Rocky Mountains, certain they'll find gold! Thirteen-year-old Eda keeps a journal as they travel through hostile country and take shelter in a broken-down cabin.

Adventure on the Wilderness Road, 1775 by Laurie Lawlor: In 1775, while traveling with her family from Virginia to Kentucky, and joined by another family along the way, eleven-year-old Elizabeth reads Gulliver’s Travels to the children and keeps a journal of their adventures, which include a runaway slave, encounters with Cherokees, and a near-fatal accident.

West Along the Wagon Road, 1852 by Kathleen Duey: Eleven-year-old Harriet "Duck" Scott, who isn’t nearly as ladylike as her older sisters, finds many opportunities for adventure during an 1852 wagon train trip from Illinois to Oregon Territory, as her family deals with the loss of loved ones, quicksand, and a horse thief.

Survival: Death Valley by Kathleen Duey and Karen A. Bale: A brother and sister struggle to survive the rigors of Death Valley after their wagon breaks an axle and they set out alone to find help for their stranded family and injured father.

Home on Stoney Creek by Wanda Luttrell: Eleven-year-old Sarah is upset when her family leaves their home in Virginia to start a new life in Kentucky at the same time her beloved older brother goes off to fight with the American rebels against the British. (first book in the Sarah's Journey series)

Black-eyed Susan by Jennifer Armstrong: Ten-year-old Susie and her father love living on the South Dakota prairie with its vast, uninterrupted views of land and sky, but Susie’s mother greatly misses their old life in Ohio.

Whistler in the Dark by Kathleen Ernst: In 1868, twelve-year-old Emma and her widowed mother move to a tiny mining town in Colorado Territory to start a newspaper, but someone is determined to scare them away.

Riddle of the Prairie Bride by Kathryn Reiss: In 1878, twelve-year-old Ida Kate and her widowed father welcome a mail-order bride and her baby to their Kansas homestead, but Ida Kate soon suspects that the bride is not the woman with whom Papa has corresponded.

Hoofbeats of Danger by Holly Hughes: In 1860, eleven-year-old Annie, who lives at the Red Buttes Pony Express station in the Nebraska Territory, asks Pony Express rider Billy Cody to help her find the person responsible for sabotaging her favorite pony, Magpie.

Riding the Pony Express by Deborah Kent: Fifteen-year-old Lexie follows the Pony Express Trail in search of her brother.

Blackwater Creek by Deborah Kent: Erika and her family moved from Hungary to California in search of gold, but in 1849, when they have trouble paying their rent, Erila goes to work tending horses for their landlord and forms a bond with one of her charges.

Margret and Flynn, 1875 by Kathleen Duey: The year is 1875, and twelve-year-old orphan Margret and her sister, Libby, are living with the kind Mrs. Fredriksen in her sod house in rural Littleton, Colorado. Margret would be happy to stay forever, but she knows that Libby, with her basic distrust of anyone other than Margret, will have them moving soon enough. Then a tornado sweeps through, bringing with it an injured horse.

Katie and the Mustang series by Kathleen Duey: Adventures of a young girl on the Oregon Trail and her bond with her horse, a mustang.

Anisett Lundberg by Kathleen Duey: The small piece of gold which Anisett carries in her pocket causes grave danger for her family living in the rough world of the California gold camps.

Willow Chase by Kathleen Duey: In 1847, when her mother’s remarriage sends them on a difficult journey to California, Willow is swept overboard fording the South Platte River and must survive and search for her family.

Ellen Elizabeth Hawkins by Kathleen Duey: In Texas in 1886, Ellen finds her desire to be a cattle rancher discouraged by family members who do not think it a proper choice for a girl, but she proves her worth when drought threatens the ranch.

Bound for Oregon by Jean Van Leeuwen: A fictionalized account of the journey made by nine-year-old Mary Ellen Todd and her family from their home in Arkansas westward over the Oregon Trail in 1852.

A Year Without Rain by D. Anne Love: Her mother’s death and a year-long drought has made life difficult for twelve-year-old Rachel and her family on their farm in the Dakotas, but when she learns that her father plans to get married again, it is almost more than Rachel can bear.

I Remember the Alamo by D. Anne Love: Twelve-year-old Jessie resents her father’s decision to move his family to San Antonio where they are caught up in the revolution of 1835-1836 including the siege of the Alamo.

Ransom’s Mark by Wendy Lawton: When thirteen-year-old Olive Oatman’s wagon train is raided by outlaw Indians, she and her sister are captured, only to be ransomed later by a band of Mohaves.

The Indian Paintbrush by Wendy Lawton: Novel about the childhood of Eliza Spalding Warren, the first white baby born in the Pacific Northwest.

The Ballad of Lucy Whipple by Karen Cushman: In 1849, twelve-year-old California Morning Whipple, who renames herself Lucy, is distraught when her mother moves the family from Massachusetts to a rough California mining town.

Letters from the Corrugated Castle by Joan Blos: A series of letters and newspaper articles reveals life in California in the 1850s, especially for thirteen-year-old Eldora, who was raised in Massachusetts as an orphan only to meet her influential mother in San Francisco, and Luke, who hopes to find a fortune in gold.

Dear Levi by Elvira Woodruff: Twelve-year-old Austin Ives writes letters to his younger brother describing his three-thousand-mile journey from their home in Pennsylvania to Oregon in 1851.

Julie Meyer by Dorothy and Thomas Hooper: Julie and her family join a wagon train traveling from Indiana to Oregon during the 1800s, enduring many challenges while on the difficult five-month journey.

I’m Sorry, Almira Ann by Jane Kurtz: Eight-year-old Sarah’s high spirits help make her family’s long journey from Missouri to Oregon more bearable, though they do cause both her and her best friend Almira Ann some problems.

Petticoat Party series by Kathleen Karr: Adventures of a girl on an all-female wagon train traveling to Oregon. Titles are Go West, Young Women; Phoebe’s Folly; Oregon, Sweet Oregon; and Gold Rush Phoebe.

In Care of Cassie Tucker by Ivy Ruckman: When her teenage cousin moves in with her family on their Nebraska farm in 1899, eleven-year-old Cassie learns a lot, including the meaning of "heathen" and "bigot."

Alice Rose and Sam by Kathryn Lasky: Alice Rose, an irrepressible twelve-year-old, shares adventures with Mark Twain, an outlandish reporter on her father’s newspaper in Virginia City, Nevada, during the 1860s.

The Cabin Faced West by Jean Fritz: Ten-year-old Ann overcomes loneliness and learns to appreciate the importance of her role in settling the wilderness of western Pennsylvania

A Paradise Called Texas by Janice Jordan Shefelman: Ten-year-old Ann overcomes loneliness and learns to appreciate the importance of her role in settling the wilderness of western Pennsylvania

My Brother, Abe by Harry Mazer: Forced off their land in Kentucky in 1816, nine-year-old Sarah Lincoln, known as Sally, and her family, including younger brother Abe, move to the Indiana frontier.

Anna’s Blizzard by Alison Hart: Having never excelled at schoolwork, twelve-year-old Anna discovers that she may know a few things about survival when the 1888 Children’s Blizzard traps her and her classmates in their Nebraska schoolhouse.

Silver Dollar Girl by Katherine Ayres: In 1885, unhappy living with her aunt and uncle in Pittsburgh, Valentine Harper disguises herself as a boy and runs away to Colorado determined to find her father who has gone there in search of gold.

The Journey Home by Isabelle Holland: Two orphan sisters in the late 1800s leave New York on the orphan train to seek a new home in the West. (Sequel: The Promised Land)

1 comment:

La Coccinelle said...

Have you read Rodzina by Karen Cushman (same author as The Ballad of Lucy Whipple)? It's sort of a frontier-ish story. I quite enjoyed it when I read it.

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