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Book Review: Our Journey West


Reading Level

Ages 9-12

Other Books in This Series

• On the Eve of Revolution
• Servant to Abigail Adams
• Yankee Blue Or Rebel Gray?
• Escape to Freedom
• Cowboys on the Western Trail
• When the Mission Padre Came to the Rancho
• We Came Through Ellis Island
• Hoping for Rain

This book is a wonderful historical fiction covering the years immediately following the Louisiana Purchase.

The author's device is the book's subtitle, "The Oregon Trail Adventures of Sarah Marshall." Young Sarah, 12, has many adventures on her way west, including fording rivers, riding a ferry, encountering new and exciting people, riding in canoes, and finding ways to have fun in a covered wagon for days on end.

And although the children have fun, the adults "see the elephant," meaning that they are having a difficult time pursuing their dream of migrating west to find a new home and new opportunities.

The highlights of the book are Sarah's diary entries and the letters that she and her family write to each other. These letters are filled with exciting details and wonderful insight into just what life was like for young people in those days. Too many times, history books talk about what adults did and don't focus on the hardships and fun times that those adults' children had. This book bridges that gap admirably.

Also included are a glossary of terms used in the book and a list of Internet links and book titles, to encourage further research on the topic. All are welcome additions to an already fine product.

This book is part of National Geographic's new I Am American series. Other books trace other parts of American history. For a good introduction to life on the Oregon Trail, this book fits the bill.

 

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