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KEY: jP = Picture Books; jZ = 1st and 2nd Grade Readers; jE = 3rd and 4th Grade Readers; J = 5th Grade and Up

1840's

updated 11/06


Picture Books

Helldorfer, M.C. HOG MUSIC
Travelers along the National Road help make sure that the birthday gift that Lucy's great aunt has sent makes it all the way from Maryland to her family's farm in Illinois. Circa 1840's.
2000 unpaged

Hopkinson, Deborah APPLES TO OREGON
Being the (slightly) True Narrative of How a Brave Pioneer Father Brought Apples, Peaches, Pears, Plums, Grapes, and Cherries (AND CHILDREN) Across the Plains

1847. In this very tall tale, Papa builds special wagons to transport his beloved fruit trees along the Oregon Trail when the family relocates. Enduring river crossings, deserts, mountains, and more, the entire crop reaches Oregon in fine shape.
2004 unpaged


3rd - 4th Grade

Hoobler, Dorothy
TREASURE IN THE STREAM: THE STORY OF A GOLD RUSH GIRL

The lives of ten-year-old Amy and the members of her farming family are changed forever when gold is discovered on Mr. Sutter's land. 1840's.
1991 53 p.

Kudinski, Kathleen
FACING WEST: A STORY OF THE OREGON TRAIL

Once Upon series
1845 Missouri to Oregon As his family sets out from Missouri to Oregon, young Ben wonders whether he will have more trouble with the dangers of the journey or his debilitating asthma.
1994 58 p.

Kudinski, Kathleen
LONE STAR
A STORY OF THE TEXAS RANGERS

In 1847, 11-year-old Clay dreams of becoming a Texas Ranger so that he can exact revenge upon the Comanche Indians who attacked his family, until personal experience acquaints him with the brutal reality of Ranger activities.
1994 52 p.

Lees, Stewart RUNAWAY JACK
The time is the 1840s, and Jack, a young black slave, is sold at auction. Separated from Molly, his beloved younger sister, he is sent to Mississippi and forced to work in the cotton fields for a harsh and demanding master.
2004 28 p.

Van Nutt, Julia A COBTOWN CHRISTMAS
In 1845, Cobtown's Christmas is affected by the failure of the organ at the party being given to feed the residents' pets and by the arrival of a mysterious blind man who does not speak English.
1998 unpaged

Van Nutt, Julia SKYROCKETS AND SNICKERDOODLES
A Cobtown Story from the diaries of Lucky Hart
The Fourth of July is fast approaching Cobtown. When a mouse eats the Cobtown markings, leaving a hole in a historic map, surveyors arrive to rename the town Carbuncle. Luckily, a holiday game of baseball uncovers the town marker and saves the day.
2001 unpaged

Walvoord, Linda ROSETTA, ROSETTA, SIT BY ME!
In 1848, Rosetta, the nine-year-old daughter of abolitionist Frederick Douglass, becomes the only Black student at Miss Tracy's Female Seminary in Rochester, New York, and while the students are pleased she is there, the faculty is not. Includes facts about Frederick and Rosetta's lives.
2004 96 p.

Whelan, Gloria NIGHT OF THE FULL MOON
When she sneaks away to visit her friend, a young girl living on the Michigan frontier is caught up in the forced evacuation of a group of Potawatomi Indians from their tribal lands in the 1840's.
1993 62 p.

Whelan, Gloria SHADOW OF THE WOLF
In 1841, 13-year-old Libby and her family begin a new life on the shores of Lake Michigan, where her father works as a surveyor for the Ottawa Indians and Libby is reunited with her Indian friend Fawn.
1997 79 p.

White, Tekla THE FLIGHT OF THE UNION
Relates the story of Homan Walsh, a 15-year-old boy who in 1847 successfully flew a kite over the Niagara River from Canada to the United States, enabling work to begin on a suspension bridge near Niagara Falls.
1998 47 p.

Woodruff, Elvira SMALL BEAUTIES
Darcy Heart O'Hara, a young Irish girl who neglects her chores to observe the beauties of nature and everyday life, shares "family memories" with her homesick parents and siblings after the family emigrates to America in the 1840s.
2006 unpaged


5th Grade and Up

Curry, Jane Louise WHAT THE DICKENS!
In 1842, 11-year-old twins, whose father runs a boat on the Juniata Canal in Pennsylvania, learn of a Harrisburg bookseller's plan to steal Charles Dicken's newly finished novel while Dickens himself is touring the U.S.
1991 153 p.

DeFelice, Cynthia BRINGING EZRA BACK
The Sequel to WEASEL
1840. In the mid-1800s, twelve-year-old Nathan journeys from his farm on the Ohio frontier to Western Pennsylvania to rescue a friend held captive by the owners of a freak show.
2006 147 p.

Denenberg, Barry SO FAR FROM HOME
The diary account of Mary Driscoll, and Irish mill girl

In the diary account of her journey from Ireland in 1847 and of her work in a mill in Lowell, Massachusetts, 14-year-old Mary reveals a great longing for her family.
1997 140 p.

Derby, Pat AWAY TO THE GOLDFIELDS!
1848. Stubborn Molly Malarky embarks on a life-altering adventure as she and her brother flee their New Hampshire farm on the trail of their widower father, who abandoned them during the first months of the California gold rush.
2004 248 p.

Erdrich, Louise THE BIRCHBARK HOUSE
Omakayas, a 7-year-old Native American girl of the Ojibwa tribe, lives through the joys of summer and the perils of winter on an island in Lake Superior in 1847.
1999 239 p.

Fleischman, Sid BY THE GREAT HORN SPOON
1849 California Gold Rush. As the side-wheeler Lady Wilma put out from Boston for San Francisco, two stowaways huddled in potato barrels in the hold. Jack Flagg, an orphan bound for California to regain a fortune for his aunt, and Praisworthy, the family’s loyal butler.
1963 193 p.

Fox, Paula THE SLAVE DANCER
1840. New Orleans, a slave ship en route to Africa and back, and the Mississippi coast. 13-year-old Jessie Bollier, kidnapped from his New Orleans home to provide music while slaves on a slave ship exercise, learns of human cruelty and of friendship and trust.
1973 176 p.

Garland, Sherry Valley of the Moon : the diary of María Rosalia de Milagros : Sonoma Valley, Alta California, 1846
The 1845-1846 diary of thirteen-year-old Maria, servant to the wealthy Spanish family which took her in when her Indian mother died. Includes a historical note about the settlement and early history of California.
2001 218 p.

Gregory, Kristiana ACROSS THE WIDE AND LONESOME PRAIRIE: THE OREGON TRAIL DIARY OF HATTIE CAMPBELL, 1847
Dear America series
In her diary, 13-year-old Hattie chronicles her family's arduous 1847 journey from Missouri to Oregon on the Oregon Trail.
1997 149 p.

Gregory, Kristiana SEEDS OF HOPE: THE GOLD RUSH DIARY OF SUSANNA FAIRCHILD, CALIFORNIA TERRITORY, 1849
Dear America series A diary account of 14-year-old Susanna Fairchild's life in 1849, when her father succumbs to gold fever on the way to establish his medical practice in Oregon after losing his wife and money on their steamship journey from New York.
2001 158 p.

Hermes, Patricia WESTWARD TO HOMEJOSHUA'S DIARY. The Oregon Trail, 1848
My America series

In 1848, 9-year-old Juoshua Martin McCullough writes a journal of his family's journal from Missouri to Oregon in a covered wagon.
2001 99 p.

Johnston, Norma LOTTA’S PROGRESS
In 1848 when Lotta's family immigrates to Boston from Germany, they face all sorts of difficulties until they are befriended by the Alcott family who have set themselves up as missionaries to the poor.
1997 149 p.

Kent, Deborah BLACKWATER CREEK
Saddles, Stars, & Strips series
Erika Nagys and her family have come to California from Hungary in searchof gold. When they cannot pay the rent, Erika must go and work for their nasty landlord, the rancher Hart Latham. Erika forms a special bond with an injured filly named Arany, which she nurses back to health. When Arany escapes from the corral, Erika finds the horse-and gold-in Blackwater Creek. But will newfound riches solve her family"s problems?
2005 152 p.

Klass, Sheila LITTLE WOMEN NEXT DOOR
Recounts the efforts of Louisa May Alcott's family to establish a utopian community known as Fruitlands in Massachusetts in 1843, as seen through the eyes of the shy 11-year-old girl next door.
2000 188 p.

Laurgaard, Rachel PATTY REED'S DOLL
The Story of the Donner Party

An account of the numerous difficulties, hair-breadth escapes, moritfications and privations which Patty Reed and her family experienced on their 10-month journey from Springfield, Illinois to California, the Land of Promise. 1846.
1984 143 p.

Lutz, Norma MEG FOLLOWS A DREAM
1844. Twelve-year-old Meg Buehler loves to draw, but her parents and younger brother don't understand why she enjoys it so much.
2004 142 p.

Murphy, Jim DESPERATE JOURNEY
In the mid-1800s, with both her father and her uncle in jail on an assault charge, Maggie, her brother, and her ailing mother rush their barge along the Erie Canal to deliver their heavy cargo or lose everything.
2006 268 p.

Paulsen, Gary MR. TUCKET
In 1848, while on a wagon train headed for Oregon, 14-year-old Francis Tucket is kidnapped by Pawnee Indians and then falls in with a one-armed trapper who teaches him how to live in the wild.
1994 166 p.

Paulsen, Gary TUCKET'S GOLD
15-year-old Francis and the two children he has adopted travel across the Old West, evade Comancheros, discover a treasure, and wind up rich beyond their wildest dreams. Book IV in series.
1999 97 p.

Paulsen, Gary TUCKET’S RIDE
1848. When 15-year-old Francis and two younger children lose their way in the wilderness of the Southwest, they face capture during the Mexican War.
1997 86 p.

Schneider, Mical ANNIE QUINN IN AMERICAN
To escape the Irish potato famine of the 1840s, 12-year-old Annie and her brother emigrate to New York City where they join their older sister as servants, earning money to bring their family to America, where they discover that borht food and hardship abound.
2001 246 p.

Wilkes, Maria LITTLE HOUSE IN BROOKFIELD
Young Caroline Quiner, who would grow up to become Laura Ingalls Wilder's mother and her family survive their first year without father in the frontier town of Brookfield, Wisconsin. 1845.
1996 298 p.