My Way West

My Way West

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Real Kids Traveling the Oregon and California Trails

By Elizabeth Goss

Between 1841 and 1884, more than 300,000 people-40,000 of whom were children-moved over land across North America in search for a new start and better life. The journey presented challenges at every turn, from the initial preparations to the months-long trip, and even after when the travelers reached their final destinations. Young emigrants played large roles throughout it all, with responsibilities ranging from hunting animals to gathering buffalo dung, or even caring for babies.

Relying on real letters and memoirs of actual children on the trail, My Way West offers a fresh perspective so that readers, too, can smell the campfire smoke and see the dust kicked up by the wagon wheels. Learn about seven-year-old Benjamin Bonney from Illinois who was introduced to a new type of bread by Native Americans he met on the trail; how thirteen-year-old Heber McBride and his family from England were able to keep up with their traveling group; what ten-year-old Thocmetony of the Northern Paiute in Nevada thought of the travelers passing by her home; what the difficulties twelve-year-old Owen Bush met when his family, including his free African American father, finally reached Oregon; and more.

Including a bibliography and gorgeously illustrated in vibrant, masterful papercut art, this book presents true stories plus quotes so that young readers can share the emigrant kids’ triumphs and tragedies as they make their journey west.

Hardcover