GOLD FEVER!

TALES FROM THE CALIFORNIA GOLD RUSH

What lure could cause thousands of people to quit their jobs, leave their families, sleep in tents, move to the wilderness, and eat wormy bread? This is a detailed, exciting account of how the discovery of gold in the streams of California in 1848 created an international frenzy to head to the American West. Schanzer (How We Crossed the West, 1997) uses direct quotes from journals, letters, and accounts written by the forty-niners themselves, giving her book an immediacy and drama others on the subject lack. She chronicles the influx of people lured by tales of wealth as they traveled across the US. The quotations create a colorful picture of the pan-handling life: what miners ate and wore, how they lived, played, struggled to survive, and how many of the people who truly profited from the gold rush were those who sold goods to the miners. Schanzer’s illustrations are dynamic, and as well-researched as the text. (map) (Nonfiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: April 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-7922-7303-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: National Geographic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1999

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WILLIAM PENN

FOUNDER OF PENNSYLVANIA

In his absorbing picture-book biography aimed at a slightly older audience, Kroll (Robert Fulton, 1999, etc.) immediately informs readers that Penn was a rebel. “Born to a life of privilege, William Penn chose dissent instead,” ignoring the status quo in favor of following his convictions, in an era of great religious and political tumult. Drawn by the belief that every individual could communicate directly with God, Penn became a Quaker; his desire for religious freedom and tolerance prompted him and his followers to travel to the land that would become Pennsylvania. Arrested over and over again for espousing his beliefs and betrayed by his business manager, Penn struggled all his life because of his convictions. The text is highly event-oriented and packed with information; the portrayal of Penn is somewhat impersonal, but readers will learn of and be impressed by his accomplishments. Himler’s watercolors accurately conjure time and place, and underscore more somber elements of the story. (chronology) (Picture book/biography. 9-12)

Pub Date: March 15, 2000

ISBN: 0-8234-1439-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2000

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TO BIGOTRY NO SANCTION

THE STORY OF THE OLDEST SYNAGOGUE IN AMERICA

The Touro Synagogue of Newport, Rhode Island, is the oldest Jewish house of worship in the US; Fisher traces its history and details the design and construction of the beautiful two-story Georgian-style building, describing “the quietness of the building’s exterior, its gentleness” which “belied the tormented history of its congregants, resolute in their beliefs.” Constructed from 1759—1763, the synagogue was the focus of President George Washington’s comments in 1790 that “the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens, in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.” This well-documented history will remind readers that the US was settled by people of many faiths who were united in their “search for freedom and peace of mind.” (photos and reproductions, bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Feb. 15, 1999

ISBN: 0-8234-1401-9

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1999

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