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THE JOURNAL OF JOSHUA LOPER by Walter Dean Myers

THE JOURNAL OF JOSHUA LOPER

A Black Cowboy, The Chisolm Trail, 1871

By Walter Dean Myers

Pub Date: April 1st, 1999
ISBN: 0-590-02691-7
Publisher: Scholastic

The teenage son of a former slave joins a cattle drive from Texas to Abilene, Kansas, in an entry in the My Name is America series. Joshua is a competent, level-headed boy who works hard, loves his mother, and keeps God in his heart. Despite the bigotry of the trail boss, the Captain, Joshua is determined to prove himself on his first drive. Through encounters with rustlers and others, stampedes, crew frictions, and the multitude of difficulties and challenges inherent in the job, Joshua holds his own, proves his worth, and earns some respect from the Captain. Myers tells a compelling story in which the source of the drama is the drive itself, and all the hardship of life on the trail. Scene after scene is vividly told, including a downright gory, fatal trampling of one of the cowpunchers during a stampede. Readers gain a real feeling for the period and setting, and a strong sense of what a cattle drive entailed. The hallmarks of Myers’s work—thorough research and solid writing—are evident here. (Fiction. 8-14)