A Mission for the People: The Story of la Purisima

Overview

When Spanish missionaries arrived on the beautiful shores of what is now the Santa Barbara region of California, they built a mission that came to be called La Purisima (another name for the Virgin Mary). Its construction changed the lives of the native Chumash people forever and shaped the history of all the peoples of the Southwest.

Award-winning author and illustrator Mary Ann Fraser tells the exciting story of the Chumash and all those who came to La Purisima—Spanish ...

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Overview

When Spanish missionaries arrived on the beautiful shores of what is now the Santa Barbara region of California, they built a mission that came to be called La Purisima (another name for the Virgin Mary). Its construction changed the lives of the native Chumash people forever and shaped the history of all the peoples of the Southwest.

Award-winning author and illustrator Mary Ann Fraser tells the exciting story of the Chumash and all those who came to La Purisima—Spanish missonaries and soldiers, Mexican colonists, Russian and British traders who set up ports nearby, and Anglos hoping to strike it rich in the 1840s gold rush. Filled with fascinating details and animated by the sweep of centuries of dramatic events, this tale of one mission opens a window into the history of California and the American West.

The story of a California mission.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Susan Hepler
The story of this California mission near Santa Barbara begins with the original Chumash settlers centuries before the arrival of the Spanish and Father Junipero Serra. Each left-hand page of text is bordered by small detail drawings and faces a full-page painting on the right. Pictures help clarify utensils, architectural details, clothing, artifacts, and other aspects of mission life. A time line summarizes the story interwoven with a barebones United States historical context at the book's conclusion. The history of the mission mirrors the natural and political history of the region, with earthquakes and mudslides, the arrival of the Spanish, the Mexican conflicts, the arrival of the Angelos, and the gradual decay and rebuilding of the mission. A foreword indicates the challenges in reconstructing Native American points of view because they are basically unrecorded in primary source materials. But the text tries to present all sides of the colonization of the Chumash, the settling of this part of early California, and the various struggles fought there. Restored by the CCC in the l930s, the mission is now a state historical monument.
School Library Journal
Gr 2-5In clear, informative prose, Fraser relates the story of this mission in Central California from the point of view of the Chumash Indians. After a brief discussion of the land and the way of life of the Chumash before the incursions of the conquistadors, the author traces the growth and development of the missions as multicultural meeting places and parallels the experiences of the indigenous people. Double-page spreads present chronologically arranged information. Full-page watercolor illustrations facing each page of text are a bit lackluster, but do extend the text well. There are also boxed sections showing small paintings of artifacts that relate to the topics under discussion. There is no table of contents or index. Though more interestingly written than June Behrens's Missions of the Central Coast (Lerner, 1996), this title could be extended by use with that book, as Behrens makes excellent use of photographs and maps. Together, the books present a good introduction to the California mission system.Ann Welton, Terminal Park Elementary School, Auburn, WA
Kirkus Reviews
Fraser (One Giant Leap, 1993, etc.), in her specific portrait of one mission in southern California, gives a broad historical perspective of the settlement and development of the state. Ambitiously, she covers the progress of the forgotten Chumash, the indigenous people of the land, from the 1500s to their role in the building and foundation of the mission—La Purisima—to its eventual abandonment and restoration as a historical monument. Fraser includes the influence of the Spanish, Mexicans, and Anglos through their respective invasions, and through the facts, introduces larger themes that will spark discussions about civilization and humanity. While covering a lot of information, Fraser's text is quite readable, embedded in a layout that allows for detailed illustrated sidebars about the people and their way of life. The scenes evoke the California terrain and climate; the book has region-specific uses, but will appeal to readers in any part of the country. (maps, diagrams, chronology, further reading) (Picture book/nonfiction. 6-10)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780805050509
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
  • Publication date: 4/15/1998
  • Edition description: REV
  • Pages: 40
  • Age range: 8 - 10 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.32 (w) x 8.36 (h) x 0.36 (d)

Meet the Author

Mary Ann Fraser is the author and illustrator of many award-winning books on western history, including In Search of the Grand Canyon: Down the Colorado with John Wesley Powell and Ten Mile Day: The Building of the Transcontinental Railroad. She lives in Simi Valley, California.

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