Amidst the Gold Dust: Women Who Forged the West

Amidst the Gold Dust: Women Who Forged the West

by Julie Danneberg

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
Those early pioneer women had their share of adventure. Five women are introduced to the reader and each of their tales is unique. Isabella Bird, Clara Brown and Margaret Brown found their special place in Colorado history;Nellie Cashman in Arizona and Sara Winnemucca in Nevada. Each woman is described by people who knew her and also by comments made about herself. There are photos of historical items they might have used in their everyday lives. As each cameo is presented, the reader gets a sense of the history of that time period. A bibliography for each of these women allows readers to find more materials, if they are interested. The women all have very interesting stories, full of the adventure of the early West. It is quite impressive to see how much these five women contributed to their communities and the world in general. 2001, Fulcrum Resources, $12.95. Ages 8 to 12. Reviewer:Barbara Youngblood
In this collection of five biographies of women who were pioneers during the Western Expansion, the author provides an account that has for the most part been overlooked in the history books. Each woman was unique in her contribution to this fascinating time in our history. Their backgrounds ranged from a "refined English woman" to a recently freed slave and a Native American. All had individual reasons for venturing into this untamed area of our country. The author has given a clear, concise accounting of each of their contributions and has used different styles in telling their stories. Many factual anecdotes authenticate their adventures, making them come to life for the reader. Photographs from historical collections are spread throughout and again add to the understanding. At the end of each biography is a bibliography that should be useful if further research is desired. This would be a good book to add to a study of Western Expansion. It is well documented and a good read for upper elementary and middle school students. KLIATT Codes: J—Recommended for junior high school students. 2001, Fulcrum, 90p. illus. bibliog. index. 23cm., $12.95. Ages 13 to 15. Reviewer: Deane A. Beverly; Pawcatuck, CT , July 2001 (Vol. 35, No. 4)
School Library Journal
Gr 5 Up-This collection of biographies combines historical data and fictional narrative. (The author calls her work "creative nonfiction.") In diary format, the main characters and people who knew them tell their stories. Isabella Bird, a refined Englishwoman, explored the Rocky Mountains on horseback in the 1870s. Clara Brown, a freed slave, traveled to Kansas in 1859 and later to Colorado where she helped other ex-slaves establish new lives. Margaret Brown, known as the "unsinkable Molly Brown," grew up in Hannibal, MO, traveled to the mining districts of Colorado, and married a miner who struck it rich. Nellie Cashman, an Irish immigrant, moved with her sister to Boston and then to San Francisco. Later, she worked as a miner and owned a restaurant in Tombstone, AZ. Sarah Winnemucca, a Northern Paiute, experienced discrimination, saw her people mistreated by Anglos, and served as a translator between the two groups. All the figures have much in common: determination, perseverance, and hard work. It is easy to forget that segments of the book are fictional narrative, so careful, discerning reading is crucial. Black-and-white photographs and reproductions of historical artifacts in soft gray tones appear throughout.-Patricia Ann Owens, Wabash Valley College, Mt. Carmel, IL Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Written for young readers grades 3 - 7, Julie Danneberg's Amidst The Gold Dust: Women Who Forged The West is a lively and very highly recommended collection of individual biographies about five women (Sara Winnemucca, Isabella Bird, Margaret "Molly" Brown, Nellie Cashman, and Clara Brown) who, although very different in background and personality, lived lives that teach valuable lessons about hardships, courage, and perseverance. Through a unique blend of fictional first- and third-person narratives, young readers get to know these women through their actions and thoughts, as well as the observations and opinions of contemporaries who knew them personally. Numerous sidebars link the fictional narrative to documented historical events. A bibliography of resources enables further research on each of the five women.

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Product Details

Fulcrum Publishing
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
7.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.30(d)
Age Range:
10 - 14 Years

Meet the Author

Julie Danneberg, a third-generation Colorado native, grew up listening to stories about her grandmother, a miner's daughter, and her great-grandmother, an Irish immigrant turned miner's wife. Love of these women and their stories started her lifelong admiration of all courageous women of the West. Danneberg lives in Denver with her husband and their two children.

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