Children of the Gold Rush

Children of the Gold Rush

by Claire Rudolf Murphy, Jane G. Haigh
     
 

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Children of the gold Rush describes, in individual stories, vintage photographs, and historic memorabilia, what life was like for these indomitable kids a century ago. Gold rushes in Alask and the Yukon Territory attracted thousands of people from all over the world hoping to strike it rich. For thirty years they streamed into new towns like Dawson, Fairbanks, and…  See more details below

Overview

Children of the gold Rush describes, in individual stories, vintage photographs, and historic memorabilia, what life was like for these indomitable kids a century ago. Gold rushes in Alask and the Yukon Territory attracted thousands of people from all over the world hoping to strike it rich. For thirty years they streamed into new towns like Dawson, Fairbanks, and Nome, and hundreds of thrown-together mining camps. In the midst of all this activity lived children, too.

In a land where freezing, dark winters, and mosquito-filled summers challenged even the hardiest pioneers, the children, like their parents, had to be tough and quick to adapt to harsh conditions. Living in boomtowns and rugged encampments on the gold creeks, they learned to eat different foods such as caribou and moose, dress in fur clothing to survive the cold, and endure family separations.

Some left after only a few years, while others stayed and eventually raised their own children in an Alaska that had changed dramatically since the gold rush days. None would ever forget their childhood adventures in the Far North.

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 6-9-The allure of gold drew thousands west to California in the 1850s, yet, equally as significant, although perhaps less popularized, the call of gold also pulled families north to Alaska. This unique book explores the Yukon Gold Rush of 1879-1898 from the perspective of native and immigrant children who were forced to live with divorce, death, separation, and constant change brought on by their parents' quests to strike it rich. The book introduces a diverse group of youngsters: Crystal and Monte Snow, singing on stage for miners at the ages of five and three; Anto and Nettie, twins whose mother was the daughter of an Athabascan Indian chief, and father a former circus acrobat; and Klondy Nelson, who was abandoned by her gold-crazed father and became a success as a musician. The children's reminiscences range from fond memories of reindeer herders, ice fishing, and gold-nugget necklaces, to worms in oatmeal, poverty, loneliness-and love. All of the youngsters are marked by their resiliency and their capacity for happiness in an unfamiliar and often harsh environment. Each profile is augmented with diary excerpts, advertisements of the day, archival photographs, maps, and illustrations. The effect is a colorful, albumlike melange that reflects the diversity of the children's lives. The photographs are especially effective, supplementing the short text with factual information on aspects of the social conditions of the day. A positive, satisfying immersion into a little-known subject.-Jennifer A. Fakolt, Denver Public Library Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
This excellent, well-researched book offers a rare peek into a fascinating culture, history, and people, in portraits of eight intrepid children and their families during the Alaskan/Yukon Territory gold rush. Murphy and Haigh give voices to children who tell of dangerous journeys to Alaskan mining camps, the brutal, cold winters, building small towns in rough terrain, and the disintegration of many families due to gold fever. The children adapted to a whole new way of life, prospected, entertained miners, and felt the effects of sudden fortune or bleak poverty. Fascinating sidebars address other children of the gold rush or other facets of that life, from schooling and the use of sled dogs, to panning for gold. Although the hardships are never glossed over, the design of the book has an antique charm, with photographs, ticket stubs, old handbills, maps, and journal excerpts. (glossary, further reading) (Nonfiction. 8-12) .

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781570982576
Publisher:
Rinehart, Roberts Publishers, Inc.
Publication date:
04/01/1999
Pages:
96
Product dimensions:
8.04(w) x 9.04(h) x 0.53(d)
Lexile:
1070L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Claire Rudolf Murphy is the author of two previous novels and several books of nonfiction. She was inspired to write Free Radical while contemplating her own feelings about the Vietnam War and how teenagers view it today. After spending many years in Alaska, Claire and her family now live in Spokane, Washington. This is her first book for Clarion.

Jane G. Haigh began her career as a local historian in Fairbanks, Alaska, which she continues to call home. She is the author of a number of books of popular Alaskan history, including Gold Rush Women, Gold Rush Dogs, and King Con: The Story of Soapy Smith.

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