Seeds of Hope: The Gold Rush Diary of Susanna Fairchild, California Territory, 1849 (Dear America Series)

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Editorial Reviews

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Susanna Fairchild's family had planned to move to Oregon and begin a relatively quiet life there. But after Susanna's mother is lost at sea, her physician father turns restless, deciding to join thousands of Forty-Niners, prospectors seeking their fortunes in the rugged hills of California territory.
VOYA
Similar to books in the Dear America series based on actual historical people and events, fourteen-year-old Susanna Fairchild's story chronicles her family's 1849 journey to California and their search for gold. Although simply written, her diary vividly describes life onboard a ship sailing around Cape Hope. When Susanna's mother is swept overboard and drowns because she had sewn their money into the hem of her dress, her devastated father changes his plans. Instead of joining relatives in the Oregon territory, Susanna and her sister and father will travel to San Francisco and then go on to gold country. By finding gold, the seeds of hope of the title, he hopes to recoup the family's lost money. The diary is full of tidbits of interesting information. Readers learn that entire crews deserted their ships and left them in the harbor to rot. Later, some ships were dragged aground, propped up with logs, and used as hotels and gaming houses. The diary explains how gold was panned and describes the cost of food, clothing, and shelter. Readers will develop a respect for the resourcefulness and courage of two teenage girls who try to maintain a safe home while their father works the gold fields. The author appends historical notes, including pictures, a recipe, and a map of the approximate routes taken to California from the East Coast of the United States. Although teen readers will enjoy this book as recreational reading, it would make good supplementary reading in classes dealing with American history, California, and the Gold Rush days. Photos. Map. VOYA CODES: 4Q 3P J S (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Will appeal with pushing; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9;Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2001, Scholastic, 184p, $10.95 Trade pb. Ages 12 to 18. Reviewer: Debbie Earl
School Library Journal
Gr 5-8-Fourteen-year-old Susanna Fairchild and her family embark on a journey that they hope will bring them good fortune. Boarding a ship sailing from New York to the West, the Fairchilds set out for Oregon where they plan to start a new life. Tragedy strikes when Susanna's mother is lost at sea, and they must continue on without her. Hearing stories of enormous wealth, Susanna's physician father decides to join the hordes of men rushing to California to mine for gold. The trials and tribulations encountered by the many men who risked their lives for the chance to become rich are wonderfully envisioned by the author. The uncharted West with its many hazards is descriptively brought to life through the diary writings of Susanna, who proves to be up to the task of surviving the rugged lifestyle her father has chosen for them. A strong female voice takes readers on an adventure filled with sorrow for the loss of her mother, love for her father and sister, and a determination to make a home amid the wilderness. Secondary characters are nicely interspersed throughout the story. Historical notes, drawings, a recipe for "Miner's Griddle Cakes," and a map of the gold-mining region provide a fitting conclusion to an interesting story.-Janet Gillen, Great Neck Public Library, NY Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780590511575
  • Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 6/28/2001
  • Series: Dear America Series
  • Edition description: 1 ED
  • Pages: 176
  • Age range: 9 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 790L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.41 (w) x 7.78 (h) x 0.72 (d)

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Sort by: Showing all of 15 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 21, 2013

    Get caught up in the California gold rush in Seeds of Hope, the

    Get caught up in the California gold rush in Seeds of Hope, the diary of Susanna Fairchild. The plot tells of a young girl, who loses her mother while sailing to their new home, and then is suddenly caught up in the gold rush of 1849. The plot and the characters were both extremely well put together and thought out. The attention to detail is spectacular! You can practically hear the rushing river and feel the heartache at the betrayal that they experience in the mining camp. However the best part for me was the realism of the story. Susanna’s personal feelings were relatable and easily understandable things that every 14 year-old girl would feel in her situation. Overall it was an amazing book, and I definitely recommend it to anyone looking for an interesting novel.
    - Katie K.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 1, 2008

    omg this book is FANTASTIC

    I think this book was really interesting even though it had some sad parts there was always good parts following right beind... i remember reading it i NEVER WNTED TOPUT IT DOWN!!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 23, 2008

    A reviewer

    This was a great book.I read it in like three days. I loved every part of this book.it was sad to learn susannas mom died.Even though it was alittle sad,it was really touching. I would recommend it to anyone.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2008

    Very, Very Good!!!

    I loved reading about the California Gold Rush and all! This book taught me so much history! Very good conflict! I would recommend this book for EVERYONE!! Some events are kinda sad, like when their so called friend Jesse Blue robs a thousand dollars from them. Except for that, I would say this book is very, very good. Totally five stars!!! Definately one of Kristiana Gregory's better stories.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 6, 2007

    A reviewer

    I so love this book I think everybody should read this book!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 4, 2007

    A reviewer

    I think this was outstanding!!!!! It was happy, a little sad, and some moments caught your breath. This was my first Dear America book I actully read through! And I have 'read' a lot too! They just got very boring! Anyway it was a fantastic book!!!!!!! Although I wish they could have added more onto the end! By far the best book in the series!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 3, 2006

    3 words FAB-U-LOUS

    This book was the greatest! I basiclly got through half of the book the day I started it, I'm as pickey as you can get about books and I thought this was a page turner so you have a guarantee that it's good. It's a great book for fans of the author Kristiana Gregory or great for anyone who loves books about the gold rush.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 27, 2006

    One of the best Dear America books!

    This is one of my favorite books out of the Dear America series. I couldn't put it down! It is very sad though,but ususally all sad books turn out good. My favorite character besides Susanna was Sam. I would definetely recommend this book to anyone!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 1, 2005

    Gold Rush

    this book was REALLY good! i have read almost all of the dear americas and this one is one of my faves

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2005

    one of my faves!

    it was awesome I totally loved it! I love dear america. Kristina Gregory did a fanstastic job. I highly recommend ths one, its a winner!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 15, 2004

    I loved the book. It was so cool

    I realy enjoyed the book, felt like I was in the book.I felt like I was Susanna Fairchild of the gold rush. I just realy injoy your books. S.O.S. Please E-mail back, we can talk!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 31, 2001

    Great!!

    This book was sooooo great. i couldn't put it down. i just had to see what was going to happen next. and i loved the fact they had so many pets.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 3, 2001

    Fourteen-year-old Susanna describes her experiences during the California Gold Rush.

    It is January, 1849. Fourteen-year-old Susanna Farichild, her father, and her sixteen-year-old sister Clara are on board a ship, almost to the end of their long sea voyage from New York to Oregon, when they hear news of a gold strike in California. Susanna's desperate father, grieving after the death of his wife and nearly penniless after losing all his money, abandons his plan of establishing a medical practice in Oregon and decides to mine for gold in the hope of gaining back the money he lost. Writing in the diary left behind by her mother, Susanna describes life in a rough-and-tumble mining camp and the dangers she and Clara face when they are left alone for weeks at a time. But in spite of the many hardships they face, the two sisters grow closer and experience the joys of finding new friends and their first loves. I highly reccomend this book to all fans of the Dear America series. Kristiana Gregory has written a beautiful story about a family that faces many losses but manages to grow stronger, not from the riches that they struggle to find, but through the love they share. This has quickly become my favorite book in the Dear America series.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2001

    Great edtion to the Dear America Series!!!!!!!!!

    In 1849,14 yr. old Susanna Fairchild writes in her diary, of when her father succumbs to gold fever after losing all thier money and her mother on a steamship trip, from New York to Oregen to try to establish a medical pratice there.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 2, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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