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Valley of the Moon: The Diary of Maria Rosalia de Milagros, Sonoma Valley, Alta California, 1846 (Dear America Series)

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María Rosalia is a Mestizo servant in a Spanish home. Orphaned years ago, she and her brother Domingo work on a ranch run by the stern Señor Medina. María¹s writing captures the intense tradition and culture of the Spanish as she observes the war that Alta California ultimately loses to the Americans.

The 1845-1846 diary of thirteen-year-old Maria, servant to the wealthy Spanish family which took her in when her Indian mother died. Includes a historical note about ...

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Overview

María Rosalia is a Mestizo servant in a Spanish home. Orphaned years ago, she and her brother Domingo work on a ranch run by the stern Señor Medina. María¹s writing captures the intense tradition and culture of the Spanish as she observes the war that Alta California ultimately loses to the Americans.

The 1845-1846 diary of thirteen-year-old Maria, servant to the wealthy Spanish family which took her in when her Indian mother died. Includes a historical note about the settlement and early history of California.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
A story set during the final months of Mexican rule that incorporates historical events and the many factions of early California--americanos, mexicanos, indios, californios--into it. Orphaned at age five, Rosa and her younger brother were cared for at the Mission Rafael by Padre Ygnacio before they became servants at the large Medina rancho. The children are treated benevolently, often as family. However, Rosa longs for knowledge about her own parents--a secret that comes to light at the conclusion. The book includes a historical note, black-and-white reproductions from the time period, and a glossary of Spanish terms. (Unfortunately, there is no pronunciation guide.) A current map of the U. S. shows the locations of San Francisco and Sonoma Valley; however, historical locations and Baja California are not marked. The strength of this well-researched book lies in the inclusion of so much factual information. However, the quick pace of the plot allows for little depth of character or emotional reaction to the events. None of the characters plays a strong or active role in the historical happenings. Rosa primarily reports the events that take place around her. Despite the book's shortcomings, it will be a popular follow-up to other "Dear America" titles.
---School Library Journal, April 2001
VOYA
Thirteen-year-old Maria Rosalia and her young brother, Domingo, are mestizo—half-Indian, half-white—orphans. They live with the Medina family, wealthy Spanish ranchers in Alta California's fertile but remote 1845 Sonoma Valley, where Rosalia is a servant girl. When a discarded unused diary falls into her hands, Rosalia—literate thanks to the kindly old mission padre who found and originally cared for her and Domingo—begins recording the thoughts, joys, frustrations, and noteworthy incidents in the household. In the process, the unsophisticated but the intelligent and perceptive girl also gives fascinating insights into the turbulent days when the United States and Mexico battled over the lands of the Southwest and California. Rosalia is determined to learn about their origins, and she finally tracks down the old priest, who at last reveals the amazing truth about their parents and background. Award-winning author Garland combines a likeable heroine, well-developed characters, and momentous historic events that changed the face of the nation to craft an absorbing, believable tale that will appeal to middle and junior high school girls. This book, part of the Dear America series, is a quick, easy read that might entice reluctant readers with its engaging story line, lively narrative, and accessible language. Glossary. Illus. VOYA CODES: 4Q 3P M J (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Will appeal with pushing; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 2001, Scholastic, 224p. PLB $10.95. Ages 12 to 15. Reviewer: Delia A. Culberson SOURCE: VOYA, August 2001 (Vol. 24, No. 3)
KLIATT
The narrator of this diary is a 13-year-old orphan, Rosalia, who was found with her little brother at a mission and later adopted by servants at a ranch owned by a Spanish family. One main theme is that she yearns to discover information about her parents; she knows her mother, an Indian, took the children to the mission as she herself was dying of smallpox. The discovery that Rosalia and her little brother were vaccinated against smallpox is a clue to their identity—and a fascinating one. Much of this diary, of course, tells the history of California in the important year of 1846, before the Gold Rush. The year began with California being a part of Mexico; during the year California was declared a Republic; later in the year, it became part of the United States. Rosalia, wise and capable beyond her years, records the political events in her diary, just as she describes the dramatic lives of the people around her. She tells of jealousy, friendships, a wedding, illness and death, a rodeo, a bullfight, and finally the unveiling of her own identify as she pursues information from the old priest who took her in at the mission. The setting is that part of California that now is Sacramento and San Francisco, and all middle school readers interested in the history of California will be first in line for this story. As is the case with other volumes in this series, an epilogue is included, which tells what happened to the fictional characters. Then an historical note is added, which relates the basic facts of California's history, especially that of northern California. Illustrations are a part of this section. The cover art of a young Indian girl is that of Santa Rosa (for whom the city isnamed)—but the author makes it clear that her novel is not about that person. A lengthy glossary is useful, because many Spanish words are part of the diary. Dear America series. KLIATT Codes: J—Recommended for junior high school students. 2001, Scholastic, 218p, 00-055620, $10.95. Ages 13 to 15. Reviewer: Claire Rosser; March 2001 (Vol. 35 No. 2)
Children's Literature
This latest edition in the "Dear America" series tackles important issues of personal and political identity in nineteenth century California. The protagonist, pre-teen María Rosalia de Milagros, is a half-Mexican, half-Indian orphan working as a servant in the home of the wealthy Spanish Medina family. While her work keeps her busy, Rosa's thoughts never stray far from her main goal—to discover the answer to the question of who her parents were. Rosa's conflict is mirrored by the conflict that is brewing over the fate of California. Should it remain part of Mexico, should it become a republic or should it join the ever-growing United States? As all of these struggles play out, readers learn about the forces that shaped California's early political and cultural history, with Mexico's unique contributions being highlighted. Through Rosa's experiences, for example, we learn about traditional Mexican homes, food, clothing, and religious and seasonal celebrations such as Semana Santa and La Posada. The abundance of information, including photographs, poems and recipes at the end, adds to our overall appreciation of the old and ever-changing relationship of Mexico and the United States. 2001, Scholastic, $10.95. Ages 10 up. Reviewer: Michele Gable
School Library Journal
Gr 4-6-A story set during the final months of Mexican rule that incorporates historical events and the many factions of early California-americanos, mexicanos, indios, californios-into it. Orphaned at age five, Rosa and her younger brother were cared for at the Mission Rafael by Padre Ygnacio before they became servants at the large Medina rancho. The children are treated benevolently, often as family. However, Rosa longs for knowledge about her own parents-a secret that comes to light at the conclusion. The book includes a historical note, black-and-white reproductions from the time period, and a glossary of Spanish terms. (Unfortunately, there is no pronunciation guide.) A current map of the U.S. shows the locations of San Francisco and Sonoma Valley; however, historical locations and Baja California are not marked. The strength of this well-researched book lies in the inclusion of so much factual information. However, the quick pace of the plot allows for little depth of character or emotional reaction to the events. None of the characters plays a strong or active role in the historical happenings. Rosa primarily reports the events that take place around her. Despite the book's shortcomings, it will be a popular follow-up to other "Dear America" titles (Scholastic).-Carolyn Janssen, Children's Learning Center of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, OH Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780439088206
  • Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 4/1/2001
  • Series: Dear America Series
  • Pages: 208
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 880L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.42 (w) x 7.64 (h) x 0.84 (d)

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Sort by: Showing all of 11 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 25, 2001

    Fantastico Edtion to the Dear America Series!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I loved it! Maria Rosalia and her brother Domingo live and work on a rancho ran by Senor Medina in Alta California in 1845-1846. The Medinas love Maria Rosalia and her brother as if they were their own, but Maria longs to find her true family, orphened at age 6 when her mother caught the smallpox, Padre Ygnacio found her and her brother. Maria Rosalia is not even her real name(Maria for the virgin mary and Rosalia for roses and her Domingo because he found them on a sunday and their last names milagros because it's a miracle he found them alive.) I recommed this Diary to all Dear Ameirca Series Fans, it shows the true sprit of California and the Cultrue and ways of the Mexicans that is now forgotten in time.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2001

    Masterpiece!

    I loved her story! The irony of being servants to her own family was sad but humorous. I cryed when she found out she had a family and again when she wrote the letter to her dear dead mother! You have to understand I never cry at books. I never cry at anything but this book did it for me so read it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 28, 2005

    Too Good Too Be True

    Any one will love this book. It makes you want to think of life before its gone.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 27, 2005

    Valley of the Moon is the best!!!

    Valley of the Moon started off kinda of slow but then maybe in the early middle it picked up and as I read along it became one of my FAVORITE books. This book is inspirational and VERY historical. I can just imagine in my head what Rosa was like. This book will NOT let you down.I reccomend it to ANYONE even if they don't like historical fiction. READ THIS BOOK!!!!! :-)

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 12, 2002

    Valley of the Moon shines!!

    Valley of the Moon was great! It really made me think about the beauty of history and culture, and it is written very well. Anyone would love this book (especially girls, but some boys would like it too!). If you ever get a chance to read it, you should!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2001

    Excellant Dear America book.

    The year is 1845, the place Sonoma Valley in Alta California. Raised as a Catholic at a Spanish mission in Northern California along with her younger brother before the two of them were taken in to be the servants of a wealthy Mexican family on their ranch, thirteen year old Maria Rosalia de Milagros barely remembers her Indian mother, who died of smallpox when she was six. She doesn't even know who her father was, only that he was a white man, or even what her real name was - Maria Rosalia was the name given to her by Padre Ygnacio, the priest who saved the lives of her and her little brother. Even though she is well treated by the family she works for, the Medinas, Maria Rosalia longs to know who her parents were. Her only hope would be to find Padre Yganico, and she doesn't have any idea where he is after all these years. Still, Maria Rosalia is able to find joy in holidays and celebrations, in writing in her diary, and in a new American friend, but there is a great deal of sorrow as well. This was an excellent addition to the Dear America series that revealed a great deal about a way of life that has vanished into the depths of time, and taught me about a period in American history that I knew little about.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 19, 2000

    Valley of the Moon: The Diary of Maria Rosalia de Milagros, Sonoma Valley, Alta California, 1846 (Dear America Series)

    The diary of Maria is wonderful, it tells the story of a 1/2 mexican, 1/2indian girl. It tells the story of when her mother dies and she goes to live with a spaniard, (not spainsh that is the langange we speak,not what we are.)It tells how we were treated badly for being mexicans and moving from our homeland. I recommed it to anyone.The story is so wonderful and the ending was a suprise ending.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 22, 2000

    Valley of the Moon: The Diary of Maria Rosalia de Milagros, Sonoma Valley, Alta California, 1846 (Dear America Series)

    In 1845-6 Maria, a 13yr old 1/2 Mexican, 1/2 Indian orphan keeps a diary of her life in Sonoma Valley as a servent to a wealthy Spaniard family, after the untimely death of her Indian mother.

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    Posted December 19, 2010

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