Book Review: Dear America: All the Stars in the Sky, The Santa Fe Trail Diary of Florrie Mack Ryder (Santa Fe Trail, 1848) by Megan McDonald

In this charming book, Florrie and her family set out from Missouri to Santa Fe, New Mexico where her step-father, Mr. Ryder, holds a successful trading business. This story is told in the true, authentic voice of a Southern thirteen-year-old girl, making Florrie a delightfully humorous and colorful protagonist. What makes this DA diary stand … Continue reading Book Review: Dear America: All the Stars in the Sky, The Santa Fe Trail Diary of Florrie Mack Ryder (Santa Fe Trail, 1848) by Megan McDonald

Book Review: Dear America: Land of the Buffalo Bones, The Diary of Mary Ann Elizabeth Rodgers, An English Girl in Minnesota (New Yeovil, Minnesota 1873) by Marion Dane Bauer

In this unforgettable DA tale, Mary, her family, and others from her English hometown and church, led by her father-- their pastor--, are duped into purchasing land and settling on the plains of Minnesota. They are promised rich soil, fertile ground, beautiful weather, and the tools for prosperity and a good life, but instead are … Continue reading Book Review: Dear America: Land of the Buffalo Bones, The Diary of Mary Ann Elizabeth Rodgers, An English Girl in Minnesota (New Yeovil, Minnesota 1873) by Marion Dane Bauer

Book Review: Dear America: My Face to the Wind, the Diary of Sarah Jane Price, a Prairie Teacher (Broken Bow, Nebraska 1881) by Jim Murphy

Sarah Jane is dragged all the way to Broken Bow, Nebraska by her father who was planned to teach there. Tragically, her father dies, leaving her an orphan with nothing, stranded in Broken Bow. The innkeeper with whom Sarah Jane and her father had stayed knows that Sarah Jane will soon have no money to … Continue reading Book Review: Dear America: My Face to the Wind, the Diary of Sarah Jane Price, a Prairie Teacher (Broken Bow, Nebraska 1881) by Jim Murphy

Book Review: Dear America: Seeds of Hope: The Gold Rush Diary of Susanna Fairchild (California Territory, 1849) by Kristiana Gregory

Susanna, her parents, and her sister set sail from the U.S. east coast to the west in hopes to reunite with family in Oregon. However, on their voyage, their mother is taken by the sea when a giant wave sweeps upon deck. Susanna, her father, and sister are devastated by their loss, but must continue … Continue reading Book Review: Dear America: Seeds of Hope: The Gold Rush Diary of Susanna Fairchild (California Territory, 1849) by Kristiana Gregory

Book Review: Dear America: Valley of the Moon, the Diary of María Rosalia de Milagros (Sonoma Valley, Alta California 1846) by Sherry Garland

Rosalia is a servant girl for a wealthy Spanish ranchero family in Alta (upper) California. She and her little brother Domingo are orphans, though it is apparent through the color of their skin that they are of mixed Native American and Hispanic descent. They and their fellow servants are treated surprisingly kindly by the hospitable … Continue reading Book Review: Dear America: Valley of the Moon, the Diary of María Rosalia de Milagros (Sonoma Valley, Alta California 1846) by Sherry Garland

Book Review: Dear America: A Coal Miner’s Bride, The Diary of Anetka Kaminska (Lattimer, Pennsylvania 1896) by Susan Campbell Bartoletti

This was an unforgettable book in the series. Anetka and her brother, with the assistance of a soldier friend, must travel from Poland to the mining town of Lattimer, PA, U.S., where she will meet her new husband to whom her father 'traded' her for the tickets to bring her there. However, Anetka finds that … Continue reading Book Review: Dear America: A Coal Miner’s Bride, The Diary of Anetka Kaminska (Lattimer, Pennsylvania 1896) by Susan Campbell Bartoletti

Book Review: Dear America: The Girl Who Chased Away Sorrow: The Diary of Sarah Nita, A Navajo Girl (New Mexico, 1864) by Ann Turner

This is a sad story about the forced relocation and concentration of the Navajo people, who were forced to leave their homes and walk hundreds of miles in the snow, many dying on the way. The book is sad from start to finish. I do remember one scene in which a soldier takes a liking … Continue reading Book Review: Dear America: The Girl Who Chased Away Sorrow: The Diary of Sarah Nita, A Navajo Girl (New Mexico, 1864) by Ann Turner

Book Review: Dear America: A Light in the Storm, The Civil War Diary of Amelia Martin (Fenwick Island, Delaware 1861) by Karen Hesse

Taking place during the onset of the Civl War in Delaware, a border state where both Union and Confederate sympathizers dwell among one another, this story follows sixteen-year-old Amelia ("Wickie") Martin, assistant to her father, an Assistant Light Keeper. Amelia is content with her life and her many chores and duties among family, school, and the … Continue reading Book Review: Dear America: A Light in the Storm, The Civil War Diary of Amelia Martin (Fenwick Island, Delaware 1861) by Karen Hesse

Book Review: Dear America: My Heart is on the Ground, The Diary of Nannie Little Rose, A Sioux Girl (Carlisle Indian School, Pennsylvania 1880) by Ann Rinaldi

Nannie Little Rose leaves her home and family to become educated and integrated into white society among a diverse student body of other Native American tribes at the Carlisle Indian School in Pennsylvania. In current culture, this is a controversial depiction of this sad topic. Throughout this story, Nannie tries to fuse her Sioux upbringing, … Continue reading Book Review: Dear America: My Heart is on the Ground, The Diary of Nannie Little Rose, A Sioux Girl (Carlisle Indian School, Pennsylvania 1880) by Ann Rinaldi

Book Review: Dear America: A Line in the Sand, The Alamo Diary of Lucinda Lawrence (Gonzales, Texas 1836) by Sherry Garland

Lucinda lives in Texas territory with her parents and brothers when Mexico and the U.S. begin warring over the territory. There is a memorable scene where Lucinda joins a nighttime party on the streets with music and dancing... but this is all I can really remember. The parts about the actual battle at the Alamo … Continue reading Book Review: Dear America: A Line in the Sand, The Alamo Diary of Lucinda Lawrence (Gonzales, Texas 1836) by Sherry Garland

Book Review: Dear America: West to a Land of Plenty, The Diary of Teresa Angelino Viscardi (New York to Idaho Territory 1883) by Jim Murphy

When I read the first page of this DA diary, I knew this one was going to be quite special. For one, it was written in (what I felt to be) a very realistic voice and style for a fourteen year old girl-- complete with spelling errors and complaints about family, and how much she … Continue reading Book Review: Dear America: West to a Land of Plenty, The Diary of Teresa Angelino Viscardi (New York to Idaho Territory 1883) by Jim Murphy

Book Review: Dear America: I Thought My Soul Would Rise and Fly, The Diary of Patsy, A Freed Girl (Mars Bluff, South Carolina 1865) by Joyce Hansen

The protagonist of this Coretta Scott King Award-winning novel is Patsy, a freed slave down South after the Civil War, who walks with a limp and stutters. She is believed by most to be simple and dull-minded, but what she lacks in the realms of speech and expression, she makes up for in her rare … Continue reading Book Review: Dear America: I Thought My Soul Would Rise and Fly, The Diary of Patsy, A Freed Girl (Mars Bluff, South Carolina 1865) by Joyce Hansen

Book Review: Dear America: So Far From Home, The Diary of Mary Driscoll, An Irish Mill Girl (Lowell, Massachusetts 1847) by Barry Denenberg

Mary travels from Ireland to the U.S. to work in a mill so that she can earn money to send to her family at home. This book is very rich with imagery; it is very easy for one to picture the craggy shores of Ireland and the bustling streets of Lowell, MA while reading. In … Continue reading Book Review: Dear America: So Far From Home, The Diary of Mary Driscoll, An Irish Mill Girl (Lowell, Massachusetts 1847) by Barry Denenberg

Book Review: Dear America: Across the Wide and Lonesome Prairie, The Oregon Trail Diary of Hattie Campbell (1847) by Kristiana Gregory

In this haunting novel, Hattie's father convinces her mother to leave the graves of Hattie's sisters and follow the Oregon trail out west to start a new life. The Campbells and their Missouri neighbors set to the trail with their wagons and as many possessions as they could cram into them. Hattie makes a friend, … Continue reading Book Review: Dear America: Across the Wide and Lonesome Prairie, The Oregon Trail Diary of Hattie Campbell (1847) by Kristiana Gregory

Book Review: Dear America: A Picture of Freedom, The Diary of Clotee, A Slave Girl (Belmont Plantation, Virginia 1859) by Patricia McKissack

Clotee is a slave girl who has a deadly secret: she can read and write. She learned while fanning her master's children while the Misses schooled them each day, and she practices in her diary which she must hide from the other slaves and their master's family. In the meantime, she must put up with, … Continue reading Book Review: Dear America: A Picture of Freedom, The Diary of Clotee, A Slave Girl (Belmont Plantation, Virginia 1859) by Patricia McKissack