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On the Texas Trail of Cabeza de Vaca Hardcover – December 1, 2008

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The Last Ever After
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In the stunning conclusion to the bestselling School for Good and Evil trilogy, everything old is new again, as Sophie and Agatha fight the past as well as the present to find the perfect end to their fairy tale. See more | School for Good and Evil Series
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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 5–8—In 1527, Governor Pánfilo de Narváez sailed westward from Spain to explore the land that stretched between present-day Florida and Mexico, colonizing and conquering. With him, as his treasurer and sheriff, was Cabeza de Vaca. The men ran out of food, and Spanish ships failed to return for them. In desperation, they built five rafts and attempted to sail to Mexico. The survivors made it as far as Galveston. By this time, the governor was dead, and Cabeza de Vaca served as the commander. Eight years later, he returned to Spain, one of only four to live through the ordeal. He didn't bring the hoped-for gold, but he did return with a wealth of information, codified in La Relación, his account of his experience. Then, 475 years later, Lourie set out to follow Cabeza de Vaca's trail through Texas, using La Relación as a guide. This well-researched, beautifully composed book is the result. Using primary sources and period reproductions as well as the author's experiences and contemporary pictures, it highlights historical information within the context of current circumstances. Beautifully placed photos, reproductions, maps, and sidebars enhance the fluid text, making this title sound fare for augmenting American history units. Expanding and extending Stuart Waldman's more pictorial We Asked for Nothing: The Remarkable Journey of Cabeza de Vaca (Mikaya, 2003), this volume is a worthy addition to most collections not only for its historical content but also for the way in which it demonstrates the processes historians use in their research.—Ann Welton, Helen B. Stafford Elementary, Tacoma, WA
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From Booklist

As he did in volumes such as On the Trail of Sacagawea (2001), Lourie journeys in the footsteps of a significant historical figure. Conquistador Cabeza de Vaca arrived in the New World in 1528 as part of a Spanish expedition to explore and colonize the area between Florida and Mexico. One of only four survivors of early disasters, he came ashore near present-day Galveston and made his way westward into Mexico over eight years. Since the explorer’s actual path is disputed, Lourie consulted historians for advice before choosing his route through Texas; but a modern map indicating places that Lourie visited would have been helpful to readers. Illustrated with many period pictures and maps as well as clear, color photos, the book offers information about Cabeza de Vaca within a contemporary framework. Some students may be put off by the framework story, but those who persevere will find useful information as well as insights into a historian’s methods and disputes. Grades 4-7. --Carolyn Phelan

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 9 - 18 years
  • Grade Level: 5 and up
  • Hardcover: 48 pages
  • Publisher: Boyds Mills Press (December 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590784928
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590784921
  • Product Dimensions: 10.2 x 9.2 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,082,236 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Peter Lourie was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and grew up in New England, Ontario, Canada, and New York City. He holds a BA in classics from New York University, an MA in English Literature from the University of Maine, and an MFA in nonfiction creative writing from Columbia University. He has taught writing for many years (Middlebury College, Columbia College, University of Vermont), and now makes his living traveling, writing and photographing. He also visits schools to share his adventures with students and teachers. He lives in Vermont where he is now working on an ongoing NSF-funded digital story-telling project about the Arctic,, and a new book for Henry Holt about Jack London and the Klondike Gold Rush.

Manatee Scientists an Oprah Best Kids' Books 2012 pick

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Format: Hardcover
Are you somebody who likes adventure, and wished you could have set sail alongside the famous explorers of the sixteenth century? If so, then you might want to follow along with Peter Lourie as he journeys in the footsteps of a significant historical figure, Cabeza de Vaca.

In 1527, the conquistador Cabeza de Vaca set sail for the Spanish territory of "La Florida." His aim was to explore and colonize an unknown land that stretched from present-day Florida to Texas. The mission met with disaster. In an attempt to sail back to Cuba, de Vaca and his crew crashed near the shores of Galveston Island. From there de Vaca embarked on one of the greatest adventures in history. His quest to return home took him ten years. He became the first European to live among the native people of Texas, the first to walk across the North American continent, the first to describe the people who lived there, the first to see possum and bison, the first to see the Mississippi and Pecos rivers, and the first to see the Pacific Ocean.

What's amazing about this book is that you not only read about history, you experience it. Lourie traces the conquistador's trail across Texas and into Mexico by following historical clues, and reading the passages that de Vaca left behind. What was the right trail? One tantalizing clue was found by Don and Marilynn Olson who had traveled in 1996 to a remote canyon and found a pine tree similar to the type yielding pine, or pinon, nuts that de Vaca says he and his companions ate while traveling. The nuts are only found in two areas.

The pictures make you stop and wonder what the view must have been like for de Vaca along his journey. What would de Vaca think of the land today?
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On the Texas Trail of Cabeza de Vaca
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