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Seeds of Hope: The Gold Rush Diary of Susanna Fairchild, California Territory 1849 (Dear America Series) Hardcover – Bargain Price, June 1, 2001

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Hardcover, Bargain Price, June 1, 2001
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Inc. (June 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0590511572
  • ASIN: B001Q3M6G6
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 5.5 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,377,769 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 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 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Gr. 4-8. Aboard a side-wheel steamer, 14-year-old Susanna Fairchild begins her account of her family's journey to Oregon from New York. It is New Year's Day, 1849, when she takes up the journal begun by her mother, who was tragically lost at sea. Susanna anticipates reuniting with family and friends in Oregon, but when the steamer docks in San Francisco, her father is affected by gold fever and takes his daughters into the wilds of California to find gold. The daily struggles, dangers, and lawlessness of the mining camps are richly detailed in Susanna's vivid entries, as are episodes of frontier justice and prejudice (especially toward Chinese and Peruvian miners) and cruel treatment of wild animals, which were used for the miners' entertainment. In spite of her difficult life, Susanna still takes time to ponder such basic questions as Why do thieves and murderers sometimes run free while good people suffer? It's clear that real wealth lies not in gold or luck, but in strength of character. A gripping, realistic fictional glimpse of history, in the Dear America series. Ellen Mandel
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

More About the Author

Kristiana Gregory grew up in Manhattan Beach, California, two blocks from the ocean. She's always loved to make up stories [ask her family!], telling her younger siblings whoppers that would leave them wide-eyed and shivering. Her first rejection letter at age ten was for a poem she wrote in class when she was supposed to be doing a math assignment. She's had a myriad of odd jobs: telephone operator, lifeguard, camp counselor, reporter, book reviewer & columnist for the LA Times, and finally author.

Her award-winning books include STALKED, which earned the 2012 Gold Medal for Young Adult Mystery from Literary Classics and is hailed as "historical fiction with a thrilling twist." KIRKUS calls it "an atmospheric confection that will thrill YA readers ... Gregory achieves a realistic, rich atmosphere with insightful details about the immigration process and New York tenements in the early 1900s." Now available on Kindle and in paperback.

JENNY OF THE TETONS [Harcourt] won the Golden Kite Award in 1989 and was the first of two-dozen historical novels for middle grade readers. Several of Kristiana's titles are now available on Kindle including "Curiously Odd Stories: Vol. 1 and Vol. 2" with the celebrated 'Paper Monument', a futuristic book-banning with horrific consequences.

BRONTE'S BOOK CLUB [Holiday House] is set in a town by the sea and is inspired by the girls' book club Kristiana led for several years.

Her most recent title with Scholastic's Dear America series is CANNONS AT DAWN, a sequel to the best-selling THE WINTER OF RED SNOW, which was made into a movie for the HBO Family Channel.

New re-releases in ebooks and paperback on Amazon:
**THE WAITING LIGHT: CLEMENTINE'S STORY -- originally titled "My Darlin' Clementine" [Holiday House] this riveting historical mystery takes place in an Idaho mining camp of 1866, and was Idaho's representative for the 2010 National Book Festival in Washington, D.C., sponsored by the Library of Congress.

Kristiana and her husband have two adult sons, and live in Idaho with their two golden retrievers. In her spare time she loves to swim, walk, hike, read, and hang out with friends. She's trying to learn to knit, but isn't yet having much success.

Check out Kristiana's blogs at http://notesfromthesunroom.blogspot.com/ for behind-the-scenes stories about her books, and with photos from her childhood.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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See all 30 customer reviews
I highly reccomend this book to all fans of the Dear America series.
Rebecca Herman
I would recommend this book to everyone interested in learning about westward expansion.
The Gold Rush is really cool and this book made me feel like I was there.
Jen A Bookworm

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Rebecca Herman HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on May 17, 2001
Format: Hardcover
It is January, 1849. Fourteen-year-old Susanna Fairchild, 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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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By "azteca_indio" on May 17, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I loved Susanna's diary,in 1849 fourteen-year-old Susanna and her family including her parents and her sixteen-year-old sister Clara, are traveling from New York City to Oregen, so that her father can establish a medical practice.While traveling Susanna and her family experience a horrible, emotional blow. While on the trip a storm hits in the chaos of it all, her mother goes overboard and drowns,along with the money they saved for years.When the ship decides to let off miners in California, her father desperate and willing to do anything, he decides to mine and regain all the money he lost, and then follow his dream again. Writing in the diary her beloved mother left behind Susanna records of the ruff and tough camps they live in and the wilderness and the danger of being left alone for weeks at a time.Despite it all they have bad times, the sisters grow closer and make thier relationship work, they make new friends like Rosa Sepulveda, a young girl from Peru who is traveling with her Husband and 7 brothers to California to become rich.They discover secerts about people they thought they knew and could trust be were betrayed and hurt. They find thier first loves.I recommed this Dear America book to anyone, Kristianna Gregory has captured the true feelings of a family and the hardships they faced in the west, and despite all the hard times, family and friends are always there to help and plant the seeds of hope within you.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer TOP 500 REVIEWER on December 15, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Seeds of Hope (California Gold Rush) / 0-590-51157-2

Once again, the Dear America formula has rendered complex and difficult history into an entertaining and personal portrayal. When Susanna's mother dies en route to Oregon, her grieving father turns to gold fever to dull his loss and Susanna and family turn gold miners. In this way, Susanna is able to note carefully the follies of those stricken with gold fever and is able to describe, in detail, how the only people who reliably struck it rich were those who provided services and goods to these fever-struck hopefuls.

My favorite aspect of the Dear America books - their even-handedness - is displayed beautifully here, with Susanna distressed by the fact that immigrants and Mexicans are discriminated against and murdered for their gold claims, with no legal recourse. A fine line is walked with the treatment of the narrator's father - although he is clearly very foolish to run after a goose chase and drag his daughters along after him into danger (they are the only two women in a mining camp of hundreds of lonely men!), nevertheless his love for his daughters is clear and he is portrayed as a good, kind man who learns when enough gold is enough.

Several hangings and murders occur here, including the hanging of a "dancing lady" from town. Although it's abundantly clear that the lady is a local prostitute, the book is careful to define her only as a dancer and entertainer. Children may wonder what money was to be had in dancing on the frontier... Also be aware that the narrator's love interest loses his leg in a mining explosion, and has to have the bone sawed through by her physician father. The scene is rushed through fairly quickly, but may be disturbing for small children.

~ Ana Mardoll
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By "shayamorph" on September 28, 2001
Format: Hardcover
It's 1849, and the Gold Rush has begun. Susanna, her sister, and her father are off to California in the search for gold and the competition is ablaze. Susanna wants her family to find gold, too, but she also doesn't want her family to forget about the love they must share with each as a family. Along the way, she must confront her feelings, even as the craze for gold increases. There are more dangers to her family other than the loss of money, and Susanna must react bravely to whatever happens. Will she and her family be victorious in the Gold Rush, and will their family values fade? Seeds Of Hope is a well --written and nice addition to the Dear America series by Kristiana Gregory. It wasn't the best in the series, but I enjoyed it a lot.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Caitlin Gregorczyk, age 15 on June 14, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Seeds of Hope: The Gold Rush Diary Of Susanna Fairchild is a very interesting and exciting Dear America book. Kristiana Gregory is the author of this book, and is also the author of three other Dear America books. Seeds of Hope gives a good description of what it was like to live near a mining town in 1949. It shows Susanna's thoughts and feelings concerning the object that brought so many miners here - gold.
In October of 1848, Susanna, 14, and her older sister, Clara, 16, sail with their parents to Oregon to settle there. Her family is stricken with grief when her mother dies in a tragic sea accident, and her father loses all his money. When they hear that gold has just been found in California, her father decides to try mining. Clara and Susanna live in a cabin and experience what gold can do to people. For example, they get cheated of their gold by her father's best friend, and robbed of their money by a stranger. But in all these hardships they find wonderful things to laugh about and enjoy, including when they find their first loves. This challenging time brings the sisters closer together, as they try to survive through the many hardships and find comfort with each other. Through the pages of her diary, Susanna gives a great depiction of what it was like to live in a place where there is no law.
Seeds of Hope is longer then some of the other Dear America books, consisting of 186 pages. After the diary, there is the epilogue and then a historical note. The historical note tells all about the gold rush: how it started, who came, how they got there, and what happened to the people who were part of it.
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