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Newsgirl Hardcover – September 3, 2009

4.8 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. Grade 5–8—Never has 12-year-old Amelia Forrester found it so inconvenient to be a girl. Her mother and family friend, Estelle, can come all the way from Boston to San Francisco as businesswomen, but Amelia can't even sell a months'-old Boston newspaper without being assaulted and taunted by boys. While the two women—dressmakers by trade—adjust their business plan to make clothing for men, Amelia makes an entrepreneurial decision of her own. She chops off her long hair, dons a borrowed cap and trousers, and takes to the streets of 1851 San Francisco to hawk newspapers. Her nose for news soon leads her and her new friend, Patrick, to a much-hyped balloon launch. As fate would have it, they are invited to stand in the balloon's basket, but the men on the ground lose their grip on the tethers and the children find themselves soaring over the mountains. After a crash landing, Amelia is badly injured and brought to the mining town of Sonora to mend. Much to her dismay, orphaned Patrick finds a family with a French prospecting couple, while Amelia ponders her fatherless upbringing. She does finally recover, finds a newspaper editor who publishes her story, and returns home a hero. Ketchum nicely interweaves actual events into this engaging story. She also covers the topics of discrimination and same-sex couples with aplomb. Amelia is a well-rounded character: imperfect, persistent, unsure of herself, and likable. An educational and entertaining read.—Wendy Scalfaro, G. Ray Bodley High School, Fulton, NY END

Review

"...notable for exploring an alternative family structure in an historical setting." --Kirkus

"Amelia is a well-rounded character: imperfect, persistent, unsure of herself, and likable. An educational and entertaining read." --School Library Journal
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Grade Level: 5 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 640L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Juvenile (September 3, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670011193
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670011193
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1.1 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,520,038 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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By Yana V. Rodgers on September 19, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Her mother may not have liked it, but twelve-year-old Amelia Forrester had an extraordinary streak of independence and a sense of adventure. These traits certainly came in handy when the two of them, accompanied by their dear friend Estelle Duprey, arrived in San Francisco at the height of the gold rush to make new lives for themselves. Upon disembarking from the ship, they felt dazed, hungry, and dead-tired, and to make matters worse, they were homeless and had left all their friends and family behind in Massachusetts. Not one to shy away from a challenge, Amelia immediately figured out that she could make a few quick dollars by selling the Boston newspapers they had used for packing, so off she went in search of a few customers and a cart for their luggage.

It did not take long for Amelia to learn that most of San Francisco's residents were men. Not only did she take chances with her physical safety when roaming the busy streets by herself, but she was also spurned in her efforts to earn money because of her gender. Cutting her hair short and wearing boys' clothes, however, opened up a whole new set of opportunities, which included not only walking about more freely and selling newspapers, but also assisting in the launch of an air balloon. Of course she had no way of knowing that the launch would lead to adventure and danger in California's gold mines, and ultimately, to a real job.

In this engrossing work of historical fiction, Liza Ketchum skillfully weaves together an account of life in Sam Francisco's gold-rush days with a description of women's quest for equal rights during the early years of the women's movement.
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Format: Hardcover
I really enjoyed this book. It's a fast-paced adventure story, an interesting window into life in San Francisco during the Gold Rush, and a coming-of-age story. Protagonist Amelia is a strong girl who chafes against the restrictions society places on girls. Her mother is much the same, and although they often argue about what's appropriate for Amelia to do, their love for each other is fierce and enduring. Her mother's "friend" Estelle rounds out their family. (Although the relationship between mom and Estelle is not the point and is never explicitly defined, the three of them are clearly a family.)

I enjoyed reading this book, I really liked Amelia and the rest of the characters, I enjoyed learning a little bit about San Francisco and the Gold Rush, and I wanted to know what was going to happen next. I look forward to reading more of Ketchum's books!

(Note: I received a free advance reading copy of this book from the publisher at an American Library Association Annual Conference. I was not required to write a positive review. Thank you, Viking!)
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Format: Hardcover
Throughout history girls have pretended to be boys to achieve what they want. That's just what Amelia does in order to help her family in this fast-paced story set in San Francisco in 1851. I was rooting for the spunky Amelia from the very first pages of this lively adventure story. This is historical fiction at its best because Ketchum manages to make the time period and the events accessible and interesting to today's readers. The novel is filled with amazing details of the time period--it's clear this book was very well-researched. I happen to really love stories set during the "gold-rush" but even if the topic isn't something you seek out to read about I'm sure you won't be disappointed by this novel!
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Format: Hardcover
Liza Ketchum's NEWSGIRL tells of Amelia's family, newly arrived in San Francisco in 1851 hoping for a new life but nearly penniless. Amelia discovers newsboys are making an income - because of the ban on girls she cuts her hair and dresses herself as a boy - and experiences new freedom in this fine story of adventure, news, and women's rights at the turn of the century.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
LOVE this book! I taught it to my fourth grade class and now am reading it with a student I am tutoring. It is a great story with a strong female character. Highly recommend.
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