Growing Up in the Old West

Kristiana Gregory
In her diary, thirteen-year-old Hattie chronicles her family's arduous 1847 journey from Missouri to Oregon on the Oregon Trail.
Patricia C. McKissack
In 1879, thirteen-year-old Everett Turner leaves a life of struggle on his family's farm and runs away to St. Louis, where he works in a livery stable before heading to the all-Black town of Nicodemus, Kansas.
Elvira Woodruff

In 1851, 12-year-old orphan Austin Ives joins a wagon train headed for California. As they make their way across the country, Austin writes home to his brother Levi, describing day-to-day life on the Overland Trail. In his own observant and vigorous voice, Austin tells of the everyday happenings--hunting game and fording streams--as well as more dramatic episodes, from devastating illness to complex encounters with Indians.

Holly Hughes

In 1860, eleven-year-old Annie, who lives at the Red Buttes Pony Express station in the Nebraska Territory, asks Pony Express rider Billy Cody to help her find the person responsible for sabotaging her favorite pony Magpie.

G. Clifton Wisler
As his family makes the long and difficult journey from Tennessee to their new home in Texas in 1852, twelve-year-old Jericho Wetherby, teased by his sister and brothers about his size, learns there are many ways to grow.
Sid Fleischman
The adventures of twelve-year-old Jake and Jim Ugly, his father's part-mutt, part-wolf dog, as they travel through the Old West trying to find out what really happened to Jake's actor father.
Laura Ingalls Wilder

A year in the life of two young girls growing up on the Wisconsin frontier, as they help their mother with the daily chores, enjoy their father's stories and singing, and share special occasions with relatives and neighbors. First of the Little House series.

Janet Shaw
In 1764, when Kaya and her family reunite with other Nez Percé Indians to fish for the red salmon, she learns that bragging, even about her swift horse, can lead to trouble. Includes historical notes on the Nez Percé Indians.
Karen Cushman
"One of a group of orphans, 12-year-old Rodzina boards a train on a cold day in March 1881. She's reluctant to leave Chicago, the only home she can remember, and she knows there's no substitute for the family she has lost. She expects to be adopted and turned into a slave--or worse, not to be adopted at all. As the train rattles westward, Rodzina unwittingly begins to develop attachments to her fellow travelers, even the frosty orphan guardian, and to accept the idea that there might be good homes for orphans-maybe even for a big, combative Polish girl. But no placement seems right for the formidable Rodzina, and she cleverly finds a way out of one bad situation after another, until at last she finds the family that is right for her."
Kristiana Gregory
Susanna Fairchild and her family sail from New York to the West, where they plan to start a new life in Oregon. But tragedy strikes when Susanna's mother is lost to the sea. Hearing stories of great wealth, Susanna's physician father decides he wants to join the hordes of men rushing to California to mine for gold.
Cornelia Cornelissen

Soft Rain is 9 years old when her life changes. Without warning, white soldiers arrive at her house. They command Soft Rain and her mother to come with them, taking only the possessions they can instantly pack and carry. They are forced to leave behind Soft Rain's blind grandmother, her father and brother, and even her puppy. It is 1838, the year of the enforced westward relocation of all the Cherokee people. The long and dangerous journey, across rivers and over mountains, through rain and snow, is an unwelcome adventure for Soft Rain and her people.

L. J. Jones
A fictionalized account of the adventurous 1909 journey of nine-year-old Bud Abernathy and his five-year-old brother, Temp, who traveled alone, mostly on horseback, from their home in Oklahoma to Santa Fe, New Mexico, and back again, crossing the vast, desert-like no-man's-land in the Texas Panhandle known as the caprock.
Jean Fritz

Ann Hamilton's family has moved to the western frontier of Pennsylvania, and she misses her old home in Gettysburg. There are no girls her age on Hamilton Hill, and life is hard. But when the Hamiltons survive a terrible storm and receive a surprise visit from George Washington, Ann realizes that pioneer life is exciting and special.

Kristiana Gregory
As the daughter of a newspaper reporter, fourteen-year-old Libby keeps a diary account of the exciting events surrounding her during the building of the railroad in the West in 1868.
Kathryn Lasky

In this novel, Augustus Pelletier, a 14-year-old half-French and half-Omaha Indian, joins Lewis and Clark on their journey from Missouri to the Pacific Ocean and keeps a journal of throughout the trip.

Ellen Levine
In his 1845 diary, thirteen-year-old orphan Jedediah describes his wagon train journey to Oregon, in which he confronts rivers and sandy plains, bears and rattlesnakes, and the challenges of living with his fellow travelers. Includes historical notes.
Joseph Bruchac

The Cherokees call The Trail of Tears "Nunda'utsun'yi", or "The Place Where the People Cried". Jesse Smoke, his mother, and sisters are forced to abandon their home, their land, and their possessions when they and several thousand other Cherokees are forced west on The Trail of Tears. Illustrations. Fold-out map.

Walter Dean Myers

Two-time Newbery Honor-winning author Myers writes about an African-American boy's struggles with his first cattle drive in 1871 and the racial prejudices of the day.

Jim Murphy
While traveling in 1883 with her Italian American family (including a meddlesome little sister) and other immigrant pioneers to a utopian community in Idaho, fourteen-year-old Teresa keeps a diary of her experiences along the way.
Patricia Hermes
In 1848, nine-year-old Joshua Martin McCullough writes a journal of his family's journey from Missouri to Oregon in a covered wagon. Includes a historical note about westward migration.
A. LaFaye

After Nathaniel's leg is crushed in an accident, his father brings home an orphan boy, John Worth, to help work the fields. Worth has come to Nebraska from New York City on the Orphan Train, which brings homeless children west to find new lives. Nathaniel feels increasingly jealous of the boy who has taken over not only his work but the attention of his father, who has barely spoken to him since his injury. In school for the first time he is far behind even his youngest classmates, and he feels as useless there as he does at home.
Meanwhile, Worth is still grieving for his family and his old life. As the farm chores prevent him from going to school, he also resents losing his dream of an education and a good job. And for all the work he does, he knows he will never inherit the farm that he's helping to save.