Growing Up in the Old West

Mostly fiction-- classic stories about being a young person in an older time.

The Journal of Jedediah Barstow, an Emigrant on the Oregon Trail: Overland, 1845

By Ellen Levine

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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.
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The Journal of Augustus Pelletier: The Lewis and Clark Expedition

By Kathryn Lasky

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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.

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Hoofbeats of Danger

By Holly Hughes

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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.

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The Great Railroad Race: The Diary of Libby West

By Kristiana Gregory

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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.
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The Journal of Joshua Loper: A Black Cowboy

By Walter Dean Myers

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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.

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Soft Rain: A Story of the Cherokee Trail of Tears

By Cornelia Cornelissen

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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.

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West to a Land of Plenty: The Diary of Teresa Angelino Viscardi

By Jim Murphy

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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.
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Across the Wide and Lonesome Prairie: The Oregon Trail Diary of Hattie Campbell

By Kristiana Gregory

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In her diary, thirteen-year-old Hattie chronicles her family's arduous 1847 journey from Missouri to Oregon on the Oregon Trail.
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Jim Ugly

By Sid Fleischman

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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.
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The Cabin Faced West

By Jean Fritz

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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.

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