Westward to Home: Joshua's Diary, the Oregon Trail, 1848 (Dear America)
- Author: Patricia Hermes
- Publisher: SCHOLASTIC
- Published: January 2001
- ISBN-10: 0439112095
- ISBN-13: 9780439112093
- Format: Hardcover
- Copyright: 2001
- Subject: JUVENILE FICTION / Historical / United States / 19th Century
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My America Series. In 1848, nine-year-old Joshua Martin McCullough writes a journal of his family's journey from Missouri to Oregon in a covered wagon.
Another installment in this year's new "My America" series, this is the fictional diary of Joshua, a young boy whose family joins a wagon train to Oregon in 1848. Joshua's tale offers language simple enough for emerging readers, but pulls few punches regarding the harsh realities of the westward pioneer journey. Joshua can hardly contain his excitement at the prospect of the journey. His diary begins as his parents and extended family make the difficult decision to uproot their lives. On the trail he experiences dust, heat, and fear, along with the births of babies and the deaths of others from cholera, accidents, and Indian attack. Joshua also finds his cousin, Rachel, dead one morning, the victim of an accidental hanging during the night. The story's not all tragedy; there is a nice balance with more positive experiences, such as Joshua's childhood friendships along the trail. His grandfather helps him kill a buffalo, and he saves his little sister Becky from drowning when she falls into a rushing river. Hermes sparks her tale with a budding romance for Joshua as he copes with the grief, anger, and charity of the adults in the wagon train. Decent historical fiction aimed at appealing to the reader who would enjoy the sense of reading a diary to learn more about the harsh realities and triumphs of America's westward pioneers. (Fiction. 7-10) Copyright 2000 Kirkus Reviews
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