Sunday, April 3, 2011

Thanks again, Don Brown!

Another great book by Don Brown.  He's taken his rightful place on to my list of all-time favorite authors.  Gold! Gold From the American River! is just one of the reasons why.
     In this book, Don Brown recounts the time when James Marshall finds a small shiny rock in a stream in California.  The result?  The California gold rush.  
     In this book, Brown recounts the amazing journey of the gold rush and its significance in our history.  He tells about the difficult journey of traveling across the country to find fortune.  He tells the stories of wise entrepreneurs who made their fortune and those whose hard labor made it happen.  Using accounts from archives of actual firsthand accounts, he captures the true essence of this important aspect of our country's history. 
     Don Brown's website says, "Don connects history to student's lives. He introduces them to the struggles of real people, and explores the nature of perseverance and its importance to achievement."  And, no matter the subject, he does just that.
      I first discovered Don Brown's work with Odd Boy Out, one of the books I use to talk to my students about "endurance and stamina" (I write about this in Conferring: The Keystone of Reader's Workshop).  And, with each subsequent book he's written, I've added Don Brown's work to my growing stack of books that show learners why developing endurance is important.
     I love the personal accounts of the forty-niners and their experiences during the gold rush... it was treacherous, arduous, and filled with toil.  The illustrations add to the difficult, often tragic, account of the gold hunters and miners as they encounter difficulties.  And, Don Brown, recounts the story without "glamor," but chooses instead to include the darker tales of this time in history.  
     Thank you, Don Brown, for focusing on major historical events and people... and bringing these stories alive so brilliantly for young reader!