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My Face to the Wind: The Diary of Sarah Jane Price, a Prairie Teacher (Dear America)

3.74  ·  Rating Details ·  1,174 Ratings  ·  44 Reviews
In the late 1870s many young teachers traveled West to earn money and make a new life for themselves. However, the schools were inadequate at best. Some returned home, unable to endure the hardships of prairie life, but others were more committed. Jim Murphy's Sarah Jane Price stayed, braving the rough conditions of the West and the daily tasks that ensued.
Hardcover, 182 pages
Published October 1st 2001 by Scholastic Inc.
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,277)
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Jessica Mcmahon
Mar 24, 2014 Jessica Mcmahon rated it really liked it
Originally, I picked this book up because my great- grandmother was a teenage one room schoolhouse teacher in Louisiana, and I had already read her journal and wanted to compare. What I got was somewhat satisfying.

When a fourteen year old orphan girl named Sarah Jane is almost forced to abandon her current hometown of Broken Bow, Nebraska. and move to an orphan girls asylum (not a mental asylum, mind you) she comes up with a plan: become a teacher. She figures it will be somewhat easy- her fathe
Mar 09, 2015 kris rated it it was ok
Sarah Jane, orphaned in a small Nebraska town called Broken Bow, decides to take on the job of teacher rather than being sent to an orphanage a few towns away. Then there's tension with just about every authority figure in town before it magically gets resolved because this is a kid's book, guys. We can't have cranky adults when the heroine is being awesome right!

1. Her motivation for staying in the town was...her dad's grave?

2. Her "friend" Ida read more like the snotty 9-year-old cousin you ha
Mar 03, 2014 Beverly rated it really liked it
1881 This is the diary of Sarah Jane Price, a Prairie School Teacher. Setting, Broken Bow, Nebraska. Dad was the teacher and they had traveled from the east, to the midwest, and finally to Nebraska. Dad recently died from a black diptheria fever outbreak, as did about 1/2 the town. Sarah resides with Miss Kizer, who runs a boarding house.

This was where Dad and Sarah stayed while he was seeking a home. He had already been employed by the school board. Miss Kizer, with the help of the itinerant pr
Glen Stott
Aug 08, 2015 Glen Stott rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, history
This is another journal from the Dear America series. Sarah Jane Price is left an orphan when her father dies in 1881. She is staying temporarily with, Miss Kizer, the owner of the boarding house in Broken Bow, Nebraska. She doesn’t know what to do with her life. Her father left her some money, which she is using to pay board and room. She also does many chores for Miss Kizer to help pay part of the bill. She knows she will eventually run out of money and needs to figure out how a 14-year-old gi ...more
Oct 01, 2011 JennLynn rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-2011-ebooks
I usually love the Dear Canada/Dear America etc. series. This one was a little disappointing though. It is the story of a young girl who becomes a teacher like her deceased father rather than be sent to a girls' home. Some elements of the story were good and she did develop over the course of the book. But I felt the dialogue was stilted at times and the language overall was a bit too modern.
Sarah Crawford
Feb 01, 2016 Sarah Crawford rated it it was amazing
Sarah is a 14-year-old girl who has lost her father and is living with a woman running a boarding house. Sarah's father was a school teacher and when the woman suggests that Sarah be sent to a Girl's Orphanage, Sarah decides to try and get the town to let her be a school teacher.

This was a small town in 1881 Nebraska and didn't have a regular school nor a school teacher. Sarah gets permission to be a teacher, but knows that there was a lot of disagreement about whether or not she would be able
Kelsey Hanson
Dec 12, 2015 Kelsey Hanson rated it it was ok
This one was pretty slow for me. The plot doesn't move very fast and the characters weren't especially engrossing. I did enjoy the look it provided at prairie teachers especially since my parents are both teachers. The historical details were interesting and it did show how far education has come.
Apr 02, 2016 Allison rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2016
How appropriate that I finished a book about a young teacher while teaching a class myself? I really enjoyed this one. It's one that I vaguely remember starting as a kid but I don't remember finishing it, so it was very fun to revisit the story. The writing was very compelling and descriptive, as always, and one of the things that I've always liked about the Dear America series is that although there are the "wartime" diaries and the diaries surrounding major historical events, there are also on ...more
Feb 28, 2010 Rebecca rated it really liked it
Life in the small frontier town of Broken Bow, Nebraska, is difficult, especially for a fourteen-year-old girl on her own. Which is what Sarah Jane Price is now that her father, the schoolteacher, has died in an epidemic. Sarah Jane is devastated by this loss. She is unable to remember her mother, who died when she was very young, and her father was the only family she had in the world. She is determined to stay in Broken Bow, where she can be near her father's grave. But her money is running ou ...more
Oct 14, 2013 Faithe rated it really liked it
Do you hear the wind whistling through the sod brick walls and the plank door? Do you smell the damp earth of the dirt floor beneath your feet? Observe how young your brave teacher is and the variety in age of your classmates. Can this truly be a school? Where is the SMART board, let alone any chalkboard at all? What about the credentials of your teacher? Where are your books, paper,and pencils? Be transported back to a one room sod school house in Broken Bow, Nebraska during the early 1880’s as ...more
Ana Mardoll
Feb 23, 2011 Ana Mardoll rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ana-reviewed
My Face to the Wind (Nebraska) / 0-590-43810-7

When her father, a professional school teacher, dies unexpectedly from a plague that sweeps through the new town, Sarah Jane Price finds herself completely alone and orphaned. Although the lady she boards with is kind and solicitous, she is eager to be rid of Sarah Jane and considers it her "Christian duty" to ship the young girl off to an orphanage, where she will perform hard labor six days out of the week and wear herself thin with weak meals and
Apr 07, 2012 Renae rated it really liked it
I always enjoy Jim Murphy's writing. In this book, Sarah Jane is a strong, determined heroine with a lot of spunk. I noticed the same thing in his "West to a Land of Plenty." West to a Land of Plenty The Diary of Teresa Angelino Viscardi, New York to Idaho Territory, 1883 (Dear America) by Jim Murphy

Anyone who loved Laura Ingalls Wilder's later books--
Little Town on the Prairie Little Town on the Prairie (Little House, #7) by Laura Ingalls Wilder
and These Happy Golden Years These Happy Golden Years (Little House #8) by Laura Ingalls Wilder
will probably enjoy this volume as well.
Rebecca Rash
Jan 31, 2014 Rebecca Rash rated it liked it
This one was a little more boring to me. Sarah Jane writes very simply, and doesn't have a lot of magic in her words, so it took me sometime to really get into the story and understand her. By the time I got to the end, it was finally starting to capture my attention. As always though, much to be learned, and still worth your time if you have it.
Jul 26, 2011 Julia rated it liked it
Historical Fiction
SLJ, Children's Lit & Kirkus Review
The Diary of Sarah Jane Price, A Praire Teacher Broken Bow, Nebraska, 1881.
Part of the Dear America books that are easy,accessible historical fiction for young readers, especially girls. The series for boys, My Name is America. Excellent for teaching the westward expansion in the 1880's.
Sarah Jane Price comes out West with her school teacher father. He dies of the plague. Sarah, 14 years old is left to her own wits. Sarah Jane is determi
Callie Stillion
This book was pretty good. I was surprised by the way they created Sarah Jane`s character. She was not what they normally had. To me, her character seemed bossy, ungrateful in some ways, and also a little rude. Somemtimes, Sarah Jane couldn`t accept what she had as great.
Just because she was a school teacher, didn`t mean she was meant to do it, as I felt she wasn`t.
I don`t recommend this for people that enjoyed books that were about at this time. It seemed as if it was not accurate for the tim
May 13, 2009 Bec rated it really liked it
Shelves: adolescent-lit
I was curious about the Dear America series, and chose this title as my first. The narrator is a 14 year old girl. My first impression was that she seemed rather modern in her speech, but I don't know how a young adolescent's real diary would have read in 1881. I would definitely recommend this to my students. Speech aside, it is an entertaining read and shows what life was like on the prairie in the 1880s. I don't think it simplifies or prettifies the era - the author depicts the hardships well ...more
Ashia G
Jan 21, 2015 Ashia G rated it really liked it
it tells so much what she has been through
Oct 13, 2015 Mary rated it it was ok
This one was boring.
Nov 11, 2012 Molly rated it really liked it
This entire series is a wonderful way to learn history or teach it to adolescents. I find today's generations seem to recall more when they learn through other people (pop songs, celebrity gossip, etc.), so what better way to teach history than through someone else's perspective? Yes, "authentic" diaries would be "better", but would the language really hold the modern student's attention? Did the diary writer know what WOULD be important in the context of history? Probably not.
Sep 14, 2014 Kelly rated it liked it
ok......kind of boring
Nov 12, 2007 Alexis rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: 3rd-5th
this is the story of a young girl who travels to the Nebraska plains with her father in the late 19th century and must fulfill his role when he passes away. Growing up I devoured the Dear America series and this book was no exception. I love the way the stories are told in diary form. It's a great way to excite students about learning. This particular book is good for discussing schools and westward expansion in the 1880s.
Jul 11, 2011 Alisse rated it it was amazing
I thought this book was great.My favorite part was at the end when one of her students came up to her and he was older than she was. He was 16 when she first started teaching and she was only 14! Anyway, He came up to her ans said, I believe I have the opportunity to make a proposal. They got married too and had a girl they named it" Faith."
Apr 01, 2010 Aesha☆ rated it liked it
Well this book reminds me that i should probobaly be keeping up with my "so called diary" but really all the entrees Sarah puts into the diary is just one big story except the fact that there is the date and dear diary or i think its "little brook?" i can't wait to see how the book turns out.
Jun 10, 2013 Karen rated it it was amazing
Have been reading all of the books in the DEAR AMERICA series and this is one of my very favorites. I enjoyed the TV show, "Little House on the Prairie" and this book reminded me of that. Great writing and a book that you wanted to read from page 1 to the end without a break :-)
Feb 20, 2016 Cece rated it really liked it
The daughter of a teacher must convince the school board of a country Nebraska school to give her the position her father left, even though she is inexperienced and underage. Set in the later 1800s, this girl's diary describes the challenges of a frontier prairie town.
Angela Boland
I appreciate this book more now than I used to. Although perhaps a little outlandish, it is still exciting and fun. what 14-year-old wouldn't want to read about a girl her age having these crazy adventures, even though who would really want her life? good story :)
May 13, 2013 Angela rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Girls 8+
I was looking forward to this book in the series, as the phrase "my face to the wind" has been "stuck" in my mind for some time, and as the girl is a teacher. Her determination was inspiring, and I found myself rooting for her throughout her trials and victories.
Oct 04, 2009 Allyson rated it liked it
I like these short reads. They are interesting as far as a little snippet of facts. I was a teacher so this made me think of what it was like as a teacher...especially the first day.
I like to think of it as a nice simple book for a relaxing read.
Lucia Benzor
I imagine using this book in 4th or 5th grade when talking about life in the 1880s. This is a very real look at how life was for kids and their school life. Although I did not enjoy it much, a imagine girls would find this interesting.
Mar 23, 2008 Rachel rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: my friends
Recommended to Rachel by: my teacher
this book was excellent! i thought it was sad at some points but i pulled through just like she did after all that happened to her. i thought that it was very good i would give it two thumbs up but i'm busy typing right now. (drums)
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an American author of more than 35 nonfiction and fiction books for children, young adults, and general audiences, including more than 30 about American history. He won the Margaret Edwards Award from the American Library Association in 2010 for his contribution in writing for teens. Jim lives in Maplewood, New Jersey, in a hundred-year-old house with his wife Alison Blank, a children’s TV produce ...more
More about Jim Murphy...

Other Books in the Series

Dear America (1 - 10 of 43 books)
  • A Journey to the New World: The Diary of Remember Patience Whipple, Mayflower, 1620 (Dear America)
  • The Winter of Red Snow: The Revolutionary War Diary of Abigail Jane Stewart, Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, 1777 (Dear America)
  • When Will This Cruel War Be Over?: The Civil War Diary of Emma Simpson, Gordonsville, Virginia, 1864 (Dear America)
  • A Picture of Freedom: The Diary of Clotee, a Slave Girl, Belmont Plantation, Virginia 1859 (Dear America)
  • Across The Wide And Lonesome Prairie: The Oregon Trail Diary Of Hattie Campbell
  • So Far From Home: the Diary of Mary Driscoll, an Irish Mill Girl, Lowell, Massachusetts, 1847 (Dear America)
  • I Thought My Soul Would Rise and Fly: The Diary of Patsy, a Freed Girl, Mars Bluff, South Carolina, 1865 (Dear America)
  • West to a Land of Plenty: The Diary of Teresa Angelino Viscardi
  • Dreams In The Golden Country: the Diary of Zipporah Feldman, a Jewish Immigrant Girl, New York City, 1903 (Dear America Series)
  • Standing in the Light: The Captive Diary of Catharine Carey Logan, Delaware Valley, Pennsylvania, 1763 (Dear America)

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