This book taught more vividly than any other (and I've read lots of pioneer biographies)about the physical and emotional hardships those who pioneered...moreThis book taught more vividly than any other (and I've read lots of pioneer biographies)about the physical and emotional hardships those who pioneered the West endured. The most unforgettable incident was that of a mother being kept away from her little boy who was dying of rabies and screaming for his mother's care. The men continued to watch over him and gave him what care they could until he died.
What I found sad about the book was that although the parents were good Lutherans, it was more about German culture cohesiveness than personal faith, and so their trials crushed them and broke their spirits. Their church was more like a social club than a vibrant and supportive community of faith such as the churches I've been involved with.
Although this book is one of the most well-written I've ever read, I'd recommend it only to those who can stand feeling the pain of others, for the characters experienced death of family and animals, fires, and other dangers as a normal part of everyday life, and their burdens almost crushed them. This book was based on the experiences of the author's parents, and the author admits he took some liberties with literal truth by changing the names of characters and even some of the characters, but he believes he has not tarnished the truth with these changes. (less)
Though all the Ralph Moody books are well-written and are good for families to read aloud together, this ohe is my personal favorite. It shows how a t...moreThough all the Ralph Moody books are well-written and are good for families to read aloud together, this ohe is my personal favorite. It shows how a teen-age boy and his ornery grandfather who could get along with no one managed to live and work together in spite of their differences in age and outlook. Thjeir relationship was tested often as the grandfather kep calling Ralph a "tarnal fool" when he wanted to use more modern technology on their farm, when he wanted to use eggs in cooking , etc. I know few 15-year-old boys today who would take the verbal abuse as well as Ralph did, and he was often tempted to run away and go back west where his grew up. But the two finally learned to love and appreciate each other.(less)
This is the true story of Nanny Alderson, born in the South in 1860, who married a cattleman in 1882 and traveled with him to Montana to start a littl...moreThis is the true story of Nanny Alderson, born in the South in 1860, who married a cattleman in 1882 and traveled with him to Montana to start a little ranch. Though the reader will learn a lot about ranching, she will learn even more about the alues of those who settled the ranch country during that period. (less)
The author was born in Shanghai in 1954 and grew up as a dedicated follower of Chairman Mao. She was an outstanding and gifted student and her future...moreThe author was born in Shanghai in 1954 and grew up as a dedicated follower of Chairman Mao. She was an outstanding and gifted student and her future looked extremely bright until word got out that her grandfather, dead since her father was seven, had been a landlord -- an exploiter and enemy of the people. Though she had started as a supporter of the Cultural Revolution, which was in full swing while she was in junior high, Ji Li and her family become its victims. Ji Li tells this story of growing up, loyal to her family and to the Revolution, during this turbulent period. And she describes the ransacking of people's homes, including her own, by the Red Guard, and the persecution of innocent people who had politically incorrect associations. Her father himself was finally detained, and she was given a chance to regain all the status she had lost in the eyes of her peers, all the honors and privileges that had been taken from her, if she would only denounce and accuse her father publicly in a struggle meeting. Faced with this conflict of loyalties, she knew her first duty was to her family, and she took the consequences of making the right choice courageously.
This book will take readers straight to the center of the Cultural Revolution as it was experienced by a junior high girl and her family. Readers will feel the emotional anguish brought about by conflicting loyalties, class consciousness, and having to be politically correct when what is politically correct changes from one day to the next. On a deeper level, this book opens the door to some lively discussions on how the schools are used (as well as peer pressure in the workplace) to indoctrinate an entire generation of young people -- even to the point of breaking with their families. We've heard how this works in our history books, but this memoir by one who has been there brings it to life. (less)
Nina Kossman spent her early childhood in Russia. She learned that if her beach ball floated way from her on the Black Sea and went toward the Turkish...moreNina Kossman spent her early childhood in Russia. She learned that if her beach ball floated way from her on the Black Sea and went toward the Turkish border she would never get it back. Later she tried to erase all the borders on the map so that nothing would separate the world's nations. In school she learns it's heroic to betray one's parents to the government if they are not politically correct. In these memoirs, Nina relates 13 personal anecdotes that show us first hand what life was like for children in the Soviet Union in the '60's. This book can be understood (if read aloud) by primaries and adults alike (less)
This book suitable for ages nine through adult, and is very appropriate for unit studies on China in the 1920's. Jean makes the Yangtse River come ali...moreThis book suitable for ages nine through adult, and is very appropriate for unit studies on China in the 1920's. Jean makes the Yangtse River come alive with its coolies hauling water, women washing clothes, swarming houseboats, and junks with eyes painted on their prows. She lets us know how it felt to be a proud American (though one born in China) in a British school, forced to sing "God Save the King" every day. And she gives us her child's eye perspective on the growing turmoil in China, especially in Hankow and Wuchang, as the Chinese people became more and more suspious of foreigners, and warlords, Nationalists and Communists vied with each other for power. Being called a "foreign devil" took some getting used to, and several times the family had some very narrow escapes. Thoughout all her Chinese adventures, Jean never forgot that she was an American, and she was very eager to return to her native land. What she didn't expect was how difficult it would be to fit into American culture when she got home to her grandparents' farm in Pennsylvania. She was shocked when American children asked her what it was like to eat a rat. And she took offense when her classmates referred to the Chinese as "chinks."
I would highly recommend this book to anyone wanting to know more about either Jean Fritz or China. It would make an excellent book to read to the entire family, for there is much to discuss. From Chinese culture to the tactics of Communists in taking over a country, to how to fit into a new culture, there is much to learn.
Katherine is a prolific writer and has won the coveted Newbery Award. She's probably best-known for her book Bridge to Terabithia. She was also a daug...moreKatherine is a prolific writer and has won the coveted Newbery Award. She's probably best-known for her book Bridge to Terabithia. She was also a daughter of Presbyterian missionaries to China, where she was born in 1932. She spent her early years in Huaian. By the time she was eighteen, her family had moved 15 times, and during World War II they were finally forced to evacuate -- twice. This book does not provide as much information on China as the other two I have mentioned, since the focus of the author is to point to the factors that led to Katherine's becoming a writer. It was the last thing she had planned to become. When she was a child she had looked forward to being a missionary or a movie star when she grew up. In this book a lot of the China experience takes a back seat to Katherine's later life in America, but the flavor is still there at the beginning, as well as the cultural confusion of coming to America and trying to adjust when her classmates accuse her of being a Japanese spy because she came from China. (What does that say about the ignorance and prejudice of some American children?)
Although Katherine's family was evacuated at the beginning of the war, they were allowed to go back to Shanghai in 1939, and during this time, Katherine and her sister were almost trampled to death (accidentally) by Japanese soldiers who were practicing their maneuvers on the beach where the girls were playing. If you are interested in the World War II experience outside of Europe, this might be a good book to read. Though the American missionaries and their children were more sheltered than Chinese nationals, and the children less aware of what was happening than the adults, there is still a lot of information here on what is was like for a primary-age child to live in a city occupied by the Japanese. In 1940, the family returned again to the United States. (less)
The author shares various scenes from his father's life which portray his character and the way he lived out his Christian faith. This biography is se...moreThe author shares various scenes from his father's life which portray his character and the way he lived out his Christian faith. This biography is set on a small farm near Arthur, Ontario, and the story begins when Father is born in 1883 and ends with a special Thanksgiving as Father is in his last years, maybe even year.
It shows a real man, from his unconventional conversion and discipleship experiences to his temptations and his conquering of them.(e.g. He discovers he has unknowingly signed a contract to build a house for the man who has refused to let him marry his daughter and has taken her out of town away from him. When he tells the proprietor of the lumberyard how upset he is, Pete, the proprietor, takes him aside and tells him how he can get even by using inferior materials, since the man who wants the house is too sick to come and supervise. He'd still get the money for using the good materials, but would not do what he'd promised. He is sorely tempted -- can almost see the devil on his shoulder. So he does what he often does when it's in an emotional state -- goes out to play the bagpipes. He is met by a passing peddler, who asked him to play some special songs for him. When the peddler thanks Henry and is ready to leave, he says: "Man, but I love to hear a man play the pipes. Back by Edinburgh my father used to tell me that it was a GOOD man who played the pipes -- a man of integrity. A bad man couldn't." This, of course, makes him think about what he had almost decided to do, and he ordered the devil off his shoulder and did what was right. Later God rewards him in a very fitting way.)
Henry Green, who could not give his children much materially, gave them a heritage of godly example and good parenting. His son H. Gorden tells his story in the first person, the way he remembers his father: fair, good, sacrificial , loving, and faithful to his God.
As of date of writing this review,10/30/08, this book can be purchased inexpensively at Tomfolio For best results, search by author and title. (less)
This is Sarah Royce's story of her family's trip across the continent in a covered wagon and her observations on the life style and morals in the vari...moreThis is Sarah Royce's story of her family's trip across the continent in a covered wagon and her observations on the life style and morals in the various mining camps she lived in afterwards. Sarah's Christian faith shines through her various struggles as she trusts God(less)
Born in 1874 on a primitive cattle ranch in what was to become New Mexico, Agnes Morley Cleaveland lived the reality of the "Wild West." With her you...moreBorn in 1874 on a primitive cattle ranch in what was to become New Mexico, Agnes Morley Cleaveland lived the reality of the "Wild West." With her you learn to ride almost before you can walk, deal with outlaws, hunt grizzlies, and watch the many changes she regrets: the invasion of the country by writers and tourists, theatrical changes in cowboys, and government encroachment. Most of all you will enjoy the adventures this fatherless girl, her brother, and her widowed mother have as they all learn to handle the ranch that William Raymond Morley left them after he was shot. (less)
From the time she was a young bride in 1853, Phoebe Judson searched for the "ideal home." She crossed the plains from Ohio to the Puget Sound area of...moreFrom the time she was a young bride in 1853, Phoebe Judson searched for the "ideal home." She crossed the plains from Ohio to the Puget Sound area of Washington Territory, and settled in more than one place before she discovered her "ideal" location for a home at the head of the Nooksack River, almost on the Canadian border. Phoebe's diary details the hardships and beauty of the journey west, holing up in a fort during the Indian wars, and gradually learning to live in peace and friendship with Native Americans. Phoebe's writing vividly portrays her faith in God which sustained her through the many dangers and tragedies she faced. When life gets hard, read this book! (less)