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Journal of Wong Ming-Chung: A Chinese Miner, California, 1852

(My Name Is America)

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  324 ratings  ·  48 reviews
In 1852, during the height of the California Gold Rush, ten-year-old Wong Ming-Chung makes the dangerous trip to America to join his uncle on his hunt for a fortune. The true treasure for Ming-Chung, though, is America itself. In the midst of the lawless, often hostile environment, he is able to forge an international community of friends.
Hardcover, 219 pages
Published April 1st 2000 by Scholastic Inc.
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3.76  · 
Rating details
 ·  324 ratings  ·  48 reviews

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Mary JL
Nov 12, 2010 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone age 9 or older who likes history
Recommended to Mary JL by: I am familar with the author from other books
This is an excellent entry in the Scholastic "Dear America" series. Aimed at the 9 to 12 year old age group, they are short novoels set in differening historyical periods in US history.

At the age of 12 (page 34), Bright Intelligence has heard incredible news. He, who everyone calls "Runt", will be joining his Unclein the Golden Mountain (America). His older brother, Blessing, was the one his Uncle commanded to come---Uncles is legally the head of the family as the elder son--but Runt's parents d
Oct 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
My 3rd/4th graders study Chinese immigration, and we start with the gold rush. There is a lack of resources in teaching this subject to young readers, so this has become one of our introductory texts for them. Though it is truthfully too hard for most of the beginning of the year 3rd graders to read on their own, the 4th graders are able to scaffold it for them. I have my reservations about planning a social studies curriculum around a piece of fiction, but this text really helps students identi ...more
Sep 10, 2009 rated it really liked it
I try to make it a point not to review Dear America/My Name is America books, because then I'd be here all day...I mean really, if I listed every book that I've ever read in my entire borders on obsessive ridiculous.

However, I'm making an exception for this one because it's actually a book that I'm proud to have read and one that I think was formative in my book reading endeavors.

Obviously, the Dear America series is not classic literature, and it *can* get a bit...fluffy? Unsubstanti
Kelsey Hanson
I really enjoyed this one. I liked that even though it was a short book, it was able to show so much about Chinese culture and family dynamics. The main character's evolving relationship with his Uncle, brother and parents throughout the book was one of the most interesting aspects. It also showcased how dire the situation was in China and why Chinese miners were willing to risk so much and put up with so much abuse.
Aug 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: 3rd, 4th, & 5th grade students
When I was wandering the aisles of the Scholastic Book warehouse, I saw this book on the discount table. I've been making a very concerted effort to add books to my classroom library that have ethnically diverse protagonists as I work in an incredibly diverse school with children from all over the world. I immediately grabbed this book and added it to my shopping cart. Now that I have read the book, I am glad that I made the choice to introduce this book to my students. In fact, I think it would ...more
Dec 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
I picked up this book because it was referenced by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman who wrote The Unbreakable Code (Book Scavenger #2). The tie in was a ship discovered under the bay of San Francisco which figured into the story. I was intrigued by the idea since I was aware of how many similar stories exist when cities seek to extend their usable land area into the waterfront. In this case there were so many ships that were parked and abandoned in the San Francisco Bay that the ships were not even m ...more
Jul 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting glimpse of the uglier side of the gold rush days. It was a lot of hard work and broken dreams, not the easy money that many believed. It's also a good lesson about the racism against foreigners, and the later focus on Asians. For kids, this should be a good introduction to this part of history.
Aug 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The Journal of Wong Ming-Chung: A Chinese Miner, California, 1852 Is a Great book about a Chinese miner who was sent to America to earn money for his family in China. He has struggles and regrets but ends up making good money in the end. I would recommend this book to people who like historical fiction and suspense.
Nov 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
This books has me curious about the topic and interested to know how accurate this portrayal was. I think a lot of liberties were taken, but I still learned quite a bit about the different mining techniques used during the Gold rush as well as the culture of China back in the 1850s.
Apr 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I thought it was very similar to Dragon's Gate and then realized it was Laurence Yep! Not as nuanced as Dragon's Gate but informative and engaging for a younger audience.
May 10, 2018 rated it did not like it
I’m disappointed that the main character was funny but mostly boring.
Kristi Bernard
Bright Intelligence, better known as Runt, had started a diary so that future generations could know his journey to the Golden Mountain we know as America. Runt's life in Southern China in 1851 was not very pleasant. He lived with his father, mother, brother and his uncle Precious Stone. Runt and his family tended to their rice fields but barely made enough money to pay the taxes and buy food. And on top of all of that, when he went to school he would be beaten by his teacher and bullied by othe ...more
Yinglin Chen
Mar 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: freshman-year
Being shipped off to California, to find money for his family, at a young age is not that pleasing. He was not the one that was suppose to go to California, and look for gold as big as melons. His cousin, Blessing, was suppose to go but his parents sent Ming-Chung instead. Staying in a boat, to get to California was appalling. Meeting new friends, losing them and dealing with theft, Ming-Chung could not wait to get to California. When he gets to California, life was not how it seemed in his imag ...more
Sarah Crawford
Jan 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
This story is about a young Chinese boy who lived in China around 1852. His Uncle goes to the U.S. to hunt for gold during the gold rush and Runt, as he refers to himself, ends up going to join his Uncle there.

It’s really interesting how they describe the journey to the U.S. and how harsh it could be. There is also a very interesting description of what the port looked like where the ship, and numerous other ships, had docked and been abandoned. Then there’s the description of the journey to th
Nov 25, 2007 rated it liked it
This book is about a teenager who immigrates from China to America because of the gold rush in California. This is a diary of his experiences in America and before in China. THe protagonist did not want to go to America but his parents made him. Times were so tough back then in AMerica. There was a lot of racial discrimination. Taxes were put on non-American miners to try to force them away. The journey to America was bad too because they cam eon ship which took 3 months. I felt bad for the peop ...more
Mar 26, 2010 rated it really liked it
Young Bright Intelligance (who's usually called Runt because of his small size) and his family live in grueling poverty in rural China in 1851. Hoping to make a name for himself and earn a fortune, Runt's uncle sets out for the gold fields of California. Soon, Runt joins him. He is horrified by barely endurable conditions on the ocean voyage and by the cruelty with which the American miners treat the Chinese. And he soon learns that mining is mostly working long, hard hours for just a small ammo ...more
Feb 04, 2008 rated it really liked it
I wanted to read this book because I felt that it would be a good chance for me to learn about my roots, culturally. I have not been true to myself in this manner because I have not gotten the chance to learn about what my people have done before coming to America. This book to me, provided the opportunity to read and learn.
The book is about the journey of an young boy, Wong, who is forced to leave for America with his uncle in an attempt to fullfill the American dream. People associate the Am
Again, I am not disappointed with a book of the "Dear America" series.

I was especially intrigued with the time period that this diary was set in; I love the late 19th Century in American history, the Gold Rush, the Transcontinental Railroad, California history, you name it. So reading any point of view from that time period - fiction or historical fiction - is great fun for me.

I love the fact mixed with children's fun, as well as the epilogue and historical note in the back. I also love it when
Nov 13, 2008 rated it liked it
I like this book because it gives me information about when the Chinese first arrived in the United States and about the hardships that they have gone through. I feel sympathy for the narrator because no one views as important, even his parents. When his uncle asks for Bright Intelligent, the narrator's elder borther, to come to the United States, his parents sends the narrator because they are afraid that Bright Intelligent cannot endure the sufferings and die. Although the narrator suffers fro ...more
Apr 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book is a very interesting story. I read this book after our class concluded its study of Ancient China. This book includes a bit about Runt's history (family type, religion, customs, and so forth) and follows his path from China to California in the later part of the Gold Rush. The story also includes a lot about California history during this time, including the anti-immigrant activities. I enjoyed learning about the Chinese family structures. I also enjoyed who Runt came to understand hi ...more
Jimmy Zheng
May 11, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think you guys should read this book because this book is a lot of fun to read!This book was write by Wong Ming-Chung.This book is also about the gold rush that have happen!It mainly about people from china go to america to find gold.It a dangerous trip because in the golden mountain there a lot of thief that gonna steal the richest from them!This book is a Journal which tell people what have happen on Ming trip to the golden mountain!So why don't you read this book and find out what have hap ...more
Jan 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: autobiography
It was a fantastic story of a young man filled with fears who leaves his homeland to find another. It wasn't perfect, but it didn't have to be. It made a smile to my face when I read the epilogue and finally closed the book.
Perfect for those that want to learn more about the gold rush from a different view.
Another Diary book. I loved the Chinese aspect, of course. Especially the English words for what I knew the Chinese for. I felt smart. :-) I also liked that it was a book about the part of the Gold Rush that I did not know as much of. And it was interesting to see the racism and treatment of foreigners within this book. Again, good for the 7-12 age group.
Sarah Jowett
Jul 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
The version I got didn't mention anything about it being part of the Dear America series...

Like the author, I grew up in California and always hearing the stories about the Gold Rush and visiting Gold Country often.

This gave a good look into why people flocked to California and what really happened when they all came looking for the same thing, an item that was in limited supply.
Feb 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
This was typical of what I had read concerning the California Gold Rush. All foreigners, but especially the Chinese were exploited and often driven off their claims. They had no recourse because there was no law, as California had recently been added to the U.S. What was interesting, was how resourceful the Chinese were in dealing with their adversaries.
Dec 08, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Again, I feel like this book was just okay. The story line was fine, the writing was fine, it just didn't hold my attention as much as I would have liked. I'm glad I read it as I learned a lot, but I probably won't read it again. 3 out of 5 stars.
Jul 17, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
Really liked this book. It started with "Runt's" story beginning in China and carried over into the California Gold Rush mining fields. Lots of stuff going on all throughout the book, and really lovable characters. A great read.
Hoover Public Library Kids and Teens
Originally published as part of My Name Is America series. This reprint has an eye-catching cover that helps convince reluctant readers that history is NOT boring. Lots of great Gold Rush facts, photos, and maps in the back of the book.
May 03, 2012 added it
i thought this book was intresting and so far its ok. once you start reading the first paragraph, you not going to want to stop reading it because every day he does something intresting.maybe the book cover does not look intresting but what he writes about is intresting.
Aug 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone interested in Chinese culture
Although this is historical fiction, the story came to life for me. The way Wong Ming-Chung was treated holds true for traditional Chinese culture. I checked this out from the library, but I would buy it for my collection.
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journal of wong ming chung 1 2 May 15, 2012 12:34PM  
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