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The Black Alabaster Box

(The Last Crystal Trilogy #1)

4.59  ·  Rating details ·  32 ratings  ·  16 reviews
It had been quiet along the Santa Fe Trail for more than a year when the Stokes Company set out for California, the Willis family among them. A reluctant traveler, young Grace Willis longs for her fortunate, safe, and comfortable life at home. Just as she is learning to negotiate life in a wagon-train, Grace is kidnapped by fellow travelers and taken into Oklahoma Territor ...more
Kindle Edition, 228 pages
Published March 1st 2018 by Auctus Publishers
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Frances Schoonmaker
Jan 04, 2020 marked it as to-read  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
This review is just in from D. Donovan, Senior Editor, Midwest Book Reviews. As author, I'm proud to share excerpts with you.
You can read the whole review in 'Donovan's Shelf' monthly reviews for Midwest Book Review

Teens expecting a fairytale story or mystery may be surprised at the real facts and history that serve as a backdrop for Grace's adventures. The realities of early days in Oklahoma during the Great Western Migration come to life, as does Grace's involvement w
Mar 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Leaving their home in St. Louis and heading to California along the Santa Fe Trail, the Willis family embarks on a greater journey than anticipated in The Black Alabaster Box by Frances Schoonmaker.

To read this, and other book reviews, visit my website:

Young Grace Willis is reluctant to leave the home she knows in St. Louis despite her parents' keen interest to help others by sharing their medical knowledge out west in California. As they begin their wago
Jan 23, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While this is not the type of book I usually read, I did enjoy it. I could see that children in upper elementary school grades would love reading what it was like for pioneers traveling in wagons to California and the adventures of young Grace with some magic thrown in.
Jun 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
As she begins her tale, the author describes the hardships American pioneers faced during the western migration. A rich and varied vocabulary, simple sentence constructions, depicts the dangers and suffering endured by the early settlers who helped create our nation. I believe young readers will be both delighted and horrified, yet captivated nonetheless, by the many adventures that befall the protagonist, young Grace Willis, and her family and friends travelling by wagon train on their way to C ...more
Ted Kesler
Jul 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Black Alabaster Box is an action-filled adventure that is both historical fiction and fantasy. Readers learn about the trials and tribulations of the wagon trains making their way out west from Saint Louis along the Santa Fe Trail through the perspective of ten-year-old Grace Willis. The book covers a lot of terrain and a twenty year time span. The author, Frances Schoonmaker, contends with several harrowing topics honestly for young readers: small pox, death, kidnapping. Fantasy arises midw ...more
Dawna Mosburg
May 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The Black Alabaster Box is a wonderful read for adults and middle aged children. I previously worked on a project with the author and are familiar with her work ethic and integrity. Her writing is backed by research. I am also familiar with the areas in Oklahoma she refers to in the book. It was wonderful to read about them. I feel as a school administrator her book has much to offer to students and classroom teachers. The life lessons taught in the book are priceless. The book is filled with mu ...more
Oct 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
To read The Black Alabaster Box is to embark on an unrivaled journey. You will be transported to the expertly created world which combines the history of the Santa-Fe Trail and a surreal world of magic. This book is well-researched.

A young girl learns that in the most difficult of times, she can find the strength to try to heal the world. This book is the perfect gift for both children and adults. Children will be empowered by reading this book. As an adult who typically does not read young adu
Esther Suh
Sep 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I'm already looking forward to the next book!! The characters are interesting, the story line engaging, and the historical background thoroughly researched. As I was reading, I wanted to visit the places the author described and meet the people she brought to life, especially the twins. It's hard to find a book that makes you feel like you are visiting with an old friend, but this book did that for me.

The writing flows beautifully and I appreciate the insights about life she includes in her stor
Sep 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Just finished a really delightful book the publisher asked me to read called "The Black Alabaster Box". If you have children 4th to 6th grade I'd say this is a great choice for boys or girls. Here's my review on Amazon and a link to it on Amazon as well.Just finished this very well written book that would be perfect for grades 4-6. Some good history combined with some good magic adventure make this a really exciting and interesting read. Great messages for kids as well about respecting the earth ...more
Nov 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A young adult book set in the Westward journey movement. The author is the mom of one of my fellow students at the Institute. It was really well done. Interesting characters and period. Part history, part fantasy, lots of interesting themes. The best part is that she writes with the idea that young adult readers are actually intelligent and can read and think at the same time. Also, that they can process difficult subjects. Refreshing indeed!
Angela Horjus
Oct 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is fantastic. It weaves history, fantasy, life lessons, and story all into one. I could not put it down!
Csimplot Simplot
Excellent book!!!
Janice Carico
Apr 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book. It is a great mix of history and fantasy. Can't wait until the next one is published.
Mar 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
If you're looking for a book for your middle grade child (niece, nephew, cousin, grandkid, etc.) and the thought of another superhero spin-off, brain eating zombie, Olympian god storyline has you wishing for something else out there...this is that something else. Something with a bit of magic, something with high adventure, and something of a page turner. A family starts out on the Santa Fe trail, but things don't go as smoothly as one might hope. There's hardship, there's magic, there's friends ...more
It has been added to my classroom library as a read for an upper elementary student who may enjoy reading historical fiction laced with fantasy!
Mary Jo Lynch
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Jul 18, 2020
Joe Lerro
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Jun 05, 2018
Julie H
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Miss Joan
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Apr 01, 2018
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Dec 23, 2019
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Jamie Grecco
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Dec 26, 2019
Janice Carico
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Apr 22, 2018
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Melissa Cheresnick
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Leola Boyd
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Review of THE BLACK ALABASTER BOX just in from “Kirkus Reviews.”
"A well-crafted mix of fact and fantasy filled with surprises and grounded in history and real-world dilemmas." View it on line:

My brothers and I loved exploring along the creek banks on the farm in Western Oklahoma where we grew up. There were always books to read, too--wonderful books. Maybe

Other books in the series

The Last Crystal Trilogy (3 books)
  • The Red Abalone Shell (The Last Crystal Trilogy, Book 2)
  • The Last Crystal (Last Crystal Trilogy, #3)

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