Friday, October 2, 2009

Stout-Hearted Seven

Today I completed a young-adult story, Stout-Hearted Seven, by Neta Lohnes Frazier. This is the true-story of the Sager Children who were orphaned during their trek along the Oregon Trail in 1844. It is written for 5th-6th graders I would suspect but older students (and even adults like me) will enjoy it as well.

The story is truly a tragic one. It begins as the family is preparing for their westward journey along the Oregon Trail and we come to know both parents as well as their six children, (a seventh would be born along the route). The story is told in third person, but mostly from the point of view of Catherine, the oldest girl at 13, and the third oldest child. This is primarily because in later years Catherine is the one who wrote of their ordeal in great detail, an account that today is considered one of the best historical references of the time period. As the family proceeds along their journey we get to enjoy the fun times, but more often, experience the truly difficult moments and day-to-day struggles to maintain their time goals and stay somewhat healthy. However, both parents die along the route, and the children are taken in by other members of the wagon teams. Eventually, the children are taken to and adopted by the Whitmans, missionaries that are trying to work with Indians. After only about three years there, the Indians massacre the Whitmans as well as several of the children. As I said, truly a tragic story. Eventually the surviving children make it to Oregon, and fulfill their father's dream.

The story is written for children and I congratulate the author for be historically accurate. The tragic parts are not glossed over but neither are they dwelled upon. All in all, this is an accurate account and is a great method for teaching children about life on the Oregon Trail.

I also completed the next entry in Harlan Ellison's The Essential Ellison. It was an essay this time, simply titled "My Father" and is a poignant look at the author's relationship with his father, who had died decades before. It was good to read, and timely, as this morning I had read Piers Anthony's newsletter/blog about the death of his daughter on September 3. That was truly heartbreaking and so Ellison's piece was a good balance.

Next up is the second Star Wars book in the "Black Fleet Crisis" trilogy.

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Top 10 Books in no particular order (Well Known Authors)

  • "The Stand" by Stephen King
  • "Kane and Able" by Jeffrey Archer
  • "The Killer Angels" by Michael Shaara
  • "The Dark Elf Trilogy" by RA Salvatore
  • "Name of the Wind" by Patrick Rothfuss
  • "River God" by Wilbur Smith
  • "Mortalis" by RA Salvatore
  • "Ender's Game" by Orson Scott Card
  • "Centennial" by James A Michener
  • "The Repairman Jack" series by F. Paul Wilson

Top Books/ Series in no particular order (Lesser Known Authors)

  • "The Sculpter" by Gregory Funaro
  • "Power Down" by Ben Coes
  • "Revolution at Sea Saga" by James L. Nelson
  • "Black Rain" by Graham Brown
  • "Top Producer" by Norb Vonnegut
  • "Prairie" by Anna Lee Waldo
  • "The Wild Blue" by W. Boyne & S Thompson
  • "Unsolicited" series by Julie Kaewert
  • "Freedom" by William Safire