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According to thirteen-year-old Ben Ward's father, lumberjacks look forward to two things: mealtime and springtime. In the winter of 1898, Ben leaves school for a job as a cook's assistant to his father at the Blackwater Logging Camp. As Ben spends long hours peeling potatoes and frying flapjacks, he dreams of working in the woods with the other men, felling trees, driving a team, and skidding timber. While enduring a long, cold winter in a camp filled with outlandish characters, as well as an orphan boy named Nevers, Ben comes to understand himself and his family's past. Peppered throughout with heart and humor--and including a glossary and afterword with facts about logging--Blackwater Ben paints a vivid picture of the north woods of Minnesota at the end of the nineteenth century.
Thirteen-year-old Ben works at Blackwater Logging Camp as cook's helper to his Pa. Long days of flipping pancakes and peeling potatoes with his ornery Pa make Ben long to be out in the woods with the lumberjacks. Felling logs, sawing trees, driving a team through the snowy woods . . . that's what Ben wants to be doing. But the long cold winter in a camp filled with outlandish characters teaches Ben a lot about himself. Especially when an orphan boy called Nevers arrives in camp. When Nevers signs on to work with Pa, Ben makes a friend and a rival, too.
In the summer of 1800, 13-year-old Pierre La Page never thought he'd be leaving Montreal to paddle 2,400 miles. It was something older men, like his father, did. But when Pierre's father has an accident, Pierre quits school and enlists to become a voyageur for the Northwest Fur Company. Without his wages, how would his family survive the winter?As the youngest member of the brigade, it's not easy for Pierre. Treacherous waters, aching and bloodied hands, and the relentless teasing from the seasoned voyageurs make him miserable. But Pierre knows there's no turning back. He has no choice but to endure the trip to Grand Portage and back.
In the 1930s, some 6,000 Finnish Americans traveled to Karelia, a province in northwestern Russia, hoping to leave the Depression behind and to establish a workers' paradise. Based on these true events, The Darkest Evening chronicles the story of Jake Maki, whose father, caught up in the socialist fervor washing over their Finnish mining community in Minnesota, moves their family to the Soviet Union. Instead of finding the utopia they were promised, Jake and his family encounter only disappointment and hardship. When Stalin's secret police begin targeting Americans for arrest, his worst fears are confirmed, and Jake leads his family on a daring midwinter escape attempt on cross-country skis, fleeing toward the Finnish border.
Thirteen-year-old Bella wants to be a lector just like her grandfather. All day long he sits on a special platform in the cigar factory in Ybor City, Florida, reading books, newspapers, and current events to workers as they roll the cigars. Lectors have always been highly respected members of their Cuban American community. But now times are changing. When the factory workers clash with the owners, violence erupts and the lectors start losing their jobs. And then there's the radio. Could this small device replace the lector? It's up to Bella to determine her future and help her people preserve their history. From the Hardcover edition.
"June 10, South of Oatman, Arizona We headed toward the Black Mountains two hours before dawn. The foothills weren't bad, but once we hit the main slope, our truck ground to a halt. We unhooked the trailer and stood for a while. One look at the household goods scattered along the ditch made it clear what he had to do, but Mother didn't want to face it. Though it was hot as Hades, Daddy let her talk it all out. Finally Mother nodded. The trailer was the first thing to go. Daddy and I eased it onto the road shoulder. Then we pried off the best boards and used them to reinforce the stake bed sides on the truck. Next, using the old nails for hooks, we hung up the pails and basins. Mother never blinked as we tossed away two crocks, three mattresses, and her bedspring. But when we picked up her cedar hope chest, she teared up bad. Free of the trailer, Daddy revved up the truck and gave the hill another try, but she still gave out. "No-good, gutless engine," Daddy said, kicking at a tire. ..."
Otto Peltonen emigrates from Finland to Minnesota in 1906, where he and his father work long, dangerous hours in the iron ore mines. Ott's experiences strengthen his resolve to find freedom that his family sailed to America for.
In 1867, 15-year-old Sean experiences both hardships and rewards when he joins his father in working on the building of the Transcontinental Railroad.
For fifteen-year-old Matti Ojala and his family, Finnish immigrants in Minnesota in 1900, starting a new life in America is both a hardship and an opportunity. After a tragic mining accident kills their beloved uncle, the family turns away from the iron mines to pursue the dream of owning a homestead in the wilderness. This means constant hard work and new challenges for the entire family. But will it also allow Matti, the in-between child, the chance to escape from his older brother's shadow and gain the approval of his father, which he so desperately desires?
For Matti Ojala and his family, Finnish immigrants in Minnesota, starting a new life in America is both a hardship and an opportunity. When their beloved Uncle Wilho is killed in a tragic mining accident, the family decides they must realize their dream of owning a homestead in the wilderness. This means constant hard work and new challenges for the entire family. But it also means that Matti, the "in-between" child, has his chance to shine. Whether he's looking after his younger sisters, clerking in a general store, teaching English, or clearing the land with Father, Matti strives to prove himself to Father and escape his older brother's shadow. From the Hardcover edition.
Until the Last Spike, the Journal of Sean Sullivan, a Transcontinental Railroad Worker, Nebraska and Points West, 1867by William Durbin
Acclaimed author William Durbin's exciting JOURNAL OF SEAN SULLIVAN is now in paperback with a dynamic repackaging! It's August 1867 and Sean has just arrived from Chicago, planning to work with his father on the Intercontinental Railroad. Sean must start at the bottom, as a water carrier, toting barrels of it to the thirsty men who are doing the backbreaking work on the line. At night, everyone is usually too tired to do anything but sleep, yet Sundays are free, and Sean discovers the rough and rowdy world of the towns that seem to sprout up from nowhere along the railroad's path over the prairie. But prejudices run rampant for both the Irish and Chinese workers -- especially when they start a deadly race to see who can lay track the fastest. Through Sean's eyes, the history of this era and the magnitude of his and his fellow workers' achievements come alive.
When the Soviet Union invades its tiny neighbor Finland in November 1939, Marko volunteers to help the war effort. Even though his leg was weakened by polio, he can ski well, and he becomes a messenger on the front line, skiing in white camouflage through the forests at night. The dark forest is terrifying, and so are the odds against the Finns: the Russians have 4 times as many soldiers and 30 times as many planes. They have 3000 tanks, while the Finns have 30. But a tank is no help in the snowy forest-a boy on skis is. And the Russians don't know winter the way the Finns do, or what tough guerrilla warriors the Finns are. Marko teams up with another messenger, Karl. Gradually Marko learns that Karl's whole family was killed by the Russians. And Karl has a secret-he's really Kaari, a girl who joined up to get revenge for her family's deaths.From the Hardcover edition.