Hudson-Goff, Elizabeth. (2006). Graphic Histories: The California Gold Rush. Milwaukee: World Almanac Library.
Subgenre: Graphic Novel; Nonfiction
Textbook Chapter: 5
Possible Curriculum Connections: Middle School United States history lesson on the history of the western United States.
Book Summary: The California Gold Rush is a nonfiction graphic novel found in my school's library. This book is a comic book and nonfiction informational book wrapped up in one! The book began with the history of the western United States, starting with the Native Americans that lived in the area. It continues with the Spanish soldiers and Catholic priests that settled the area, and then about how the state of California wanted to become its own country. Finally, the gold rush begins when Johann Sutter finds gold at his mill in California in 1848. This discovery spurred the great Californian gold rush! The book continues to describe the hardships that the goldrushers faced, like long hours, traveling great distances, and eventually, some rushers even died of disease or starvation. Finally, the book describes how the gold eventually ran out in California, and the rush moved north, to what is now Alaska and Canada.
Personal Reaction/ Why Teens Would Want to Read this Book:
Although graphic novels and comic books are not my favorite genre, I did enjoy this book. I really like history, and the format in which this book was written made the facts easy to understand and interesting. Unlike some graphic novels I have read, this book's illustrations were not very distracting. Instead, the illustration enhanced the facts that the author was sharing with the reader. I think that teenagers would like to read this book because it is easy to read! The text is fairly simple, and there are many facts found in very few pages. Struggling teens who need to read informational text may choose to read these books because they are not as overwhelming, but still contain good information.