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Nothing Here But Stones: A Jewish Pioneer…
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Nothing Here But Stones: A Jewish Pioneer Story

by Nancy Oswald

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Based on the Russian Jewish Colony of Cotopaxi Colorado 1882 and a girls life there.
  ccsdss | Mar 21, 2017 |
Best Children's Books of the Year, 2004 ; Bank Street College of Education; United States

School Library Journal- 10/1/2004
Gr 4-8-This novel is about the establishment of a Russian-Jewish community in Cotopaxi, CO, in 1882. Emma's family and neighbors flee the terror and persecution of Tsarist Russia for a better life in America, but instead they encounter harsh realities that threaten their survival: unfinished houses, rocky soil, severe winter weather, marauding bears, starving Indians, and cultural isolation. Emma and her siblings cling to their widowed papa, who takes mining and railroad-construction jobs to make ends meet. Older sister Adar rules their home with a sharp, critical eye while younger sister Ruth enjoys Emma's affectionate attention. But the family is devastated when baby Leb dies. Lonely and restless, Emma pins her hopes for happiness on Mazel, a horse whose life she saves. In the end, the future looks brighter as help arrives from a Jewish aid society in Denver. Emma's reflective narrative reveals her passionate, spontaneous personality and the perseverance and mutual support among the pioneers. Jewish customs and traditions are woven smoothly into their daily lives. With compassion and curiosity, the girl reaches out to her new world. Emma's role as middle child, outsider, dreamer, and risk taker is realistic. This well-paced, vivid account should capture readers' attention.-Gerry Larson, Durham School of the Arts, NC Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
  AConiff | Jul 13, 2011 |
Eleven-year-old Emma, her widowed father, her two sisters, and her baby brother have left their home in a small village in Russia to immigrate to America. In Russia, their lives were dangerous because they were Jews, and they were not allowed to own land. Emma's father dreams of building a better life for his family and being able to own a farm. Emma's family is part of a group of Russian Jewish immigrants hoping to build an agricultural colony on the Colorado frontier. But when they arrive in Colorado, they find they have been deceived. The land is poor, and their houses are unfinished. Emma must work hard to help her family, and she is desperately lonely and longs for her mother, who died in Russia shortly before the family left for America. It is only when she saves the life of an injured horse that she finally finds a friend.

I loved this unusual historical novel. I have read many historical fiction books about Jewish immigrants, but none about Jewish pioneers who settled on the frontier. I really enjoyed reading about this forgotten piece of history and I highly recommend this book to young readers who enjoy immigrant or pioneer stories. ( )
  rebecca191 | Mar 5, 2010 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0805074651, Hardcover)

At first I thought everything in America would look like New York City, with shops and crowded streets, but I have discovered, the farther west we travel, that there are long stretches of nothing. Absolutely nothing.
I only hope the place we are going to is not so empty.

A Russian Jewish family struggles to make a new start in America

To Emma, Colorado seems as barren as an unfinished house. The land is too poor to farm, so Papa must work long hours in the mines. The trials of frontier life are especially hard for these Russian Jewish immigrants, who speak no English and practice a different religion from the others in the area. With a harsh, hungry winter coming, the settlement needs some good luck. Can Emma make it happen?

Based on the real struggles of an exceptional group of pioneers who came west in 1882, this is a finely crafted portrait of a family striving to make a home out of nothing.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:11 -0400)

In 1882, ten-year-old Emma and her family, along with other Russian Jewish immigrants, arrive in Cotopaxi, Colorado, where they face inhospitable conditions as they attempt to start an agricultural colony, and lonely Emma is comforted by the horse whose life she saved.… (more)

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