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Boom Town by Sonia Levitin

Boom Town

by Sonia Levitin

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A good picture book, full of engaging illustrations and cute storyline. Could be used in history lessons or just classroom read aloud. Includes a recipe for gooseberry pie, which could be a fun classroom activity (or variations thereof).
  Climbing-books | Dec 18, 2014 |
When gold was discovered in the west, thousands of people came to join the Gold Rush. That is the background of the story.
  xliao | Nov 19, 2014 |
I thought this book was really cute! One of the main things that stood out to me was title of this book. The little girls town was very small and boring, but soon turned into a BOOMING sensation! I think the title fits perfectly with the events that happened in this book. I also enjoyed the pictures in this book. They were very detailed, which helps children visualize what the world looked like decades ago. Children only know what they see today, so seeing the detailed illustrations of an old town teaches them about evolution and history. The main idea of this book is that one small idea can create enough motivation for an entire town to prosper. ( )
  eschoe1 | Oct 23, 2014 |
Levitin, Sonia. Boom Town. New York: Scholastic 1998

Characters: Amanda, her parents, and brothers, and the townspeople

Setting: California, small town, Gold Rush

Theme: Perseverance, independence, family

Genre: Children's historical fiction

Golden quote: "It was so wide and lonesome out west, even my shadow ran off."

Summary: Amanda and her family have finally made it to California, and once the family builds a cabin and begins to settle into their new lives, Amanda gets bored. She desperately wants to bake a pie, and tries and tries until it finally comes out just right. She sends a pie off with her dad, and he returns having sold slices of the pie, and made some money. This leads the family to help Amanda out by gathering supplies, and slowly, more and more people come to town and start up a new business. The town bustles with people and it is thanks to Amanda's suggestions that people begin making their own businesses for the services they want.

There is a note in the back of the book stating that there truly was a young lady who made her own pies, and earned $11,000 by baking them in an iron skillet.

Audience: 6-12 year olds; 4th grade to 6th grade

Curriculum ties: This would work wonderfully with a unit on historical fiction, or California state history

Awards: None

Personal Response: I truly enjoyed the book because I love to see young people being inventive and creative. The main character was also very inspiring as well. I think this would be a great way to open a unit on California history, or to introduce historical fiction. I really liked the positive message in the book, but would like to find books that contain male main characters as well. ( )
  Payama | Mar 8, 2013 |
In Boom Town, Sonia Levitin continues the story of Amanda and her family that readers first read about in Nine for California. They have made it safely to California, but now boredom has struck. "Days were long and lonely. The hills spread out as far as forever," the text states. Amanda ends up baking pies to sell to the gold miners and also convinces others to start profitable businesses. Soon Amanda's town has a blacksmith, a tailor, a laundress, a cobbler, a barber, and more. This story will help students learn that it was those who "mined the miners" and not the miners themselves who made the biggest profits during the Gold Rush. Plus, there actually was a young woman who earned $11,000 selling pies in an iron skillet during the Gold Rush. Cat Bowman Smith's watercolor illustrations include great historical details. ( )
  odonnell | Sep 15, 2010 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0531300439, Hardcover)

"Bored by cabin life in the sparse settlement, Amanda figures out how to bake a gooseberry pie in the family's crude wood stove. Soon the prospectors are paying for her pies, and her business success spills over onto other folks, who decide to settle there.... [An] entertaining lesson in history and human nature." - The Horn Book

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:01:30 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

After her family moves to California where her father goes to work in the gold fields, Amanda decides to make her own fortune baking pies and she encourages others to provide the necessary services--from a general store to a school--that enables her town to prosper.… (more)

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