Levine, Ellen. The journal of Jedediah Barstow, an immigrant on the Oregon Trail; Overland, 1845.

Author:Rosser, Claire
Position:Book Review - Young Adult Review - Brief Article
 
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(My Name is America Series), Scholastic. 172p. 0-439-06310-8. $10.95. J

The stories of traveling by covered wagon across the continent on the Oregon Trail are filled with drama, inevitably. Young Jedediah starts his journal after his parents and little sister drown at a treacherous river crossing. As an orphan, he is taken in by one of the men traveling alone, Jacob Fenster, a Jew. One of the interesting aspects of this account is that a main character is Jewish, facing anti-Semitism from his fellow travelers and coping. (In the note at the end of the novel, Levine says that eventually Jacob Fenster became a judge in the new state of Oregon.) Jedediah is embarrassed about being associated with a Jew and is taken in by another family even though he can't stand the father, a man with a terrible temper. As you can imagine, Jedediah's opinion...

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