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|Year we were famous|
Author: Dagg, Carole Estby
Based on a true story, in 1896, a mother and daughter hatch a plan to save the family farm by walking across the entire United States for publicity and prize money.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG+
Reading Level: 6.10
Points: 9.0 Quiz: 143383
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 9-12
Reading Level: 7.40
Points: 14.0 Quiz: 53911
Common Core Standards
Grade 6 → Reading → RL Literature → 6.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 6 → Reading → RL Literature → 6.RL Craft & Structure
Grade 6 → Reading → RL Literature → 6.RL Integration of Knowledge & Ideas
Grade 6 → Reading → RL Literature → 6.RL Range of Reading & Level of Text Complexity
Grade 6 → Reading → CCR College & Career Readiness Anchor Standards fo
Grade 7 → Reading → RL Literature → 7.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 7 → Reading → RL Literature → 7.RL Range of Reading & LEvel of Text Complexity
Grade 7 → Reading → RL Literature → 7.RL Craft & Structure
Grade 7 → Reading → RL Literature → 7.RL Integration of Knowledge & Ideas
Grade 8 → Reading → RL Literature → 8.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 8 → Reading → RL Literature → 8.RL Craft & Structure
Grade 8 → Reading → RL Literature → 8.RL Range of Reading & Level of Text Complexity
Grade 5 → Reading → RL Literature → 5.RL Craft & Structure
Grade 5 → Reading → RL Literature → 5.RL Integration & Knowledge of Ideas
Grade 5 → Reading → RL Literature → 5.RL Range of Reading & Level of Text Complexity
Kirkus Reviews (03/15/11)
School Library Journal (05/01/11)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (04/11)
The Hornbook (00/05/11)
Full Text Reviews:
Bulletin for the Center... - 04/01/2011 Back taxes are due on the Estbys’ Oregon farm, and there’s not enough money to pay them, but Clara Estby’s mother, Helga, has a plan. It seems to her that everyone in 1896 America is fascinated by record-breaking stunts, so why not set up a challenge to walk across the country for a cash prize? Helga finds a New York publisher to take the bet-$10,000 for rights to the story-and talks Clara into accompanying her. Clara, just out of high school and unwilling to settle down as a farmer’s wife, agrees to go, as much to get out of pokey Mica Creek as to keep her headstrong but often flighty mother focused on her mission. Their pedestrian-literally-adventures are rife with the pitfalls one might expect of a turn-of-the-century undertaking: fraught encounters (at least on the Estbys’ side) with Native Americans, flash floods, shortcuts that turn into delays, haphazard lodging, and the astonishing kindness of strangers. An epistolary romance with a small-town newspaper publisher and the revelation of a closely guarded family secret spice up the long miles. It is the deftly limned relationship between mother and daughter, however, that sets this apart from other literary road trips. In a later era Helga might well be described as bipolar, and Clara convincingly relates the seven-month-long effort to shepherd her mother all the way to New York City with equal parts strained affection and outright exasperation. Dagg bases her novel on the exploits of her great-grandmother, a tale that in real life did not turn out quite so well. After perusing the author’s note, readers will be appreciative that she turned the family story into a bright, optimistic tribute. EB - Copyright 2011 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.
Booklist - 04/15/2011 Desperate to save her family’s farm from foreclosure––and to show that women can make a difference––Clara, 17, tells how she and Ma walk nearly 4,000 miles across the U.S., from Spokane, Washington, to New York City, in 1896. A newspaper has offered them $10,000 if they can accomplish their journey within seven months. Based on the true story of the author’s great-grandmother and great-aunt, this debut novel is both a realistic survival adventure, filled with exciting escapes from snakes, cougars, storms, and gangsters, and a step-by-step account of the women’s struggle through heat, dust, and rain––25 miles a day, which is 50,000 steps, adding up to 8 million steps to New York. Those steps can make for slow reading, and a subplot about Clara’s discovery of family secrets is undeveloped. The novel’s best drama comes from Clara and Ma’s realistic, scrappy relationship, as well as Clara’s passionate support for the suffragists and her determination to prove that women can get across the country without a man at their side. - Copyright 2011 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 05/01/2011 Gr 6–10—Threatened with the loss of their family farm, Helga Estby hatches a highly unusual plan to walk from her small town near Spokane, WA, to New York City to earn a purse of $10,000 offered by an interested New York publisher. It is 1896 when Helga and her shy, 17-year-old daughter, Clara, start out on an unthinkable quest: two women alone, crossing thousands of miles with only $10 and the clothes on their backs. They confront a would-be attacker, Indians, flash floods, treacherous terrain, injury, and deprivation as they make their way across the nation. On their journey they share tales of their adventure with incredulous townspeople, protest for the right to vote, and experience the kindness of strangers. Foiled and disappointed at their destination, the women are not awarded the promised money, but a letter from home tells them that the sale of farm equipment has stayed the loss of their property for the coming year. Helga and Clara decide to spend that time writing a book from the copious journals they kept while traveling. Family secrets are revealed along the way, and Clara blossoms from a quiet, unsure girl into a confident adventurer and writer-in-training. Based on a true (if sketchy) account of the author's great-aunt and great-grandmother, this is an engaging and emotionally compelling tale. Fully realized characters and vivid descriptions of the natural world and physical challenges on their journey capture readers' empathy and attention and make for a very satisfying read.—Karen Elliott, Grafton High School, WI - Copyright 2011 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.