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At Home in a New Land

Joan Sandin

Fiction

Ages 5 to 8

HarperCollins, 2007, 978-0-06-058077-3

  Carl Erik can hardly believe that he is finally in Minnesota. It is strange to see his cousin Anna Stina again. The last time he saw her was in Sweden two years ago and so much has happened since that time. She did not have to starve the way his family did. But that is all over now. His family are going to build a new life in America and the time of starving and struggling is over.

  Erik Carl’s father arrives to say that he has got a claim – one hundred and sixty acres of land. Now they have to build a house and in five years the land will be all theirs. Carl Erik’s uncle and his father decide that they are going to work in a logging camp for a while to make some money. Carl Erik is going to have to be the “man of the house” while they are away and he will need to get meat for the pot from his traps. Unfortunately he has no luck with his traps and the family end up eating a lot of potatoes. In addition to trying to get meat Erik Carl has to do a lot of other chores as well.

 Then there is school. Erik Carl gets a big surprise when he goes to the school for the first time and realizes that all the classes are held in English. He is going to have to learn a lot and since he does not like being made fun of, he is going to have to learn it all as quickly as possible.

  In this excellent chapter book for young readers, children will not only get to read an entertaining story which will encourage them to stretch their reading abilities, but they will also learn about what it was like to be a new arrival to America. In the later 1800’s a terrible famine in Sweden drove many Swedes to leave their homeland and many chose to come to Minnesota in America as it was similar to the land that they came from. Through Erik Carl’s eyes children will see how hard it was for a child to learn how to live in a new land where so many things were different.

 

 

At Home in a new land

 

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