Sunday, May 25, 2014

Boom Town - A Westward Expansion Must Read!!!

Hey there!  We are here to write our last Must Read Mentor Text linky post.  We may come back with the linky in August, but even if we don't, I promise we will still share books that we love and how we use them!

 Today I wanted to share a great book for Westward Expansion and the California Gold Rush!  It's called Boom Town by Sonia Levitin.
Here is the synopsis from Scholastic:  Finding herself with free time after her family moves to California during the Gold Rush, Amanda bakes a pie that leads her to starting a booming business. She encourages people she meets along the way to start their own businesses, and eventually, a town develops.

I love that this book is based on a true story!
Here are the first few pages from the book:

This is a really cute book, and not just because the main character's name is Amanda!  ;O)

Basically, throughout the book more and more people realize that they need different things for their town.  Amanda started by baking pies.  Her dad takes them to the mining fields and the men bought slices of pie from him.  That's the only way he made money.

Since she's making so many pies, she needs more supplies.  A peddler comes by and sells her some pans and she encourages him to stay because they needed a store.  He builds a store and then more and more people come: a tanner, a cooper, a blacksmith, etc.  It basically shows how towns were built back then, based on need.  They had someone who did laundry for all of the men mining for gold.  They set up a livery stable for the people traveling through because they had no where to put their horses.  It's just a great example of how towns were built in the west and that most people made money from starting businesses in town than they did mining for gold.

I ran out of time, but one of the teachers I work with had her students do a project with this book where they built their own town and they had to decide what their business or part in the town would be.  It was a really cute idea and the kids were so excited to work on it.  Hopefully, next year I'll have more time to do it!

Well, we are out for summer break (or we will be after a work day on Tuesday) so I plan on enjoying the pool really soon!!  Maybe I can find more time to blog, too!!  ;O)

Have a great Memorial Day weekend!  I am so thankful for all the men and women that have and are fighting for our freedom!

We are taking a break at least for the summer!!


  1. Love it and I'm pinning. :) Thanks for sharing.
    Creating Lifelong Learners

  2. Congrats on making it to summer vacation!! This book sounds great - I really like the idea of having the students set up a town and have students decide on their contribution - I may have to try that if I have time in June. Thank you so much for hosting this linky each week - it has been amazing!

    I found it for $1 in a huge bin of clearance books at the grocery store and scooped it up on a whim. We don't teach about the Westward Expansion in 5th, but I usually find a way to sneak this book in sometime during the year :)

    Congratulations on finishing the school year - we've got about 3 weeks left. Think of us trying to control the end-of-year-chaos as you're lounging by the pool, enjoying the way rays of the sun :)

    Joy in the Journey

  4. Have an AMAZING summer!!!!!

    Amanda Bryant
    A Traveled Teacher

  5. Great book! I originally read it in our 3rd grade textbook (boy, the quality of stories in there has sure come a LONG way), but forgot all about it now that I teach 4th. Love it! I'm adding it to my wishlist for my library. -Amanda


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