Life in the summer of 1609 in the New World is strange for young Elizabeth, who has traveled with her family from England to Jamestown, Virginia. After the disastrous sea crossing, during which a hurricane destroyed or rerouted five of their nine ships, Elizabeth is happy to be on dry land. Her initial elation vanishes, however, when mosquitoes, steamy weather, rampant illness, and unrest between the Indians and the new arrivals threaten any hope of a peaceful settlement. To make matters worse, Elizabeth misses her twin brother, Caleb, and feels tremendous guilt because she took his sketchbook with her, and is now using it for a journal. But together with her parents, she begins to build a new life in the Jamestown settlement, befriending such 17th-century luminaries as Captain John Smith and 13-year-old Pocahontas.
The My America series presents historical events in a fictional setting. Award-winning author Patricia Hermes does an excellent job of developing the personality of the intrepid and irrepressible 9-year-old Elizabeth. Through a season of death and disease, confusion, and many thrilling adventures, spunky Elizabeth will hold the attention of every young reader. A historical note following the journal provides real-life Jamestown context for the story. (Ages 8 to 11) --Emilie Coulter [via]