Houghton Mifflin Social Studies

California Studies

Unit 3 Bibliography: New Flags for California

The books listed below may be available through publishers, distributors such as bookstores or online retailers, or library systems.

Books for Independent Reading

Extra Support

The Legend of Freedom Hill
by Linda Jacobs Altman
Lee & Low, 2003
During the Gold Rush, Rosabel, an African American girl who has her freedom papers, and her friend Sophie must find a way to buy the freedom of Rosabel's mother, a fugitive slave.

Oranges on Golden Mountain
by Elizabeth Partridge
Dutton, 2001
When Jo Lee's mother sends him from China to join his fisherman uncle on Golden Mountain, she gives him cuttings from an orange tree to plant in his new home.

The Sweetwater Run: the Story of Buffalo Bill Cody and the Pony Express
by Andrew Glass
Delacorte, 1996
In 1861, fourteen-year-old Will Cody carries the news that Abraham Lincoln has been elected President.

On Level

Dame Shirley and the Gold Rush
by James Rawls and John Holder
Raintree, 1992
Letters by a woman named Dame Shirley were said to be responsible for starting the California Gold Rush.

Reflections of a Black Cowboy: Pioneers
by Robert H. Miller
Silver, 1991
Among the six African American pioneers featured in this book are George Monroe, a Pony Express rider, and Alvin Coffey, a gold miner who bought his own freedom.

Riding the Flume
by Patricia Curtis Pfitsch
Simon, 2002
Francie's adventure during the summer of 1894 begins when she finds a note from her late sister and decides to fight lumbermen to save the largest sequoia tree ever seen.


Seeds of Hope: The Gold Rush Diary of Susanna Fairchild, California Territory, 1849
by Kristiana Gregory
Scholastic, 2001
Susanna and her family set sail from New York to Oregon, but when her mother tragically dies, Susanna's father decides to head for California to mine for gold.

The Journal of Wong Ming-Chung: A Chinese Miner, California, 1852
by Laurence Yep
Scholastic, 2000
Wong Ming-Chung leaves China to join his uncle mining for gold in California, where he finds adventure, friends, and gold, as well as prejudice.

Thunder on the Sierra
by Kathy Balmes
Silver Moon, 2001
Mateo becomes a mule driver, bringing supplies to California gold miners while, at the same time, searching for the bandit who stole his horse.

Read Aloud and Reference

Read Aloud Books

By the Great Horn Spoon!
by Sid Fleischman
Little, 1963
In this classic, Jack Flagg and his butler Praiseworthy leave Boston to mine gold in California and share many humorous adventures.

Mr. Mysterious and Company
by Sid Fleischman
Greenwillow, 1997
Mr. Mysterious and his family travel by covered wagon to California, performing magic tricks in towns along the way. Available in Spanish as Mr. Misterio y Cia.

Reference Books

The Great American Gold Rush
by Rhoda Blumberg
Atheneum, 1989
The author uses primary sources, such as letters, diaries, newspaper articles, posters, and cartoons, to chronicle the immigration of people from the East Coast to California to mine for gold.

To the Golden Mountain: The Story of the Chinese Who Built The Transcontinental Railroad
by Lila Perl
Benchmark, 2002
After explaining why the Chinese emigrated to California, Perl discusses the dangerous work conditions and prejudice they found, and the formation of many Chinatowns.

Full Steam Ahead: The Race to Build the Transcontinental Railroad
by Rhoda Blumberg
National Geographic, 1996
Blumberg examines the building of the transcontinental railroad and the inherent dangers and difficulties.

Free and Inexpensive Materials

National Park Service Headquarters
1849 C Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20240
Phone: (202) 208-6843

National Park Service
You can find information on the Pony Express National Historic Trail through the National Park Service website.