Adventures on the American Frontier

Adventures on the American Frontier Series Cover

An American History Series for Children in the Elementary and Middle Grades

The Adventures on the American Frontier series is a collection of books that introduce children to some of the people who made a difference in the shaping of America, many of whom never get mentioned in traditional history textbooks.

Varying between the third- and eighth-grade reading levels, these illustrated books offer children a rich and rewarding way to learn about the pioneers, explorers, and adventures who helped to form this great nation.

There are more than a dozen books being produced for this series, each one covering a particular aspect of the historical foundation upon which the United States of America was constructed. Many history texts list facts about events; the Adventures on the American Frontier books tell the stories of the real people who were involved in those events, introducing children to an array of characters (many of whose names are typically glossed over or omitted entirely) who worked hard to bring about new, better, more exciting ways to push this country forward. Children who read standard history or social studies books often tend to forget the details of what they have read. Children who read about the individuals in this series will not soon forget how the United States grew to become what it is today.

This series will include a total of fifteen books; titles will be added as they become available. We also invite readers to view the Adventures on the American Frontier: Dyslexia Versions series. This series is a wonderful way for children with dyslexia and other visual processing problems to access the stories but in a format that includes several modifications to enable them to succeed at reading, including a special font and audio of the books being narrated. Click here to go to the Dyslexia Versions page, from which readers can select specific series to explore.

We are excited about this new offering, which will appeal both to parents who want their children to have access to interdisciplinary texts that encompass both history and reading, with a smattering of political science and geography thrown in for good measure, and to those who simply want their children to have something stimulating and enjoyable to read, even if it's just for fun!

Please check back often, as we will update this page as new books become available.

An American History Series for Children in the Elementary and Middle Grades

The Adventures on the American Frontier series is a collection of books that introduce children to some of the people who made a difference in the shaping of America, many of whom never get mentioned in traditional history textbooks.

Varying between the third- and eighth-grade reading levels, these illustrated books offer children a rich and rewarding way to learn about the pioneers, explorers, and adventures who helped to form this great nation.

There are more than a dozen books being produced for this series, each one covering a particular aspect of the historical foundation upon which the United States of America was constructed. Many history texts list facts about events; the Adventures on the American Frontier books tell the stories of the real people who were involved in those events, introducing children to an array of characters (many of whose names are typically glossed over or omitted entirely) who worked hard to bring about new, better, more exciting ways to push this country forward. Children who read standard history or social studies books often tend to forget the details of what they have read. Children who read about the individuals in this series will not soon forget how the United States grew to become what it is today.

This series will include a total of fifteen books; titles will be added as they become available. We also invite readers to view the Adventures on the American Frontier: Dyslexia Versions series. This series is a wonderful way for children with dyslexia and other visual processing problems to access the stories but in a format that includes several modifications to enable them to succeed at reading, including a special font and audio of the books being narrated. Click here to go to the Dyslexia Versions page, from which readers can select specific series to explore.

We are excited about this new offering, which will appeal both to teachers who want their students to have access to interdisciplinary texts that encompass both history and reading, with a smattering of political science and geography thrown in for good measure, and to those who simply want to provide their students with something stimulating and enjoyable to read after they finish their regular work or to supplement what they are learning in class.

Please check back often, as we will update this page as new books become available.

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Pirates and Privateers

Subtitle: Revised Edition

Author: McCall, Edith; Tice, Christopher (Illustrator)

Subjects: Pirates; Sailing Ships

Age: 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14

Grade: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

Pages: 89

ISBN: 978-0-89824-487-8

Order code: 4878

Price: $15.00
Website price: $10.00

Pirates and Privateers Cover

For centuries, pirates roved the seas, terrorizing honest ship captains and their crews with their thieving and murderous ways. By the 17th century, pirates began working their way along the eastern coast of the Americas, first in the West Indies and then up to the colonies in the new country that would soon become the United States. But the pirates of the Americas were of a special kind, and they called themselves buccaneers.

The story of the pirates of early America is one of both lawlessness and also of corruption, for many of the pirates were quietly and privately sanctioned by governors and other officials who received stolen goods or kickbacks from the sale of those goods in exchange for leaving the pirates alone. Later, the King of England thought that by pardoning pirates who agreed to give up piracy, he could transform them into privateersmen. A privateer was a ship whose owner had been given papers from his country’s government giving him permission to attack ships from enemy countries, much as a pirate might do. Some of the pirates went on to become privateersmen, but others used the king's pardon as a way of escaping punishment and went right on robbing and killing. 

But privateersmen were not always ex-pirates. Many captains who commanded privateers were law-abiding citizens who wanted to protect their countries when their governments' own militaries were insufficient and incapable of doing so. In fact, without the help of privateersmen, the United States might never have won its sovereignty from England because it had not yet organized a navy that was able to guard and defend all of its shores.

This swashbuckling book explores some of the pirates who sailed the open seas around America, as well as the privateersmen who defended their country when it could not defend itself, often changing history in the process.

To view this book as a series of dyslexia-friendly books, click here.

For centuries, pirates roved the seas, terrorizing honest ship captains and their crews with their thieving and murderous ways. By the 17th century, pirates began working their way along the eastern coast of the Americas, first in the West Indies and then up to the colonies in the new country that would soon become the United States. But the pirates of the Americas were of a special kind, and they called themselves buccaneers.

The story of the pirates of early America is one of both lawlessness and also of corruption, for many of the pirates were quietly and privately sanctioned by governors and other officials who received stolen goods or kickbacks from the sale of those goods in exchange for leaving the pirates alone. Later, the King of England thought that by pardoning pirates who agreed to give up piracy, he could transform them into privateersmen. A privateer was a ship whose owner had been given papers from his country’s government giving him permission to attack ships from enemy countries, much as a pirate might do. Some of the pirates went on to become privateersmen, but others used the king's pardon as a way of escaping punishment and went right on robbing and killing. 

But privateersmen were not always ex-pirates. Many captains who commanded privateers were law-abiding citizens who wanted to protect their countries when their governments' own militaries were insufficient and incapable of doing so. In fact, without the help of privateersmen, the United States might never have won its sovereignty from England because it had not yet organized a navy that was able to guard and defend all of its shores.

This swashbuckling book explores some of the pirates who sailed the open seas around America, as well as the privateersmen who defended their country when it could not defend itself, often changing history in the process.

To view this book as a series of dyslexia-friendly books, click here.

Pirates and Privateers Cover

Pirates and Privateers Sample Pages:

Pioneer Traders

Subtitle: Revised Edition

Author: McCall, Edith; Tice, Christopher (Illustrator)

Subjects: Early America; Fur Trading

Age: 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13

Grade: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

Pages: 93

ISBN: 978-0-88092-605-8

Order code: 6058

Price: $15.00
Website price: $10.00

Pioneer Traders Cover

The first big business in the New World was fur trading. Trappers tramped all across the country, following the rivers into the great, unexplored wilderness, setting their traps and catching literally thousands of beavers. Once they had exhausted a local population of the animals, they'd move on, following another river until that, too, was stripped of all its beavers. Traders went out into the wilderness as well, taking goods to exchange for furs with both the trappers and the Native Americans who wanted to trade for items they could not get on their own, such as metal knives and hatchets, guns and ammunition, brightly-colored cloth, and ornaments and trinkets like glass beads, mirrors, and bells.

There are plenty of controversial points that can be raised in a discussion of the early American trappers and traders, not the least of which are the ways in which the white traders often took advantage of the Native Americans, trading cheap goods for expensive furs, as well as the decimation of local animal populations and the resulting imbalances in the river and forest ecosystems, many of which to this day have never fully recovered. But as much as we may cringe at some of these ideas, the trappers and traders did play an important role in mapping and settling the United States of America.

The traders opened posts all along the rivers and crossroads of the American frontier, which began in places as far east as Pittsburgh and Chicago and gradually worked its way across the country toward Oregon and California and down to New Mexico. Those trading posts often grew into settlements, some of which burgeoned into enormous cities, such as St. Louis, a hub of fur trading in the latter half of the eighteenth century and much of the nineteenth. Where the traders went, settlers followed, and it is hard to imagine how geographically differently our mark on the land might have been or how much longer it would have taken for the country to have been settled without their profound influence.

This book takes a look at the instrumental role the traders of early America played in mapping the wilderness and opening it up to settlement. It was dangerous work, but for men with a longing for adventure, the risks were worth it. Some of them kept at it and became famous; others decided that their calling was elsewhere, and that includes Abraham Lincoln, whose reputation as President of the United States typically overshadows his earlier career choices. Most people don't know that Abe was a trader for a short time, but it was during a trading journey that he first saw the slave trade in action, and that experience in part shaped how he felt about what he wanted to do with his future. In ways such as this, these stories are far more significant than one might initially think, and so this book is an important part of understanding how America came to be what it is today.

To view this book as a series of dyslexia-friendly books, click here.

The first big business in the New World was fur trading. Trappers tramped all across the country, following the rivers into the great, unexplored wilderness, setting their traps and catching literally thousands of beavers. Once they had exhausted a local population of the animals, they'd move on, following another river until that, too, was stripped of all its beavers. Traders went out into the wilderness as well, taking goods to exchange for furs with both the trappers and the Native Americans who wanted to trade for items they could not get on their own, such as metal knives and hatchets, guns and ammunition, brightly-colored cloth, and ornaments and trinkets like glass beads, mirrors, and bells.

There are plenty of controversial points that can be raised in a discussion of the early American trappers and traders, not the least of which are the ways in which the white traders often took advantage of the Native Americans, trading cheap goods for expensive furs, as well as the decimation of local animal populations and the resulting imbalances in the river and forest ecosystems, many of which to this day have never fully recovered. But as much as we may cringe at some of these ideas, the trappers and traders did play an important role in mapping and settling the United States of America.

The traders opened posts all along the rivers and crossroads of the American frontier, which began in places as far east as Pittsburgh and Chicago and gradually worked its way across the country toward Oregon and California and down to New Mexico. Those trading posts often grew into settlements, some of which burgeoned into enormous cities, such as St. Louis, a hub of fur trading in the latter half of the eighteenth century and much of the nineteenth. Where the traders went, settlers followed, and it is hard to imagine how geographically differently our mark on the land might have been or how much longer it would have taken for the country to have been settled without their profound influence.

This book takes a look at the instrumental role the traders of early America played in mapping the wilderness and opening it up to settlement. It was dangerous work, but for men with a longing for adventure, the risks were worth it. Some of them kept at it and became famous; others decided that their calling was elsewhere, and that includes Abraham Lincoln, whose reputation as President of the United States typically overshadows his earlier career choices. Most people don't know that Abe was a trader for a short time, but it was during a trading journey that he first saw the slave trade in action, and that experience in part shaped how he felt about what he wanted to do with his future. In ways such as this, these stories are far more significant than one might initially think, and so this book is an important part of understanding how America came to be what it is today.

To view this book as a series of dyslexia-friendly books, click here.

Pioneer Traders Cover

Pioneer Traders Sample Pages:

Gold Rush Adventures

Subtitle: Revised Edition

Author: McCall, Edith; Tice, Christopher (Illustrator)

Subjects: Gold Mining; Gold Rush; Early America

Age: 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13

Grade: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

Pages: 96

ISBN: 978-0-89824-591-2

Order code: 5912

Price: $15.00
Website price: $10.00

Gold Rush Adventures Cover

In the year 1848, the United States had been an independent nation for almost three quarters of a century, and yet much of the American West was still unsettled. Explorers had reached the Pacific Coast and had established settlements in Washington, Oregon, and California, but many of them traveled by ship because the 3,000-mile overland route was dangerous, winding through treacherous terrain (not the least of which was the Rocky Mountains) and the territories of hostile Native American tribes. As a result, West Coast settlements like San Francisco and Sacramento were generally small and sparsely populated.

That changed when James Marshall found gold—by accident—while overseeing construction of a mill near Sutter's Fort, a thriving colony established by John Sutter, who hoped to turn the region into a booming metropolis of prosperity and peace, with himself as governor of it all. At first Sutter was thrilled with the find, but as soon as word got out about it, nearly all productivity ceased, and people turned from whatever it was that they were doing to gold digging instead.

By the next year, gold fever had swept the nation, and people headed out to California in droves, getting there any way they could. Many of these Forty-Niners were ill-prepared for the journey, their heads too full of dreams of easy wealth to see the struggle that would be required both to get to California and to strike it rich once there. But they came in such numbers that California became a state only one year later, in 1850.

Of course, not everyone who dug for gold found enough to head back home and live the easy life of the wealthy, as they'd hoped. In fact, some of the Forty-Niners discovered that the real money was in business and trade with the miners. And many of them had scratched enough gold from the earth to establish businesses and build a life for themselves right there in California. The small settlements in the region ballooned. By the time the gold fever subsided and the gold dust settled, the western landscape had changed forever.

To view this book as a series of dyslexia-friendly books, click here.

In the year 1848, the United States had been an independent nation for almost three quarters of a century, and yet much of the American West was still unsettled. Explorers had reached the Pacific Coast and had established settlements in Washington, Oregon, and California, but many of them traveled by ship because the 3,000-mile overland route was dangerous, winding through treacherous terrain (not the least of which was the Rocky Mountains) and the territories of hostile Native American tribes. As a result, West Coast settlements like San Francisco and Sacramento were generally small and sparsely populated.

That changed when James Marshall found gold—by accident—while overseeing construction of a mill near Sutter's Fort, a thriving colony established by John Sutter, who hoped to turn the region into a booming metropolis of prosperity and peace, with himself as governor of it all. At first Sutter was thrilled with the find, but as soon as word got out about it, nearly all productivity ceased, and people turned from whatever it was that they were doing to gold digging instead.

By the next year, gold fever had swept the nation, and people headed out to California in droves, getting there any way they could. Many of these Forty-Niners were ill-prepared for the journey, their heads too full of dreams of easy wealth to see the struggle that would be required both to get to California and to strike it rich once there. But they came in such numbers that California became a state only one year later, in 1850.

Of course, not everyone who dug for gold found enough to head back home and live the easy life of the wealthy, as they'd hoped. In fact, some of the Forty-Niners discovered that the real money was in business and trade with the miners. And many of them had scratched enough gold from the earth to establish businesses and build a life for themselves right there in California. The small settlements in the region ballooned. By the time the gold fever subsided and the gold dust settled, the western landscape had changed forever.

To view this book as a series of dyslexia-friendly books, click here.

Gold Rush Adventures Cover

Gold Rush Adventures Sample Pages:

Mail Riders

Subtitle: Revised Edition

Author: McCall, Edith; Tice, Christopher (Illustrator)

Subjects: Mail Delivery; Pony Express

Age: 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13

Grade: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

Pages: 88

ISBN: 978-0-88092-486-3

Order code: 4863

Price: $15.00
Website price: $10.00

Mail Riders Cover

In the early days of the new nation that would become the United States of America, getting information from one area to another was not easy. There was no official mail service, nor, in fact, were there established roads on which to take mail from the eastern states to the cities that were popping up in the West. Each of these things had to be established, pioneered by ambitious individuals who dreamed of what could be done and then dared to do just that.

The first mail riders faced difficult and dangerous obstacles as they traveled through the wilderness to settlements that were anything but easy to get to. Treacherous terrain and harsh weather were just two of the hazards, but there were also native peoples who became angry at their treatment by the new government of America, which saw them as problems to be overcome instead of people whose rights and customs were worthy of honor and respect. For these reasons and more, it was not easy getting mail across the country. But there were people who persevered, in spite of the multiple threats they faced, and these people transformed the country, connecting East and West and the small places in between.

From Paul Revere (an unlikely early mail rider, unknown as such to most people) to the overland mail stagecoaches to the Pony Express, the United States went through a variety of methods of getting mail from one point to another, each building on the ones before. This book explores those methods and the people who created them and worked within them, besting the odds to deliver the mail.

To view this book as a series of dyslexia-friendly books, click here.

In the early days of the new nation that would become the United States of America, getting information from one area to another was not easy. There was no official mail service, nor, in fact, were there established roads on which to take mail from the eastern states to the cities that were popping up in the West. Each of these things had to be established, pioneered by ambitious individuals who dreamed of what could be done and then dared to do just that.

The first mail riders faced difficult and dangerous obstacles as they traveled through the wilderness to settlements that were anything but easy to get to. Treacherous terrain and harsh weather were just two of the hazards, but there were also native peoples who became angry at their treatment by the new government of America, which saw them as problems to be overcome instead of people whose rights and customs were worthy of honor and respect. For these reasons and more, it was not easy getting mail across the country. But there were people who persevered, in spite of the multiple threats they faced, and these people transformed the country, connecting East and West and the small places in between.

From Paul Revere (an unlikely early mail rider, unknown as such to most people) to the overland mail stagecoaches to the Pony Express, the United States went through a variety of methods of getting mail from one point to another, each building on the ones before. This book explores those methods and the people who created them and worked within them, besting the odds to deliver the mail.

To view this book as a series of dyslexia-friendly books, click here.

Mail Riders Cover

Mail Riders Sample Pages:

Cowboys and Cattle Drives

Subtitle: Revised Edition

Author: McCall, Edith; Tice, Christopher (Illustrator)

Subjects: Cowboys; Old West

Age: 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13

Grade: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

Pages: 86

ISBN: 978-0-88092-732-1

Order code: 7321

Price: $15.00
Website price: $10.00

Cowboys and Cattle Drives Cover

The cowboy is a romantic figure of the great American West, known for his quiet stoicism and the tough exterior that belied a soft heart when it came to his horse and the cows in his charge. But those are stories of archetypes and not of actual people. This book introduces children to some of the real people who influenced the development of the cowboy narrative as we know it today.

An essential part of the western economy was the development of the cattle industry, and cowboys played the integral part of getting herds to the markets where they were needed. Men like Charlie Goodnight and James Cook drove cattle herds huge distances across the wilderness, forging trails and learning their way as they traveled. At the end of the trail, towns sprang up, lawless and rowdy as the country worked toward a proper set of laws to govern everyone. Marshal Tom Smith, among other brave men, worked hard to bring law and order to these towns so that people could settle down and build their homes and families in communities that were healthy and safe. The life of a cattle-driving cowboy was so alluring that even as it drew to an end, easterners like Will Rogers wanted to pursue it, and Will himself wouldn't stop until he had achieved his dream and made it famous for everyone to see and appreciate. These are the real cowboys, and they come to life in this book

To view this book as a series of dyslexia-friendly books, click here.

The cowboy is a romantic figure of the great American West, known for his quiet stoicism and the tough exterior that belied a soft heart when it came to his horse and the cows in his charge. But those are stories of archetypes and not of actual people. This book introduces children to some of the real people who influenced the development of the cowboy narrative as we know it today.

An essential part of the western economy was the development of the cattle industry, and cowboys played the integral part of getting herds to the markets where they were needed. Men like Charlie Goodnight and James Cook drove cattle herds huge distances across the wilderness, forging trails and learning their way as they traveled. At the end of the trail, towns sprang up, lawless and rowdy as the country worked toward a proper set of laws to govern everyone. Marshal Tom Smith, among other brave men, worked hard to bring law and order to these towns so that people could settle down and build their homes and families in communities that were healthy and safe. The life of a cattle-driving cowboy was so alluring that even as it drew to an end, easterners like Will Rogers wanted to pursue it, and Will himself wouldn't stop until he had achieved his dream and made it famous for everyone to see and appreciate. These are the real cowboys, and they come to life in this book

To view this book as a series of dyslexia-friendly books, click here.

Cowboys and Cattle Drives Cover

Cowboys and Cattle Drives Sample Pages:

Pioneers on the Early Waterways

Subtitle: Revised Edition

Author: McCall, Edith; Tice, Christopher (Illustrator)

Subjects: Boats; Steamboats; Transportation

Age: 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13

Grade: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

Pages: 129

ISBN: 978-0-89824-587-5

Order code: 5875

Price: $15.00
Website price: $10.00

Pioneers on the Early Waterways Cover

The rivers and lakes were the first highways of America. When the country was young, and roads had not yet been cut across the great swaths of wilderness, people could travel over the waterways faster and more efficiently than just about any other way. The first boats to carry people and goods were simple flatboats, but those could only go downstream, for they were too cumbersome to be moved against a current before the advent of the engine. Those were soon joined by keelboats, which were sleeker and could be poled or pulled upriver, although the effort to do so was often substantial.

The invention of the steam engine changed utterly the way in which passengers and freight were moved from place to place in this country. Creative and adventurous men began building boats that could be powered by steam, and steamboats began carrying loads of people and goods both down and up the rivers in much less time and with a fraction of the effort than any other boat had been able to do.

But the first steamboats were, frankly, dangerous, and it took a great deal of innovation to improve them and to make them the floating palaces that they ultimately evolved to become. Their use expanded from the major rivers to the Great Lakes and then, as they were further refined, into the smaller rivers as well. In fact, they were so useful that the U.S. government had a network of canals cut across parts of the eastern half of the country so that canalboats could do the same work in other areas—but without the necessity of fighting a current.

Even so, the Golden Age of the steamboat did not last long, for the technology that was powering them was powering something else as well. Steam locomotives were chugging their way across the country, and it wasn't long before tracks were laid down in areas that steamboats were unable to reach. Both steamboats and locomotives played critical roles in the fighting of the Civil War, but when the war ended, the locomotive had nosed its way past the systems of river transport, and the glory days of the steamboat ended. But the part it had played in opening the country was instrumental in the formation of the United States as we know it today, and this book shares that story.

To view this book as a series of dyslexia-friendly books, click here.

The rivers and lakes were the first highways of America. When the country was young, and roads had not yet been cut across the great swaths of wilderness, people could travel over the waterways faster and more efficiently than just about any other way. The first boats to carry people and goods were simple flatboats, but those could only go downstream, for they were too cumbersome to be moved against a current before the advent of the engine. Those were soon joined by keelboats, which were sleeker and could be poled or pulled upriver, although the effort to do so was often substantial.

The invention of the steam engine changed utterly the way in which passengers and freight were moved from place to place in this country. Creative and adventurous men began building boats that could be powered by steam, and steamboats began carrying loads of people and goods both down and up the rivers in much less time and with a fraction of the effort than any other boat had been able to do.

But the first steamboats were, frankly, dangerous, and it took a great deal of innovation to improve them and to make them the floating palaces that they ultimately evolved to become. Their use expanded from the major rivers to the Great Lakes and then, as they were further refined, into the smaller rivers as well. In fact, they were so useful that the U.S. government had a network of canals cut across parts of the eastern half of the country so that canalboats could do the same work in other areas—but without the necessity of fighting a current.

Even so, the Golden Age of the steamboat did not last long, for the technology that was powering them was powering something else as well. Steam locomotives were chugging their way across the country, and it wasn't long before tracks were laid down in areas that steamboats were unable to reach. Both steamboats and locomotives played critical roles in the fighting of the Civil War, but when the war ended, the locomotive had nosed its way past the systems of river transport, and the glory days of the steamboat ended. But the part it had played in opening the country was instrumental in the formation of the United States as we know it today, and this book shares that story.

To view this book as a series of dyslexia-friendly books, click here.

Pioneers on the Early Waterways Cover

Pioneers on the Early Waterways Sample Pages:

Men on Iron Horses

Subtitle: Revised Edition

Author: McCall, Edith; Tice, Christopher (Illustrator)

Subjects: Railroads; Locomotives

Age: 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13

Grade: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

Pages: 69

ISBN: 978-0-88092-809-0

Order code: 8090

Price: $15.00
Website price: $10.00

Men on Iron Horses Cover

In the early 1830s, people in America began building the first locomotives and laying railroad tracks across the country. Mail, goods, and passengers all needed a way to traverse the nation, and the iron horse seemed the best way to do it. For the next forty years, the railroad slowly snaked westward to the edges of the frontier, then crossed great expanses of untamed wilderness to get to California, connecting East with West in a way that had not been possible before.

The work was not easy, nor was it without problems. Someone had to invent the first locomotive. Someone had to make it work well. Someone had to figure out how to keep passengers from being choked by smoke and burned by falling sparks from the locomotive's smokestack. Someone had to recognize that the entire system of trains and tracks needed to be standardized so that a train in New York could travel on a track in Boston. Someone had to finance the building of more tracks, cut through prairies and forests, bore through mountains, build bridges over valleys and rivers. None of it was easy. In fact, much of it was dangerous.

The iron horses changed fundamentally how united the people of the United States actually felt, and it also radically revolutionized the economies of not just the many small cities along the railroad but also the country as a whole. But men had to make it work, and this books tells those stories.

To view this book as a series of dyslexia-friendly books, click here.

In the early 1830s, people in America began building the first locomotives and laying railroad tracks across the country. Mail, goods, and passengers all needed a way to traverse the nation, and the iron horse seemed the best way to do it. For the next forty years, the railroad slowly snaked westward to the edges of the frontier, then crossed great expanses of untamed wilderness to get to California, connecting East with West in a way that had not been possible before.

The work was not easy, nor was it without problems. Someone had to invent the first locomotive. Someone had to make it work well. Someone had to figure out how to keep passengers from being choked by smoke and burned by falling sparks from the locomotive's smokestack. Someone had to recognize that the entire system of trains and tracks needed to be standardized so that a train in New York could travel on a track in Boston. Someone had to finance the building of more tracks, cut through prairies and forests, bore through mountains, build bridges over valleys and rivers. None of it was easy. In fact, much of it was dangerous.

The iron horses changed fundamentally how united the people of the United States actually felt, and it also radically revolutionized the economies of not just the many small cities along the railroad but also the country as a whole. But men had to make it work, and this books tells those stories.

To view this book as a series of dyslexia-friendly books, click here.

Men on Iron Horses Cover

Men on Iron Horses Sample Pages:

Pioneer Show People

Subtitle: Revised Edition

Author: McCall, Edith; Tice, Christopher (Illustrator)

Subjects: Entertainers; Early America

Age: 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13

Grade: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

Pages: 68

ISBN: 978-0-89824-739-8

Order code: 7398

Price: $15.00
Website price: $10.00

Pioneer Show People Cover

Being a pioneer on the American frontier was hard work. People had to build a home, raise some animals, and cultivate a garden for food, hunting and trapping to supplement what they needed and braving the elements all the while. It was a lonely existence, too. Many of the pioneers had to travel miles to the nearest homestead or settlement, often through dense woods and across rushing rivers. Many of these hard-scrabble settlers had only one way to experience entertainment and culture: pioneer show people.

The cities along the eastern coast of the United States often had various venues for providing shows and other forms of entertainment, including the theater, museums, and occasionally a circus, but the pioneers farther west had access to none of this. So acting companies like the Drake Players took their shows on the road to bring entertainment to the people. But the roads didn't go far, and soon the actors had to trade their wagons for a boat. They floated downriver, bringing plays to the towns and settlements that had sprung up along the river systems of America. As their popularity grew, so grew the boats, both in sophistication and in the quality of the entertainment. The Chapman showboat was the first boat to offer plays directly on the boat itself. Doc Spaulding's Floating Palace, pushed both up and down the rivers by its own steamboat, brought an entire circus to the riverside communities. Seeing a play or a show on a showboat was often the brightest day of the year for the pioneers who had forged past the edges of civilization to expand the boundaries of the United States. And then a small crack shot named Annie Oakley helped to show them what the great American West was all about.

The show people of early America were no less pioneers than the settlers who scraped and scratched out a life for themselves in the country's great wilderness, and this book brings to the forefront their importance in the expansion not just of culture but of an emerging entertainment industry that was blooming across the nation.

To view this book as a series of dyslexia-friendly books, click here.

Being a pioneer on the American frontier was hard work. People had to build a home, raise some animals, and cultivate a garden for food, hunting and trapping to supplement what they needed and braving the elements all the while. It was a lonely existence, too. Many of the pioneers had to travel miles to the nearest homestead or settlement, often through dense woods and across rushing rivers. Many of these hard-scrabble settlers had only one way to experience entertainment and culture: pioneer show people.

The cities along the eastern coast of the United States often had various venues for providing shows and other forms of entertainment, including the theater, museums, and occasionally a circus, but the pioneers farther west had access to none of this. So acting companies like the Drake Players took their shows on the road to bring entertainment to the people. But the roads didn't go far, and soon the actors had to trade their wagons for a boat. They floated downriver, bringing plays to the towns and settlements that had sprung up along the river systems of America. As their popularity grew, so grew the boats, both in sophistication and in the quality of the entertainment. The Chapman showboat was the first boat to offer plays directly on the boat itself. Doc Spaulding's Floating Palace, pushed both up and down the rivers by its own steamboat, brought an entire circus to the riverside communities. Seeing a play or a show on a showboat was often the brightest day of the year for the pioneers who had forged past the edges of civilization to expand the boundaries of the United States. And then a small crack shot named Annie Oakley helped to show them what the great American West was all about.

The show people of early America were no less pioneers than the settlers who scraped and scratched out a life for themselves in the country's great wilderness, and this book brings to the forefront their importance in the expansion not just of culture but of an emerging entertainment industry that was blooming across the nation.

To view this book as a series of dyslexia-friendly books, click here.

Pioneer Show People Cover

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