The Letters Through Time series is a wonderful way to read this unique story. Every chapter is a letter sent back east by a boy of 14 as he travels with his family along the Oregon Trail. Jacob Harding lives in a time when the west was wild and untamed, and it was big enough to find your destiny, and chase your dreams.
Traveling by covered wagon, the Harding’s journey is hard and long, but there's still room for laughter and danger both. The Oregon Trail was a fascinating time in history and it's even better when shared with a friend who is making the journey.
Ellen Anthony has done it again, giving young readers an excellent view of a boy's life on the Oregon Trail. The details of everyday life are fascinating and accurate. More importantly, Ms. Anthony hasn't stopped with the ordeals of the trail, but included the songs, books, and politics of the time.
Jacob is just 14, but he has a man's view of what he wants out of this trip: land of his own. With his parents, uncle, and sisters, he sets out on the great American dream. Encounters with Indians, hunting for food, and some hard river crossings are only a few of the hazards the Harding family faces. When his father is bitten by a rattlesnake, Jacob faces the very real possibility that he could be the man of the family. How he deals with it and the death of his girl friend shows unusual maturity.
Jacob Harding is a boy well worth meeting. The book itself is an easy read for young people. With a proper study guide, it should make a good teaching tool as well.
New York City
Ellen Anthony is the award-winning author of the Syran novels (science fiction) and the creator of Letters Through Time.
To find out more about the Hardings’ Oregon Trail journey, try Lura’s Oregon Trail Adventure. This Letters Through Time book is the account of Jacob’s sister and is also available through Wings ePress.