My Name is America
series books


My Name is America
is a children's historical fiction series and a welcome addition to the genre, as it is aimed at boys!  Each book is written in the form of a journal of a fictional young man's life during an important event or time period in American history. The interest level of the books ranges widely, anywhere from fourth grade and up. However, most are in the 5th grade to 7th grade range.

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The Journal of Wong Ming-ChungA Chinese Miner 


Wong Ming-Chung, aka "Runt", starts to keep a journal when his uncle leaves China for the gold to be found in America, and continues writing as he is sent by his family to join him there. He has a dangerous journey to get there, and finds hardship, violent racism, and many deaths in the rough mining camp. He also finds good friends and grows in self-worth, confidence, and self-reliance.

Interest:  Gr. 5-8        DRA: 50         Lexile: 650
Grade Equiv: 5.8       Guided Rdg: U

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The Journal of Sean Sullivan:  A Transcontinental Railroad Worker


Sean starts as a water carrier on the Union Pacific and then is promoted to the position of 'spiker'. In his journal, he writes of the arduous work, his co-workers, the ethnic prejudices, and the rough world of the boomtowns that sprout up along the newly-laid tracks. He becomes a man on this long, hard journey to build a railroad and make history.

Interest: Gr. 5-8         DRA: 60         Lexile: 1060
Grade Equiv: 5.7       Guided Rdg: W

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The Journal of C.J. Jackson: A Dust Bowl Migrant


After living in the Dust Bowl for years, C.J.'s family has decided to abandon their beloved farm and head west to find work in California. In his journal he writes about the discrimination, disappointment and hardship that his family and the other 'Oakies' endure--both on the journey and once they reach California. Yet despite the hardships, he remains hopeful for a better life for himself and his family.

Interest: Gr. 4-7       DRA:  50          Lexile: 1000
Grade Equiv: 5.9     Guided Rdg: T


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The Journal of James Edmond Pease: A Civil War Union Soldier 

I'm a huge fan of this series and author Jim Murphy so it's no surprise that I liked this book!  This title tells the story of a 16-year-old boy who serves as the 'company historian' for his Union army regiment. The record he creates (this book) is packed with small details of life as a Union soldier, and not just the blood and battles (although there is that!). He also captures the monotony and boredom that the soldiers faced and interactions with civilians (incl. a slave who hides him from Confederate soldiers.) SLJ called it "a solid addition to a popular series."

Interest:  Gr. 5-8        DRA: 50        Lexile: 1070
Grade Equiv:  6.8      Guided Rdg: V



The Journal of Otto Peltonen: A Finnish Immigrant 


Set at the turn of the 20th century, this My Name is America entry tells the story of Otto, a Finnish immigrant who expects America to provide a life of luxury, but soon realizes the truth. As a teenager, he endured the horrible journey across the Atlantic, and now he has to become a miner instead of attending school. He writes about conditions for immigrant, the miner's strike his father participates in, and the suffragette activities of his mother.

Interest: Gr. 5-10      DRA: 50         Lexile: 1010
Grade Equiv: 6.1      Guided Rdg: V


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The Journal of Augustus Pelletier: The Lewis and Clark Expedition


A historical fiction journal 'written' by a half French, half Indian boy named Augustus Pelletier, 14, who wants to join Lewis and Clark's Corps of Discovery. He writes and travels parallel to the group without being seen, not revealing himself until he feels they will accept him as a member. As with all books in the series, a non-fiction section at the end provides details of the journey, maps, sketches, and more.

Interest:  Gr. 5-8        DRA:   x         Lexile: x
Grade Equiv:  5.8        Guided Rdg: x


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The Journal of Ben Uchida: Citizen 13359, Mirror Lake Internment Camp


Ben Uchida spent his 12th and 13th years in an internment camp at desolate Mirror Lake, and records his experiences in this journal. At the camp, residents lived like prisoners, with barbed wire and armed guards everywhere. He writes about the sadness and frustrations of life in the camp, but also about some positive things, like playing on the camp baseball team. Historical notes and photographs are provided at the end.

Interest:  Gr. 5-8       DRA:  40          Lexile: 850
Grade Equiv: 5.6      Guided Rdg: S

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The Journal of Jedediah Barstow: An Emigrant on the Oregon Trail


Jedediah's family has just drowned while trying to cross the Kaw River. They were part of an Oregon Trail wagon train heading west, and now a distraught Jedediah must continue on without them. He records the many new experiences, challenges and hardships en route in the journal his mother had been keeping before she died. "A solid adventure story."(Booklist)  A "useful book for social studies units" on the Oregon Trail history. (SLJ)

Interest:  Gr. 4-7        DRA:  50         Lexile:760
Grade Equiv: 5.5       Guided Rdg: U


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The Journal of Finn Reardon: A Newsie


In a series of well-written historical fiction novels, this title "is a standout in the series." Finn and his Irish-American family are recent immigrants and are struggling to get by in America. Finn works as a newsie, selling newspapers on the streets just like his friends Racetrack and Mush. But when the publishers raise the wholesale price of the papers, the boys decide to go on strike.

Interest:  Gr. 4-7       Lexile: 770L       DRA:  50
Grade Equiv: 5.3      Guided Rdg:  V


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The Journal of Scott Pendleton Collins: A World War II Soldier


Private Scott Collins doesn't know the seriousness of what awaits him and the other young men waiting for D-Day. Scott does survive the day, but is no longer the naive high school graduate anymore. The hardships and horror of battle have transformed him from youth to manhood in the space of a few weeks, and the reader watches his transformation through the entries he makes in his journal.

Interest:  Gr. 7-10      DRA:  50        Lexile: 810L
Grade Equiv: 5.3       Guided Rdg: T


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The Journal of Patrick Seamus Flaherty: US Marine Corps, Vietnam


Patrick's journal is an intense first-person record of four months at war under constant assault from the enemy, including the dreadful living conditions, the danger, the utter terror at watching a fellow soldier get blown up right in front of you... In time, readers can see how the experiences have worn on Patrick, causing him to question if they should even be there at all. (Note: While not overly graphic, this book does aim to depict the "reality of war".)

Interest:  Gr. 6-9        DRA: 70         Lexile: 900
Grade Equiv: 5.8       Guided Rdg:  Z

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The Journal of Douglas Allen Deeds: The Donner Party Expedition


Young Douglas is an orphan who has been warmly accepted by a group of families heading west to California. Known as the Donner Party, the group is upbeat as they head out of Missouri. Douglas records their successes and challenges en route in his journal. He initially sees the journey as a grand adventure, but in time the days get more difficult and eventually the situation is dire, with families facing starvation. Based on the tragic true story.

Interest:  Gr. 5-8        DRA: 40         Lexile: 920L
Grade Equiv: 5.7       Guided Rdg: S


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The Journal of Jesse Smoke: A Cherokee Boy


This "outstanding addition to the...series" (Booklist) covers the tragic Cherokee Trail of Tears as seen through the eyes of a 16 year old boy named Jesse. In addition to writing about the excruciating forced march, Jesse also writes about Cherokee daily life, beliefs and practices, and the political forces leading to the forced removal, making this journal a powerful window into the culture and the Trail of Tears.

Interest:  Gr. 4-6        DRA:  50        Lexile: 880
Grade Equiv:  5.8      Guided Rdg: V


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The Journal of Rufus Rowe: A Witness to the Battle of Fredricksburg


We are not quite finished with the summary / review of this book. Please check back soon.  In the meantime, below are the reading levels and a link to learn more about the book.


Interest:  Gr. 5-8        DRA:  50        Lexile: 930
Grade Equiv:  5.8     Guided Rdg: V


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The Journal of Biddy Owens: The Negro Leagues


We are not quite finished with the summary / review of this book. Please check back soon.  In the meantime, below are the reading levels and a link to learn more about the book.


Interest:  Gr. 5-8        DRA: 40         Lexile: 920L
Grade Equiv: 5.8       Guided Rdg: S


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The Journal of Jasper Jonathan Pierce: A Pilgrim Boy, Plymouth, 1620


We are not quite finished with the summary / review of this book. Please check back soon.  In the meantime, below are the reading levels and a link to learn more about the book.


Interest:  Gr. 5-8       DRA: 40         Lexile: 680

Grade Equiv: 6.5      Guided Rdg: S


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The Journal of Joshua Loper: A Black Cowboy, The Chisholm Trail


We are not quite finished with the summary / review of this book. Please check back soon.  In the meantime, below are the reading levels and a link to learn more about the book.


Interest:  Gr. 5-8        DRA: 60         Lexile: 1000
Grade Equiv:  5.9      Guided Rdg: W


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The Journal of William Thomas Emerson: A Revolutionary War Patriot


We are not quite finished with the summary / review of this book. Please check back soon.  In the meantime, below are the reading levels and a link to learn more about the book.


Interest:  Gr. 5-8        DRA:   x       Lexile: 950L
Grade Equiv:  4.8      Guided Rdg: x


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The Journal of Brian Doyle: A Greenhorn on an Alaskan Whaling Ship


We are not quite finished with the summary / review of this book. Please check back soon.  In the meantime, below are the reading levels and a link to learn more about the book.


Interest: Gr. 5-8         DRA: 60        Lexile: 970
Grade Equiv: 6.4       Guided Rdg: W


Click here to learn more about this book


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