Gr. 5^-7. Faced with separation by adoption, 12-year-old Danny and his younger brother, Judd, decide to run away from a San Francisco orphanage and search for their uncle, a miner who lives in a gold rush boom town. They arrive in Bodie, California, and board with Captain Billy O'Hara, a hotel owner with a soft spot for orphans. Uncle Hank surfaces almost immediately, but Danny opts to remain with Billy because Hank's girlfriend (later, wife) is of Chinese ancestry. Gregory's strength lies in her picturesque description of the rough-and-tumble life in a California mining town circa 1879. Although Danny and his brother are fictional, many other characters (Captain Billy, Madame Mustache, and Patrick Reddy) and events are historically accurate. Gregory's exploration of racial prejudices of the time and Danny's eventual acceptance of his new aunt are also well handled. A good choice for classes studying California history, this may also be of interest because of the setting--near California's reawakening volcano at Mono Lake.
Original title: Orphan Runaways
Genre: Fiction→ Children & Young Adult→ Historical Fiction