What Made California the Golden State?: Life During the Gold Rush

Penguin Workshop. (Who HQ Graphic Novels). Apr. 2024. 64p. Tr $13.99. ISBN 9780593385852.
Gr 3-7–Many people believed that the California Gold Rush was the answer to quick money, and the newest edition to the “Who HQ” graphic novel series lets readers know exactly how it was. Following the lives of William Miller and Henry Garrison, two friends who built a community while trying to stake their fortune, the stories unfold of the different people who traveled to California to start a new life from Chinese immigrants to enslaved Black people. Readers learn how the Indigenous people on the land suffered at the hands of those looking to exploit them, the land, and the miners. The story is told in alternating full-page illustrations with panels strategically placed over the drawings to add more context or close-ups of situations. The muted color tone lends itself to the hues of the mountainside rivers and forests of California. Interrupting these are pages of texts detailing more information on those who Miller and Garrison interacted with.
VERDICT An informative piece of history that may be unfamiliar to many. Recommended for libraries where the series is popular.

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