Title: The White Ox: The Journey of Emily Swain Squires
Author: Dan Burr and Ruth Hailstone
Publisher: Calkins Creek
Concepts: immigration, jobs
Review: In 1853, shortly after Emily’s birth in England, her family joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, more commonly known as the Mormons. Ten years later, their religious convictions led them to send Emily to the promised land of Zion in the Great Salt Lake Valley of Utah. Crossing the ocean in a ship filled with sick passengers proved almost as miserable as traveling in crammed steamboats and freight cars to Omaha, the end of the line. Most difficult for Emily was the long journey, on foot, across the Midwest to reach Zion. Weariness and despair overwhelmed her until a chance encounter with a new friend replenished her resolve to continue.
With Dan Burr’s breathtaking and meticulous illustrations, this book makes an excellent resource for talking with children about immigration and the economic and religious factors behind people’s decisions to move. Ruth Hailstone has used family accounts to research the journey of Emily Swain Squires, her great-great-grandmother, and this personal connection makes the story all the more compelling.
Review by: Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children