Title: Daughter of Winter
Author: Pat Lowery Collins
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Concepts: gold rush, scarcity, poverty, child schooling and work
Review: Gold fever had just hit the west coast, with Addie’s father amongst the thousands who left their families behind and made the long trip in hopes of quick riches. Unbeknownst to him, his twelve-year old daughter was living by herself after the flux claimed the lives of Addie’s mama and baby brother. Worried that the town’s busybodies would send her to live with strangers and force her to work as a caregiver and servant, Addie told no one that her mama and brother had passed away.
When suspicions rose and Addie could no longer live this secret life, she fled to an abandoned plot of land by the river’s edge and constructed a tiny shelter of wood and snow. There she lived for several weeks, hungry, cold, and alone, until an old Native American woman she knew as Nokummus found her and brought Addie to her island hut. It took Nokummus’s healing skills and nurturing for Addie to regain her health, uncover another secret about her family, and stop running away.
This intriguing novel offers a compelling look at the customs and traditions of both white and Native American communities along the east coast during the mid-1800s. Important concepts in economics help to motivate the story line as the gold rush led a father to throw caution to the wind while his daughter, left behind, suffered from extreme deprivation. This work of historical fiction will inform as much as it entertains its readers.
Review by: Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children