Friday, May 22, 2015

Bo at Ballard Creek by Kirkpatrick Hill (Booktalk)

Bo's dads are goldminers (and blacksmiths) who came to Alaska in the 1897 Klondike Gold Rush: an exciting time. That time is past, and many miners have left, but Bo's dads are still there. Wait? Dads? Yes, Bo has two: her mother didn't want her, and she literally handed baby Bo to a man and left. That man, Arvid, didn't have the heart to give Bo up to an orphanage. His best friend, Jack, helped Arvid raise Bo. It's normal for towns in early 1900s Alaska to be mostly men: they're all miners, and life can be tough.

Bo is older now, and I want to share my favorite facts about her. She can swear (bad words!) in both an Eskimo language and in Swedish. It's possible she has no idea what the words mean. She helps cook for the miners and she really loves biscuits. Her favorite Eskimo dish, though, is caribou bone marrow and caribou fat. Yum.

You have to be tough and resourceful if you live in Alaska. You also have to be fast on your feet. One day, when Bo was outside (it was summer), she inadvertently startled a grizzly bear. The bear started to run after her. Bo did what she had been told and dropped to the ground, totally flat. That's not exactly running, though, is it?

If you like adventure, animals, outdoor life, and interesting weather, you'll love a historical fiction novel called Bo at Ballard Creek.

Bo at Ballard Creek by Kirkpatrick Hill. 278 pages. 2013: Henry Holt and Company. Booktalk to grades 3-8. Scott O'Dell Historical Fiction Award, 2014.

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