As she begins her tale, the author describes the hardships American pioneers faced during the western migration A rich and varied vocabulary, simple sentence constructions, depicts the dangers and suffering endured by the early settlers who helped create our nation I believe young readers will be both delighted and horrified, yet captivated nonetheless, by the many adventures that befall the protagonist, young Grace Willis, and her family and friends travelling by wagon train on their way to California School children will gain an appreciation for the difficulties of pioneer life and learn a little of what wagon trains experienced as they progressed along the Santa Fe Trail, lurking with Indians and outlaws, food shortages and diseases.Young readers will empathize with Grace, who exemplifies all the attributes the author would have each one of us emulate Grace survives numerous ordeals and torture along her travels because of a strong sense of self a strong instinct for self preservation that her family had instilled in her and the remembrance of how much she was loved Through her spokesperson, Grace s mysterious friend C lestin, readers will understand, along with the heroine, that there are powerful forces in the universe that cannot be detected through our earthly senses alone Faith and the power to try our best to prevail over adversities, the author tells us, are our only hope for happiness Grace, through her adventures, learns to trust herself, learns that the surest path to freedom is through selfless service Through Grace as the example, the author calls upon the generations of tomorrow to take up the torch and bestow their brand of grace upon all those whom they touch Readers of Ms Schoonmaker s Last Crystal Trilogy will be entertained as they read an uplifting prognosis for their future, all the while learning about a period in American History. Just finished a really delightful book the publisher asked me to read called The Black Alabaster Box If you have children 4th to 6th grade I d say this is a great choice for boys or girls Here s my review on and a link to it on as well.Just finished this very well written book that would be perfect for grades 4 6 Some good history combined with some good magic adventure make this a really exciting and interesting read Great messages for kids as well about respecting the earth and love I look forward to reading the rest of the trilogy. The Black Alabaster Box is an action filled adventure that is both historical fiction and fantasy Readers learn about the trials and tribulations of the wagon trains making their way out west from Saint Louis along the Santa Fe Trail through the perspective of ten year old Grace Willis The book covers a lot of terrain and a twenty year time span The author, Frances Schoonmaker, contends with several harrowing topics honestly for young readers small pox, death, kidnapping Fantasy arises midway when readers are introduced to the magic and power of the black alabaster box Schoonmaker weaves fantasy and historical fiction expertly to tell a compelling story The book ultimately provides important life lessons, emphasizing repairing the world Perhaps all the kind things we do that seem small in themselves add up to than all the good that can be done by one crystal and the water it holds When you plant a garden, or return a fallen bird s nest to a tree when you love, when you forgive, you are repairing the world. The Black Alabaster Box is a wonderful read for adults and middle aged children I previously worked on a project with the author and are familiar with her work ethic and integrity Her writing is backed by research I am also familiar with the areas in Oklahoma she refers to in the book It was wonderful to read about them I feel as a school administrator her book has much to offer to students and classroom teachers The life lessons taught in the book are priceless The book is filled with multiple opportunities to integrate activities into classroom curriculum that would be interesting and meaningful to students Teachers and students alike will cherish the book and the experience gained from reading it together.Dawna This book is fantastic It weaves history, fantasy, life lessons, and story all into one I could not put it down I m already looking forward to the next book The characters are interesting, the story line engaging, and the historical background thoroughly researched As I was reading, I wanted to visit the places the author described and meet the people she brought to life, especially the twins It s hard to find a book that makes you feel like you are visiting with an old friend, but this book did that for me.The writing flows beautifully and I appreciate the insights about life she includes in her story When my kids are a bit older, I ll have to read it with them Loved this book It is a great mix of history and fantasy Can t wait until the next one is published. If you re looking for a book for your middle grade child niece, nephew, cousin, grandkid, etc and the thought of another superhero spin off, brain eating zombie, Olympian god storyline has you wishing for something else out therethis is that something else Something with a bit of magic, something with high adventure, and something of a page turner A family starts out on the Santa Fe trail, but things don t go as smoothly as one might hope There s hardship, there s magic, there s friendships forged, and While the book is great for 12 years and up It s a book that everyone in the family will enjoy. It Had Been Quiet Along The Santa Fe Trail For Than A Year When The Stokes Company Set Out For California, The Willis Family Among Them A Reluctant Traveler, Young Grace Willis Longs For Her Fortunate, Safe, And Comfortable Life At Home Just As She Is Learning To Negotiate Life In A Wagon Train, Grace Is Kidnapped By Fellow Travelers And Taken Into Oklahoma Territory She Must Decide If She Will Cave In To Despair Or Muster The Courage To Run Away And Search For Her Parents Grace Finds Help In Unlikely Places She Discovers That There Really Is Such A Thing As Magic, And There Are Some Things Only A Child Can Do I accidentally found this book on another site I have two granddaughters who love to read Also, the subject matter brought a lot of memories of stories told to me by both of my grandfathers They knew first hand of the trials and tribulations of the settling of the Southern Plains and Oklahoma This Story by Frances Schoonmaker tracks very closely with all the stories I heard when I was young boy living in the rural areas of the Oklahoma Panhandle Beaver and Texas Counties.This book paints a vivid picture of traveling the Santa Fe Trail The Santa Fe Trail tracks through what was called No Mans Land in the NW corner of the State of Oklahoma You can still see the tracks off the old Schooners as they pulled that area in present day Cimarron County, Oklahma It is my belief that this part of our history has been lost to our young people The Black Alabaster Box is a great read for your children to read It paints a true picture of the hardships of our people who were brave enough to risk the dangers of the environment to find their happiness.My Great grandfather who was a John Hopkins trained MD who put his three children in a wagon and moved from North Carolina to Texas in the late 1880 s Then around 1885, again moved his family North to finally settle in the Beaver and Texas County of present day Oklahoma.I bought two copies of The Black Alabaster Box for my two granddaughters as birthday presents.
My brothers and I loved exploring along the creek banks on the farm in Western Oklahoma where we grew up There were always books to read, too wonderful books Maybe that is where my sense of adventure came from reading and early exploration After teaching school for a dozen years, I became a professor at Teachers College, Columbia University I got to work with really smart and talented young
- 228 pages
- The Black Alabaster Box
- Frances Schoonmaker
- 23 March 2017 Frances Schoonmaker