How to Get Rich in the California Gold Rush

An Adventurer's Guide to the Fabulous Riches Discovered in 1848

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Awards, Accolades and Acclamations

  • Starred review, Booklist
  • Starred review, School Library Journal
  • Best New Series Nonfiction for Youth, 2008, Booklist

“This first book in the How to Get Rich series deftly blends story with history to not only give readers an understanding of a gold rush but also to provide a lighthearted and engaging entry point into frontier life. The story (with a tongue-in-cheek claim to be true) follows three young men as they decide to try their luck as prospectors out west. Period lithographs are reproduced alongside original illustrations, all lending to the historical feel of the gold rush era, as the young men embark upon their journey, meet with moderate but backbreaking success, fall apart when they run out of money, and eventually all set out on their own to pursue different means of getting rich. This is where the book really shines—showing how very few people actually got rich panning and mining for gold, but demonstrating that a vast number claimed shares of wealth by creating the various trades and services necessary to support the influx of people bustling into the new towns out west. A ledger on each page tracks the young men’s finances in a genuinely exciting way, adding a sly element of math to this well-conceived and compulsively appealing book. Kids won’t even realize how much they’re learning.”
–Ian Chipman, Booklist

“Social studies teachers may begin the happy dance: here’s supplemental reading that their students will actually enjoy.”
–Elizabeth Bush, The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

“Richly illustrated with a mix of historically authentic lithographs and ‘Thomas Hartley’s’ drawings, this book is a colorful and lively introduction to the period for young history buffs.”
–Madeline J. Bryant, School Library Journal