NCTE Orbis Pictus Award
The Jefferson Cup Award
An ALA Notable Children’s Book
An account of Robert Louis Stevenson’s twelve-day journey from New York to California in 1879 to see his ailing fiancé provides the opportunity to experience a cross-country journey firsthand. Drawn from Stevenson’s journal, Across America offers a unique and fascinating primary source account of transcontinental train travel.
Interwoven with descriptions of traveling companions, other emigrants, and their collective experiences, Across America weaves together the broader story — the building of the transcontinental railroad and the settling of the West. Thus, Stevenson’s journey becomes the dramatic and moving window through which to experience the effect of the railroads on the territories they crossed; the disruption and destruction of Native American life they caused; the slaughter of the buffalo; as well as portraits of the towns that quickly came and vanished as the construction crews moved on. Through Stevenson’s memoirs, one also experiences the excitement of hope and the lure of the West.
Illustrated with numerous period maps, drawings, photos and engravings that bring the story of westward expansion uniquely to life.