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Deborah K. Frontiera
Award-winnig Author/Speaker for Children and Adults Deborah K. Frontiera
First Place Winner in historical fiction in the Purple Dragonfly Awards for excellence in children's literature.
Feel like you are in the moment nearly 100 years ago with a young girl, daughter of Finnish immigrants. Look in the "Articles" section of this site for teacher materials and student activity pages, aligned to state curriculum.
Retain Price: $16.95.
Schools and school districts should contact the author for special sales price when they purchase class sets of 20 or more copies.
**NOW AVAILABLE AS AN E-BOOK THROUGH BARNES&NOBLE OR ON AMAZON!
To twelve-year-old Emma, life may be hard, but it is basically good. She has finished sixth grade and is nearly a young lady. But, in the summer of 1913, her life, and the lives of everyone in the region, will be changed forever by a violent strike against the mining companies in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. A friend whose father is not on strike will be forbidden to talk to her. Another will die in the terrible Italian Hall Tragedy on Christmas Eve. Only the trait the Finnish people call "sisu" will help her and others in the region live through it.
This well-researched historical fiction takes place in Houghton County, Michigan, in the towns of Calumet, Houghton, Hancock, Laurium and the surrounding area. It is written from the point of view of a twelve-year-old girl whose father is on strike. The first-person narrative puts the reader on the scene. Historical photographs help the reader see the time and place.
Our Daily Work, Our Daily Lives
Deborah Frontiera's book, Living on Sisu: The 1913 Union Copper Strike Tragedy (ABCs press, 2009) is a compelling novel for young adult readers which follows the adventures and experiences of 12 year old Emma Niemi as her family and community are caught up in the 1913-14 strike in the copper district of Michigan's Keweenaw peninsula. Frontiera has done an excellent job exploring the history of the strike through Emma's diary which follows all the key events and issues in the strike, including the false call of fire which caused the death of seventy-three, primarily children, of those attending a Christmas Eve party for strikers' families. I enjoyed reading the novel, which, like many other fine pieces of "children's" literature (being a first place winner in 2010 in "historical fiction" of the prestigious Purple Dragonfly Awards for children's books), is able to transcend its chosen age group to be an interesting read for any who pick the book up. I think that the issues in the strike were treated respectfully and that the author was able to create a nuanced tale with a variety of very engaging characters. Check it out! John Beck, Michigan State University
Living People from Century-old Photos
Frontiera is able to take those nameless faces from century-old photos and create for us living people--young people filled with fears and hopes in the wake of events that defined the history of Michigan's Copper Country.
James Kurtti, editor, The Finnish American Reporter
Review by Ellen Feld, Apr. 2009
With exhaustive research, author Deborah K. Frontiera has brought attention to a tragic event within the copper industry during the early twentieth century. The impossible working conditions inside the copper mines in Michigan's Upper Peninsula precipitated a violent strike that lasted for months and took the lives of many people. Frontiera has written a fictional story about a young girl, Emma, to draw young readers into the true story of the miners, their families, and the harsh treatment employees were subjected to from the mine owners. Through Emma's diary, readers will be drawn into this mesmerizing story of a strike and the Christmas Eve tragedy that brought the horrors of mining to the general public's attention.
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