by Elizabeth Goss, Author, My Way West
Between 1841 and 1884, more than 40,000 kids traveled west across North America on the Oregon and California Trails. These young emigrants had extraordinary experiences on their journeys, but they were ordinary people. Some were picky eaters, some had favorite games and beloved pets.
I created My Way West to capture the individuality of these kids and show how different the trail experience could be depending on an emigrant’s luck and circumstances.
My Way West pairs quotes from the letters, diaries, and memoirs of real young emigrants with fascinating details about what going west was actually like. Readers will taste bread made from crickets and acorns with 7-year-old Benjamin Bonney, face the dangers of quicksand with 11-year-old Etty Scott, and follow 12-year-old Owen Bush all the way to Oregon, only to discover that African Americans are no longer allowed to settle there.
I’ve used papercuts to bring this story to life. They give the book a very unique visual quality. They’re deliciously detailed and designed to bring even reluctant readers in for a closer look.
Elizabeth Goss is an illustrator, author, and professional papercutter. She has a passion for history and loves poking through old books in dusty libraries. Elizabeth lives with her family in Portland, Oregon. To learn more about her and her work, please visit lizabethgoss.com.