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The Snow Fell Three Graves Deep: Voices from the Donner Party

af Allan Wolf

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The Donner Party were pioneers migrating to California from the Midwest. Due to a series of mishaps, they became snowbound in the Sierra Nevada mountains in the winter of 1846-47. Nearly half of the party succumbed to illness, starvation, and the extreme weather.

Read the recently published books for youth, then learn more at the websites:

THE SNOW FELL THREE GRAVES DEEP by Allan Wolf uses an engaging verse approach to share the infamous Donner Party story. Told through the eyes of the participants and using the voice of “Hunger” as a narrator, the author recounts this story of survival in the wilderness. The comprehensive back matter provides useful background information for readers unfamiliar with the story.

DONNER DINNER PARTY: A PIONEER TALE by Nathan Hale retells the disastrous events of the 1846 journey to California. This Bigger & Badder edition is a deluxe, oversized graphic novel approach that includes 16 new pages. The author skillfully balances humor with the macabre for the tween and teen audience.

ALL THE MISTAKES THAT DOOMED THE DONNER PARTY from Weird History is a fast-paced, short video tracing the key events in the Donner-Reed party disaster.

To watch the video, go to https://youtu.be/4g6ITFTtHZQ.

DESPERATE DREAMERS is a transcript of the documentary film shown at Donner State Park in California. The film tells the story of the Donner Company of 1846.

To read the transcript, go to https://bit.ly/3orHEY1.

THE DONNER PARTY is a PBS video series. The American Experience website provides access to background information, primary sources, a teacher’s guide and useful articles along with links to sources for viewing the series.

To learn more, go to https://to.pbs.org/2NAdCV5.

ARC courtesy of Amulet and Candlewick. ( )
  eduscapes | Apr 6, 2021 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
The tragic story of the Donner Party is disturbing and yet grotesquely captivating in much the same way as a train wreck. In this new take on the events surrounding this ill-fated party of travelers and their futile 1846 attempt to journey to California before the chills of winter, poet and storyteller Allan Wolf puts a new twist on tale by writing in verse. Among the many voices heard in this work are party leader James Reed, his two daughters Virginia and Patty, Tamzene Donner, German immigrant Ludwig Keseberg, Native American scouts Luis and Salvador and orphan Baptiste Trudeau (and his two oxen); as well as several intangible entities such as The Hastings Cutoff, snow and, most hauntingly, Hunger.

I've commented on other works about how reading about historical tragedies in hindsight can be anxiety-inducing, with the reader fervently and yet illogically hoping that somehow the ending will be different. In the case of the Donner Party, there were a number of poor decisions on the part of the leaders, compounded by a series of misfortunes that simply came down to bad luck. I came to this book having already read two other works about the Donner Party, and therefore already had a level of familiarity which made it a bit easier to keep the characters straight. This is a fascinating read. I also highly recommend another of Wolf's historical novels in verse, The Watch That Ends the Night: Voices from the Titanic.

I received this ARC via LibraryThing's Early Reviewers program. ( )
  ryner | Oct 26, 2020 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
3.5 What a unique way to tell the story of the Donner party. Hunger itself is a narrator and it's function is to explain and fill in the story. It is written in a prose style and we hear from many of those poor, unfortunate people in their own words. I found it surprisingly effective. Can't help but feel for these people, their options were so limited, and they did the best they could with the little they had. Hard to judge them negatively for wanting to keep themselves and their children alive.

A very different take on this long ago tragedy. ( )
  Beamis12 | Oct 18, 2020 |
Thank you LibraryThing for the opportunity to read and review The Snow Fell Three Graves Deep: Allan Wolf

Allan Wolf captured the true soul of the Donner Party. This was so well written , Allan Wolf’s writing makes you feel the emotions each of the party is going through. their feelings, hopes, and lost dreams, was like being there next to them The oxen and even Hunger were given a voice.
Each of us has some knowledge of the Donner Party, this novel not only gives you historical information, but emotional, and insight of each individual in this sad sad story. ( )
  bonitajean | Sep 17, 2020 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Woah - this book gave me freaking chills. I remember being fascinated with the horrific fate of the Donner Party when I was younger - but I hadn't given it much thought since. This remarkable telling of events is told in verse, journal entries, letters, and maps. The slow build up of terror guarantees that you won't be able to tear your eyes off the page. Told through multiple perspective: a German immigrant, an orphan boy, an 8 year old, a father, and two indigenous scouts help give this story a well rounded view of the situation. For those that aren't aware - The Donner Party got trapped in the mountains not even 90 miles away from a fort by an extremely early winter. They slowly starved to death and succumbed to cannibalism - it was truly horrific. This book..... is one I will 100% read again and recommend to teens and adults - the notes and the statistics at the end are also wonderful additions. The author really shined a lot on an awful situation and refrained from placing the blame on anyone while still remaining objective. Marvelous storytelling!! ( )
  ecataldi | Sep 8, 2020 |
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Run March 26 and April 2, 1846
Sangamo Journal
Springfield, Illinois

WESTWARD, HO!
FOR OREGON AND CALIFORNIA!

Who wants to go to California without costing them anything? As many as eight young men, of good character, who can drive an ox team, will be accommodated by gentlemen who will leave this vicinity about the first of April. Come, boys! You can have as much land as your want without costing you any thing. The government of California gives large tracts of land to persons who have to move there. The first suitable persons who apply, will be engaged. The emigrants who intend moving to Oregon or California this spring, from the adjoining counties, would do well to be in this place about the first of next month. Are there not a number from Decatur, Macon county, going?

G. DONNER and others. Springfield, March 18, 1846.
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