Can the railroad that is uniting America also bridge the gap between two boys from different backgrounds?
Shortly after the Civil War, Malachy laces on his father’s boots and travels to the American West to work on the transcontinental railroad that will unite the country. In addition to the challenge of the physically grueling work, Malachy also has to adjust to working with Chinese men and boys, whom he views with suspicion and contempt. Despite everything, Malachy gets by with his love for his fierce new dog, Brina, and Blind Thomas, the most hardworking and loyal railroad horse around.
But after a Chinese boy is blamed for stealing a bag of coins, Malachy begins to reconsider his prejudices—because Malachy is the real thief, and his conscience is uneasy. He begins to notice the many ways in which the Chinese workers are mistreated. And when real danger threatens, Malachy needs to find the courage to step up and do what’s right.
Diane Lee Wilson’s atmospheric writing vividly depicts the western landscape of America in the 1860s and draws you right in alongside Malachy—and his beloved horse and dog—as he navigates a bumpy moral terrain and discovers a friendship he never knew was possible.
Diane Lee Wilson is the author of Black Storm Comin’ (which won a Spur Award for Best Western Juvenile, was a Booklist Editors’ Choice, a VOYA Top Shelf fiction pick, a Notable Social Studies book, a Bulletin Blue Ribbon book, and a Book Links Lasting Connection), Firehorse (which was a Booklist Top Ten Mystery/Suspense pick and an ALA Amelia Bloomer Project pick), RavenSpeak, and Tracks. She lives in Escondido, California. Visit her online at DianeLeeWilson.com.
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books (April 2, 2013)
Length: 304 pages
Grades: 5 - 9
Ages: 10 - 14
Lexile ® 990L
The Lexile reading levels have been certified by the Lexile developer, MetaMetrics®