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Dear America: All the Stars in the Sky: The Santa Fe Trail, Diary of Florrie Ryder Hardcover – Aug 2003

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Press (Aug. 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0439169631
  • ISBN-13: 978-0439169639
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 14 x 1.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,300,642 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Megan McDonald is the author of the popular and award-winning Judy Moody and Stink series. She is also the author of two Sisters Club stories and many other books for children. She lives in Sebastopol, California, USA.

Inside This Book

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First Sentence
Jem says why would I be writing in my diary when I could be whittling a whistle out of willow wood. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

A Kid's Review on 24 Jan. 2009
Format: Hardcover
florrie mack ryder leaves her home in Missouri for santa fe, with her step father, brother and mother, her diary documents the santa fe trail quite well.

I liked this book, it was good and compelling, had a few jokes and it was a good addition to the dear america series.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 10 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Another Great Dear America 2 Dec. 2003
By Brittany - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I have been reading Dear America books for a long time, and I've had a hard time trying to stop! I started in fifth grade, and I am a senior now. I normally read adult books, but there are just some series that I can't let go!
Florrie (Florence) Mack Ryder sets out from Missouri to travel in a wagon to Santa Fe. Along with her come her pregnant mother, stepfather, brother, and dog, Mr. Biscuit. The journey is harder than they thought, filled with hardships and losses. The tragedies were not in vein, for it made Florrie a stronger person, as you will find in the end.
I enjoyed The Wild and Lonesome Prairie, so I thought I would enjoy this. I did. As with most Dear America books, it was well written, it kept me turning pages, and it was educational. For instance, did you know Santa Fe means "holy faith"?
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
A thought provoking picture. 1 July 2004
By KidsReads - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Florrie Ryder is having a hard time leaving everything she has ever known behind. Her best friend, her grandparents, and even the grave of her father must all remain in Arrow Rock, Missouri. Florrie, her younger brother Jem, her mother, and her mother's new husband are going to travel down the Santa Fe Trail to begin a new life in New Mexico in the town of Santa Fe. Unlike the Oregon Trail and others that went towards the west coast, the Santa Fe Trail was used mostly by traders rather than by settlers.
Nevertheless, it was still a grueling journey and Florrie witnesses more than her fair share of suffering and hardship. She develops friendships that come to mean a great deal to her and that sustain her. We are drawn into the story as Florrie and her family battle their way down the trail, and we are charmed by Florrie's likable and determined personality. Florrie sees things with a clarity that can be quite startling at times, even to her. For example, she comments early in the journey that she feels lost "like a stick figure drawn in the dust, erased by wagon tracks." Later she remarks, "I am lonely and have fallen under the cloud of my own bad weather."
Written in a style that suggests Florrie's own speech, Megan McDonald has created a wonderful character and has gone to great lengths to study the times and the people she writes about. Her inclusion of Spanish words, as Florrie begins to learn the language, is a particularly effective device. Both sad and at times humorous, Florrie's story provides us with a thought-provoking picture of a time and place not often written about.
--- Reviewed by Marya Jansen-Gruber (
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
An excellent new Dear America book. 5 Sept. 2003
By Rebecca Herman - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Twelve-year-old Florrie barely remembers her father, who died when she was very young. Now her mother has remarried, and Florrie's new stepfather, who is a trader, has decided to take his new family to Santa Fe, where he is part owner of a store. Florrie begins her diary as she, her younger brother, mother, and stepfather set out from Missouri on the Santa Fe trail. She describes the hardships they face crossing rivers, mountains, and deserts, but also the joys, as she makes new friends and experiences the wonders of the beautiful wilderness. This wasn't one of the best Dear America books, but it was still very good, and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys the series. I particularly enjoyed that it covered a subject not written about that much in historical fiction.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
A so-so read 11 Oct. 2003
By hiphopgirl_1000 - Published on
Format: Hardcover
13-year-old Florrie starts her journal as her family begins their jorney on the Sante Fe Trail from Independence Missouri. Like the title suggests, Florrie loves staring at the stars and watch for those special shooting stars. Her family also have many new experiences on the trip, such as encountering Indians, and various animals such as trantulas, and badgers. Throughtout the diary, Florrie grows into herself as she has more life experiences, such as learning Spanish and eating foods of other cultures. This books was pretty good in the fact that it described landscape very well, such as wildflowers, mountains, etc. I did feel that this diary was very similar to other accounts such as the Oregon Trail, etc. It is still a very good read for any lover of Dear America.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Beautiful Trail Diary 23 Mar. 2009
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover
All the Stars in the Sky (Santa Fe Trail) / 0-439-16963-1

"All the Stars in the Sky" takes the reader over the Santa Fe trail as the narrator's family emigrates to their new home. Like many of the Dear America books, the narrator's family life is frustratingly messy - in this case, her mother is newly remarried after having been a widow for many years, and the children are forced to adjust to a new father and a new way of life at the same time, for Mr. Ryder is a merchant and merchants must go where the customers go, in this case, Santa Fe.

Young Florrie learns a great deal through her trail experiences, including the value of forgiveness for her friends and family, the importance of meeting people from other cultures, and the pioneering skills to keep a family safe, fed, and warm in the harsh American wilderness. In many ways, "All the Stars in the Sky" is reminiscent of the other successful Dear America trail diaries, including the Oregon Trail diary, and it is always fascinating to see how difficult and treacherous these trail travels could be for the people traveling them.

For parents, there is a great deal of excitement in this novel, but very little that would be frightening to a young child. However, there is a fatal accident on the trail, when a tent catches fire at night, and there is mention of families dying of illnesses along the way. There is no overt sexuality, but the newly remarried mother does become pregnant along the trail before being put on bed rest in the nearest town to await a difficult delivery. Taken as a whole, this is a wonderful novel for inquiring children, and I was impressed at how sensitive the author is to other cultures - Florrie learns (and teaches the reader!) dozens of Spanish and American Indian words for everything from "candle" to "magpie".

~ Ana Mardoll
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