Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Parents' Choice Awards : Audio : Storytelling
Striking Up Gold Mountain: Stories & Songs of the California Gold Rush

Striking Up Gold Mountain: Stories & Songs of the California Gold Rush

Spring 2016 Storytelling
Ages: 9 & Up
Producer: Hive-Arts.Org
CD Price: $20.00

The history of the California Gold Rush comes alive in this outstanding, wide-ranging, two-part mix of tale-spinning and music led by storyteller BZ Smith and musical director Peggy Reza.

The first CD goes all the way back to the dramatic forces of nature that formed the geography of what would one day be the state of California with its rich veins of gold that would draw countless fortune-seekers westward. Interspersed with traditional songs, Native American and Chinese myths, and stories of notable individuals (Joaquin Murrieta, Marie Suize), it also tells of violent culture clashes, the arrival of the Spaniards, the decimation of the First Nation peoples, the rise of the Mexican rancheros, the ceding of Mexican territory to the U.S, and the arrival of gold-seeking Yankees. The second CD features a single story, "Overland Girl," relating through a resonant, personalized narrative what it could have been like for a young girl and her family to travel thousands of miles by wagon-through deserts and plains, across rivers, over the Rockies and the Sierras-risking their lives to reach California's gold fields in hopes of finding a better life.

Lynne Heffley   ©2016 Parents' Choice
A freelance writer and editor for the arts and non-profit organizations, Lynne is a former staff writer for the Los Angeles Times, where she established the paper's first weekly children's arts and entertainment beat.

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