A Book for Black-Eyed Susan

written by Judy Young

When 10-year-old Cora and her family start down the Oregon Trail, their future is full of promise and opportunity. But, when tragedy strikes unexpectedly and Cora is separated from her baby sister Susan, Cora creates a way to share their past as they enter an unknown future.


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ISBN: 978-1-58536-463-3 Category:

Written by Judy Young
Illustrated by Doris Ettlinger

Published by Sleeping Bear Press, 2011

Hard Cover, 32 pages


  • 2014 Missouri Show Me Readers Award Second Place Winner
  • 2012 Women Writing the West Willa Award Finalist
  • 2012 Storytelling World Honor Award
  • 2012 Kansas National Educational Association Reading Circle List
  • 2011 National Parenting Publications Awards Gold Winner
  • 2011 Society of School Librarians International Honor Award
  • 2011 Chicago Parents Magazine Best Book List


Kirkus Review: This is a story of heartbreak and resolve, of the punishing tribulations that were once part and parcel of the frontier experience… Young’s telling is raw but tempered by an oblique approach to the cruelest moments and softened by a lovely chance encounter years later, the type of encounter that would only happen if one took the time and effort to fashion a book from the scraps of a life with little comfort and fewer promises.

School Library Journal: Realistic watercolor images reveal the intricacies of pioneer life and the emotional turmoil of the characters. An engaging introduction to life during the Westward expansion.

Old Schoolhouse Magazine: A Book for Black-Eyed Susan caught my eye the moment I saw it…This book is part of the Tales of Young Americans Series and is a wonderful way to help children learn about pioneer life and the struggles pioneers faced. It would make a great read-aloud for young children or an independent read for older elementary students. We happened to be studying this time period, and this book was a perfect supplement to our history program.

Picture Book Reviews: “Never before has a picture book provoked my eyes to sting. But this one did, and more than once… I was so moved by the story that I had to mark the pages that were most significant to me. In total, I used five sticky notes. The lovely illustrations clearly depict the emotions in the book. A great book that presents a story of perseverance and family devotion.”