Plank Road Summer
by Hilda and Emily Demuth
available May 1, 2009
176 pages • 5.5″ x 8.5″
available from fine bookstores
around the corner or online
Plank Road Summer is a middle-grade historical novel, a story of two girls’ friendship in the summer of 1852 in southeastern Wisconsin, with an Underground Railroad subplot.
“Transports readers back to the sights and sounds, and the dangers and joys, of Wisconsin, 1852. A great choice for young readers who love historical fiction, and for teachers wanting to integrate a novel into classroom studies of the pioneer era.”
– Kathleen Ernst, award-winning children’s book author (American Girls novels and other works for young readers)
“A well researched story of 1850s life in southern Wisconsin – a pioneer history gem.”
– Jerry Apps, award-winning author of Old Farm: A History, and In a Pickle: A Family Farm Story
“An excellent use of local history in storytelling for young people. The Demuth sisters have very skillfully woven strands of historical events and life in the mid-1800s into a powerful, memorable story.”
— Dick Ammann, archivist, Racine Heritage Museum
In 1852, the Racine & Rock River Plank Road provides the main route for wagons to transport wheat from Wisconsin homesteads to the harbor on Lake Michigan. The McEachrons run a tollgate for the plank-road company, set at the edge of their farm. On a neighboring homestead, the Mathers run a country inn. Two 13-year-olds, best friends Katie McEachron and Florence Mather, experience a new and exciting world one summer as the plank road brings strangers to their dinner tables and the plight of runaway slaves to their consciences.
Katie McEachron, the second youngest of five McEachron children, is a forthright, impulsive girl who has not yet learned the importance of keeping silent.
Her friend Florence Mather, a solemn and hardworking girl, is an only child who came with her family from Cornwall, England. Florence has an eager mind for books, but her mother is less interested in Florence’s education than in having more help at the inn.
One day in May a stranger arrives at the inn, where neighbors have gathered – the women for a quilting, the men to plan the first Racine County fair.
The visit of the mysterious stranger launches a string of events that will make this a most unforgettable summer for the two girls.
Underground Railroad (Fugitive Slaves en route to Canada)
Historic Plank Roads in mid–19th century America
Early County Fairs and Country Inns
Rural Pioneer Life and Immigrant Heritage (Cornish)
Plank Road Summer • by Hilda and Emily Demuth • Crickhollow Books • paperback • $13.95 • available May 1, 2009 • ISBN 978-1-933987-06-4 • 176 pages • 5.5″ x 8.5″ • Juvenile Fiction / Chapter Book / Historical Fiction • Ages 8-12