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The Journal Of Otto Peltonen, A Finnish Immigrant

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After his family emigrates from Finland to Minnesota, Otto Peltonen and his father work in the dangerous iron ore mines of the Mesabi Range. There, in the face of discrimination from the foremen, who accept bribes for the prime mining spots, Otto and his father take part in the beginnings of the labor unionization.


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After his family emigrates from Finland to Minnesota, Otto Peltonen and his father work in the dangerous iron ore mines of the Mesabi Range. There, in the face of discrimination from the foremen, who accept bribes for the prime mining spots, Otto and his father take part in the beginnings of the labor unionization.

30 review for The Journal Of Otto Peltonen, A Finnish Immigrant

  1. 5 out of 5

    Sheri

    This was my first read in the My Name is America series and I thought it was an excellent story. The journal entries capture the stark realities of the hardships of travel in steerage class, the living and working conditions for miners and their families, and the abject poverty and lack of other opportunities for gainful employment. The characters and story felt real, like it was based on actual events and not a completely fictional work. The epilogue really added to the sense of a real story an This was my first read in the My Name is America series and I thought it was an excellent story. The journal entries capture the stark realities of the hardships of travel in steerage class, the living and working conditions for miners and their families, and the abject poverty and lack of other opportunities for gainful employment. The characters and story felt real, like it was based on actual events and not a completely fictional work. The epilogue really added to the sense of a real story and the historical note offers more factual details and backstory. A good read touching on many important issues of the time.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Laila Collman

    A fictionalized retelling of the experiences of a young immigrant living in Minnesota, this short and simple read conveys the difficult situation of new Finnish-Americans at the beginning of the 20th century, and the harsh realities of a time before labor unions protected workers' rights or women held the right to vote. This is an engaging & important story for readers of any age! A fictionalized retelling of the experiences of a young immigrant living in Minnesota, this short and simple read conveys the difficult situation of new Finnish-Americans at the beginning of the 20th century, and the harsh realities of a time before labor unions protected workers' rights or women held the right to vote. This is an engaging & important story for readers of any age!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Nick

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I'm never reading a journal agian

  4. 4 out of 5

    Janet

    This is a title in a Scholastic series focusing on various groups of people immigrating to the United States. This title focuses on an extremely hard working Finnish family in Minnesota who live with very little for the goal of eventually purchasing a farm. The father and eventually the son, Otto, work in an iron mine and this theme also tells about worker’s rights and strikes. Although this was a fiction title, it did an excellent job of weaving historical fact into the diary entries. A particu This is a title in a Scholastic series focusing on various groups of people immigrating to the United States. This title focuses on an extremely hard working Finnish family in Minnesota who live with very little for the goal of eventually purchasing a farm. The father and eventually the son, Otto, work in an iron mine and this theme also tells about worker’s rights and strikes. Although this was a fiction title, it did an excellent job of weaving historical fact into the diary entries. A particular type of a rye Finnish bread was mentioned in the text and I plan to make this bread.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Brooke

    This book had a great beginning and a tragic ending. I'm surprised I didn't cry. The book inspired me to read more Dear America books about immigrants though.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Kate last name (optional)

    It was a good book but a little boring. Very interesting to learn how life was in the mines.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Glen Stott

    Another book from the Dear America series. It is the journal of Otto Peltonen. In May of 1905 Otto and his family leave Finland to immigrate to the United States, hoping to save enough to buy land and farm. His father left over a year ago and got job working in the iron mines in Minnesota. He has finally sent for the family, which includes Otto, his mother and two younger sisters, Helena (11) and Lisa (9). The America they find is not what they expected. The miners in Minnesota live in squalor. Another book from the Dear America series. It is the journal of Otto Peltonen. In May of 1905 Otto and his family leave Finland to immigrate to the United States, hoping to save enough to buy land and farm. His father left over a year ago and got job working in the iron mines in Minnesota. He has finally sent for the family, which includes Otto, his mother and two younger sisters, Helena (11) and Lisa (9). The America they find is not what they expected. The miners in Minnesota live in squalor. The miners work hard in a dangerous job for very low pay. They are paid by the ton of material they mine. In order to get assignments where the material is easy to dig they have to bribe the foremen. Otto’s father will not pay a bribe, so he is always assigned to hard rock and his earnings are even less than the average, which is poor. The job is dangerous, but if a miner is killed or injured, the companies pay only a pittance. Otto gets a job in the mines, though he is just a teenager. It is a time when unions are trying to organize and companies are working to prevent it. This results in punitive measures for anyone talking favorably about unions. Often times the disagreements lead to violence on both sides. Some of the workers are paid extra money to spy on their fellow workers and report those who are favorable to union organization. This story is about the point of view of the laborers during this time of confrontation. It was a good story, well told.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Alicia Evans

    I remember reading a Dear America book when I was younger and getting angry when I discovered it wasn't a real diary. Thus, I never read these books either until now. I think I definitely missed out. There's so much going on in this book that is heavily researched and documented that it's a very strong work of historical fiction. I wish I wouldn't have dismissed these books so easily when I was younger. I highly recommend these books, and I look forward to reading more later on. My only issue wa I remember reading a Dear America book when I was younger and getting angry when I discovered it wasn't a real diary. Thus, I never read these books either until now. I think I definitely missed out. There's so much going on in this book that is heavily researched and documented that it's a very strong work of historical fiction. I wish I wouldn't have dismissed these books so easily when I was younger. I highly recommend these books, and I look forward to reading more later on. My only issue was that it ends a little abruptly and I wanted a greater sense of conclusion past what the epilogue gave me, but maybe that's just the nature of the diary/journal format. For: fans of diary/journal formats; readers wanting to know about the life of an immigrant or life during 1905-1907; readers wanting an honest look at moments in our country's past. Possible red flags: death and dismemberment; mild swearing; discussions of horrible working conditions and living conditions; bribery and betrayal.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Autumn

    A very well-written account of a Finnish immigrant's experiences in an iron mining town in Minnesota through 1905-1907. The author does a fair job of portraying the working environment and how a workers' union is created to make things fair and stable for the workers. The emotions and thoughts of the teenage boy are well done and genuine, including his experiences with the mine, his concerns about the working conditions, and his frustrations at having to choose between supporting his family and A very well-written account of a Finnish immigrant's experiences in an iron mining town in Minnesota through 1905-1907. The author does a fair job of portraying the working environment and how a workers' union is created to make things fair and stable for the workers. The emotions and thoughts of the teenage boy are well done and genuine, including his experiences with the mine, his concerns about the working conditions, and his frustrations at having to choose between supporting his family and attending school. Helps the reader appreciate the experiences and hard work of these ancestors. I wanted it to be longer, hence the three stars.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Justin M

    Ok i had two major issue with this book. The first was they didnt talk much about the boat trip at all. The other thing was it was there was nothing gained from reading this book, for me it i already knew that immigrants didnt have very good living conditions and had to have pretty dangerous jobs.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    Another historical story, and the author lives in the town he is writing about. I like the follow up at the end of what happened to the characters.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Zixuan Xu

    This book talks about a little boy going through a really hard time to move from Finland and live in America. This connects to a long walk to water because, Salva in the story also had to go through a devastating process to finally reach his goal which is to be free from the war and to reunite with his family again. The boy and his families goal is to get enough money to buy a farm so that they can live far away from the mine and live a peaceful life. Another reason why they are connected is tha This book talks about a little boy going through a really hard time to move from Finland and live in America. This connects to a long walk to water because, Salva in the story also had to go through a devastating process to finally reach his goal which is to be free from the war and to reunite with his family again. The boy and his families goal is to get enough money to buy a farm so that they can live far away from the mine and live a peaceful life. Another reason why they are connected is that they are both going through big changes. The Finnish boy is going through the industrial revolution. Salva was going through the Sudanese civil war. These are two reasons representing why they are connected.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jenny Clark

    This was a pretty interesting look into the corrupt mining practices in the early 1900s, but I feel like more of it could have been devoted to that instead of the settling in part, but that was also a big issue back then, with all the immigrants. I love that Minnie was a suffragette and so strong. This had so much going for it, and would be absolutely great for middle grade readers. I've been a fan of this series and the rest of Dear America since it started, as well as the Royal Diaries. Great This was a pretty interesting look into the corrupt mining practices in the early 1900s, but I feel like more of it could have been devoted to that instead of the settling in part, but that was also a big issue back then, with all the immigrants. I love that Minnie was a suffragette and so strong. This had so much going for it, and would be absolutely great for middle grade readers. I've been a fan of this series and the rest of Dear America since it started, as well as the Royal Diaries. Great nostalgia read.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Kayla

    I loved reading about this boys life.I grew up in a primarily Finnish community.My dad's side of the family is orginially from Finland.I was happy to see names that are still around today in this book.It was exciting for me to learn about the struggle they had when they came to America.It saddens me that they struggled. I hate how some of the reviews that have been written state they hated the ending.You can't change the past.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Christina

    "The Journal Of Otto Peltonen, A Finnish Immigrant," by William Durbin is about a boy named Otto and he immigrated from Finland to Minnesota. Otto Peltonen and his father work in the dangerous iron ore mines of the Mesabi Range. Otto and his father are in the face of discrimination from the foremen, who accept bribes for the prime mining spots, Otto and his father take part in the beginnings of the labor unionization.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Taylor

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Emotional journal book about a young boy who choses to leave schooling behind after coming to America, because his family needs financial reassurance,because his dad alone working is simply not enough

  17. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    Well researched. Good story. Not for young children.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Mandy

    Love this series. Loved this book. A great find at the local library sale. I cried a little.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jodi

    Tragic. So much mistreatment, horrible working conditions, and grisly deaths. Some swearing. For mature students. I'm definitely waiting years to have my kids read this.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jacie

    It wasn’t that good, it was a bit boring and I had to read this for a project and was a bit confusing. I wouldn’t read any more but some that enjoy books like that (boring history) will like it

  21. 4 out of 5

    James

    The Journal of Otto Peltonen, by William Durbin, is a compilation of journal entries from a young teenager's journal during his early years in America. Otto's father immigrated to Minnesota two years before the rest of Otto's fmaily could come and join him. When they finally arrive, they are appalled at the living conditions they had moved into. Otto's family has to adapt to their alien environment, and learn to live in the run-down mining town of Hibbing, Minnesota. Unfortunately it does not co The Journal of Otto Peltonen, by William Durbin, is a compilation of journal entries from a young teenager's journal during his early years in America. Otto's father immigrated to Minnesota two years before the rest of Otto's fmaily could come and join him. When they finally arrive, they are appalled at the living conditions they had moved into. Otto's family has to adapt to their alien environment, and learn to live in the run-down mining town of Hibbing, Minnesota. Unfortunately it does not come naturally to Otto's mother. She is used to the conveniences that a respectable Finnish villiage provides; a nearby well, a comfortable sauna, clean air, friendly neighbors, etc. Their immediate neighborhood is made almost entirely of Finns, but they feel as if they could have been born half-way across the world. Otto's father works for the Oliver Steel Company. His pay is only about 1-2 dollars a day, in tunnels that could crush him in an instant. He has been supporting the new Socialist ideals that were sprining up left and right around Hibbing, and he has been trying to fight the tyrannical way the mines are run in every way he can. Of course, both of these actions can get him into trouble. He shows much bravery for standing up for what he believes in, which is fair work rewarded with fair pay. He refuses to bribe the foremen into assigning him the best rock, and he does not condone the use of informants in order to keep the miners in check. As the book progresses, Otto's father gets bolder and bolder, which gets him into more and more trouble with teh company. Eventually, it gets to the point where Otto must join him in order for their family to earn enough money for a farm. As the miners get tired of the constant treatment of disrespect from the mining companies, strikes and revolts become more and more likely. Finally, after a massive cave in, the miners revolt. For weeks they petition against the wrongdoings and injustices that are forced upon them, but will they prevail? The answer is found in The Journal of Otto Peltonen. A short book about the early years of Minnesota mining. Good for last minute assignments, but a bit dry and dull.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Beverly

    1905 I knew nothing about Finland Immigrants until I read this. Nearly a quarter of a million immigrated to the U.S. in the early 1900's. They came primarily: 1) to avoid being drafted into the Russian Army. Finland was a duchy of Russia! 2) As in feudal societies, land passed only to the eldest son. If you were not the eldest, America had 160 acres and the Homestead Act. 3) Religious Freedom The Finnish National Church ran all aspects of life. They claimed 10% of income, granted permission for m 1905 I knew nothing about Finland Immigrants until I read this. Nearly a quarter of a million immigrated to the U.S. in the early 1900's. They came primarily: 1) to avoid being drafted into the Russian Army. Finland was a duchy of Russia! 2) As in feudal societies, land passed only to the eldest son. If you were not the eldest, America had 160 acres and the Homestead Act. 3) Religious Freedom The Finnish National Church ran all aspects of life. They claimed 10% of income, granted permission for marriage, employment, and gave character references for passports. They were drawn to the northern reaches of Michigan and Minnesota, because it closely resembled Finland. One of the biggest employers was the Oliver Mining Operation for the Mesabi ore in Minnesota. I knew about coal mining but not much on ore mining. I guess all mining was similar because the mining ops deducted fees for dynamite, and mining supplies from your salary. Finns were hard working, but didn't like paying bribes to foremen for easy jobs. They worked 10 hr. days for $2.50. There were many accidents. Some bosses would only employ single men so there would be no questions when they died in cave ins. Companies did not want to pay widows and children's benefits. This is a good read about the family that came, their hardships, and their triumphs.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jolene Aho

    “The Journal of Otto Peltonen” tells the story of a Finnish immigrant family that moves to Minnesota in 1905. Otto writes in his journal about the trip from Finland, his first impressions of America, and life in a mining town. He tells about working in an iron mine and the workers struggle for their rights. Historical notes and photographs at the end of the book add to the story. This is an example of historical fiction, because it takes place in the past. Although the characters are fictional, t “The Journal of Otto Peltonen” tells the story of a Finnish immigrant family that moves to Minnesota in 1905. Otto writes in his journal about the trip from Finland, his first impressions of America, and life in a mining town. He tells about working in an iron mine and the workers struggle for their rights. Historical notes and photographs at the end of the book add to the story. This is an example of historical fiction, because it takes place in the past. Although the characters are fictional, the story is based on real people and events. According to the Scholastic Book Wizard website, this book has a grade level equivalent of 6.1 and an interest level of 6th-8th grade. It would also be appropriate for younger advanced readers. This book could be integrated into a Social Studies unit about Minnesota history or about immigrants. As a writing assignment, students could write a journal from the perspective of a different character in the story. Alternatively, students could write their own journal about events in their lives.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Sarai Lillie

    I have a hard time getting into the "My Name is America" series for a couple reasons: 1. I am an adult woman. 2. There is so little real story, in my opinion. With the "Dear America" series, you get a full grasp of the young woman you reading about. She writes about everything; little things, big things, the history, herself, the people around her, etc. It feels like a lot of that gets lost for the boys. I understand that boys are different from girls. They aren't going to want to write about all th I have a hard time getting into the "My Name is America" series for a couple reasons: 1. I am an adult woman. 2. There is so little real story, in my opinion. With the "Dear America" series, you get a full grasp of the young woman you reading about. She writes about everything; little things, big things, the history, herself, the people around her, etc. It feels like a lot of that gets lost for the boys. I understand that boys are different from girls. They aren't going to want to write about all the same things. I just am having a harder time connecting with the boys because they give so little detail, they don't open up about themselves as much. I felt especially disconnected with this book. It was a decent book over all, but I felt the history was a little lacking and I wish there had been more about the boy himself. I know he had a love of reading, wanted to continue his education, etc. But that was as deep as it got.

  25. 4 out of 5

    CJ

    The Journal of Otto Peltonen, follows the adventures of a struggling Finnish family. When they finally move to America, they find out it wasn't how they thought it was. It was worse than they thought. Withtheir dad making $2 every week, there is a lot of struggling to come. Otto Peltonen, a Finnish boy lives with his family in a small shack. All because of his father, he decides to take a job at the mine. 28th people dying around him left and right, he continues to be brave. With his family runni The Journal of Otto Peltonen, follows the adventures of a struggling Finnish family. When they finally move to America, they find out it wasn't how they thought it was. It was worse than they thought. Withtheir dad making $2 every week, there is a lot of struggling to come. Otto Peltonen, a Finnish boy lives with his family in a small shack. All because of his father, he decides to take a job at the mine. 28th people dying around him left and right, he continues to be brave. With his family running poor, they might to homeless. Otto will uncover the hatred that has in America, and their poor decision to emigrate. I recommend this book to those who like to read journals. This book goes in-depth of Otto's struggles and opinions. Boy and girls will enjoy this book a lot. This piece of historic fiction should be appreciated by all. I enjoyed this book so much and hope to finish the series.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Barrett Nelson

    This is a story about a young Finnish boy immigrating to America named Otto. He is going to live with his father, who is a average miner. His father is paid in wages below two dollars. They are saving up for a farm in Minnesota. Being a miner is a very dangerous job. There are deaths and injuries almost every week. And with all of the immigrants coming to the United States replacing one miner is extremely easy. Some people want to set up a rebellion against their selfless bosses. Money is so lo This is a story about a young Finnish boy immigrating to America named Otto. He is going to live with his father, who is a average miner. His father is paid in wages below two dollars. They are saving up for a farm in Minnesota. Being a miner is a very dangerous job. There are deaths and injuries almost every week. And with all of the immigrants coming to the United States replacing one miner is extremely easy. Some people want to set up a rebellion against their selfless bosses. Money is so low that Otto has to get a job at the mine and stop splitting wood for the neighbors. But when his mother hears about all the deaths she wants to make them quit their new jobs. If they quit they could go into extreme debt. What will they do? Will they get their farm? Read the book to find out. I think everyone should read this book. It is a great story about the past. Kids of all ages could read this and be happy with is. All in all this is a great book.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Halle Caban

    “The Journal of Otto Peltonen” is a very thrilling and full of cliff hangers. This novel is about Otto and his family going to meet/live with his father in Minnesota. The story takes place in the mid 1900s. It focuses on there first two years of living in the United States instead of their homeland Finland. This book is about how poor and bad wages there were back then when Otto and his father went to work in the deep, dusty, and injured filled mines. The theme of this book in my opinion is that “The Journal of Otto Peltonen” is a very thrilling and full of cliff hangers. This novel is about Otto and his family going to meet/live with his father in Minnesota. The story takes place in the mid 1900s. It focuses on there first two years of living in the United States instead of their homeland Finland. This book is about how poor and bad wages there were back then when Otto and his father went to work in the deep, dusty, and injured filled mines. The theme of this book in my opinion is that you must work for what you want, it is not handed to you. I say this because they have to work and save up for their farm they want to start up. In my opinion this book was very good. It is a very true book. I know this because last year all in social studies we learned about this time history. I would recommend this in anyone. It would be grade for students 6-8th grade.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Young Adult Historical Vault

    I even surprised myself with how much I enjoyed this book! While plenty of My Name Is America books tend to have a pretty narrow focus on the Issue, this one is nicely diversified--there's the mining issue, but labour dramas, family issues, long-term problems, and more. A lot of the tricky issues are handled with surprising delicacy and a light hand. Interesting characters who have realistic personalities, plus the idea that even sometimes the right things don't work out for the right people. Fo I even surprised myself with how much I enjoyed this book! While plenty of My Name Is America books tend to have a pretty narrow focus on the Issue, this one is nicely diversified--there's the mining issue, but labour dramas, family issues, long-term problems, and more. A lot of the tricky issues are handled with surprising delicacy and a light hand. Interesting characters who have realistic personalities, plus the idea that even sometimes the right things don't work out for the right people. For my full recap and review, check out Young Adult Historical Vault https://yahistoricalvault.com/2016/01...

  29. 5 out of 5

    Rob

    It is not great writing but it is a Journal of a time in America that may not have been our crowning glory but it has the feel of what really was happening then to the latest wave of Immigrants. I think it is better to look back at our real history and say yes what happened was bad but much has changed and we are still changing today. History is history, you don't have to always be proud of those times but you should always try to learn from it so that you don't make the same poor choices that h It is not great writing but it is a Journal of a time in America that may not have been our crowning glory but it has the feel of what really was happening then to the latest wave of Immigrants. I think it is better to look back at our real history and say yes what happened was bad but much has changed and we are still changing today. History is history, you don't have to always be proud of those times but you should always try to learn from it so that you don't make the same poor choices that have already been made.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Molly

    This entire series is a wonderful way to learn history or teach it to adolescents. I find today's generations seem to recall more when they learn through other people (pop songs, celebrity gossip, etc.), so what better way to teach history than through someone else's perspective? Yes, "authentic" diaries would be "better", but would the language really hold the modern student's attention? Did the diary writer know what WOULD be important in the context of history? Probably not.

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