Since I live in California I've read lots of books for kids about the history of the state. But The Adventures of Pearley Monroe is different from all the others.
In the first place, the main character is an African American boy. And, in the second place, the story takes place in the 1880s and is not just about the Gold Rush.
The author Marci Seither based the book on true events that happened to a real family and did an excellent job of portraying the world in which Pearley lived. Since I grew up hearing stories from my grandfather about that same time period I can vouch for the accuracy of a lot of it, although my grandfather lived in San Francisco instead of Gold Country.
And the life of Pearley, like the lives of many people in his world, truly was full of adventure. Even his discovery of the reason for his name is dramatic.
This book is a good one just to read for fun, but kids studying California history in school will find it educational, too.