Daniel's Walk: a Novel
Henry Holt and Company
ISBN 978-0805067507 (cloth)
ISBN 978-0805075434 (paperback)
"Your daddy's in trouble, boy."
Daniel is sometimes bothered by dreams, but this time he knows it's real. Over Aunt Judith's protests, Daniel joins a wagon train and sets out to find his father, a free trapper who has left the life of civilization far behind. The quest takes Daniel deep into the Rocky Mountains, where he finds much more than he bargained for.
Daniel's Walk is a coming-of-age tale, a survival story, and an affirmation of family we never knew we had.
"[This] exciting, well-crafted novel would make an excellent supplement to any study of the era, and it's a good read for fans of historical fiction and adventure stories, too." —Kliatt
"Spooner's adventure, set around 1844, has everything: danger, Native American myth, a gritty survival struggle, a little romance, comedy, and wonderful characters, all rolled into a quick-reading, high-interest, satisfying historical novel. . . . Children will gain a new appreciation for settlers who traveled the Oregon Trail thanks to Spooner's descriptions of their hardships, so vividly rendered that readers will feel muddy and wet themselves." — Booklist
Best Book Award, 2001 (Children's) Mountains & Plains Booksellers Association
Best Children's Books of the Year list —Bank Street College of Education
Best of the West list 2001 —Salt Lake Tribune
Best of 2001 —Teenreads.com
"A ripping good tale." —Pages
This is my first novel, and I even still like it. One thing I especially enjoy is how many different kinds of people Daniel meets on his long walk. Many Americans tend to believe that the West was empty and waiting to be "tamed" when the White settlers began moving into it. Daniel finds this isn't so at all.
I wrote a paper for "library lecture" later, in which I tried to work out my own philosophy of historical fiction; I think that writers and readers have a responsibility that we don't always observe, and that is to question ourselves. Sometimes there are problems in our most comfortable assumptions, and we can see them only if we make ourselves look very closely.