In the summer of 1849, Lucy Whipple's mother packs up her household and her two young children, and leaves their home in Massachusetts for the gold fields of California. Moving is the last thing the outspoken twelve-year-old, Lucy, wants to do. Reaching California, the Whipples set up a crude boardinghouse, and Lucy is put to work washing, cleaning, and baking pies in the rough mining town of Lucky Diggins. There are no books, no school-nothing but dust and drunken miners. With each day, the homesick Lucy is more and more determined to take life into her own hands and return to New England. The Ballad of Lucy Whipple is her firsthand account of her struggles in a rough and tumble land. Newbery Award-winning author Karen Cushman paints a vivid picture of life in the gold fields. Dispelling the idea that only men went there to seek their fortune, Cushman focuses on the women and families who created homes and towns from a harsh landscape. Karen Cushman's other books include Catherine, Called Birdy and The Midwife's Apprentice.