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Twelve-year-old tomboy May Amelia Jackson, the youngest of seven children and the only girl in a Finnish immigrant family, lives in the wilderness along the Nasel River in Washington State in 1899. Through May Amelia’s travels, readers witness the diverse ways of life in the expanding West: peaceful relations with the Chinook Indians, the dangers posed by the neighboring logging camp, her aunt’s life in the nearby boomtown of Astoria, Oregon, as well as the rhythms of the seasons.

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Families, History