Locomotive

Book Summary: 

Locomotive received recognition with a Caldecott Medal and was noted as a Robert Sibert Honor Book. Locomotive chronicles the emergence of the U.S. Transcontinentail Raiload providing a brief look at who built it before quickly moving to passengers who will ride from Omaha to Sacramento. Floca provides readers with many close-ups of the trains, jobs performed on the train, as well as the accommodations for passengers. Most notable is the scenery of the western plains. 

Year: 
2014
Author: 
Brian Floca
Illustrator: 
Brian Floca
Publisher: 
Simon and Schuster Children's Publishing
Guiding Question: 

Who is telling this story? Whose views are not being considered?

At the end of the book is a section called “A Note on the Locomotive.” It briefly mentions the plight of the American Indians whose hunting land and way of life were lost to the railroads. The Chinese immigrants who were not treated well by white Americans are given an even briefer mention.

Howard’s Format from You Can’t Teach What You Don’t Know (73-85): 

Honesty- The book states, “Here the bison used to roam, by the hundreds, by the millions, Here the Cheyenne lived, and Pawnee and Arapaho. … The railroad and the men who built it- they have changed it all.” Who lived on this land first? Did they voluntarily give it up? How was it acquired by the railroad companies?

Empathy- This story is told with pride in how the locomotives and the railway system works. How would the Cheyenne, Pawnee and Arapaho have told this story? (And the Paiute and Shoshone?)

Advocacy- Read about the American Indians and the railroad using the internet with your teacher’s guidance. Decide which groups benefitted from the railroads and which did not. Create a Pro/Con poster with the information you learned.

Action- Write to a group of American Indians to express your thoughts and feelings about how the railroad impacted them.