The Journal of Otto Peltonen, originally published as a part of Scholastic’s My Name is America series, is now available in paperback from the University of Minnesota Press.
Otto’s life, as recorded in his journal, offers a vivid portrait of the Finnish immigrant experience in Minnesota during the early twentieth century.
After journeying across the Atlantic with his mother and two sisters, young Otto Peltonen joins his father, working in the iron ore mines on the Mesabi Range in northern Minnesota. Otto not only experiences the harsh labor conditions that were common at the time, but he also discovers that United States Steel, the owners of the mine, will do anything to prevent the workers from organizing a union and earning a fair wage. To guarantee that fact, the company has instituted an industrial spy system, which pays bribes to workers who are willing turn in their friends and neighbors. When a sudden mining strike causes community-wide hardship, Otto and his family resolve to seek the freedom they had originally hoped to find when they first came to America.
“Historical notes and authentic photos round out this captivating, dramatic view of the past.” Booklist