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By Tod Olson with illustrations by Scott Allred & Gregory Proch (National Geographic, 2008)

How to Get Rich in the California Gold Rush, the first book in the three volume How to Get Rich series, is a witty and informative romp through one of the defining events of American history, punctuated by dramatic examples of good and bad business decision-making. I initially developed the series concept with Marc Aronson. We envisioned a line of books that dramatized the different ways people pursued their fortunes at different times and places in history. But the writer Tod Olson, who would become our partner in the series, transformed our fun and informative nonfiction idea into a provocative brew of fiction and fact, history and storytelling. We delivered the book to our publishing partner, National Geographic, as a disk ready for prepress.

How to Get Rich in the California Gold Rush, like the two books that followed, is also a visual feast. Designer Jon Glick, of mouse+tiger, seamlessly blended original illustrations by Scott Allred and Gregory Proch with archival art from the period, conjuring a recently “discovered” 19th-century adventurer’s journal. Working on this series with Marc, Tod, Jon, Scott, and Gregory has been one of the great pleasures of my publishing life.

This first book in the How to Get Rich series deftly blends story with history to not only give readers an understanding of a gold rush but also to provide a lighthearted and engaging entry point into frontier life. . . . [A] well-conceived and compulsively appealing book. Kids won’t even realize how much they’re learning.” —Booklist, “starred” review

Honors: Booklist‘s Top 10 Westerns for Youth.

Reviews: Booklist and School Library “starred” reviews.