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Dragon's Gate

Laurence Yep
Honor - 1994




Central Pacific Railroad, Chinese, China, history, immigration, railroads, Sierra Nevada Mountains


Set in 1867, a fifteen-year-old Chinese boy named Otter dreams of going to America. When he accidentally kills a Manchu, he is sent to the land of his dreams to join his father and uncle, who with other Chinese workers are building a tunnel for the transcontinental railroad through the Sierra Nevada mountains. Otter joins the railroad crew with his father and experiences many hardships, such as cold and hunger, poverty, and exhaustion. He saves the railroad camp from disaster when he dynamites a huge snow overhang. Otter becomes a strong individual and is able to make decisions which will affect his life. He passes through the "Dragons Gate" as he grows up.

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Author and Book Connections
Laurence Yep (1948- )
Author Information
Lesson Information
Book Connections. This book is part of a series. Read the following four books in the series: Serpents Children, Mountain Light, Dragon's Gate, and Dragonwings.
Chinese Connections. Explore the Chinese Curriculum page.
Cool Classroom Connections
Chinese Immigrants. The Chinese came to America by ship. Create a map showing the route they probably took. Put yourself in the place of a Chinese worker and write home to your family in China. Tell about your everyday life as a railroad builder.
Transcontinental Railroad. Learn more about the history of the transcontinental railroad. On a map, show the route of the railroad from Sacramento through the mountains to Utah. Learn more about the east to west part of the railroad.
Labor Laws. Make a list of the poor working conditions for the Chinese workers. Discuss the current Labor laws.
Labor and Immigration Laws. Trace the immigration laws through history. How was coming into America on the east and west coast different?
Chinese American Timeline. Create a timeline showing the arrival of Chinese in America and key events.
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Created by Annette Lamb, 10/99. Updated 10/01.

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