The Search for the Homestead Treasure by Ann Treacy

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I do love everything I receive from University of Minnesota Press! All the books I’ve received are for middle grades or YA and take place in Minnesota. They are all well-written, interesting, and well-done. This book was no exception.

Here’s the overview:

Fourteen-year-old Martin Gunnarsson is trying to hold his family together on the homestead where his ancestors died of diphtheria in 1865. Somehow rumors of a treasure on the farm survived, and when Martin discovers Aunt Cora’s journal in a musty trunk in the hayloft, he thinks it might give him a clue. But what exactly is he looking for?

Treacy, Ann 1

Ann Treacy is coauthor (with Margi Preus) of A Book of Grace. Her writing has appeared in Lake Superior Magazine as well as Highlights for Children magazine. She lives in Duluth, Minnesota.


This was a short read (less than 200 pages) and I couldn’t put it down. I loved the character of Martin, and his resilient spirit as he struggles to help his family run their farm. I also enjoy a mystery, and this was woven in, too — the treasure that was hidden somewhere before his grandparent’s family died of illness. Will Martin find it? Where is it? And will his family be able to survive?

Highly recommended for classrooms and middle grade readers who want more than your average pioneer story!

Thank you for my review copy and for having me share my thoughts!

Look for it at a bookstore or library (or online!) near you —

Ann Treacy
University of Minnesota Press | 176 pages | May 2016
ISBN 978-0-8166-9956-8 | hardcover | $16.95

YA review: “Celtic Run” by Sean Vogel

I received “Celtic Run” as a Net Galley digital download. This YA book (geared towards grades 5-8 I would say) tells the story of Jake McGreevy, a teen on a school trip to Ireland. Along with him on his adventures are Julie (the friend he has a crush on), Zach (class bully and Julie’s boyfriend), and new Irish friend Maggie. Jake is a gadget expert and enjoys tinkering with things, which comes in handy throughout the novel. Early on in the story, Jake finds what turns out to be a clue in a treasure hunt. Enter the “bad guys”, and Jake and his friends need to work together to outwit the bad guys and find the treasure (which would not only be noble, but could come in handy to both Jake – whose father was recently severely injured – and Maggie – whose father has lost his job). There is one adventure after another with non-stop action and character development as Jake and hsi friend seek to solve the mysteries and find the treasure first!

I really enjoyed reading this book. I read a lot of YA and children’s and found it refreshing to deal with a story where the kids were typical but the problems were not overly disturbing and intense. In my opinion not too many people are writing books like this these days: contemporary kids whose problems are surmountable. I will be recommending this one for my children’s elementary school library! I could see this as a fun movie for kids – a bit like “Goonies” or the old “Apple Dumpling Gang”. Some of the action was a bit fantastic and the crooks were very “crookish” if you know what I mean, but I like it. It reads as if it may be the start of a series. Just a note – this author’s bio was one of the most interesting I’ve come across!

Thanks, MB Publishing and Net Galley, for my copy!