skip to Main Content

New Titles in MG Historical Fiction Series Focused on Underrepresented American Experiences


SAINT PAUL, MN, April 30, 2021 – Jolly Fish Press, an imprint ofNorth Star Editions, Inc. (NSE) is excited to introduce two new titles in I Am America, a middle grade historical fiction series for readers ages 8-12, coming September 1, 2021.

The I Am America series features fictional stories based on important historical events from people whose voices have been underrepresented, lost, or forgotten over time. Two new titles in the series arrive in January, the lead title, The Miners’ Lament: A Story of Latina Activists in the Empire Zinc Mine Strike byJudy Dodge Cummings and The Progress of Our People: A Story of Black Representation at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair by Anne E. Johnson.

Review copy provided is a PDF of The Miners’ Lament. Additional titles and physical copies available upon request.

The Miners’ Lament: A Story of Latina Activists in the Empire Zinc Mine Strike
(ISBN: 978-1-63163-535-9)
It’s 1951, and workers at the Empire Zinc mine in Alba, New Mexico, have been striking for months. Among them is Ana Maria Garcia’s father, who says they may need to sell her vihuela to pay rent. But her vihuela was a gift from her recently deceased mother, and her dream is to be a corridista, a singer of Mexican ballads. As Ana Maria is drawn to the picket line, she is inspired to write a corrido about her mother and the other women of the mining community. An upcoming talent show may be Ana Maria’s chance to earn money for rent and save her vihuela—if she can give voice to the song of her heart.

The Progress of Our People: A Story of Black Representation at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair (ISBN: 978-1-63163-539-7)
It’s 1893, and Lorraine Williams can’t wait to attend the Chicago World’s Fair and see her idol, the Black opera singer Sissieretta Jones. But when activist and writer Ida B. Wells urges Black Americans to boycott the fair, Lorraine’s father forbids Lorraine from going. After all, there is no exhibition about the progress that the Black community has made since Emancipation, and the fair has lacked Black representation since it was first being planned. But Lorraine will do anything to see Miss Jones and ensure other Black people can hear Miss Jones sing. What does progress look like if not Sissieretta Jones, who embodies everything Lorraine wants to be?

Books in the series are 160 pages, 5″ x 7.5″ with a trade paperback binding ($8.99). Additional formats available include reinforced library binding (list: $28.50, school/library: $19.99), multi-user hosted e-book ($23.99), and single-user e-book ($8.99).

About the author (The Miners’ Lament):
Judy Dodge Cummings is a former history teacher and the author of more than 25 fiction and nonfiction books for children. She lives in south-central Wisconsin. Her other book in the I Am America series is When the Earth Dragon Trembled: A Story of Chinatown During the San Francisco Earthquake and Fire.

About the author (The Progress of Our People):

Anne E. Johnson grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and often visited Chicago with her family. She went to Queens College for a master’s degree in musicology, a commute that took her past the remnants of the 1939 world’s fair nearly every day. One of her favorite albums was a set of spirituals sung by the Black opera singer Marian Anderson. Inspired by recent books and recordings featuring the Black composers Florence Price and Margaret Bonds, Anne has been keen to learn more about Black women in the classical music scene at the turn of the twentieth century. Writing this book proved the perfect excuse to do that, and discovering the story of Sissieretta Jones was an excellent reward for her research.

About the illustrator
Eric Freeberg has illustrated over twenty-five books for children, and has created work for magazines and ad campaigns. He was a winner of the 2010 London Book Fair’s Children’s Illustration Competition; the 2010 Holbein Prize for Fantasy Art, International Illustration Competition, Japan Illustrators’ Association; Runner-Up, 2013 SCBWI Magazine Merit Award; Honorable Mention, 2009 SCBWI Don Freeman Portfolio Competition; and 2nd Prize, 2009 Clymer Museum’s Annual Illustration Invitational. He was also a winner of the Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation Award.

About Jolly Fish Press and North Star Editions
Jolly Fish Press, an imprint of North Star Editions, is dedicated to promoting exceptional, unique new voices in fiction. North Star Editions, Inc. publishes fiction and nonfiction for readers of all ages that inspires, informs, and entertains. For more information, visit or

Contact: Taylor Kohn,, (651) 424-4626

Back To Top