Dear America Wiki
Dear America Wiki

The Journal of Otto Peltonen: A Finnish Immigrant is a fictional journal written by William Durbin. It is the tenth book in Scholastic's My Name Is America. The book was originally released in September 2000 and was followed by The Journal of Biddy Owens by Walter Dean Myers. The University of Minnesota re-released The Journal of Otto Peltonen in 2020 with new cover art.


"To Barbara, again and always and to the United Steelworkers of America, and my old local, 1938"

Book description[]

"July 26, 1906
Climbing into the cage and being lowered back down into that mine was the hardest thing I've ever done....
I kept thinking about all the times that Wally and I had passed by the very place where those timbers had exploded. The question is, where and when will it happen next?
"You're quitting," was the first thing that Mother said when I got home.
I was ready to agree until I thought it over. It was easy to quit, but what would come next? Would Father quit, too? We couldn't move back to Finland. We couldn't afford a farm yet.
No matter which way I looked at things, the answer was always the same–for now the Oliver Iron Mining Company owned me lock, stock, and barrel.



Historical Note[]


Main article: List of The Journal of Otto Peltonen characters


Main article: William Durbin



"This book would not have been possible without the support of my editor, Amy Griffin, and the production staff at Scholastic; and the dedication of my agent, Barbara Markowitz.
For help with my research I would like to thank Heikki Honkala and Annikki Ojala of Lehtimäki, Finland; Lasse Autio of the Soini Historical Society; Michael Karni, Ph.D., of Sampo Publishing; Ed Nelson, Deb Fena, and Julie Smith of the Iron Range Research Library; Halyna Myroniuk of the Immigration Research Institute in St. Paul; Lorraine Richards of Suomi College; Michelle Prigge of the Hibbing Historical Society; Tom Selinski, producer of the documentary
Spies in Steel; John Geiselman and Marcia Smith, retired educators and former residents of old North Hibbing, and the staffs of both the Hibbing and Virginia Public Libraries.
Finally, I would like to extend my gratitude to all of my Finnish friends on the Mesabi Range who have been so willing to share stories about their heritage.


  • The portrait on the cover was provided by Lasse Autio of the Soini Historical Society in Finland. The background is a photograph by E. Anttila from the Minnesota Historical Society.[4]


See also[]

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