Dear America Wiki
Dear America Wiki

The Journal of Wong Ming-Chung: A Chinese Miner, later published as Staking a Claim, is the seventh book in Scholastic's My Name Is America. It was first published in April 2000 and was written by Laurence Yep. The book was republished under the new title in November 2013. It was followed by The Journal of Jasper Jonathan Pierce.


"To H. Mark Lai, a pioneer in his own right"

Book description[]

"July 18
...the American miners blamed us for everything that had gone wrong in their lives—from lower wages to rain and warts. A month before I came, in other districts, the Americans threw the Chinese out. And some of the American miners here want to do the same thing.
Uncle says that this is proof that gold is a curse. It twists people's minds and makes them act like beasts.
I am beginning to think Uncle is right.
I feel like shivering, but not from the cold.
America is so lovely—and yet so frightening.

""Will we ever find more gold?
After a dangerous journey alone from China to America, Wong Ming-Chung has arrived in the land of opportunity. He's come to California to work as a miner with his uncle and send money back home to his family. There are stories about the vast riches of gold to be found on Golden Mountain, and Wong is eager to prove himself. He secures a good position within the mining camp but soon discovers the truth: The gold is dwindling. What little gold they discover is quickly demanded by the government in the form of high taxes, or stolen by thieves who resent the Chinese. Wong has exchanged the famine and war of China for brutal bullies and grueling labor in America. Yet he is determined to find fortune in his new home. To do so, he'll have to come up with an incredible plan to outwit the ruthless men who know the mountains and gold like their own names. But will it be enough? In his journal, Wong chronicles the terror and excitement, the long days and harsh nights, and the new friends he makes as he finds his place in America.



Historical Note[]


Main article: List of The Journal of Wong Ming-Chung characters


Main article: Laurence Yep



"The author would like to thank the California Historical Society, the Oakland Museum, the California Railroad Museum, the Bancroft Library, the Monterey Public Library, and the McHenry Library at the University of California, Santa Cruz for their help with this book. He would also like to thank his long-suffering wife, Joanne Ryder, who was such a good sport while he obsessed about the research."


  • The portrait on the cover was provided by the National Archives. The background is a detail of the 1871 lithograph Gold mining in California by Currier & Ives.[4][5]


See also[]

External links[]