2015 National Book Award Longlist, Young People's Literature

Rae Carson

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda Rae Carson, Photo credit Michele Daniel
Walk on Earth a Stranger
(Greenwillow/HarperCollins Children's Books)
ISBN: 978-0062242914

National Book Foundation: In the process of writing your book, what did you discover, what, if anything, surprised you?
Carson: My protagonist, Lee, dresses as a boy for much of the book. When I began writing, I expected she'd be tarred and feathered and chased off with pitchforks if she were ever discovered. It was the Victorian era, after all.
I was surprised to discover this couldn't be further from the truth. Necessity breeds solution, as they say, and hardships along the trail forced pioneers to embrace extreme pragmatism about gender roles. The historical record is full of instances of pioneer women dressing like men on the westward trail and along the frontier, with little if any social blowback.


A young woman who possesses a supernatural ability to sense the presence of gold disguises herself as a boy and seeks safety and romance in California.

About the Author

Rae Carson is the author of the acclaimed New York Times–bestselling Girl of Fire and Thorns series. Her debut novel, The Girl of Fire and Thorns, was a finalist for both the Andre Norton Award and the William C. Morris YA Debut Award. She lives in Phoenix, Arizona.


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Photo credit: Michele Daniel