Project Description

Teacher’s Guide

Surviving Jamestown

The Adventures of Young Sam Collier

by Gail Langer Karwoski
illustrated by Paul Casale

A stirring story of survival set against the backdrop of the founding of the first permanent English settlement in the New World.

In 1606, King James I granted a charter to a group of London businessmen known as the Virginia Company to establish an English settlement in North America. In 1607, 104 men set sail aboard three tiny ships on a voyage to a new land. What they found became the first permanent English settlement in the New World—Jamestown.

Among the brave adventurers who made the journey was a young boy named Samuel Collier, the page of famed Captain John Smith. Samuel accompanied Smith on the legendary journey to meet the Algonquin leader Powhatan. Disease, famine, and continuing attacks by neighboring Algonquin Indians took a tremendous toll on the settlers. Samuel was one of the few to survive the harsh realities of the New World during the first few years of Jamestown.

Based on author Gail Karwoski’s careful research of the era, this fictional account portrays the struggles and successes of our country’s earliest settlers, as seen through the life of a young man. Young readers will enjoy following this story of courage and survival while learning about this important period in the history of the United States.

Hardcover: $15.95
ISBN: 978-1-56145-239-2
Total Pages: 198
Size: 6 x 9
Language: English
Paperback: $8.95
ISBN: 978-1-56145-245-3
Total Pages: 198
Size: 6 x 9
Language: English
Format: E-book
ISBN: 978-1-56145-755-7
Age Range: 8 – 12
Language: English

Purchase this E-book through the following vendors:

Baker & Taylor
Barnes & Noble
Recorded Books

Accelerated Reader
AR Quiz#: 52607
AR Reading Level: 5.7
AR Points: 9

F&P (Fountas & Pinnell)
F&P Level: W
F&P Grade: 6

Reading Counts
Reading Counts Level: 5.4
Reading Counts Points: 13
Reading Counts Interest Level: 3-5


“The story flows well and is a good fictional introduction to Jamestown. Casale’s full-page pencil drawings nicely supplement the text. Maps aid in locating travel routes and Virginia sites mentioned, and an ‘Author’s Note’ helps to separate fact from fiction.” ―School Library Journal

“This story, told from a boy’s perspective, gives a unique look into part of the nation’s history. Readers of historical fiction will enjoy reading about [Sam’s] courage in an unsettling time. It is apparent that Karwoski spent a great deal of time researching the time period. A great learning tool for middle school teachers to use as a supplement to the study of early settlers and settlements.” ―Kliatt

“…recommended to readers who have enjoyed the Dear America and My America series.” ―VOYA (Voice of Youth Advocates)

“This is an excellent informative book which I have read to my class several years to prepare them for our field trip to historic Jamestown Settlement.” ―ACS Reader’s Haven blog


Best Children’s Books of the Year ―Bank Street College of Education 2002

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Meet the Author

Gail Langer Karwoski taught third- and fourth-grade students for many years. She received a BA from the University of Massachusetts and an MA from the University of Minnesota. She lives in Georgia. You can visit her website here.

Meet the Illustrator

Paul Casale graduated from the Pratt Institute, where he won numerous awards. A member of the Society of Illustrators, he has illustrated many children’s books, including Surviving Jamestown and the Cascade Mountain Railroad Mysteries series. He lives in New Jersey.