Greta Gorsuch

A Gemma Open Door book


On a cold November afternoon in 1833, two wagons are about to cross the dark Mississippi River into Iowa Territory on a tiny boat. Penny Cooper, Nate Tilden, Aunt Sunday, and Jonathan and Ella Butterman are full of questions. Aunt Sunday just wants to know if they’re going to drown. Jonathan and Ella wonder if they will succeed in the new Territory. And Penny and Nate are eager to learn if they are going to be free—to marry, to prosper, to live as free people.

Aunt Sunday, Penny, and Nate were slaves in Kentucky, not a year before. What will the new Iowa Territory decide on the question of owning human beings? No one yet knows.
The little group survives the Mississippi crossing and settles in Key City. There isn’t much to the town: a few log cabins and modest buildings in a forest opening. And very rough, very tough lead miners, including the mad Ginn brothers who hate Nate and his dark skin. They can’t forget he stopped them from stealing Jonathan’s horse. Storm clouds are brewing.
Key City on the River is based on fact and takes place in a real town. It explores a little known time in early American history as well as the timeless issue of otherness mixed with hope for the future.

Greta Gorsuch has taught ESL/EFL and applied linguistics for more than 30 years in Japan, Vietnam, and the U.S. She is an experienced materials writer who actively researches foreign language reading and pronunciation. Greta’s work has appeared in journals such as System, Reading in a Foreign Language, Language Teaching, Language Teaching Research, and TESL-EJ. She recently co-authored Second Language Course Evaluation and Second Language Testing for Student Evaluation and Classroom Research (both from Information Age Publishing). She lives in beautiful wide West Texas and goes camping whenever she can.

Language Learner Literature Resources
A Story Grammar Approach to Key City on the River
Key City on the River Vocabulary Resources
Key City on the River Word Count Level by Chapter
Key City on the River 10-item Comprehension Quiz

Key City on the River
Greta Gorsuch
Paper, 113 pages
Reading level: 3.2