Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 12 to 18
- Grade: 7 to 12
Set in the Wild West during frontier times, Yipee's Gold Mountain is told by Yip Yee, an orphaned Chinese ex-railway laborer who hopes to be a cowboy, and Na-tio, an Apache warrior-apprentice who is recovering from his first botched raid.
Through alternating chapters both characters reveal different sides of the story, as their mutual suspicion turns to friendship. Together, Na-tio and the tiny, determined Yip Yee face down a wolf attack, a sinister bounty hunter and greater challenges still, in this hard scrabble world of fortune-seekers, soldiers and warriors. Through all this, Na-tio must cope with a terrible crisis for his people, and Yip Yee is guarding a big secret.
About the author
Raquel Rivera was born and raised in Toronto, Ontario. After graduating York University with a B.F.A. in Visual Arts in 1987, Raquel Rivera moved to Barcelona, Spain, for two years. There she found work as a teacher of English, pursued her drawing and learned Spanish.
Some years later, she left Toronto again to live in Singapore. While working as a project manager and copywriter for a graphic design firm there, Raquel was able to produce a series of artist books. Her "Small Books" now tour North America in Projet mobilivre/Bookmobile (www.mobilivre.org) and are included in the collection at Montreal's Bibliograph/e Zine Library (www.bibliograph.ca).
In 1996 Raquel and her future husband Kim moved one country north, to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. They started a website design practice and founded Site Dish! (www.sitedish.com) to house interactive projects experimenting with art, writing and interface design for the web. At the same time, Raquel was able to pursue her writing and drawing online in web art collaborations with Montreal-based artist, Jeannette Lambert—work which was featured in online journals and festivals around that time.
In 1999 Raquel began raising a family and focusing exclusively on her own writing and art. She has since published poems, exhibited her drawings and written three children's books: Arctic Adventures, Tales from the Lives of Inuit Artists, Orphan Ahwak and Tuk and the Whale.
Raquel maintains a book review website, In My Hysterical Opinion. She now lives in Montreal with her husband and two children.
"The novel is crafted effectively. . . The novel challenges the assumptions and stereotypes that people may have about the behaviour of indigenous or Chinese communities.
— CM Magazine
"Yipee's Gold Mountain is historical fiction intended for struggling readers, but its layered issues will also reward strong, contemplative readers. . . The story raises complex questions about what it means to be an American, how people give and receive care over our lives, and how gender and perceptions shape our experiences and the way others value us. The novel is likely to generate substantial conversation and could work well in a small classroom or teen book group (the author offers her own perspectives on some of these questions in the back matter).
"I kept thinking about the story, the characters, and the questions the novel raised long after I closed Yipee's Gold Mountain; for me, that's the mark of a thoughtful book. As Canadians try to recognize and unpack settler culture and to understand Indigenous concerns, books like this can help readers appreciate nuances of history that may otherwise be lost."
— Resource Links