By Carol Hoff
Illustrated by Bob Meyers
Published by Jenkins Publishing Company, 1977
In the book Johnny Texas, the family is German. Johann (a.k.a. Johnny) and his father learn English. The mother Clara still isn’t too thrilled about the move, and refuses to learn English.
They buy a farm, some cows, chickens, and horses, and settle down into a one-roomed cabin. The mother isn’t too thrilled about this either. She is generally worried about wild cats, coyotes, rattle snakes, Indians, and the safety of her son.
Johnny asks his father why his mother is so worried. The father Robert tells him that his mother is homesick and was born and raised in the city. Then for the reason of protecting her, Johnny’s father teaches him how to shoot. Clara doesn’t like the idea of her ten year old boy shooting.
Robert brings home a slave named Tobias. Clara and Johnny disagree with this action. Clara asks Robert if it is really right to deny another human being the freedom and liberty they came to this country for. Robert finally agrees to free Tobias. Tobias then works for wages on their farm.
Then another surprise comes around Christmas. Johnny’s mother gives birth to a baby girl. The baby is named after her mother, Clara.
Soon after, Robert decides to fight with Sam Houston and his men against the Mexicans. To be safe Johnny and his mother move away from the cabin. Whether Johnny Texas and his family survive is for you to find out.
A note from Ella’s Mom: I think that Johnny Texas was originally published in 1950 by Wilcox & Follett. One of my elementary school teachers read this book aloud to our class. That was in the 1960s, and I remember being very excited because the story was about a German family. Now I know that Johnny’s story is probably very similar to what many German settlers in Texas experienced.