Historical Novels for Children: The Antebellum United States

The novels in this list have plots that occur in the pre-Civil War era of the United States, from the early 1800s, after the country had become a sovereign nation, independent from England, to the advent of civil war in 1861, which threatened to tear it apart.

The novels in this list have plots that occur in the pre-Civil War era of the United States, from the early 1800s, after the country had become a sovereign nation, independent from England, to the advent of civil war in 1861, which threatened to tear it apart.

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Abe and the Wild River

Author: McCall, Edith

Subjects: American History; Adventure; New Madrid Earthquake; Mississippi River

Age: 10, 11, 12, 13

Grade: 5, 6, 7, 8

ISBN: 0-88092-439-X

Order code: 439X

Price: $14.99
Website price: $10.00

Class sets: 10 or more: $7.00 each.
Order code: 439XS

Abe and the Wild River Cover

Fourteen-year-old Abe is anxious for adventure and a wider world beyond St. Louis. In 1811, working on a keelboat going down the Mississippi seems the way to do it. He can read and write and do mathematics, and his common sense and good humor more than make up for what he might lack in height and strength. Captain Byrne sees that in him when he hires Abe as cabin boy on board the Rosalie.

In addition to a cargo of furs and shot, the keelboat carries French passengers Antoinette and her father. Soon Abe is not only keeping the books for the captain and learning to read the surface of the river for sandbars, sawyers, and planters, he also is instructing the lovely Toni in English. And he is secretly curious about the mystery of a young lady’s picture in the captain’s cabin.

As the keelboat travels down the Mississippi toward New Orleans, Abe learns to be a deckhand and to use the cordelle, which is used for moving the boat against the tide. He learns about Native Americans as the captain meets with the Choctaws to trade shot and gunpowder for food. A run-in with river pirates brings out Abe's cleverness and heroism under pressure. But his ultimate test of courage comes when the New Madrid Earthquake strikes and its aftershocks rain terror on people and animals alike. Abe pitches in to help wherever he is needed, unmindful of the danger and without complaint as the wild and terrible circumstances dictate. He exhibits self-control even when the raging Mississippi River runs backward!

In a postlude containing a long letter from Abe to his parents, the author gives readers addi­tional details about the earthquake and its destruction from Abe’s point of view. Abe is now safe in New Orleans. The letter is a dazzling finish to the adventure.

Author Edith McCall’s many educational American history novels are well-known to elementary school teachers throughout the United States. Click here to read her series of novels called Adventures on the American Frontier.

Fourteen-year-old Abe is anxious for adventure and a wider world beyond St. Louis. In 1811, working on a keelboat going down the Mississippi seems the way to do it. He can read and write and do mathematics, and his common sense and good humor more than make up for what he might lack in height and strength. Captain Byrne sees that in him when he hires Abe as cabin boy on board the Rosalie.

In addition to a cargo of furs and shot, the keelboat carries French passengers Antoinette and her father. Soon Abe is not only keeping the books for the captain and learning to read the surface of the river for sandbars, sawyers, and planters, he also is instructing the lovely Toni in English. And he is secretly curious about the mystery of a young lady’s picture in the captain’s cabin.

As the keelboat travels down the Mississippi toward New Orleans, Abe learns to be a deckhand and to use the cordelle, which is used for moving the boat against the tide. He learns about Native Americans as the captain meets with the Choctaws to trade shot and gunpowder for food. A run-in with river pirates brings out Abe's cleverness and heroism under pressure. But his ultimate test of courage comes when the New Madrid Earthquake strikes and its aftershocks rain terror on people and animals alike. Abe pitches in to help wherever he is needed, unmindful of the danger and without complaint as the wild and terrible circumstances dictate. He exhibits self-control even when the raging Mississippi River runs backward!

In a postlude containing a long letter from Abe to his parents, the author gives readers addi­tional details about the earthquake and its destruction from Abe’s point of view. Abe is now safe in New Orleans. The letter is a dazzling finish to the adventure.

Author Edith McCall’s many educational American history novels are well-known to elementary school teachers throughout the United States. Click here to read her series of novels called Adventures on the American Frontier.

Abe and the Wild River Cover

The Key to Honor

Author: Wanttaja, Ronald

Subjects: American History; Leadership; War of 1812; Maritime History; Sailing Ships

Age: 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18

Grade: 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Order code: 2702

Price: $14.99
Website price: $10.00

Class sets: 10 or more: $7.00 each.
Order code: 2702S

The Key to Honor Cover

A Pacific Northwest Writers Conference Award Winner

High praise from the Sea Room: “A perfect book for young adults...it demonstrates civility and honor, teaches leadership, teaches the nautical stuff along the way, is a bit better than reality..., and feels authentic.... Highly recommended....”

Set during the War of 1812, The Key to Honor is filled with maritime action and images. Young Nate Lawton’s bravery in combat aboard the U.S.S. Constitution in her famous victory over the H.M.S. Guerriere has earned him midshipman’s rank, but he hides a guilty secret: he deserted his post during the battle. Although everyone saw him save the Constitution's captain, no one saw him hide from the rest of the fight. Nate is determined to regain his honor, and it looks as though he will soon have his chance. He has been assigned to the Chesapeake in Boston Harbor. A pair of British frigates, led by the H.M.S. Shannon, blockade the harbor, and the Chesapeake’s Captain Lawrence is under heavy pressure to deal with the blockade and reopen Boston’s vital trade.

Nate must first discover what honor is. Does it lie in the senseless duels fought by his superior officers? The arrogant leadership shown by his fellow midshipmen? Or in overcoming the contempt of the experienced seamen directed toward him as their fifteen-year-old leader? One of the shortest battles of the early U.S. Navy provides Nate’s answers and the novel’s finale.

Readers become one with Nate as he shares his thoughts and feelings, which are juxtaposed with Navy protocol and shown both aboard and off ship. The author’s extensive research is deftly blended with his smooth writing style to enhance the novel’s superb realism, from dialogue and full-bodied characterization to ships’ details, Navy rules, confrontational scenes, and the historic final battle.

“...fascinating...a gripping naval story hard to lay down, it is also a coming-of-age story, a novel of character development that far surpasses many naval stories for adults.” – John Forester

A Pacific Northwest Writers Conference Award Winner

High praise from the Sea Room: “A perfect book for young adults...it demonstrates civility and honor, teaches leadership, teaches the nautical stuff along the way, is a bit better than reality..., and feels authentic.... Highly recommended....”

Set during the War of 1812, The Key to Honor is filled with maritime action and images. Young Nate Lawton’s bravery in combat aboard the U.S.S. Constitution in her famous victory over the H.M.S. Guerriere has earned him midshipman’s rank, but he hides a guilty secret: he deserted his post during the battle. Although everyone saw him save the Constitution's captain, no one saw him hide from the rest of the fight. Nate is determined to regain his honor, and it looks as though he will soon have his chance. He has been assigned to the Chesapeake in Boston Harbor. A pair of British frigates, led by the H.M.S. Shannon, blockade the harbor, and the Chesapeake’s Captain Lawrence is under heavy pressure to deal with the blockade and reopen Boston’s vital trade.

Nate must first discover what honor is. Does it lie in the senseless duels fought by his superior officers? The arrogant leadership shown by his fellow midshipmen? Or in overcoming the contempt of the experienced seamen directed toward him as their fifteen-year-old leader? One of the shortest battles of the early U.S. Navy provides Nate’s answers and the novel’s finale.

Readers become one with Nate as he shares his thoughts and feelings, which are juxtaposed with Navy protocol and shown both aboard and off ship. The author’s extensive research is deftly blended with his smooth writing style to enhance the novel’s superb realism, from dialogue and full-bodied characterization to ships’ details, Navy rules, confrontational scenes, and the historic final battle.

“...fascinating...a gripping naval story hard to lay down, it is also a coming-of-age story, a novel of character development that far surpasses many naval stories for adults.” – John Forester

The Key to Honor Cover

The Key to Honor Sample Pages:

The Price of Command

Author: Wanttaja, Ronald

Subjects: American History; Leadership; War of 1812; Maritime History; Sailing Ships

Age: 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18

Grade: 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Order code: 2869

Price: $14.99
Website price: $10.00

Class sets: 10 or more: $7.00 each.
Order code: 2869S

The Price of Command Cover

The Battle of Lake Erie took place a little more than three months after the battle between the U.S.S. Chesapeake and the British H.M.S. Shannon. In this follow-up novel to The Key to Honor, Midshipman Nate Lawton is sent to Lake Erie to help man the rough frontier fleet built by Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry.

To his initial delight, Nate finds that a shortage of officers places him in a much higher position than his limited experience would normally bring. The fortunes of war catapult him to an even higher rank: the acting first lieutenant of a brig of war. But command has its price. Nate’s captain is unwilling to pay it, and he uses Nate as a scapegoat for the dirty work. The captain thinks nothing of bending the truth to glorify his own career and to ruin Nate if he speaks out. Now Nate is caught between the rocks of naval discipline and the shoals of his superior officer’s unbending ambition, and he must decide what to do.

The Battle of Lake Erie took place a little more than three months after the battle between the U.S.S. Chesapeake and the British H.M.S. Shannon. In this follow-up novel to The Key to Honor, Midshipman Nate Lawton is sent to Lake Erie to help man the rough frontier fleet built by Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry.

To his initial delight, Nate finds that a shortage of officers places him in a much higher position than his limited experience would normally bring. The fortunes of war catapult him to an even higher rank: the acting first lieutenant of a brig of war. But command has its price. Nate’s captain is unwilling to pay it, and he uses Nate as a scapegoat for the dirty work. The captain thinks nothing of bending the truth to glorify his own career and to ruin Nate if he speaks out. Now Nate is caught between the rocks of naval discipline and the shoals of his superior officer’s unbending ambition, and he must decide what to do.

The Price of Command Cover

The Price of Command Sample Pages:

The Eerie Canal

Author: Reber, Jack

Subjects: American History; Historical Adventure; Canals; Erie Canal

Age: 9, 10, 11, 12

Grade: 4, 5, 6, 7

ISBN: 978-0-88092-310-1

Order code: 3105

Price: $14.99
Website price: $10.00

Class sets: 10 or more: $7.00 each.
Order code: 3105S

The Eerie Canal Cover

“...a superbly researched historical/fantasy where all the background details are painstakingly accurate...will engage the attention of young readers ages 8-12.” – Midwest Book Review, Children's Bookwatch

Two ten-year-olds on a class trip to the Erie Canal find themselves transported back in time to the canal of 1829. Dragged aboard a canal boat, youngsters Tom and Sandy experience adventures getting through each day by blending in to the rhythm of daily life while also trying to find a way back to the present.

Author Jack Reber imparts an enormous amount of detail about the canal through the storyline, and his colorful characterization brings the story to life boldly. The novel's title is a play on words, and it is at once entertaining enough to hold youngsters' interests and detailed enough to be of use to parents trying to teach the history of the canal or the period.

Jack Reber is the author of The Ghost from the Schenectady Massacre, a historical time travel novel, and Saratoga Captive, also published by Royal Fireworks Press. He is a resident of New York.

“...a superbly researched historical/fantasy where all the background details are painstakingly accurate...will engage the attention of young readers ages 8-12.” – Midwest Book Review, Children's Bookwatch

Two ten-year-olds on a class trip to the Erie Canal find themselves transported back in time to the canal of 1829. Dragged aboard a canal boat, youngsters Tom and Sandy experience adventures getting through each day by blending in to the rhythm of daily life while also trying to find a way back to the present.

Author Jack Reber imparts an enormous amount of detail about the canal through the storyline, and his colorful characterization brings the story to life boldly. The novel's title is a play on words, and it is at once entertaining enough to hold youngsters' interests and detailed enough to be of use to parents trying to teach the history of the canal or the period.

Jack Reber is the author of The Ghost from the Schenectady Massacre, a historical time travel novel, and Saratoga Captive, also published by Royal Fireworks Press. He is a resident of New York.

The Eerie Canal Cover

The Eerie Canal sample pages:

Whispers in the Wind

Author: Headapohl, Betty

Subjects: Slavery; American History; Native Americans; African-Americans

Age: 12, 13, 14, 15

Grade: 7, 8, 9, 10

Order code: 2974

Price: $14.99
Website price: $10.00

Class sets: 10 or more: $7.00 each.
Order code: 2974S

Whispers in the Wind Cover

“...packs a powerful story...does a good job of enlightening students about the time period. Recommended for junior high school students.” – KLIATT Magazine

This is a superb period piece drawn against accurate historical detail that captures a time in American history before the Civil War when slavery was practiced by Native American tribes and white plantation owners. It was a time when Native Americans and African-Americans often were enslaved on plantations side by side.

The story of Little Moon, a Tsalagi maiden, spans four years and runs full circle from her kidnapping by slavers to her return to the Land of a Thousand Smokes as a young woman. A beautiful tribal child raised with a reverence for nature, mindful of omens, and believing in spirits, Little Moon ponders the acceptance of white man’s ways by some tribes. When a runaway, injured black slave is sheltered by her people, Little Moon is awestruck by his size and appearance. White slavers are on his trail and eager to do business, even if it means taking Little Moon and selling her to a Creek tribe.

During her days as a Creek slave, Little Moon contrasts the Creek way of life with that of the Tsalagi. The beautiful but jealous Laughing Eyes, who owns Little Moon, maneuvers to keep her from Panther Shadow, a young Creek warrior who is interested in her. Eventually Laughing Eyes connives to have Little Moon taken by white slavers, who then sell her to a white plantation owner. 

The book explores the relationships between Little Moon and the plantation’s black slaves. The slaves befriend her and teach her English. Jeremiah, whom her people had sheltered, has been recaptured and returned to this plantation. The two become friends and execute an escape that is doomed to end in the slaver’s hands. However, out on a hunt, Panther Shadow intercedes and vanquishes the slavers. He ushers Little Moon and Jeremiah safely back to the Land of a Thousand Smokes, where he declares his love for Little Moon, who is now a beautiful young woman. The story ends happily with the ritual of the engagement offering.

“...packs a powerful story...does a good job of enlightening students about the time period. Recommended for junior high school students.” – KLIATT Magazine

This is a superb period piece drawn against accurate historical detail that captures a time in American history before the Civil War when slavery was practiced by Native American tribes and white plantation owners. It was a time when Native Americans and African-Americans often were enslaved on plantations side by side.

The story of Little Moon, a Tsalagi maiden, spans four years and runs full circle from her kidnapping by slavers to her return to the Land of a Thousand Smokes as a young woman. A beautiful tribal child raised with a reverence for nature, mindful of omens, and believing in spirits, Little Moon ponders the acceptance of white man’s ways by some tribes. When a runaway, injured black slave is sheltered by her people, Little Moon is awestruck by his size and appearance. White slavers are on his trail and eager to do business, even if it means taking Little Moon and selling her to a Creek tribe.

During her days as a Creek slave, Little Moon contrasts the Creek way of life with that of the Tsalagi. The beautiful but jealous Laughing Eyes, who owns Little Moon, maneuvers to keep her from Panther Shadow, a young Creek warrior who is interested in her. Eventually Laughing Eyes connives to have Little Moon taken by white slavers, who then sell her to a white plantation owner. 

The book explores the relationships between Little Moon and the plantation’s black slaves. The slaves befriend her and teach her English. Jeremiah, whom her people had sheltered, has been recaptured and returned to this plantation. The two become friends and execute an escape that is doomed to end in the slaver’s hands. However, out on a hunt, Panther Shadow intercedes and vanquishes the slavers. He ushers Little Moon and Jeremiah safely back to the Land of a Thousand Smokes, where he declares his love for Little Moon, who is now a beautiful young woman. The story ends happily with the ritual of the engagement offering.

Whispers in the Wind Cover

The Runaway Scrape

Author: Moore, Billy Loran

Subjects: Historical Fiction; Westward Expansion; Texas Revolution

Age: 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16

Grade: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11

ISBN: 978-0-88092-619-5

Order code: 6195

Price: $14.99
Website price: $10.00

The Runaway Scrape Cover

In 1836, Mexico's president Santa Anna vowed to drive American settlers out of Texas, which at that time was a Mexican territory whose residents wanted to make it into an independent state. Santa Anna sent his armies ravaging across the state, sending citizens fleeing toward safety in the United States. This pell-mell, mass, desperate attempt at escape became known as “the Runaway Scrape.” The conflict culminated in the Battle of San Jacinto, during which an outnumbered and outgunned ragtag revolutionary army fought a well-armed and well-equipped foe and not only demolished the enemy but also captured Santa Anna. It is a remarkable story.

Billy Moore is also the author of Old Wild Man Terry, a novel about a girl living with her family on their horse ranch in Texas in 1912 who is befriended by a hermit who previously lived as a Black Seminole Indian and who helps her family recover their escaped horses.

In 1836, Mexico's president Santa Anna vowed to drive American settlers out of Texas, which at that time was a Mexican territory whose residents wanted to make it into an independent state. Santa Anna sent his armies ravaging across the state, sending citizens fleeing toward safety in the United States. This pell-mell, mass, desperate attempt at escape became known as “the Runaway Scrape.” The conflict culminated in the Battle of San Jacinto, during which an outnumbered and outgunned ragtag revolutionary army fought a well-armed and well-equipped foe and not only demolished the enemy but also captured Santa Anna. It is a remarkable story.

Billy Moore is also the author of Old Wild Man Terry, a novel about a girl living with her family on their horse ranch in Texas in 1912 who is befriended by a hermit who previously lived as a Black Seminole Indian and who helps her family recover their escaped horses.

The Runaway Scrape Cover

The Runaway Scrape Sample Pages:

Finding Her Way

Author: Faigen, Anne

Subjects: American History; Relationships; Gifted Women and Girls; Growing Up Gifted; Transcendentalism

Age: 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18

Grade: 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Order code: 4055

Price: $14.99
Website price: $10.00

Class sets: 10 or more: $7.00 each.
Order code: 4055S

Finding Her Way Cover

“A novel that will illuminate Thoreau, Walden Pond, Margaret Fuller, and the Transcendentalists for secondary students” – KLIATT Magazine

Concord, Massachusetts, 1845. Fifteen-year-old Rachel is neglecting her farm chores in order to sketch and draw. To make money for her art supplies, she raises hens for their eggs. But a drought forces her father to ask for that money for the farm. Understanding his need, but miserable when he calls her life’s ambition to draw a “little hobby,” Rachel runs to Walden Pond to recover. There, she is befriended by Henry David Thoreau, who is living “an experiment” in Walden Woods.

During a subsequent visit to Thoreau, Rachel meets Margaret Fuller, author, editor of The Transcendentalist Journal, reporter, and America’s first female foreign correspondent. Fuller takes samples of Rachel’s art with her to New York for an opinion about an art tutor. Gino Riccardi agrees to instruct Rachel by mail until she can come to New York.

Rachel’s family visits her brother in Boston, and Rachel, not allowed into the factory, contents herself with sketching a young boy warming himself by the fire in the courtyard. She is shocked by the number of children working there.

Rachel’s talent reaches new highs with the sketch of the young Simon, and Riccardi notifies her that she must now come to New York for instruction. With no means of living in New York, Rachel wants Thoreau to intercede with Riccardi to keep her lessons coming by mail, but Thoreau instead tells her about his friends, the Emersons, who live in New York and have room for her (William is Ralph’s brother). Their conversation is interrupted by shouts of Rachel's brother falling into frozen Walden Pond while ice fishing. Thoreau rushes out to save him.

With the family now in debt to Thoreau for their son’s life, he asks that they express their gratitude by allowing Rachel to stay with the Emersons and study art in New York. He also asks for the portrait of Simon.

In the spring, Rachel says goodbye to Thoreau and her beloved woods; he too prepares to leave Walden.

Throughout the novel, the author is careful to contrast for the reader the difference between commonly accepted attitudes and expectations and those of the Transcendentalists, who judged people in defiance of conventional expectations. This book is an accessible introduction to the Transcendentalists and to some of the important issues that characterized their thought.

“A novel that will illuminate Thoreau, Walden Pond, Margaret Fuller, and the Transcendentalists for secondary students” – KLIATT Magazine 

Concord, Massachusetts, 1845. Fifteen-year-old Rachel is neglecting her farm chores in order to sketch and draw. To make money for her art supplies, she raises hens for their eggs. But a drought forces her father to ask for that money for the farm. Understanding his need, but miserable when he calls her life’s ambition to draw a “little hobby,” Rachel runs to Walden Pond to recover. There, she is befriended by Henry David Thoreau, who is living “an experiment” in Walden Woods.

During a subsequent visit to Thoreau, Rachel meets Margaret Fuller, author, editor of The Transcendentalist Journal, reporter, and America’s first female foreign correspondent. Fuller takes samples of Rachel’s art with her to New York for an opinion about an art tutor. Gino Riccardi agrees to instruct Rachel by mail until she can come to New York.

Rachel’s family visits her brother in Boston, and Rachel, not allowed into the factory, contents herself with sketching a young boy warming himself by the fire in the courtyard. She is shocked by the number of children working there.

Rachel’s talent reaches new highs with the sketch of the young Simon, and Riccardi notifies her that she must now come to New York for instruction. With no means of living in New York, Rachel wants Thoreau to intercede with Riccardi to keep her lessons coming by mail, but Thoreau instead tells her about his friends, the Emersons, who live in New York and have room for her (William is Ralph’s brother). Their conversation is interrupted by shouts of Rachel's brother falling into frozen Walden Pond while ice fishing. Thoreau rushes out to save him.

With the family now in debt to Thoreau for their son’s life, he asks that they express their gratitude by allowing Rachel to stay with the Emersons and study art in New York. He also asks for the portrait of Simon.

In the spring, Rachel says goodbye to Thoreau and her beloved woods; he too prepares to leave Walden.

Throughout the novel, the author is careful to contrast for the reader the difference between commonly accepted attitudes and expectations and those of the Transcendentalists, who judged people in defiance of conventional expectations. This book is an accessible introduction to the Transcendentalists and to some of the important issues that characterized their thought.

Finding Her Way Cover

Trapped!

Author: Boeve, Eunice

Subjects: American History; Pioneers; True Adventure; Westward Expansion

Age: 10, 11, 12, 13, 14

Grade: 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

Order code: 1609

Price: $14.99
Website price: $10.00

Class sets: 10 or more: $7.00 each.
Order code: 1609S

Trapped! Cover

This is the true story of twelve-year-old Virginia Reed, who, along with her family, faced and survived incredible hardships on an overland journey to California.

In the spring of 1846, the Reed and Donner families left Springfield, Illinois, traveling by ox-drawn wagon. Along the way, they joined with other caravans bound for Oregon and California and were midway through their journey when they learned of another route—a shorter, better route, they were told. But what they were told wasn’t exactly accurate.

After much discussion, most of the wagons went on, keeping to the old, established road. Twenty wagons, including the Reed and Donner wagons, turned off onto the new road. Almost from the beginning they ran into trouble. First, they literally had to chop their way through a densely forested range of mountains. Then they crossed a desert, where many oxen and several wagons were lost, and as they traveled, summer slipped away into fall. It was late October when they began climbing the last obstacle before them—the high Sierra Mountains. Winter had set in early in the Sierras that year, and soon deep snow made further travel impossible.

Exhausted, frightened, and discouraged, the travelers erected crude shelters and spent the winter in the mountains. This story chronicles the events as they happened.

Only the dialogue has been invented. This is a girls’ true adventure story of survival against the forces of nature. The author’s research led her along the trail of the Reeds and Donners from Springfield, Illinois, to the monument erected in their memory in the Sierras, and on into California.

This is the true story of twelve-year-old Virginia Reed, who, along with her family, faced and survived incredible hardships on an overland journey to California.

In the spring of 1846, the Reed and Donner families left Springfield, Illinois, traveling by ox-drawn wagon. Along the way, they joined with other caravans bound for Oregon and California and were midway through their journey when they learned of another route—a shorter, better route, they were told. But what they were told wasn’t exactly accurate.

After much discussion, most of the wagons went on, keeping to the old, established road. Twenty wagons, including the Reed and Donner wagons, turned off onto the new road. Almost from the beginning they ran into trouble. First, they literally had to chop their way through a densely forested range of mountains. Then they crossed a desert, where many oxen and several wagons were lost, and as they traveled, summer slipped away into fall. It was late October when they began climbing the last obstacle before them—the high Sierra Mountains. Winter had set in early in the Sierras that year, and soon deep snow made further travel impossible.

Exhausted, frightened, and discouraged, the travelers erected crude shelters and spent the winter in the mountains. This story chronicles the events as they happened.

Only the dialogue has been invented. This is a girls’ true adventure story of survival against the forces of nature. The author’s research led her along the trail of the Reeds and Donners from Springfield, Illinois, to the monument erected in their memory in the Sierras, and on into California.

Trapped! Cover

Shining Star

Author: Esely, Joyce

Subjects: American History; Native Americans; Growing Up/Girls

Age: 8, 9, 10, 11

Grade: 3, 4, 5, 6

Order code: 1455

Price: $14.99
Website price: $10.00

Class sets: 10 or more: $7.00 each.
Order code: 1455S

Shining Star Cover

“...outstanding historical novel...a welcome and enthusiastically recommended novel that totally engages the reader from first page to last.” Children’s Bookwatch, Midwest Book Review

This is a story replete with Native American traditions and information. Shining Star is a ten-year-old Comanche girl. By spending time with her and her family and sharing the events of their days and their community interactions, readers learn about Comanche ceremonies, lore, daily living, the interdependence of tribal members, and the notion of the tribe above one.

For The People to be strong, bravery is a must, and Shining Star’s goal is to overcome her dread of lightning. Ever since she was hit by lightning five years ago, thunderstorms have traumatized her, but she has hidden her fear because The People are afraid of nothing. Death is a part of life: tribal members will pass on; animals yield food and clothing. As Grandfather says, “It is not death we fear, but meeting death bravely.... Only the rocks live forever.”

Woven into Shining Star’s story is a fabric of many pieces of information: tipi making and moving, foods and diet, arrow making, buffalo hunting, tanning hides, courtship, war paint, horse raids, scalping, stories of the elders, and more.

Joyce Esely has won two Frontiers in Writing awards and a Beaux Arts award for Shining Star. She is also the author of Oil Field Brats, published by Royal Fireworks Press. She is a resident of Fritch, Texas.

“...outstanding historical novel...a welcome and enthusiastically recommended novel that totally engages the reader from first page to last.” – Children’s Bookwatch, Midwest Book Review

This is a story replete with Native American traditions and information. Shining Star is a ten-year-old Comanche girl. By spending time with her and her family and sharing the events of their days and their community interactions, readers learn about Comanche ceremonies, lore, daily living, the interdependence of tribal members, and the notion of the tribe above one.

For The People to be strong, bravery is a must, and Shining Star’s goal is to overcome her dread of lightning. Ever since she was hit by lightning five years ago, thunderstorms have traumatized her, but she has hidden her fear because The People are afraid of nothing. Death is a part of life: tribal members will pass on; animals yield food and clothing. As Grandfather says, “It is not death we fear, but meeting death bravely.... Only the rocks live forever.”

Woven into Shining Star’s story is a fabric of many pieces of information: tipi making and moving, foods and diet, arrow making, buffalo hunting, tanning hides, courtship, war paint, horse raids, scalping, stories of the elders, and more.

Joyce Esely has won two Frontiers in Writing awards and a Beaux Arts award for Shining Star. She is also the author of Oil Field Brats, published by Royal Fireworks Press. She is a resident of Fritch, Texas.

Shining Star Cover

Feathers in the Wind

Author: Fisher, Lillian M.

Subjects: American History; Native Americans; Girl's Adventure

Age: 10, 11, 12, 13, 14

Grade: 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

Order code: 4381

Price: $14.99
Website price: $10.00

Class sets: 10 or more: $7.00 each.
Order code: 4381S

Feathers in the Wind Cover

The story of Olive Oatman is based on fact. In 1851, when she was fourteen, her parents and all but one of her brothers were murdered by a Native American tribe. Olive and her younger sister Mary Ann were taken captive and later traded to the Mojaves. They were treated as both slaves and daughters. They learned the native language and, according to Mojave custom, had their chins tattooed. Mary Ann did not survive captivity, but Olive was rescued after four years with the help of their surviving brother Lorenzo, who had never lost hope that his sisters were alive. With Lorenzo’s help, Olive’s re-entry into white society was made easier. 

Feathers in the Wind vividly evokes the emotions and experiences of the Oatman girls and their Native American masters and families.

In Arizona today, a town in the Black Mountains near where Olive and Mary Ann lived with the Mojaves has been named Oatman in remembrance of Olive.

Lillian Fisher is an author of young people’s novels, a poet, and an artist. She lives in Alpine, California.

The story of Olive Oatman is based on fact. In 1851, when she was fourteen, her parents and all but one of her brothers were murdered by a Native American tribe. Olive and her younger sister Mary Ann were taken captive and later traded to the Mojaves. They were treated as both slaves and daughters. They learned the native language and, according to Mojave custom, had their chins tattooed. Mary Ann did not survive captivity, but Olive was rescued after four years with the help of their surviving brother Lorenzo, who had never lost hope that his sisters were alive. With Lorenzo’s help, Olive’s re-entry into white society was made easier. 

Feathers in the Wind vividly evokes the emotions and experiences of the Oatman girls and their Native American masters and families.

In Arizona today, a town in the Black Mountains near where Olive and Mary Ann lived with the Mojaves has been named Oatman in remembrance of Olive.

Lillian Fisher is an author of young people’s novels, a poet, and an artist. She lives in Alpine, California.

Feathers in the Wind Cover

Camels West

Author: de la Garza, Phyllis

Subjects: American History; Frontier Life; Mexican-Americans

Age: 11, 12, 13, 14, 15

Grade: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

Order code: 4438

Price: $14.99
Website price: $10.00

Class sets: 10 or more: $7.00 each.
Order code: 4438S

Camels West Cover

Camels West is an epic adventure story based on a real but lit­tle-known period in America’s history.

The day the Alamo fell in 1836, Santa Ana’s soldiers botched the job of killing the Mexican infant Graciela. But the knife-cut across her throat did take away her voice forever. Now, twenty years later, the United States Congress is depending upon the young woman’s medical skills and courage to help their agent in a tactical experiment using imported camels. The camels are to be transport carriers as Agent McNeal surveys a wagon road along the 35th Parallel from Fort Defiance to the Colorado River.

If all goes well, use of these camels would be the first step in a plan to study, breed, and adapt camels at Camp Verde for both long-­distance transport and war. Camels were used successfully by the Persian Army as artillery base carriers, and their reputation as “Gunships of the Desert” was impressive. Camels would be as familiar as the packhorse and donkey on the American frontier and in war! But the plan needed time, and the American Civil War and the railroad ultimately ended the experiment.

The camels, their handlers, the Comanche danger, and the trek are all true. This is the sensational story of the exotic camels and the commitment of a man and a woman to their jobs—and to each other.

U.S. government agent Jeremy McNeal is based on a real person. Graciela is fiction, to round out the story with romance and to add the dimension of a woman’s emotions. She is a representation of all the strong women who helped open the West. The herbal medicines and skills ascribed to her char­acter have all been meticulously researched and are accurate.

Phyllis de la Garza is an award-winning author of more than a dozen published books, both fiction and nonfiction, about the Old West. She is a book reviewer for True West and Chronicle of the Old West, she has been a member of both Western Writers and Mystery Writers of America, and she has been a SPUR Award finalist. She is also the author of Charissa of the Overland and Silk and Sagebrush: Women of the Old West, both published by Royal Fireworks Press. She lives in Willcox, Arizona.

Camels West is an epic adventure story based on a real but lit­tle-known period in America’s history.

The day the Alamo fell in 1836, Santa Ana’s soldiers botched the job of killing the Mexican infant Graciela. But the knife-cut across her throat did take away her voice forever. Now, twenty years later, the United States Congress is depending upon the young woman’s medical skills and courage to help their agent in a tactical experiment using imported camels. The camels are to be transport carriers as Agent McNeal surveys a wagon road along the 35th Parallel from Fort Defiance to the Colorado River.

If all goes well, use of these camels would be the first step in a plan to study, breed, and adapt camels at Camp Verde for both long-­distance transport and war. Camels were used successfully by the Persian Army as artillery base carriers, and their reputation as “Gunships of the Desert” was impressive. Camels would be as familiar as the packhorse and donkey on the American frontier and in war! But the plan needed time, and the American Civil War and the railroad ultimately ended the experiment.

The camels, their handlers, the Comanche danger, and the trek are all true. This is the sensational story of the exotic camels and the commitment of a man and a woman to their jobs—and to each other.

U.S. government agent Jeremy McNeal is based on a real person. Graciela is fiction, to round out the story with romance and to add the dimension of a woman’s emotions. She is a representation of all the strong women who helped open the West. The herbal medicines and skills ascribed to her char­acter have all been meticulously researched and are accurate.

Phyllis de la Garza is an award-winning author of more than a dozen published books, both fiction and nonfiction, about the Old West. She is a book reviewer for True West and Chronicle of the Old West, she has been a member of both Western Writers and Mystery Writers of America, and she has been a SPUR Award finalist. She is also the author of Charissa of the Overland and Silk and Sagebrush: Women of the Old West, both published by Royal Fireworks Press. She lives in Willcox, Arizona.

Camels West Cover

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