Coming Soon!

I have a new book in the works — a picture book biography of another pioneering Californian — and I want to show you some of the great illustrations that Steve Ferchaud has done for it.


The cover without the title

What was it like to be a pioneer on the California Trail? Nancy Kelsey Comes Over the Mountain: The True Story of the First American Woman in California will tell you the story.


Nancy Kelsey was just seventeen years old when she set out with her husband to travel to far-away California. The Kelseys joined the first wagon train of Americans to seek a new life in the West. Thirty-two men crossed the desert and the mountains, and she was the only woman in the company. Tornadoes, swollen rivers, herds of buffalo, burning deserts and snow-capped mountains — she faced every obstacle and every peril that the men did, and she did it carrying her little daughter in her arms.

Can you imagine it? Together Steve Ferchaud and I will show you what it was like to be the first woman to come over the Sierra Nevada mountains into Alta California.


Packing up to hit the trail to California

This book will have the same format as my other picture book biography,  John and Annie Bidwell: The Long and the Short of It.

With two books in the series, I think I need a series title. I’m thinking of calling the series “Golden State Pioneers” but I am open to suggestions for a good series title.

Not only was Nancy Kelsey a pioneer on the California Trail, she also lived history when she got here, from the Bear Flag Revolt to the Gold Rush and beyond. It’s an amazing story, and I am excited to bring this pioneer heroine to life.



Two double-page spreads from the book



About nancyleek

Nancy is a retired librarian who lives in Chico, California. She is the author of John Bidwell: The Adventurous Life of a California Pioneer.
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