My Books

I love to read and research the history of 19th century northern California, especially in Butte County, where I live. I have written two books about John Bidwell, and helped to edit another book on a local poet. I also write for the Butte County Historical Society Diggin’s.

logoMy new project is Golden State Biographies, a series of picture book biographies focusing on pioneer Californians. Second in the series (after John & Annie Bidwell) is Nancy Kelsey Comes Over the Mountain.

Books can be purchased by:

  • filling out the order form and mailing it with a check
  • emailing me at
  • ordering at, where you can pay by credit card
  • going to one of the following local retail outlets: Bidwell Mansion, Made in Chico, The Bookstore (on Main St.), ABC Books, and the Chico Museum — all in Chico. Other places are Discount Books and the Butte County Historical Society in Oroville, Patrick Ranch, My Girlfriend’s Closet in Paradise,  and The Rusty Wagon in Orland.
  • You can also order my books on

A 30% discount will be given to libraries and resellers. Shipping is $3.00 for one book, and $1 for each additional book in the same order. Delivery within Butte and Glenn Counties can be arranged.

I am available for talks to groups and school presentations. Please contact me at

More about my books

Nancy Kelsey Comes over the Mountain: The True Story of the First American Woman in California

NKfrontcoverwritten by Nancy Leek, illustrated by Steve Ferchaud

$16.00 (includes California sales tax)

32 pages, full-color illustrations

ISBN 978-0-9965832-1-3 (Goldfields Books)

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. She faced every obstacle and every peril that the men did, and she did it carrying her little daughter in her arms.

“Nancy Leek is a master story-teller and has brought to life the heroic 1841 overland trek of Nancy Kelsey. Her book proves that women could handle just about any obstacle thrown their way.” ∼ Gary F. Kurutz, curator emeritus, California State Library and executive director, California State Library Foundation


The California State Library picked Nancy Kelsey Comes over the Mountain as their Book of the Week for the first week of March 2018.


John Bidwell: The Adventurous Life of a California Pioneer, by Nancy Leek

$20 (includes California sales tax)bidwellbook

119 pages, illustrated with drawings, photos, and maps

ISBN 978-1-931994-25-5 (ANCHR)

This book is also available from the publisher, ANCHR,

Nancy Leek’s new biography of California pioneer John Bidwell helps to fill the constant and on-going need for good local history books suitable for young readers. In clear, engaging, and accessible prose, Leek tells the exciting story of Bidwell, who helped organize the first overland covered wagon train of American settlers bound for the Golden State, thus blazing the celebrated California Trail. Arriving at Sutter’s Fort in 1841, Bidwell went on to serve in the Bear Flag Revolt, fight in the Mexican War, discover gold on the Feather River, win election to Congress during the Civil War, and run for President of the United States in 1892. All this, and more, is covered by Leek in a well-written work that will make a welcome addition to any California classroom. A terrific selection for budding young California historians!”  ~  Dr. Michael F. Magliari, California State University, Chico

John and Annie Bidwell: The Long and the Short of It John and Annie Bidwell Cover

by Nancy Leek, illustrated by Steve Ferchaud

$17.00 (includes California sales tax)

32 pages, full-color illustrations

ISBN 978-0-9965832-0-6 (Goldfields Books)

A picture book biography of California pioneer and Chico founder John Bidwell and his wife, Annie Kennedy Bidwell.

“Leek brings the history of John and Annie Bidwell to life in this colorful and informative book that Chicoans and history buffs will love!”  ~  Debbie Cobb, News Anchor and Author

The Miner Poet: Poems of Pres Longley, by Alexander Preston Longley, edited by John Rudderow and Nancy Leek

$20 (includes California sales tax)minerpoet

181 pages, illustrated with photographs

ISBN 978-1-935807-07-0 (Stansbury Publishing)

“Pres Longley, through his verse, captured the spirit of California as it transitioned away from the rambunctious days of the Gold Rush. A miner himself, he championed the little guy, advocated for women’s rights, gloried in California’s sublime scenery, and became the “Bard of Butte County.” The California State Library is proud to have preserved his colorful poetry and to assist John Rudderow and Nancy Leek in realizing his dream of having his poems published in book form.” ~ Gary Kurutz, Special Collections Curator Emeritus, California State Library

2 Responses to My Books

  1. Pingback: Nancy’s Bookshelf | goldfields

  2. Sally Senestraro says:

    I have enjoyed your books over the years. I am a retired teacher . In my retirement I have been volunteering at the Bayliss Library. Actually I am president of the Friends of the Library. This year it will be 100 years old and we are planning a big celebration! One of the things we will be doing is having authors and their books sitting under the trees, hopefully selling their books. There is no charge to be a part of the day. It will be June24. If you are interested I would love to tell you more.
    Please call me at 570-7864. Sally Senestraro

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