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Looking for a gift?

Looking for a birthday or holiday gift for a special teen that he won't throw into the back of his closet or she won't stuff into a forgotten drawer? What could be better than a series of adventure books, whose surface offers danger, excitement, gorgeous scenery, beautiful horses, bears, mountain lions, love and friendship? And, what you'll especially love, is what's lurking just below the surface: state-of-the-art American History, that will prove useful for school, and life lessons in such vital matters as the importance of teamwork, letting go, becoming an adult, family honor, anger management, responsibility, and much more. Better still, if your teen thinks hard copy books are outmoded, you can get the electronic copies for his or her e-reader.

If the young person you'd like to gift is over 18, we suggest Indian Summer, a book about Kevin Murphy's little sister, Katie. Katie is attending Stanford University with her best friend, Rachel, a full-blood Cheyenne. The girls each fall in love: Katie, with an Ohlone psychologist, and Rachel, with a Scandinavian anthropologist. Both girls are looking at the prospect of making a mixed marriage. One of them chooses wisely; the other is disappointed. The book explores what makes mixed marriage, or any marriage, for that matter, work, and when it's perhaps best to back away. We learn an enormous amount about Ohlone and Cheyenne cultures in the bargain, much of it set against the luscious coastal ranges of north-central California.  And Kevin Murphy does make a cameo appearance. He has been in all of my books since 1999.

Summer of the Bear, the first volume in the series, The Journals of Kevin Murphy, was awarded the Michigan State History Award for books for Children and Young Adults, not just because the History Society liked the story, but because the children of the judges really enjoyed it.

Youngsters have come to shows, where the book was sold in the past, asking eagerly for the next volume. And the history in the book parallels the 8th-grade curriculum.  This particular volume focusses on the Ojibwe Indians and the fur traders in Michigan, set in a modern context to which the young reader can relate.

Son of Fireheart, the second volume of the series, is about the Esselen Indians of California and their interaction with the Spanish, Mexicans, and Americans. The history is showcased in a 21st Century setting, where we meet a homeless Esselen/Mexican teen, Esteban Sanchez. With the help of the narrator, Kevin Murphy, and his aunt Clare, Esteban learns to put aside his anger and becomes a very useful member of his tribe and of our society. But the road to this success is fraught with danger, heartbreak, and adventure for both Esteban and Kevin.

Eagle from the Dawn is the third volume of the Kevin Murphy series. In this book, Kevin, the narrator, makes his way across the spectacular Rockies with his Nez Perce friend, Peter Taksoukt and Peter's little sister, April. Not only does the reader learn all about Lewis and Clark and the Nez Perces in an exquisite setting, but he also follows Kevin's progress from being a possessive, controlling youngster to a responsible young man, who learns how to let go and truly love life, people, and the horse he so adores.

A novel for older young adults, Indian Summer (18-25), explores what it takes to make a good marriage and when and how to let go of a relationship that isn't going to work.

COMING SOON: Jody's Adventures  and Magical Adventures. The Jody books, narrated by Kevin Murphy, are for children 3-10. They will hopefully be ready by June 2014. Magical Adventures, for children 10-12, should be ready around the same time. We will keep you posted.

About the Author

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Read more about the author, Leigh Arrathoon.
Leigh Arrathoon brings to her books all the love and patience of over forty years of teaching, the joy, unfaltering faith, and arduousness demanded by her craft, and the precision that only a life of scholarship can provide.

readingA mother reads the Mackinac book, from Jody's Michigan Adventures, to her seven-year-old daughter.


Sophie reads Frankenmuth

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