This first book of the series introduces twelve-year-old Hank Heaton and his family who follow the emigrants’ trail from Iowa along the Missouri River to the merging Platte Rivers in western Nebraska in the mid-1800's. Historically correct, the novel takes readers into the exciting and dangerous adventures of a pioneer boy. The story begins at a settlement in Buck Creek, Iowa. Hank lives with his over-protective mother and a domineering father who believes that harsh discipline will make his son into a man. When cholera takes his mother and his little sister, Hank's only comforts are his wisecracking, fiddle-playing Irish uncle; his pet cow, Clementine; and memories of his adored mother.
When Hank’s father decides to homestead land in western Nebraska, Hank rebels. Pa’s discipline is quick and painful and Hank has to obey. They follow the wild Platte River on the Oregon Trail. Crossing sandbur-infested prairies, fording raging rivers, and eating dust while walking behind the slow wagon fill Hank's days. He withstands the unpredictable mid-western weather of hailstorms, dust storms, an early blizzard and flash floods. Stampeding buffalo, murdering claim jumpers, an Indian attack, a rattlesnake and a belligerent goose provide plenty of challenges for a pioneer boy.
His troubles are lightened when he finds friends along the trail: Rusty, a Southern boy from Missouri; Nora, a teasing eight-year-old girl from Wisconsin; and Moses, an escaped slave who makes his living as a trapper. In the Platte Valley Pa sets up a trading post to service wagon trains on both the Mormon and Oregon Trails. When an itinerant preacher and his large family settle nearby, Hank meets his best friend for life, the preacher’s daughter, Becca.
Hank of Twin Rivers, Book One: Journey of Change is a wonderful story that follows Hank, Pa, and Uncle Mac, as they leave all that Hank has known to start a new life after the loss of his sister and mother to cholera. It is a great story for a younger audience as it touches on such themes as dealing with life changes, the loss of loved ones, making new friends, working hard, as well as others. Although written for a younger audience, I believe adults will enjoy reading it as well. I certainly did. It also got my son's seal of approval, which is hard for any book to do over summer vacation. This book is definitely worth the investment as we have read it repeatedly and thoroughly enjoyed it each time.
Ms. Arvanitis was born in northern Nebraska, married and raised her family in South East Nebraska. She is a graduate of the Institute of Children's Literature and a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers. Her occupation as a preK and early grades teacher gives her insight into the stories children like to read. She has written many short stories for preschool curriculums. Now retired, she writes full time bringing to the mid grade readers books she calls "fables." She brings mythical creatures such as fairies, elves, mermaids, pixies, and other strange beings to her stories. She now offers her first two 'fables' for Mid graders. THE LEGEND OF ELPANDA PAWS, and FORBIDDEN WINGS, A MERMAID'S STORY in both as e-books and in print books.
She is presently working on her third Fable, PIXIES OF THE FERNS: FERNELLA'S MAGIC. to be out in 2013.
The first of Mrs Arvanitis's teen/YA historical series, HANK OF TWIN RIVERS,Journey of Change is now available. This coming of age story takes place in 1855 and tells of a pioneer boy's sometimes dangerous and always exciting adventures while helping his Pa set up a trading post for pioneers passing the merging Platte River in Nebraska.
In the future she hopes to publish her preschool "Back Yard" Story Books, featuring BeeBeau Bumblebee, Merle Squirrel, Bitty Blue Jay, and their friends who live in America's back yard. These stories have been read and enjoyed by the thousands of students she has taught though out the years.
Now retired her life has been filled with younguns .. (As Hank would say) .. hundreds of students throught the years and her own five children, grandchildren, and they just keep coming. Keeping track of family is her hobby. Writing is her occupation. She would value any comments you may have on any of her books. You can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. She may also be reached in the following locations:
M. C. Arvanitis writer's Face Book
Her Writer's Blog:
M.C. Arvanitis writer's blog