The Valley In Between

There’s a wonderful book written by one of our Wordsmiths, Marilyn Cram Donahue, titled The Valley In Between. It chronicles a period in the life of thirteen-year-old pioneer girl, Emmie Hamilton, to the leading edge of her young adulthood. It’s 1857 when the story begins, and the peaceful farming community of San Bernardino, California is transformed almost overnight into a lawless frontier town. Emmie finds herself tested as she struggles along side those who want to rebuild the community and bring it back from chaos to order.


I hope you get a chance to read this book. A supplement to elementary social studies curricula, it brings to life a slice of American history through the eyes of an adventurous and heart-warming girl.


The three spot illustrations represent the following excerpts from the book.



Chap 1

Emmie hurried along the narrow dirt path that led through the sycamore grove and back toward the house. Her wet skirts flapped and caught around her ankles, making it hard to walk. She would have reached down and pulled them up, but her arms were full of the boughs of the yellow cottonwood leaves that her sister, Luanna, had asked her to pick for the wedding table.


Chap 2

It was unusual for anyone to ride on the rough roads after dark–unless someone had taken sick, or there was important news to pass along.


Chap 3

His dark hair hung around his shoulders in dusty strands, and the hat that covered his head was sweat-stained and dirt-streaked. He had grown a thick mustache, and it made him look older, but not any better.


Contributed by Veronica Walsh, children’s book illustrator


6 responses to “The Valley In Between

  1. Oh my goodness, Veronica — this is wonderful! I looked at your drawings and got tears in my eyes. It was as though I was once again in the pages of my own book, and now I just want to sit down and finish the third one in the series. I can’t let these characters remain unfinished. Thank you so very much.


  2. Catherine L. Osornio

    What a wonderful tribute to one of our fine writers by our very own talented illustrator! You did an awesome job, Veronica.


  3. What a treat it was for me to make this assignment for myself. Marilyn’s writing is so visual; I felt as if I was there. California history is one of my favorite things to read, and what a bonus–SoCal history–our own backyard! Marilyn, I do hope you write the next in the series–what a gift it would be! I can’t wait to read the first book, Straight Along A Crooked Road. I’m hooked on this adventure!

    Thank you!

  4. I echo everyone’s comments on Marilyn’s wonderful books, so justly deserved! I’ve enjoyed and loved these two volumes since I first read them years ago. I could really see all the areas where she and I live, as they must have looked years ago. And Veronica, your wonderful illustrations brought them to life once more. What a talented group we are! I’m so grateful (and proud) to be a part of it. Marge

  5. Veronica, at first I thought these were illustrations from the book. Then I realized–hey! I have that book and it doesn’t have illustrations. How wonderful of you to create these yourself! A beautiful compliment to Marilyn’s awesome book. -Nancy

  6. Shirley Shibley

    I’m so honored to be part of this talented group! I do so love Marilyn’s book and then to see these superb illustrations by Veronica. Wow! What fun!

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