A Read-Aloud Story!

This is something my mom and I have been working on during this lockdown.  I've probably mentioned before that my mom is enthusiastic about local history, and some years ago she wrote a much-needed book about the founder of our town, John Bidwell.  All the local schools study the Bidwells, but there were no kid-level books about them.  That was a 10-chapter biography aimed at 4th grade and up.  Then the 3rd-grade teachers, who also teach local history, asked for a picture book that 8-year-olds would enjoy, and so she wrote that, and then two other picture books.  You can see all of them at her website/blog, Goldfields Books, where she writes regular posts about California history.

Well, now that school is done from home, the teachers can't read the picture book to their students.  My neighbor down the street mentioned to me that teachers would be thrilled if we made a video of the book, so they could have their students watch it.  This was obviously a brilliant idea!  I've just been learning to edit videos, so I could actually do the job.  So we made the video, set up a YouTube channel, and plan to make a couple more.

So here it is: a read-aloud of "John and Annie Bidwell: The Long and the Short of It," by Nancy Leek.  It's about 20 minutes long.  Maybe you know somebody who would enjoy a pioneer story.


  1. Lovely short film Jean. I'd never heard of John Bidwell before, so have learnt something new in this lockdown!

  2. What great fun! And I've learned some history! My guess as to "the long and the short of it" was right, too! Why do other people's lives sound so exciting? If only I had a time machine. Thanks for posting this!

  3. Ha! That's fun. I didn't know all that about the Bidwells, though I've been in the mansion twice. (?--maybe more, I forget.) There could have been more about Annie Bidwell's love of botany and especially trees (unless that's not true , of course...)

    I was amused to see Robin Hood in the background in Bidwell Park towards the end of the book.

  4. Thanks, folks! Reese, more about Annie would have been nice; it's just a very tight format. You might like to read some of the Goldfields posts about Annie's activities and friends; Chico is scattered with streets named after them and of course nobody remembers who Neal Dow was now.


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