FANTASY & Historical BOOKS FOR CHILDREN, Mid Grade.,


YA Western Novel Catches on Fire with More Five Star Reviews.

Book Review- Reader's Favorite: 

Five star review for Hank of Twin Rivers, Book one; A journey of Change. by Brenda Casto for Readers' Favorite
Brenda Casto writes

Hank of Twin Rivers was such a delightful read that I hated to see it end. It's the story of young Hank Heaton, and takes place in 1855. Hank and his family live in a soddy along Buck Creek in a small Iowa settlement. It was the spring of that year when Hank was on the verge of turning twelve that his whole world changed. Young Hank lost his beloved mother and young sister Amanda to cholera. While Hank recovered from the dreaded ailment, he was troubled with a weakened leg, but the worst thing was the fact that his pa changed; he would no longer call Hank by his name, instead he called him 'boy.' There is one person Hank can rely on, his uncle Mac, who often softens the harshness that his father doles out. He does have a pet cow and is often plagued by a mean goose that loves to attack him. When his father decides to leave their home and head to Nebraska to homestead, Hank doesn't want to go but has no choice. Will they make it west, and what adventures await young Hank? One thing is for certain, Hank's life is about to change forever.

This young adult read is a wonderfully written adventure that allows readers to step back in time and travel along with Hank and his family as they move west. M.C. Arvanitis expertly creates a very endearing character in Hank, who fights his emotions because his pa says that Heaton men don't show their emotions in public, but young Hank certainly grieved the loss of his ma and sister. The descriptions of the characters and setting grabbed my imagination and wouldn't let go. The sights and sounds that are woven into the book, from a brush with Indians to the teasing that Nora inflicted upon Hank as they traveled together, flow so well that once I started reading the book I couldn't put it down. I found myself laughing out loud when the goose refused to stay behind, but also felt sadness when he had to give up his pet. I figured this story might be similar to Little House on the Prairie, but honestly it was richer, more detailed and realistic. There is struggle and hurt, but there is also joy and hope within the pages of this coming of age story. Perfect reading for young adults, but honestly I think it will appeal to adults as well. Hank of Twin Rivers is a story that left this reader anxious for the next book in the series!



A TWO THUMBS UP review for Hank of Twin Rivers, Book One, Journey of Change. From Book worms for Kids Blog. Book Reviewer, T Drecker.

My Tidbits

Historical fiction for children, especially when it isn’t about a well-known figure, isn’t easy to do, but M.C. Arvanitis has done a terrific job.

After losing his little sister and mother, Hank helps his father and uncle pack-up the wagon and head West in hopes of settling down in the Platte River Valley. On the way, they not only face many adventures, but Hank learns more about himself and the world around him.

When I started this, I was skeptical simply because wagon trail stories for this age group tend to either get a little boring or incorporate too much adventure and become unrealistic. Here, this was not the case. Hank is a very realistic boy: not the strongest but willing, not heroic but ready, and usually obedient but not always. He has to overcome the problems and adventures which historically occurred on such a journey—exciting and still, not blown out of proportion—as well as deal with the difficult relationship with his father, who has troubles coming to terms with the mother’s death.

The writing is great for this age group, adding just enough description and tidbits to keep the reader informed without getting wordy. The journey is exciting and historically sound. The characters are sympathetic and realistic, having good qualities as well as faults. And, one of my favorite things for this age group, the book isn’t too long. At 108 pages, even reluctant boys won’t moan and groan at the length—and yes, I believe this is a story they will really enjoy. In other words, I give this a big, fat, hearty. . .Two Thumbs up. 



In e-book and print
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After you read Hank's Journey of Change you will want to 

watch Hank growth into manhood in this coming of age series. 
(to be published in 2014)  


(Covers designed by Artist, Dori Murnieks)