Friend Friday

I doubt there is a book creator in the Greater Puget Sound area (and likely beyond!) who hasn’t been touched by the kind, positive and genuinely good human being, Peggy King Anderson. I can’t recall when Peggy and I met, but I treasure our friendship. And I treasure being the frequent beneficiary of that beautiful, warm smile of hers. You will be fascinated to learn the story behind her newest book, Two-Moon Journey, Indiana Historical Society Press. And if you live in our neck of the woods, join Peggy in person at her Book Launch Party on Saturday, June 9th, at 2PM, Brick and Mortar Bookstore in Redmond. Everyone is welcome so please come! And don’t miss the note at the end of this post or you’ll miss the chance to enter a giveaway for a copy of Two-Moon Journey!


Peggy King Anderson


I love that my first Guest Blog for Two-Moon Journey (Indiana Historical Society Press) is with Kirby and all of you, her guests, on this Friend Friday. In an odd way, this book started for me in 1962, when I discovered my husband-to-be was a member of the Potawatomi, a Native-American tribe from the Great-Lakes region. I’d never heard of them. The word sounded strange, even funny to me. But this was an important part of my husband’s heritage, and after we married and moved to Washington state, we attended Potawatomi regional council meetings. We enrolled our children in the Citizen Band Potawatomi Nation.

When our Potawatomi regional rep found out I was a writer, she asked me to write about the tribe, specifically about the Trail of Death, the forced removal from their Indiana Homelands in 1838.  I was intrigued, but knew I had to find my own way into the story.

Then I met Virginia Pearl, a Potawatomi Catholic sister, whose great-grandmother Equa-Ke-Sec had been 11 years old at the time of the Trail of Death. Sister Pearl spoke vividly of this little girl who, at the end of that two-month—(Two Moon) Journey, arrived with all her people in a November snowstorm in Sugar Creek Kansas to find no shelter, none of the cabins promised them by the government. They had to hang animal skins along the bluffs of Sugar Creek that night to shelter from the freezing cold and snow! This one detail gave me an emotional “in” to the story I wanted to tell.


Peggy King Anderson with Sister Virginia Pearl


Sister Virginia Pearl’s account triggered anger in me. How is it possible to forgive the horrible injustice endured by Potawatomi and other American Indians forced to leave their homelands?

In Two-Moon Journey, this conflict becomes personal as Simu-quah struggles with the hatred she has for the cruel Red-bearded Soldier who imprisons her father in a jail cage, along with the other chiefs. Crider is a fictional character, based on accounts of the cruelty of some of the militia who accompanied the Native Americans on this journey, but the jail cage incident is true. Though some  of the soldiers showed compassion, we know other instances of cruelty, including soldiers prodding the people with bayonets to make them walk faster.

My main character, Simu-quah, though fictional, reminds me a lot of the real 11 year-old Equa-Ke-Sec, that brave and determined relative Sister Pearl told me about. The events Sim-quah experiences on the journey are true, recorded in three different diaries and journals. Fr. Benjamin Petit, who traveled with Simu-quah and their tribe in the story, was a real person. He kept a journal, and also wrote long letters to his family and church superiors, giving his account of parts of the journey. General John Tipton, who supervised the forced march to the Indiana state line, and Jesse C. Douglass, agent writing for William Polke, who supervised the remainder of the journey to Kansas both kept journals, as well. As I wrote the book, I was able to go back to these documents to allow Simu-quah to experience the real events of this hard journey.

Oral histories handed down by Potawatomi family members are woven into the fabric of my book as well. Susan Campbell, our Potawatomi rep told me about her great grandfather’s family bringing a few ears of a special kind of chewy white corn with him, a corn her family still grows and eats today, reminding them of the home they were forced to leave.

That became a key part of Two-Moon Journey, as 11 year old Simu-quah sneaks back into the cornfield and hastily picks 13 ears of corn to bring with her on the journey. Every night she has a recurring dream—that she is watching a giant hand grinding kernels of corn in a huge mortar. In the dream she is not only the Watcher, she is also the kernel of corn being crushed, and she hears a voice saying, “Become food for your people.” It is a prophetic dream, the grandmother tells her, and she is to do something hard to save her people.  In some way she too will be crushed.

That prophetic dream comes true at the end of the book, in a most unexpected way. You will have to read the book to find out what that is!

My publisher, Indiana Historical Society Press, is known for their wonderful books for the classroom, and they included historical photos throughout the book, along with a comprehensive glossary and a dictionary of the Potawatomi words used. This makes me even more excited for classroom visits and school workshops, which I love to do!

Two-Moon Journey has been a book of discovery for me. Simu-quah taught me the meaning of forgiveness, and how it impacts not just two people but the whole community. I love Simu-quah and the strong person she becomes because of all she suffers on her terrible, wonderful journey.

I hope you’ll love her too.  

Two-Moon Journey (Indiana Historical Society Press)

Peggy has so generously offered to give away an autographed copy of Two-Moon Journey! To enter to win, please click on this Rafflecopter link!


Peggy King Anderson has been writing stories for children for over 30 years. Besides Two-Moon Journey, her published books include Safe at Home, Coming Home, First Day Blues, and her co-authored book, The Fall of the Red Star. She also writes fiction series for Pockets Magazine, including her current series, Tree Frog Trail. She teaches creative writing in the schools for kids of all ages from kindergarten through high school.   In these workshops, kids find mysterious clues and write mysteries, time travel to strange worlds, and design travel brochures to convince folks to travel back to historical times and places, such as Twin Lakes, Indiana in September, 1838. When she’s not writing or teaching, you can find her reading, sketching or catching frogs with her grandkids. Check out her new website, just redone by her web designer son.