People from north to south, east to west are celebrating the summer months in a variety of ways: leisurely days at the neighborhood swimming pool, a family vacation to the beach, camping out with loved ones. In the midst of this fun season, don’t forget to give your kids the very best sort of vacation—the kind they can take in their imagination!
Today I’m interviewing octogenarian, Eleanor Clark, a vibrant woman in her golden years who has written a lovely series of books for girls called The Eleanor Series. The books released a few years back in hardback, but she’s in the process of putting them out as e-books. Exciting news for parents on the lookout for great literature for their kids!
Eleanor, welcome! Can you tell us a little about yourself?
Perhaps I should start by telling you that I just celebrated a very important birthday—my 80th! And yes, I’m still very active! I’ve spent years researching my family’s lineage. After discovering some exciting stories, I decided to write them down in The Eleanor Series. I spend every day telling others about my books and sharing my love of faith, patriotism and godly character. What a wonderful life I lead!
So, the stories in this series are based on real-life experiences?
Yes, loosely based, anyway! I’ve fictionalized several very real stories, going back to my 8x great-grandmother! My family instilled a wonderful legacy in me and I want to pass that on to my children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and to all of my readers, as well.
Can you tell us about the book you’re featuring today?
Today I’m featuring the first book in the series: Mary Elizabeth, Welcome to America. I’m so tickled to announce that this book is now available in e-book form! In fact, it’s free on kindle from June 15th – 19th. I’ve waited for this day for some time, so I’m very excited. Here’s a little tidbit about the story: Mary Elizabeth’s life undergoes a dramatic change when she leaves the only home she has known for another world far away in a place called America. The journey aboard the ship not only teaches her about perseverance but also that making a home in a new world has its share of challenges. Join Mary Elizabeth as she lives one of the greatest adventures of a lifetime and learns the importance of family and the value of perseverance.
So this book is already out in print?
Will the other books in The Eleanor Series release as e-books as well?
Yes, and I’m so excited about the adventure ahead! The books will release one per month over the next six months with the final story, a Christmas story, releasing in early December. Here’s a list of the titles and release dates:
Mary Elizabeth: Welcome to America (June 15th )
- Victoria Grace: Courageous Patriot (July 15th)
- Katie Sue: Heading West (August 15th)
- Sarah Jane: Liberty’s Torch (September 15th)
- Eleanor Jo: The Farmer’s Daughter (October 15th)
- Melanie Ann: A Legacy of Love (November 15th)
- Eleanor Jo: A Christmas to Remember (December 1st)
What sets these books apart from the American Girls series?
The American Girls series is a wonderful collection for girls, but my stories have something those books do not: faith elements. The salvation message is evident in every story, as well as a deep love of God and country. Not only will children get a comprehensive history lesson through the exciting stories, they will also receive a greater understanding of the role their faith plays in modern-day life.
I see the book is intended for girls. What about my son? Will he enjoy it too?
I’m thrilled to report that some of the series’ biggest fans are boys! And adults, too. I’ve been tickled to see people young and old, male and female, enjoy these stories. Here’s what one reader had to say: We purchased four of the Eleanor Jo books for Christmas gifts for little girls on our list and after reading the book, we intend to order several more. We will be proud to give this book to any young children. We began reading the book, just to review the content and could not put it down. (Ella & David Lott, A reviewer, 11/07/2006)
How do I order a copy of the book?
What are you offering my bloggers today?
One lucky person will have an opportunity to win a hardback copy of Mary Elizabeth welcome to America when they leave a comment at the end of this blog!
You’ve been a delight to interview, Eleanor! How can we stay in touch with you?
Thank you so much for having me! Readers can reach me at:
My website: www.eleanorseries.com
My facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/eleanor.clark.50
My Eleanor Series facebook page:https://www.facebook.com/TheEleanorSeries
Friends, please check out Eleanor’s series. I think you’ll love it. The Eleanor Serieswill be a wonderful addition to any library. It will also inspire parents and grandparents to research their family’s history. So, this summer, as you’re setting your sites to the school year ahead. . .take a moment to look back at where you’ve come from. Then, be prepared to leave behind a legacy of love!
About the Author:
Eleanor Clark lives in central Texas. She is the matriarch of the family that includes 5 children, 17 grandchildren, and 5 great-grandchildren. Born the daughter of a Texas sharecropper and a child during the Great Depression, Eleanor was a female pioneer in crossing economic, gender, educational, and corporate barriers. Eleanor was an executive for one of American’s most prestigious corporations and founded her own highly successful consulting firm. The appreciation of her American and Christian heritage comes to life along with her exciting and colorful family history in the youth fiction series, The Eleanor Series.
Product review by Susan K. Marlow,
The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, LLC, October, 2009.
Are you looking for a Christian “American Girls” series for your daughters? A series that uses real-life girls to tell true stories of character, history, and family? I have to say that you need look no further than The Eleanor Series. The author conceived the idea for her series while researching her own family’s rich American heritage . . . dating back to the early 1600s and stretching clear through Eleanor’s own growing up years as the daughter of a Texas dairy farmer during World War Two.
Each of the six books in the Eleanor series (seven if you include the Christmas book), is about 180 pages, hardbound for a beautiful “classic” look, and packed full of not only an engaging story from a specific period of American history, but pages of extra activities at the back of the book, as well. In addition, each of these books is thoroughly biblically based and immersed with the importance of Christian character and living for Christ in the girls’ daily lives.
Here’s a quick overview of each of the titles:
Book One, Mary Elizabeth: Welcome to America, takes readers from Wales to America aboard the ship, Assurance, as Mary Elizabeth’s family immigrates to the New World—Virginia. Godly perseverance—never give up—is emphasized throughout the exciting story of the family’s adventures.
Book Two, Victoria Grace: Courageous Patriot, follows the adventures of a young girl whose heart’s desire is to help sick people. Caught up in the Revolutionary War, Victoria Grace learns to assist the doctor in caring for the wounded, and learns courage along the way.
In Book Three, Katie Sue: Heading West, readers join a girl who is not excited about moving from her home (and best friend) in Tennessee all the way to Texas, a strange, unknown place. Traveling by covered wagon, Katie Sue must learn to trust her father (and her heavenly Father) to bring her safely to her new home.
Book Four, Sarah Jane: Liberty’s Torch, touches on an unusual event that I’ve not seen in many other historical fiction books. Sarah Jane belongs to a wealthy family in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. They travel by train to New York City to watch the unveiling of the Statue of Liberty in 1886. Along the way, Sarah Jane learns the importance of “letting her light shine” by being a good witness of Christ’s love to others.
The author herself, Eleanor Jo, is the heroine of Book Five, Eleanor Jo: The Farmer’s Daughter. Growing up on a farm during the tumultuous times of World War Two teaches Eleanor the value of hard work and of working together. Victory gardens, ration stamps, and collecting tin foil for the War effort give readers a close-up look at this uncertain time in our nation’s history.
Book Six, Melanie Ann: A Legacy of Love, is the story of the author’s real-life granddaughter, who becomes the Keeper of the Key to the treasure chest of collectibles from the family’s past. A teapot from the 1600s, Katie Sue’s locket, and other special items tie this modern girl to her distant ancestors from the past. Love and putting others first is the theme that carries readers through this last book of the series.
In addition, Eleanor Jo: A Christmas to Remember, is a companion book to the series and shares a very special Christmas on the farm during the Depression, when there was no money for presents.
The Eleanor Series is different from other “American Girl” books in that each past story is framed with a modern-day story of one of the author’s granddaughters, who is facing a similar character challenge. When “Grand Doll” (Grandmother’s nickname) shares from the family history, even present-day girls can make the connection. Character never grows old or out of style.
Another special feature of this series are the copious pages of fun facts, discussion questions, writing opportunities, character development, and hands-on activities included in each book. For example, in Katie Sue: Heading West, readers are encouraged (and shown how) to set up a camping night. Games and camp-out recipes are included to give readers the experience that Katie Sue might have had when she camped out on her way West.
All in all, I highly recommend The Eleanor Series for girls ages 8-12 as an excellent supplement to any U.S. history curriculum. The books can also be used as an enjoyable read-aloud for the younger set. My daughter would have loved this series, and I intend to share these books with my granddaughters when they are old enough to appreciate them.
www.eleanorclark.com or www.amazon.com
Her Torch to the Sky!
Memories! I shall never forget how excited I was the first time that I visited New York City and sailed around the harbor to Ellis Island. There stood Lady Liberty lifting high her torch to the sky. This magnificent scene reminded me of my childhood when Mother got me all dressed up to play the part of the Statue of Liberty during a third grade history play.
It was just after The Great Depression and rag curlers were popular. Miraculously the rag curlers made my hair look like Shirley Temple’s beautiful curls. For my costume, Mother draped a big white sheet around me and placed a flashlight covered with a white napkin in my hand. Proudly, I held my head high as she placed the forked crown securely around my beautifully coiffed mahogany curls. As the play progressed, I lifted my torch to the sky and exclaimed, “Liberty!”
In 1886, Sarah Jane visited New York and attended the unveiling of one of the biggest statues in the world, The Statue of Liberty, which was a gift from France to the United States. Today The Lady still holds a torch and a book inscribed July 4, 1776. LIBERTY!
As young Sarah Jane and her family check into the posh Manhattan Hotel, she feels the thrill of excitement about being in New York and seeing the Statue of Liberty. Her trip brings new revelations as she begins to encounter the difference between her “comfortable affluent” life and the lives of so many people stricken with poverty and need.
After hearing the story of the torch that Lady Liberty holds in her hand, Sarah Jane learns that God has given her a “torch” of her own, and she makes a decision to let her light shine for the entire world to see.
In Ephesians 5:8, Paul writes, For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light. (NKJV) This explains the change that takes place when we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior. His light in us should be so strong that others will see Him in us and desire to become a Christian. Spending time with God and STUDYING His word will cause His Light to shine brighter and brighter in us and through us. As we walk as children of light…actively and willingly being “light givers” and “torch bearers” for Jesus so that many will come to know the Light Giver and the True Torch.
Grab a copy and see how Sarah Jane learns to hold her torch high and witnesses to people – a great teaching tool for our youth today !
This set of fictional books is based one the true-to-life stories of my family’s history and these heart-warming stories span generations, are historically accurate and highlight the nation’s Christian heritage of faith.
Grab your copy of Sarah Jane: Liberty’s Torch – E-Book, Amazon .com
Autographed hardcopies can be purchased at www.eleanorclark.com and you can
Subscribe the Eleanor’s Blog…Down Memory Lane at www.eleanorclark.com
My Review for the Eleanor Series
These books have really changed my life. They have helped me realize that we have so much and we take advantage of that. They’ve also helped me get serious with my walk of faith. Most of all, these books have given me inspiration to write. All of these things occurred after I read The Eleanor Series. This is a series of incredible books that are written by an amazing author who uses her family heritage, Christianity, and creativity to write books about girls who have normal lives but go through extraordinary things. These books have really had an amazing impact on my life.
Erin Rachel, who is my granddaughter, age 10, 5th grader at Fairfield Inter. School, is writing a story, the inspiration from which came from your books. I bought some of them when I met you at Golden Circle a few years ago, at Calvary Baptist Church. She is very inspired by your books and loves how you have taken your history and made it come alive. She said she thought she could smell the awful odors of the ship in one of the scenes. She is a ardent Christian girl who loves her Lord and her family and dearly loves to read and write. Her heart’s desire is to someday meet you in person and talk with you about your stories. Her favorite book is the second, “Katie Sue Heading West”. She really connected with her, being wild and mature at the same time. Thanks for reading this and hopefully she will be as successful in life and career choice as you. Thanks again,
- Karen Rachel, one proud grandma.
by Cathy Bryant
Born the daughter of a Texas sharecropper and raised in the Great Depression, Eleanor was a female pioneer in crossing economic, gender, educational, and corporate barriers. An executive for one of America’s most prestigious ministries, Eleanor later founded her own highly successful consulting firm.
After retiring and moving to central Texas, Eleanor was active in Church, Community, and Civic organizations. However, her husband was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, and she found herself being a 24/7caregiver until his advanced stages took him to the nursing home.
To ease the pain of loneliness, she attended a 32-week bible study, and on July 31, 2005, she accepted the call to write Children’s books. Needing additional writing skills, at age 73, she decided to go back to college and take writing courses, and in 2006, her first book was published. In 2007, six books were published and her latest, the eight book, The Legacy of Lord Baden-Powell will be released in May, 2010.
While researching her family’s rich American history, Eleanor, conceived the idea for two series, The Young Men of Honor Series and The Eleanor Series. Eleanor’s passion for Scouting, history, and the appreciation of her American and Christian heritage comes to life in her novels. A mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother to Boy Scout members, Eleanor’s first book in The Young Men of Honor Series is entitled The Legacy of Lord Baden-Powell and commemorates 100 year’s of Scouting in America.
The Eleanor Series won three national awards: Eleanor Jo: A Christmas to Remember won the 2007 National Indie Excellent Award in Children’s fiction, and Melanie Ann: A Legacy of Love was awarded as a finalist. Sara Jane: Liberty’s Torch took second place in the American Christian Fiction Writers YA 2008 Book of the Year Awards.
Motivated by her family lineage, which had been traced back to the early 17th century, an idea immerged: the legacy left by her ancestors provided the perfect tool to reach today’s children with the timeless truths of patriotism, godly character, and miracles of faith. Through her own family’s stories, she instills in children a love of God and country, along with a passion for history.
Each story in the Eleanor Series focuses on a particular character trait and is laced with the pioneering spirit of one of Eleanor’s true-to-life family members. These captivating stories span generations, are historically accurate, and highlight the nation’s Christian heritage of faith.
Becoming an author has given Eleanor a platform to speak to children, and one of the greatest thrills of her life is to speak to children at elementary, Jr. High and High schools, churches, scout troops, libraries, and community and civic organization. But, the greatest thrill of all is when a testimonial comes from a young reader who has accepted Jesus as their savior after reading one of her books. She cherishes all of the emails and letters that she receives from her fans.
Eleanor is on a personal mission to recruit one million new Boy Scout members and a nation changed for the better. As a third generation Scouting grandmother, she feels training young people is the only way to reclaim our nation.
To help recruit the one million scout members, she has designed an activity badge for scouts to earn by reading her newest book, The Legacy of Lord-Baden Powell, answering the review questions and recruiting a new scout member.
Eleanor’s extensive nationwide PR campaign starts this summer and will incorporate television, and radio, book signings, and speaking engagements.
Eleanor lives in Texas with her husband of more than 57 years and is devoted to their five children, 17 grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.
Eleanor can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and for more information, click onwww.youngmenofhonorseries.com and/or www.eleanorseries.com. On both websites, there is additional information and videos.
As Eleanor would put it, “With God’s help, you are never too old or too young to achieve your dream.”
[Written to Mrs. Clark’s Daughter]
I could not resist to open the Christmas gifts you had sent me ahead of the time. I am deeply moved by your gesture, and especially by the book so well written by your mother.
Eleanor Jo must be you. The portrait on the book cover must be you. I read Chapter 6 and 7 first as you had suggested, and was deeply moved. What a lovely family and what a wonderful child!
I am so previleged to know you and to have this book. Thank you so much. May you have a Merry Christmas with God’s blessings always. May I always have you as a friend.
My grandaughter is 12. I gave her your book Eleanor Jo A Christmas to Remember. She enjoyed it so much, I wanted to get her more books like that. I see you have the new series but how do I go about ordering them.
Please let me know.
My name is Hannah. You signed my book yesterday in the bookstore. I wanted to tell you that me and my mom started the Eleanor Jo book last night. I just CAN’T WAIT for the next book to come out.
PS Thank you for writing those books
How delighted I was to receive from Barbara your little book, Eleanor Jo – A Christmas To Remember!! It was devoured in one reading ~ taken in with joy and delight.
The descriptive writing is so crisp and clear that I could “see” the rooms of the house, the snowfall, the Christmas tree, and “smell” the holly as well as the popcorn.
I loved every minute of attending the lovely party at Mrs. Urschel’s house and the special Christmas Pageant with you. Enjoying the beautiful windows of the Neiman Marcus Department Store, and the walk through with dazzling objects on every side evoked precious memories from my own childhood.
The “Christmas Journal” and Fun Facts sections of the book add a special treat at the end of the book ~ a little Christmas gift!
Thank you for the personalized greeting. Eleanor Jo is a Christmas to Remember ~ it is truly a treasure.
During this favorite holiday season, I see a lot of changes. Summer has ended all of its unbearable Texas heat, and fall is dropping its colorful leaves from the tree limbs onto the carpeted grass that is loosing its color. And winter is slowly opening its door to a welcomed fireplace where I sit in our easy chair, hugging my white fleece-lined throw with its top all vivid in a deep wine Christmas color.
As I sip hot chocolate, and breathe in the beauty of Christmas, I am reminded that it is time to re-read the timeless truths of our faith in Luke, chapter two, from the Bible, where I find the the birth of our Savior, the reason for the season! This marvelous christmas story also reminds me of my early childhood when so many years ago my mother would read this famous passage during Christmas plays at church. “And, lo, the angel of the Lord…”
The Christmas cookies have finished baking, the wine and gold decorations are magically dangling from the ceiling-high tree. The CDs are playing traditional music, and the white decorataive lights look as if they are stars dancing down through the wintery skies from Heaven!
It is time to entertain family and friends as they trickle in from the mild Texas winter, the season where Christmas music heralds the birth of King Jesus. My favorite season of the year!
Let’s open your door to Christmas by throwing another log on the fire, grabbing your favorite cuddly, and continuing the blessed season by reading another famous Christmas classic set during the Great Depression. Instilling in children the timeless truths of faith and patriotism Eleanor Jo: A Christmas to Remember is an award-winning novel that narrates the reason for the season. And explains how to appreciate the blessings we have today, but may not have tomorrow, all through the quizzical eyes of a little Texas girl. It is a MUST read for every family during the Christmas season! To journal your traditions, there is a bonus chapter in the back of the book to do just that.
For more information about this novel and/ or to order an autographed hard copy go to the link pin www.eleanorseries.com.
The Teague Chronicle – Sunday’s Internet Edition
Fairfield businesswoman and author Eleanor Clark has some exciting news for readers who enjoyed last fall’s release of her novel Eleanor Jo: A Christmas to Remember. The second and third installments of her seven volume work, The Eleanor Series, are now in print and widely available in hardback edition. The new releases are actually the first two books of the series–the decision was made last fall to release the final installment of the series first, in order that its Christmas theme might coincide with the approaching holiday season.
The early release of book seven, however, does nothing to detract from the flow of one story into the next, as each story is a marvelous work unto itself, and the series comes together as a whole regardless of the order in which the individual stories are read.
Book one, Mary Elizabeth: Welcome to America!, as well as book two, Victoria Grace: Courageous Patriot, continue to emphasize the character building themes of patriotism, faith, and family upon which the entire series is constructed. And just like the rest of the volumes in The Eleanor Series, the stories unfold along and within historically accurate settings–in the case of these two novels, the journey to the New World from Europe, which represented the hopes and dreams of countless immigrants for a better life in a land of opportunity, and the outbreak of the American Revolution, a time of great dreams and horrible fears in the days when the outcome of that effort was far from certain.
The fictional stories are based on the real life experiences of Mrs. Clark’s family, going back some 400 years. The author’s reverence for her family legacy shines through in all of the stories, but is perhaps best reflected in each novel’s prologue. As each story begins, we are introduced to a young girl in the present day who, while preoccupied with problems of her own, finds herself powerfully drawn into an incredible tale, even if somewhat reluctantly at first, told by her “Grand Doll,” her wise and affectionately named grandmother. The specific trials and triumphs of the family’s ancestors as related in Grand Doll’s stories are aptly chosen to empower the young girls to overcome the very difficulties presently weighing on their young minds and spirits.
Mary Elizabeth: Welcome to America! examines the challenges in the life of a young girl who, in 1635, is uprooted from the only life she has known, and is set out from Europe across the Atlantic. Her experiences aboard ship and in this strange and unfamiliar New World instill within her the value of perseverance in the face of difficulties, and the faith upon which she must rely for that perseverance.
Book two, Victoria Grace: Courageous Patriot, takes the reader back to the dawn of the American Revolution as seen through the eyes of a young girl, whose desire to learn about medicine brings her face to face with the awful reality of war, as she is called upon to nurse the wounded. As young Victoria bears witness to the true cost of freedom, she knows she must somehow find the courage to see herself through such a frightening time.
The character themes are different for each of Grand Doll’s stories, always appropriate to the immediate needs of her granddaughters, but the source of their strength is always the same. The challenges facing each girl may differ from the others, but like the branches of a tree, they all lead back to the same roots: Faith, and family.
Did you ever find yourself feeling kind of sad after finishing a great novel, simply because the joy of reading it had come to and end? If so, then you will happily discover one of the remarkable aspects of The Eleanor Series is that when the story is finished, the lesson is just getting started.
An educator as much as an author, Mrs. Clark has included at the end of each story a number of exercises and activities intended to bring the novel’s theme to life for the youngster. Historical trivia, questions to ponder, and lots of activities, including, for example, elaborate instructions for the hosting of a tea party–complete with some delicious sounding recipes!–are among the variety of suggestions by which the reader can bring the message out of the pages and into his or her experience.
The stories are written for the benefit of our children, especially young girls, but the experience of The Eleanor Series is tailor made, in every respect, for the whole family. Parents and grandparents will benefit every bit as much from the reading of these stories to/with their little ones as the children themselves. And the lessons, recipes, and suggested activities included at the end of each book are valuable for any reader, regardless of age.
“As I looked back over my life and the history of my family,” says Mrs. Clark, “I saw a great opportunity to put together a series of books that would be entertaining and fun, teach history, and focus on American history and its Christian heritage, as well as the faith of my family. Leaving a legacy for my children and grandchildren was very important to me. As a member of our family began to research our genealogy, I got excited about the possibilities of fictionalizing our own stories to accomplish this.” The finished product is unquestionably a gem, and would make a timeless gift for any young girl.
Following publication of the remaining four installments in the series, the seven volume work will be available in a box set. Mrs. Clark predicts the entire series will be available by late August of this year.
The matriarch of a family that includes five children, seventeen grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren, Mrs. Clark has lived in Fairfield since 1996, along with Lee, her husband of over 50 years.
Her novels Mary Elizabeth: Welcome to America!, and Victoria Grace: Courageous Patriot, are available in hardback edition for $14.99, and may be purchased at Barnes & Noble Booksellers, Christian bookstores, or on her website: www.eleanorseries.com.
Currently scheduled book signings for the latest two releases in The Eleanor Series are set for June 2nd at Barnes & Noble in Frisco, Tx., and June 16th at Barnes & Noble in The Woodlands. Notice of future dates and locations will be posted in The Chronicle.
This is an on-line publication of
The Teague Chronicle
319 Main Street
P.O. Box 631
Teague, TX 75860
For comments or questions,
Publisher / Editor: Steve Massey
A Christian, Heart-Touching Story For Children
We purchased four of the Eleanor Jo books for Christmas gifts for little girls on our list and after reading the book, we intend to order several more. We will be proud to give this book to any young children. We began reading the book, just to review the content and could not put it down. It brought back many early memories of Christmases and reminded us of how much things have changed in today’s world. We are looking forward to Eleanor Clark’s next books in this series, which we understand will be published this next year.
Ella & David Lott, A reviewer, 11/07/2006