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Elfie: Adventures on the Midwest Frontier

Author: Mary Nelson Keithahn

Illustrator: Katie Kangas

Published by Lilja Press in 2016

Price: $14.99 paperback

Adapted from the memoirs of Elfie May Loverin Minard and Frank Clyde Sheldon, her "Double Cousin," Mary Nelson Keithahn's new book "Elfie: Adventures on the Midwest Frontier" chronicles Elfie's story as she and her family find a new life in the Midwest after the War Between the States.


A historical fiction chapter book for readers in grades 3-6, "Elfie" offers vivid descriptions of life on the American frontier. Questions at the end of each chapter reinforce understanding and expand discussion for young readers.

Watercolor illustrations by Katie Kangas, Keithahn's granddaughter, beautifully enhance Elfie's story.


"This heartwarming story, based on actual family diaries and letters, will delight and interest readers grades 3-6. Each chapter is a story based on actual events that Elfie and her family experienced as they moved throughout the Midwest. Mary Keithahn’s research into her family’s history is an excellent addition to the classroom curriculum."

— Katharine Busch Weiblen, Minneapolis Public Librarian, retired

"This is a wonderful book for grade school readers, both for its clear, readable prose and charming illustrations, and for its depiction of a part of American history important to us all. Enjoyable for all, especially those who love the Little House on the Prairie series."

— JoAnn Butler, author of historical fiction series Rebel Puritan: A Scandalous Life 

"'Elfie' is a delightful story of a young girl facing her life in frontier America long ago. Elfie's joys, challenges and everyday life will come alive to readers in this chapter book. Mary's use of word pictures and how she wove our American history into each chapter will make it easy for young readers to put themselves in Elfie's place. They will be able to understand and empathize with the hardships and happy times of young Elfie.


"Mary's book 'Elfie' is a loving tribute, not only for her close-knit family but also to countless other families that had ancestors that settled our country. This book will make a valuable contribution to children learning about their state history, immigration and the importance of families."

— Robin Rohwer-Franson, Teacher (grades 2-7), retired

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