book bonanza: kate shelley, bound for legend

Jul 14, 2011

book bonanza: kate shelley, bound for legend

I have been spending a lot of time reading with my children lately and I have so many books I want to share with everyone! I love quality children’s literature and wish I could fly from house to house delighting children with the magic of words.

Last night for our family read-aloud, we read Kate Shelley: Bound For Legend by Robert D. San Souci. I had learned about Kate in Keziah’s Birthday Book last year, but this was the first time our whole family was introduced to her.


Kate, a young girl of 15, went out into an Iowa rainstorm after she heard the railroad bridge break near her home. She found an engine in the river and men holding onto willow branches to stay afloat. She shouted to them that she would go for help. Knowing that the midnight express was due soon and fearing for the lives of those aboard, she decided to go to Moingana where the telegraph was located. The only way to get help was to cross the flooding Des Moines River, in which her brother had drowned the year before, on a 673 ft. trestle bridge with two foot gaps between planks. In the darkness and rain, she inched across, wondering if the midnight express was going to come barreling down on her at any moment, if she would fall through the planks, or if the trees crashing down the river would knock her off the bridge to certain death in raging water below. She finally made it across and ran the half mile to the station office at Moingona, told them about the flash flood that took out the Honey Creek Bridge, the men in the river, and the need to stop the express train. Luckily the train had been stopped already and she led a rescue team back to the men in the river.

After her heroic actions, Kate was so ill she stayed in bed for the next three months. Throughout her life she would refer to the actions of that night with humility and gratitude. In her words,

“I believe that God makes strong the weakest and makes the poorest of us able to do much for His merciful purposes.”

Now I want to mentor a class on heroes! Wouldn’t that be fun to focus on all sorts of different types of heroes for a semester? Think of the inspiration that would flow into each heart if we pondered the greatness of spirit, courage, and sacrifice so many men, women, and children have made throughout history!

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1 Comment

  1. LaPriel

    Oh, I like the idea of a semester focused on heroes! Sounds like a great book.