top of page

John and Annie Bidwell: The Long and the Short of It, written by Nancy Leek and illustrated by Steve Ferchaud. Goldfields Books, 2015. 32 pages, full-color illustrations. For ages 5 to 10 years.


       Nancy Leek brings the Bidwells to life in John and Annie Bidwell: The Long and the Short of It, a biography for young readers with kid-friendly illustrations by Steve Ferchaud. Readers will delight in the lively prose and colorful illustrations depicting the eventful lives of Chico’s most prominent couple.

       John and Annie were a study in contrasts. John stood tall – his wife Annie was short and slender. She was twenty years younger than he was. While she was growing up on a Pennsylvania farm, he was leading an adventurous life in California. But they had much in common – a love of nature and active roles in promoting education, agriculture, and women’s rights. Most of all, they shared a deep love for each other.

“Leek brings the history of John and Annie Bidwell to life in this colorful and informative book Chicoans and history buffs will love!”  ~  Debbie Cobb, News Anchor and Author


Nancy Leek became interested in Butte County history when she worked as reference librarian at the Chico Branch Library. A graduate of the University of California at Berkeley, she has also worked as a school librarian and a children’s librarian. She is the author of John Bidwell: The Adventurous Life of a California Pioneer (ANCHR, 2010) and co-editor of The Miner Poet: Poems of Pres Longley (Stansbury Publishing, 2013). In John and Annie Bidwell Leek combines her research expertise with her love of storytelling to create a picture book that is highly readable and historically accurate.


Leek grew up in Millbrae, California, Kamakura, Japan, and Kodiak, Alaska. She and her husband Jim are the parents of five grown children. They live in Chico, California where they have a large garden, a small orchard, and a flock of chickens. Nancy serves on the boards of Bidwell Mansion Association and Chico Friends of the Library, and blogs about California history at


Steve Ferchaud, a native of California and a resident of the town of Paradise, has been drawing for as long as he can remember. His parents say that he never went through a “scribbling” stage. He has illustrated over thirty books, including the Benjamin Franklin Award winning book The Carpenter’s Legacy. He received The Golden Quill Award for best illustrations for The Man Who Spoke to Cats, and NCPA Award for best illustrations for Joshua and Bigfoot. He feels honored to be chosen to illustrate a children’s book about local hero John Bidwell.

John and Annie Bidwell: The Long and the Short of It by Nancy Leek

    bottom of page