“Joaquin’s Gold — what a delight! I am still relishing these stories, re-reading and enjoying them again. Before I began, I especially enjoyed knowing that your students inspired both your research and writing. Once reading, I wished I could have been in a class that read, discussed, and wrote reactions to these adventures. Each chapter’s title is an inspiration to read!”
Sheelagh from Idaho
Help me out a bit by viewing the instagram link to “Joaquin’s Gold”!
These stories bring the fabled Joaquin Murrieta, a notorious desperado with a heart of gold, to life. Readers will find the man and the era irresistible. The author finds this historical figure fascinating, and makes Joaquin real — he comes alive and is so likable! The settings and descriptions are fabulous also! I really liked this book!
From a new review of Joaquin’s Gold: “What child wouldn’t want to read these tales? Walton paints a very accurate and descriptive picture of the area and the characters are vivid and realistic. And, what about all those flashing knives, drawn guns, wicked ghosts, caves, gold bars, really bad guys? His depiction of Murietta in his later years shows a man who has come to terms with his life, who doesn’t deny his wrongdoing and who knows he is no one’s hero. Students see that he is a multidimensional character as opposed to a comic book caricature. Hero.
As a retired public librarian, I have read many such tales and local histories. Most of these were for adults OR children and the writing and vocabulary level did not cross over. These are very readable tales for anyone interested in California legends and histories.”
Hidden gold, bloody bandits, vengeful miners, mad ghosts, shipwrecks, rattlesnakes— all these and more are to be found in my stories about Joaquin Murrieta. The individual stories have all been published separately and several have won contest awards. They are now published together for the first time as both a Kindle e-book and a paperback.
Set in Central Californian locations — what is now Pinnacles National Park, the Santa Lucia Mountains, Jolon, Old Mission San Antonio de Padua and San Francisco, among others — the stories blend 19th Century historical characters and events into the action. I’ve intentionally aligned the book’s content with California Social Studies Standards. Its readability is above 90% on the Flesch scale and varies between a 2.3 and 2.9 in grade level, so most young people should be comfortable reading the stories on their own. I also created classroom activities for all of these stories — now in use as part of the reading fluency program at Chalone Peaks Middle School — that are available on TPT.
I’m proud to share this collection with you and hope it will open California history for you and yours.
Mali’s late Medieval civilization came to its height under King Mansa Musa.. He was a great King and, though possibly the wealthiest man in history, his accomplishments and times are far from current popular awareness. I wrote “Mansa Musa’s Wisdom” to introduce him and his importance to World and Western African History to young people. Because folk tales are so central to African cultures, I’ve used one for the structure of my story. Every good folk tale has a lesson and so does mine. I thank Cricket Media for making it the focus of their February issue of Spider Magazine. The factual articles about Mansa Musa and African wildlife are most supportive!
WELCOME!I've dedicated my life to literacy and literature for young people. I'm sixty-three and don't intend to change my focus now. I hope that this site will contribute to both! I hope it will be of use to kids, parents and teachers who love to read.
For Kids: I want to know what you think of my story! Writing can be pretty lonely and authors like to hear from readers. Ask me questions about Chaos Gate and I'll do my best to answer them as quickly as I can.
For Parents: I want to know what you think of my story! I'd also like to know how this website can best help you, what activities here are most effective and what you would like to see me include in the future.
For Teachers: I know how hard you folks work. I'm offering you effective, interesting activities to accompany Chaos Gate, whether you're reading it aloud to your class, using it in small groups, or simply have one or two students reading it on their own. I have (or soon will!) comprehension questions, vocabulary activities and word find puzzles in pdf format for every chapter. Check them out and take what suits you best.
Robert's story "Joaquin's Gold" just won the
2010 Art Affair Western Short Story Contest. The story brings legendary bandit Joaquin Murrieta back to Central California during the 1880's in a search for hidden treasure. Robert hopes to produce a book including all of his Joaquin Murrieta stories. Stay tuned.