details how one chief managed to shoot 30 rebel soldiers
while being gravely wounded himself. Their group was an alliance
of Odawa, Ojibwe and Potawatomi tribal members. Walker also shared
that they had been subjected to broken treaties, loss of tribal
lands and racism, yet served with honor for the Union.
You could say that DeKalb author Sally Walker is a prolific
writer. She has produced close to 60 titles since she began writing
childrens books in 1990. Written for different levels,
they range from kindergarten through high school and even attract
Being released this month, her book Deadly Aim
The Civil War Story of Michigans Anishinaabe Sharpshooters
is definitely one that can be enjoyed by everyone, but her intended
audience is younger readers. Her latest effort took years of
research, while some of her simpler subjects only took two months.
This never-before-told story about Native American sharpshooters
recruited by the Army of the Potomac follows their movements
through major battles and
Sally Walker with her latest release Taking
AimThe Civil War Story of Michigans Anishinaabe Sharpshooters.
Three of her earlier books are shown behind her. (Schrader photo
Talking with Walker about her writing career, I was fascinated
to learn she never took a literature or writing course in college,
instead majoring in physics and planetary sciences, with a specialization
in geology and archaeology. She met her husband, Jim, in the
college geology club and married him six months later. He eventually
found his way to Northern Illinois University in 1984 where he
taught geology. He is now retired.
I like to write about things that combine history,
mystery and science, Walker said.She finds ideas by reading
extensively and even going to museums where she discovers little
known facts. Her success is not only measured by the number of
major publishers who have courted her, but by winning the coveted
Robert Sibert Award presented annually by the American Library
That book had already been a Junior Library Guild selection.
Secrets of a Civil War Submarine told the story of
a primitive Confederate sub that sank a Union vessel in 1864
before sinking to the ocean floor, carrying the crew of eight
to a watery grave. She was there to interview the archaeologist
who excavated the sub, then the forensic anthropologist who was
trying to determine the cause of the sinking. It is still a mystery
why it went down.
She has had some interesting experiences doing research,
one time going on a dig with archaeologists from the Smithsonian
and doing forensic analyses which helped her when writing Written
A book lover since childhood, when her parents encouraged
reading by getting her a library card at the East Orange, New
Jersey, library, she has also worked in that field. For seven
years she was the childrens book buyer for the Junction
Reading Room in DeKalb, then worked for Andersons Books
in Naperville as a childrens literature consultant. But
now she is focused on writing books full time.
When asked where she gets her ideas, she said the stories
just seem to find her. She has advice for young people about
what to write: If you want an idea what to write about,
just open your eyes and look around. There are ideas all around