Welcome to the web site for Books by Steve Little!
As of September 2012, there are 4 books available for purchase on this website! Steve has already written one more short children's story and is working on a comprehensive, historical reference book about the Mountain Division of the Western North Carolina Railroad.
The illustrations are being worked on for the new children's story, which will be called Our Life Is Very Good. It is based on Steve's experiences in a small, remote village in northwestern Belize, Central America.
The very detailed regional history will be called Rails Over and Through the Mountains, and Steve is still working on it. This book will be significantly longer than Tunnels, Nitro and Convicts (which was written for all ages) and will be written just on an adult level. It will
have dozens of pages of fascinating exhibits, including interviews from the 1870s with the railroad management. All the information will be well-documented with footnotes.
Come back to BooksBySteveLittle.com from time to time to find out more!
The Mighty Locomotive
The workers building the railroad in the North Carolina mountains in 1878 had a problem. They needed a locomotive to help remove heavy rocks from a very long tunnel they were digging at the top of the mountain. But the locomotive was in the valley several miles away ... and the train tracks had not been laid between the valley and the tunnel!
How could they get the locomotive up the mountain? Read The Mighty Locomotive to find out what they did and how they did it!
This true story is great for young readers, packed with beautiful illustrations by Jeff Duckworth. Toddlers will love hearing someone read The Mighty Locomotive to them!
Andrews Geyser - Star of the Mountain Railroad
Alexander B. Andrews was a talented railroad builder and advisor to several NC Governors in the late 1800s. George Fisher Baker was one of the wealthiest men in America in the early 1900s. Baker paid for the construction of a “geyser” beside the railroad tracks at Round Knob, in the middle of the remote North Carolina mountains, and he named it for Andrews.
Neither of these men were born or raised in Western North Carolina. Neither ever lived there. They were not involved in the construction during the 1870s of the railroad in the area where Andrews Geyser is located! How were they connected? Why did Baker pay for this “geyser” and why was it named for Andrews? Filled with fascinating photographs, Andrews Geyser - Star of the Mountain Railroad tells the well-documented story of Andrews Geyser just in time for its 100th anniversary in 2012.
Tunnels, Nitro and Convicts
In 1875, you could ride a train across the US from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean. But you could not ride a train from eastern North Carolina to NC-Tennessee border. The rails stopped at the base of the eastern continental divide. The mountain was too steep for trains to climb. At least that’s what everyone thought until Major James W. Wilson took charge!
Using convicts from the NC State Penitentiary as the labor source, Major Wilson started in October 1875 to wind and loop the tracks all the way from Henry Station (in the valley just west of Old Fort, NC) to the top of the mountain at what is now called Ridgecrest. Five years later, after some absolutely amazing accomplishments under unbelievably severe conditions, the mountain had been conquered and the tracks were in place.
Six tunnels had been constructed through solid rock, the longest one being longer than 6 football fields end to end. The first use of nitroglycerine (“Nobel’s blasting oil”) in the southeastern United States was used to help dig the tunnels. Many convicts lost their lives from cave-ins and other injuries. They even had to push a full-size locomotive along the dirt wagon road from the valley up to the top of the mountain!
Steve Little tells this history in an easy-to-read manner in Tunnels, Nitro and Convicts. There are many photographs that supplement the text that both explains and entertains.
The Home Tree
One day, some animals decided to move away from the big, strong tree that had been home to their families for a long, long time. They wanted something new and different! When something unexpected happened that was beyond their control, they wanted safety and security. What happened? Where did they find comfort and safety? Read The Home Tree and find out!
This story reinforces the strength and security of family and community, especially when we face tough times and challenges. Children will love the story and bright illustrations of lovable animals, while parents will appreciate the underlying theme that promotes the fundamental values of family, home and community.
The beautiful illustrations are the inspired work of talented Rhett Golsan, an elementary school art teacher in Texas.
You can order these books on the Order page.