(South Pass City, WY) – While spending time at her in-law’s cabin near Atlantic City, 2nd-grade teacher Murphy Booth had a difficult time finding a children’s book about the significance of the South Pass area to share with her young son.
After mentioning this to her mom Ann Muirhead, who is also a teacher, they came to the conclusion that they’d write a children’s book together about the significance of South Pass and South Pass City to not only Wyoming but America.
The book titled South Pass: The Gateway to the West is their very first book and was completed and published by late April 2021 after starting it only a short nine months earlier.
The artwork for the book is by Sali Freese Allard, a long-time resident of Riverton and Atlantic City, and the grandmother of Murphy’s husband. She had already done paintings of the area since the ’70s and had several ready to go, Murphy noted. She also created new ones if they needed additional artwork.
Murphy and Ann utilized their strengths with the content of the book that begins in the early 1800s and continues chronologically.
Ann was the primary researcher who used books from libraries, online resources as well as museums. Murphy used her skills to narrow down a large amount of information into key points that would resonate with kiddos.
The independent reading level is about 3rd-6th grade, Murphy noted. However, if an adult is available to help, younger children can also read the book.
The book was completed in Wyoming from start to finish by lifelong Wyomingites.
“I hope the people of Wyoming enjoy this book,” Murphy said. “I hope they appreciate the Wyoming factor of it, and how South Pass provides a neat piece of history.”
Ann has some ideas for future books, but nothing is confirmed at this time.
Right now, they are excited to have the book available at different places around Lander including South Pass City, Messenger Girls, Sinks Canyon Visitor’s Center and online. You can also follow them on Instagram.