The Story Behind the Name

Hidden Timber Books was founded by Lisa Rivero in 2016 with its first publication, The Adventures of a Sparrow Named Stanley written by Betty Sydow and illustrated by Carolou Lennon Nelson. Bringing readers the work of these two authors, ages 88 and 89 respectively at the time, introduced Hidden Timber Books as a small press focused on lifting simple but powerful stories by unknown or emerging writers into the limelight.

This intention began well before Lisa met Betty and Carolou. Lisa offers a glimpse into the history of our name in her own words:

The name Hidden Timber Books is an homage to my great-aunt Hattie, a woman born in what was then Dakota Territory and who lived most of her adult life in the community of Hidden Timber on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota. From January 1, 1920 through much of 1957, the year before she died, Hattie wrote diary entries every single day. Seventy-seven volumes in all, spanning topics from farm life to global politics, from personal feelings to philosophical musings.

What drives a woman—especially a woman whose life contained few of the modern comforts and time-saving devices we take for granted—to write daily for that long? It was her tenacity, her belief in herself, and the reminder of the power of the word and the pen, even—and perhaps especially—when no one else sees or cares, that I wanted Hidden Timber Books to celebrate.

When she inherited all of Hattie’s journals, Lisa began transcribing the work, creating found poetry and flash narratives along the way. Visit The Hattie Diaries for a beautiful collection of creative nonfiction by Lisa, all born of Hattie’s words.

In January 2019, Lisa stepped down and passed the baton to our new owner, Christi Craig. We continue honoring the tradition and love of stories Lisa established, publishing simple but powerful writing, stories put to the page because the words and characters and experiences burned inside the author. We love fiction, narrative nonfiction, poetry and prose that speaks to the spirit of Hattie, her tenacity and her passion for recording the truth of her time, stories rooted in place that offer readers social and historical context, cultural and philosophical insights.


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