This is what others are saying about the Kelleys Island books &  Leslie's presentations:


Leslie fifth book received honorable mention in the 2015 Independent Scholar Category for the Center of Archival Collections' Local History Publication Award. Bowling Green State University


"We wish to thank you for the fabulous slide presentation of the history of Kelleys Island, as well as a tour of the Kelleys Island Historical Museum for our Road Scholar History/Natural History group... Thank you so much for helping make this year's Road Scholar Programs so successful." Lake Erie Islands Nature & Wildlife Center, Road Scholar Program Committee

"Thank you so much for your great program "The War on Birds." Everyone really enjoyed it. We are very fortunate that we have somebody 'out there' representing the captivating history of Kelleys Island." Lori Hayes, Kelleys Island Audubon Club


"Thanks for such a riveting presentation last night for Kelleys Island Audubon Club. It kept me on the edge of my seat every minute. It was succinct, informative, entertaining, eye-opening, heart-felt, and immensely satisfying. Your research is exhaustive, yet you so carefully selected such fascinating details from it that the huge amount of information you have accumulated never threatened to overwhelm us, and your delivery was so well paced and enthusiastic that it swept everybody up in the excitement of discovery."​ Mark Gridley, Author of Jazz Styles - History  & Analysis

"...our patrons enjoy your books very much and we are happy to make them available." Ida Rupp Library, Port Clinton, Ohio

"I know how much time, research, and effort you put into each volume. What a treasure they are for all of us reading them today. However, I know that in the decades to come they will be even more treasured. Through all of your wonderful research and writing, we have learned so much more."  Nan Card - Curator of Manuscripts, R. B. Hayes Museum/Library

Ohio Genealogy Society Quarterly, Vol 52, No. 4 - Book 2 "which received the Henry Howe Award, is the second volume in a series about the history of Kelleys Island.... Many photos, as well as maps and side notes are included in this interesting work."

Bowling Green State University - Firelands College - Book two "will satisfy readers with a specific interest in Kelley's Island or a general interest in Great Lakes history. In addition, the text will be of immense value to Civil War enthusiasts and historians. The era covered in this volume is unusually rich in detailed documentation concerning life on Kelley's Island."


"Korenko skillfully uses the voices of many first-hand sources to create a unified account of life on Kelley's Island during the Civil War. In addition, she provides a vivid and rarely seen vision of the realities of the Civil War years. In the end, Kelleys Island 1862-1865: The Civil War, the Island Soldiers & the Island Queen offers solid historical research and illustrates an often overlooked truth: Far north of the best known battlefields, other dramas unfolded that can teach us much about the heroic victories and the devastating losses of the Civil War." Jacqueline Justice

Bowling Green State University-Firelands College - Leslie's "passion for the island and familiarity with its history serve her well in this informative and highly readable text... Korenko presents a detailed and engrossing history of the frontier era on Kelleys Island... [she] weaves together a rich tapestry of documentation, including diary entries, letters, pictures and newspaper accounts. For researchers, Korenko's detailed and extensive collection of primary materials and careful documentation is invaluable, providing a strong basis from which other scholars can launch more extensive study... but the power of this book is in her presentation of that research in the form of narrative history... Korenko skillfully and extensively quotes primary sources, and yet the book remains a unified account rather than a hodge-podge of disparate voices... smoothly synthesized into a passionate and readable story of island life." Jacqueline Justice  

Ohio Civil War Genealogy Journal - "These unique books will provide readers with significant and substantial information about the Civil War in general, as well as about the Kelleys Island area specifically." "These books are very well described by Leslie as follows: In these pages is presented material previously available only to the most determined researcher. As a result, much of the rich detail of the island's early days that could have been lost forever is here presented in an easy to read format. Pages are taken from letters, diaries, journals, court records, official documents and newspaper articles. All accounts were written by the men and women who experienced the events personally."

Elizabeth Irwin of the Northwest Ohio Writers Forum had this to say about Leslie's presentation: "I recommend Leslie for future presentations. Based on her presentation to the NWOWF, I have to say Leslie really knows her stuff - not just writing, but publishing and the business of publishing. She has an engaging, confident presentation style. I believe that for a lot of authors-to-be, Leslie offers sound advice that helps take the fear factor out of self-publishing."

Pete Cipriani-Amazon book review: "There existed a large potential to be disappointed by this book - a small island in an undistinguished lake, an area with a relatively bland history, an unknown author. This book far, far exceeded my hopes and expectations. Through authentic personal testimonials, the author presents a lifelike passage through the heart of the settling of an area. The essence of the time is amazingly well captured. The author, by design, injects no judgment, position or opinion. She allows the people of the time to tell the story - and what a story it is. I highly recommend this book to anyone who lives in Ohio, has visited the Lake Erie islands or has any interest in 19th century America."

The Midwest Book Review October 9, 2009 – “A work that combines academic quality research with a narrative gift for storytelling, Kelleys Island: The courageous, poignant & often quirky lives of island pioneers 1810-1861 by Leslie Korenko is a true tour-de-force history of Kelleys Island, Lake Erie, Ohio. Drawing upon pioneer letters, diary entries, and official documents covering the period of 1810-1861, the story of the island begins with its purchase by the Kelley Brothers. It became home to not only pioneers seeking to establish their families, but a haven for rogues, scoundrels, squatters, and a known pirate. Many island citizens fought on the Union side in the civil war by enlisting with the 101st Ohio and the 3rd Ohio Cavalry. A fascinating read that is as informed and informative as it is engaging and entertaining. Kelleys Island is a highly recommended and impressive regional history that could well serve as a template for similar local histories for other parts of the country."

Readers Views: Reviewed by Carol Hoyer, PhD, for Reader Views (11/09) - Leslie Korenko, a Kelleys Island resident and historian, has give readers a fascinating view of the life on Kelleys Island from 1810-1861. If you are a reader like me who is interested in how towns, law and order and people settle themselves into a comfortable life, this is a book for you. It is filled with a great number of facts and stories taken from journals, diaries, letters and court documents. You will be amazed at how much time and research the author has done to make this enjoyable reading. The author has provided pictures and sources consulted throughout the book. So, if you are inclined to look up more information on a particular topic, she has made it easier for you.  I found the era of 1861 to be quite interesting as the information covered includes such things as: cooking stoves and matches, getting married, the Johnson Island Prisons and soldier's letters home. When reading "Kelleys Island" by Leslie Korenko you often feel as if the individual is personally telling you the story. It is not a book that one can breeze through. You need to read a little, dream a little and put yourself back at Kelleys Island."

Ex Libris in the News Herald - August 18, 2009 - "This is a well-researched and wonderfully entertaining account of the beginnings of Kelleys Island. Sprinkled with interesting photos and infused with nuggets of fascinating facts, the sagas of shipwrecks, heroism, lawsuits and the latest fashions of the pioneers make it an exciting read."

The Neighborhood News, Sept. 16, 2009 - "Korenko, a first-time author, has written a new and entertaining history of Kelleys Island..."

Online Port Clinton News Herald June 8, 2009 – “This book is an invaluable resource for anyone doing genealogy, exploring early life in Ohio or having an interest in the role that Erie and Ottawa County soldiers had in the Civil War.”

Susan Cooper, Lake Erie Island Historical Society, July 2009 – “Your book is fabulous… I was just putting together some info on our pirate Benjamin Napier – here comes your book with all the research done!”

Lake Erie Islands Historical Society Museum News, September 2009 - "Kelleys Island history parallels or pre-dates the Bass Islands own history and this is a must read for anyone interested in all the islands."

Chad Waffen, author of Ohio’s Lake Erie Islands, September 10, 2009 – “I found your book at Brown’s last week and am enjoying the read. We have many of the same primary sources, and it is fantastic to see everything put into one place…Wanted to pass on the compliment and congrats on the book…”

Leisure Living, July 2009 – “Leslie Korenko of Kelleys Island has authored a delightfully entertaining new book…”

Mark Gridley, author of Jazz Styles-History & Analysis, July 2009 – “I am finally getting into your book and it is fantastic! The amount of digging you did is incredible. Your energy is really something to behold. The rich detail in the narratives that you transcribed is fascinating. Congratulations on a monumental achievement.” 

Regarding an excerpt that appeared in the Ohio Civil War Journal, January 2009, Harold Henderson (Midwestern microhistory: A Genealogy Blog) wrote – “The kind of day-by-day journal fragment that you wish your ancestor had kept, complete with jokes and little episodes of daily life in camp – a resource for what life was really like, whether your people ever saw the inside of Camp Toledo or not.”

Author: Leslie Korenko