I’m a midwestern girl through and through. Sure, I had a couple of brief forays to the West (Colorado and Wyoming) and the South (Kentucky, twice) in my childhood thanks to my dad’s job, but I’m a Minnesota girl (raised in Illinois & Wisconsin).
I fell in love with the prairie while in college in central Illinois, and I started reading everything Willa Cather had ever written. But I’ve already blogged about that. This post is about another prairie writer who has influenced midwestern girls for years: Laura Ingalls Wilder.
Two titles, in particular, stick out to me. Borrowed Names looks at Laura Ingalls Wilder’s influence on her daughter in a novella-in-verse published with the stories of two other women of the time and their daughters. Jeanine Atkins writes,
“These three women not only shared a birth year but also a devotion to work and motherhood. They raised daughters who lived in a world that changed as quickly as theirs had, and who changed with it. The only child of Laura Ingalls Wilder inherited the family wanderlust and became a world traveling journalist.”
May B. by Caroline Starr Rose is also a novel-in-verse that was inspired by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Rose writes in the author’s note,
“Growing up, I fell in love with the Little House books and talked about Laura Ingalls Wilder as if she were someone I knew personally. In the late nineteenth century, when Laura was a girl, schoolwork focused on recitation and memorization and favored students able to do those things well. When I became a teacher, I grew curious about what life must have been like for frontier children who found schooling a challenge. Would a girl who couldn’t read well have been kept out of school? “
In the book, May struggles with dyslexia, though it isn’t named, and it is a fascinating look at history through the lens of a strong, intelligent young girl. Read more about it in Jen Robinson’s Book Page review.
Want more reader’s advisory? Check out previous “If you like…” posts.
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