If you like… Laura Ingalls Wilder (Part 2)

Since Laura Ingalls Wilder has been in the news recently for the upcoming publication of her not-for-kids autobiography, I thought I would revisit her story for reader’s advisory purposes. Here are a few more books that kids (or adults who read children’s books) who like the Little House books might also like:

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  • Little Author in the Big Woods by Yona McDonough is a biography of Laura Ingalls Wilder for kids ages 8-12.  There are crafts, games, and other information about the time period included.  It’s a great book for fans of the series.
  • Bo at Ballard Creek by Kirkpatrick Hill tells the story of a little girl in 1920’s Alaska.  The episodic chapters are full of details that make life in the mining town during the gold rush come alive.  The main character is only five years old, but the book is aimed at 9-12 year olds.
  • What the Moon Said by Gayle Rosengren takes place during the Great Depression when a family leaves the city for a farm in Wisconsin.  There is no electricity or indoor plumbing, so even though it is set in more modern times than the Little House books, it isn’t so different from the pioneer days.  It is one of my favorite middle grade novels of 2014, so I highly recommend it!

See my my previous Little House reader’s advisory post here. Or check out this episode of Stuff You Missed in History Class all about Laura Ingalls Wilder.

If you like… Laura Ingalls Wilder

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.

Other books pictured: Addie Across the Prairie by Laurie Lawlor, Prairie Songs by Pam Conrad, and My Prairie Year by Brett Harvey

Want more reader’s advisory?  Check out previous “If you like…” posts.

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