Cover image for A Little house reader : a collection of writings
A Little house reader : a collection of writings
Wilder, Laura Ingalls, 1867-1957.
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : HarperCollinsPublishers, [1998]

Physical Description:
xi, 196 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm
A collection of articles, essays, poems, and other writings which shows that the author known for her Little house books was a prolific and talented writer all her life.
Reading Level:
1250 Lexile.
Program Information:
Reading Counts RC 6-8 7.4 9 Quiz: 21909 Guided reading level: NR.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS3545.I342 A6 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
PS3545.I342 A6 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Laura Ingalls Wilder, whose Little House books have delighted generations of readers, was a writer long before she ever recorded the adventures of her pioneer girlhood. She first began experimenting with words as a young girl in Dakota Territory, writing poetry about her beloved prairies, her sister Mary, and her courtship with Almanzo Wilder. Eventually, Laura and Almanzo married and settled in the Ozark Mountains, where Laura became a widely known and well-respected journalist, penning her thoughts on farming and the life of a farmwife. She also wrote private sketches about her family, politics, nature, and eternity.

Noted author and Little House historian William Anderson has delved deeply into the Ingalls and Wilder papers and has put together a unique medley of Laura's writings from the time before her Little House books. Culled mostly from fragile and yellowed pieces of paper, this moving collection offers a window into Laura's day-to-day life and experiences, giving us a richer understanding of the woman and writer famed for her Little House books. Even before she wrote the Little House books, Laura Ingalls Wilder was an avid writer. She wrote both newspaper and magazine articles and spent many evenings on Rocky Ridge Farm jotting down her thoughts and memories. Noted Little House historian William Anderson has compiled these writings, some never before published, into a moving collection touching on everything from family and farm life to time and eternity. Both a testimonial and a tribute, this collection offers us a richer understanding of the woman and writer famed for her Little House books.

Author Notes

Wilder was born near Pepin, Wisconsin; attended school in DeSmet, South Dakota; and became a teacher before she was 16, teaching for seven years in Dakota Territory schools. She and her husband, Almanzo Wilder, farmed near DeSmet for about nine years and then moved to Mansfield, Missouri, where they lived out the rest of their days.

Wilder did not write her first book, Little House in the Big Woods, about her early years in Wisconsin, until late in life, on the urging of her daughter, Rose Wilder Lane. It was first published in 1932. She followed this with Farmer Boy (1933), a book about her husband's childhood in New York State. She then completed a series of books about her life as she and her family moved westward along the frontier. Little House on the Prairie (1935) records the family's move to Kansas. On the Banks of Plum Creek (1937) describes the family's move to Minnesota. By the Shores of Silver Lake (1939) records the family's move to South Dakota, as do the final three books in the series: The Long Winter, Little Town on the Prairie (1941), and These Happy Golden Years (1943), which ends with her marriage to Almanzo Wilder. Three of Wilder's books were published posthumously: On the Way Home, a diary of her trip to Mansfield; The First Four Years, an unfinished book about her first four years of marriage; and West from Home, letters she wrote on a visit to her daughter in San Francisco, none of them up to the quality of her earlier books.

At her best, Wilder employs a clear, simple style, a wealth of fascinating detail, and a straightforward narrative style. Her tales of a strong, traditional frontier family that endures the hardships of the late eighteenth century are seen through the eyes of a child, which endears them to young readers. Her work is possibly the best example of historical realistic fiction for children.

(Bowker Author Biography)



A Little House Reader A Collection of Writings by Laura Ingalls Wilder A Family of Writers Tales of lonely cowboys reading Shakepeare around campfires andaccounts of pioneers transporting barrels of treasured books alongthe overland trails are not uncommon in the hisory of the westward movement The pioneers often clung to vestiges of their previous culture and education as they faced the uncertain challenges of the frontier. Fortunately, the pioneers both read and wrote Their letters and jounials chronicle their trials and adventures, and offer a glimpse into what was an exciting and often dangerous life. "People kept journals then," remarked Rose Wilder Lane "Theirlives were so interesting to them, they got all they could out of every minute and then wrote it down to remember" Rose 's own family was no exception. Throughout the covered-wagon travels described in the Little House books, the Ingalls family read, wrote, and recorded what Laura once called the "fascination and terror" of pioneenring. When Laura Ingalls Wilder became well known for her writings, she was asked to explain her skill and Went with words "The only reason I can think of for being able to write at all was that both Father and Mother were great readers and I read a lot at home with them." Laura's response was based on her memories ofthe many books the Ingallses owned. Despite their limited finances,the Ingalls family owned what amounted in the mid-nineteenthcentury to a small home library Works of Dickens, Shakespeare,Pope, Scott, Henry Ward Beecher, and other popular authors of the day fed the family'scraving for the printed word. Biographies and travel accounts instructed them about life beyond their frontier setting They eagerly received newspapers and magazines of the day, including The St. Paul Pioneer Press; The Chicago InterOcean; The Youth's Companion, which was a magazine specifically for children and young adults, and a church paper, The Advance. After settling down in De Smet, they avidly read both weekly local papers, The De Smet News and Leader and The Kingsbury County News. Laura family was a reading family, they were also a wnting family Often their own Iives provided the Ingalls family with a reason to write For many years, members of the Quiner and Ingalls clans participated in a circulating letter Each branch of the family added its own news and sent the letter ahead to the next recipient These letters continued for two generations, keeping the far-flung pioneering relatives abreast of each other's movements and lives. Charles Phillip Ingalls Laura's Pa, Charles Ingalls, was not only a skilled spinner of yarns, an aspect of his personality that Laura immortalized in her books, but he also wrote down peiiodic accounts of his life. He kept a weather diary, and he jotted down information and helpful fanning tips that he valued In a railroad leager from his days working as storekeeper for the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad, also known as the Dakota Central Railroad, he used blank pages to record highlights of the early beginnings o De Smet, the Dakota town in which he and his family finally settled, and about which Laura herself wrote in By the Shores of SilverLake, The Long Winter, Little Town on the Prairie, and These Happy Golden Years. Grace discovered her father's account in 1930 and excitedly shared the news with her sisters. The Settling Of De Smet I, Charles P.Ingalls and family arrived at Silver Lake Sep. 9, 1879 and worked for A. L. Wells and Co selling goods to the graders on the Dakota Central Railroad. Worked until Dec. 1st, 1879. Then the graders quit work and left for the east and we moved into the Company's building for the winter. When I and my family were left alone for the winter on the prairie without neighbors we used to say we neighbored with Nelson, who lived on the Jim River 37 miles to the West of us. Walter Ogden, a single man that was working for Henry Peck stayed with us taking care of teams belonging to Peck that were left here for the winter. We used to keep a lamp burning in the window for fear that some one might try to cross the prairie from the Sioux River to the Jim River and that light brought in some to shelter that must otherwise have perished on the prairie. The coyotes used to come to the door and pick up the crumbs that were scattered. About the last day of December on a bitter cold night, I think it was the coldest night during the winter, some one called out at the door. Upon going to the door what was my surprise to see a woman on horseback but upon looking a second time I saw a man also, it was R. A. Boast and wife that had come to stay and you may be sure we felt as though we had got back to civilization again. They moved into a small house that had been put up for an office by an enterprising man. About the first of February travel commenced between the Sioux and the Jim Rivers, then we had company in plenty. Some nights there was so many that they covered the floor as thick as they could lay down. The first of March 1880, I commenced to build a house on the towncite of De Smet. A man by the name of Bierdsly commenced a hotel about the same time. E. M. Harthorn began the erection of a store a few days after. V. V. Barnes came about the 12th of March 1880 with some lumber for a shanty on his claim 1/2mile west of De Smet. He put up his shanty and went to bed in it. He had blankets with him and a thermometer which he hung up by the head of his bed. In the morning when he awoke and looked at the thermometer it was 12 degrees below zero. I well remember seeing him coming across the prairie towards the house and you may be sure he did not come slow. A Little House Reader A Collection of Writings by Laura Ingalls Wilder . Copyright © by Laura Wilder. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold. Excerpted from A Little House Reader: A Collection of Writings by Laura Ingalls Wilder by Laura Ingalls Wilder, William T. Anderson All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.