Cover image for Prairie songs
Prairie songs
Conrad, Pam.
Personal Author:
First Harper trophy edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Harper & Row, 1987.

Physical Description:
167 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Louisa's life in a loving pioneer family on the Nebraska prairie is altered by the arrival of a new doctor and his beautiful, tragically frail wife.
General Note:
"A Harper trophy book."
Reading Level:
780 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 5.3 5.0 490.

Reading Counts RC 3-5 5.2 7 Quiz: 09323 Guided reading level: Q.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Young Adult Fiction Young Adult

On Order



The prairie was like a giant plate, stretching all the way to the sky at the edges. And we were like two tiny peas left over from dinner, Lester and me.Louisa loves the Nebraska prairie, the only home she's ever known. It's a lonely place, surrounded by miles of wild, flat grasslands, but it's the wonderful kind of loneliness that comes of stillness and open sky and oneness with the land. A different kind of beauty enters Louisa's world when the new doctor and his wife, Emmeline, move to the prairie from New York City. Emmeline is the most beautiful person Louisa has ever seen, and she teaches Louisa to love poetry. But she is also frail and unsuited to pioneer life. Louisa wonders whether Emmeline will ever come to love the prairie as she herself does.

Author Notes

Pam Conrad was born in 1947 in New York City. She attended and graduated from the New School for Social Work. She soon became a children's author. Her book Our House: Stories of Levittown was a Newberry Medal finalist. Some of her other works include: Holding Me Here, Zoe Rising, The Tub People, and Taking the Fairy Home.

Pam Conrad passed away on Jan. 22, 1996.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Young Louisa loves the solitude of the wide Nebraskan prairie, but Emmeline, the doctor's wife, can't adjust to the harsh pioneer life, especially to the loneliness. (S 1 85)

Publisher's Weekly Review

A girl's abiding love for her Nebraska home is shaken with the arrival of a frail young city woman who cannot endure the harsh pioneer life. Ages 10-up. (November) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 5-8 The Nebraska prairie was a barren place that offered beauty and peace to some, loneliness and madness to others. Prairie Songs provides a beautifully written insight into this contrast. Louisa and her shy brother Lester live quite contentedly with their parents when the new doctor arrives with his beautiful and fragile pregnant wife, Emmeline. All work to help the new couple adjust to harsh weather, buffalo chips, soddies and Indians; Emmeline agrees to teach the children some reading. After a terrible fright, she goes into premature labor; her baby is stillborn, and Emmeline is reduced to madness. The children notice Emmeline's loneliness and growing madness with sadness, but they accept prairie life for what it is. Conrad artfully deals with all the harsh facts in this fast-paced novel which leaves readers with a real feeling for the difficulties of pioneer life. Children may well appreciate modern medicine and communication, not to mention suburbia, after reading this poignant story. Dorcas Hand, Episcopal High School, Bellaire, Tex. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.