Saturday, June 21, 2008

If You Enjoy Laura...Then You May Also Like

From the book "I Remember Laura" by Steven W. Hines:

One day, Mrs. Wilder came into the library and said, "I want you to have lunch with me. I got a surprise in the mail this morning."
"What was that?" I asked.
"Well, I got a $500 royalty check that I wasn't expecting!"
Although we didn't usually close over lunch hour, she said, "I'll go on up to the cafe and order us a shrimp dinner, and then you can come up to the cafe and take time to eat a shrimp dinner with me." So I did.

-Nava Austin, Head Librarian, Wright County Missouri. (retired)

Isn't it befitting that among Laura's many friends, she counted the local librarian? Laura loved to read and learn, and it showed. The book shelves in her Ozark home were filled, the same for Ma and Pa Ingalls' home in DeSmet. Laura would donate her own used books to the library. According to the librarian, they were mostly fiction, mysteries, westerns, "and some bird books."

Of westerns she preferred Luke Shot and Zane Grey. She said the small paperbacks were easy to hold, and she enjoyed them.

Once in a while, someone will tell me how much they enjoyed the frontier stories of Laura's childhood, and that they wish for "Little House" that they can enjoy as adults. The good news is that there are many wonderful books that capture the time, place, and spirit of Laura. I wanted to share my compiled reading list of books that you might also like, now that you're a grown up!

The Children's Blizzard, by David Laskin (A true account of a blizzard in 1888 that ripped across the Great Plains- very good!)

A Lantern in Her Hand, by Bess Streeter Aldrich (Wonderful novel of faith and frontier life.)

Cimarron, by Edna Ferber

The Thread that Runs So True, by Jesse Stuart

The Whistling Season, by Ivan Doig

High, Wide and Lonesome, by Hal Borland

"Little Britches", "The Man of the Family", and "The Home Ranch", all by Ralph Moody

"The Emigrant" series by Vilhelm Moberg

The Backwoods of Canada, by Catherine Parr Traill

Mrs. Mike, by Benedict Freeman

Tisha: The Story of a Young Teacher in the Alaskan Wilderness by Anne Purdy, as told to Robert Specht

The All True Travels and Adventures of Lidie Newton, by Jane Smiley.

Letters from Yellowstone, by Diane Smith.

Mountains Ahead, by Martha Ferguson McKeown

Come Spring, by Charlotte Hinger

The Wedding Dress, by Carrie Young

Letters of a Woman Homesteader, by Elinore Pruitt Stewart (true!)

These is My Words, by Nancy Turner

The Journals of Corrie Belle Hollister (series) by Michael Phillips

The Diary of Mattie Spenser by Sandra Dallas

The Change and Cherish Historical Series, by Jane Kirkpatrick.

Winter Wheat, by Mildred Walker

Let the Hurricane Roar, by Rose Wilder Lane (Don't miss Rose's interpretation of her parent's pioneering!)

A Sudden Country, by Karen Fisher

And if you still can't get enough of Laura, don't forget to read:

Laura Ingalls Wilder, Farm Journalist: Writings from the Ozarks, by Stephen W. Hines.

The Laura Ingalls Wilder Country Cookbook, by Laura Ingalls Wilder, William Anderson, and Leslie A. Kelly (Beautifully done, full of Laura's authentic recipes.)

Laura Ingalls Wilder's Fairy Poems (Did you know Laura wrote poetry?)

Becoming Laura Ingalls Wilder: The Woman Behind the Legend, John E. Miller (Brace yourself and ask, just how much do you want to know about the real Laura?)

Feel free to make more recommendations if you have enjoyed reading similar books! And thanks again for joining me on a pioneer journey.


  1. Thank you for this! I have done searches for "pioneer fiction" many times to find books similar to Little House and haven't had much luck.

    I look forward to starting on these.

    Thanks again! :)

  2. Have loved the book *Mrs. Mike* since the first time I read it as a young teenager. Have read it again and again and it never dulls for me. I found another book in the library that same summer I found *Mrs. Mike*, that I still come back to again and again. It's not along the line of pioneer fiction, but is about a young slave woman in the time around the Civil War. It's called *Jubilee*, written by Margaret Walker. There are harsh scenes in this book, but definitely a "must read", if you haven't already. I would highly recommend both of these books to any woman.


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