Laura Ingalls Wilder Reading Challenge 2018 and Book List

I’ve noticed that a number of people are posting about next year’s reading challenges and plans already, so for those who like to plan ahead, I wanted to let you know that the Laura Ingalls Wilder reading Challenge will take place here next February. This will be our 6th year!

The idea is to read anything by or about Laura Ingalls Wilder during the month of February since her birth and death both occurred in February. Some have also incorporated some LIW activities during that month! It’s not required, but I love to see and hear about it.

I’ll have a sign-up post here on February 1st. You don’t have to have a blog to participate, but if you do, I welcome you to post about the books you read or any activities you might do, and/or post a wrap-up of your LIW reading at the end of the month and link to our wrap-up post here on Feb. 8. If you don’t have a blog, you can let us know in the comments on that post what you read.

A few years ago I posted a list of books that I had come across by or about Laura for those people who wanted to roam beyond just the Little House books. I’ve become aware of so many more, I thought it was time for an updated list. You’re not restricted to this list by any means – these are just some that I have read or heard of. I am sure there’s multitudes more I haven’t heard of yet. I’ve linked the ones I’ve read back to my reviews.

Books by Laura Ingalls Wilder:

  • The Little House books, of course
  • Little House in the Ozarks: the Rediscovered Writings of Laura Ingalls Wilder (linked to my review), compiled and edited by Stephen Hines, a collection of newspaper columns and magazine articles she wrote before starting the Little House books
  • Saving Graces: the Inspirational Writings of Laura Ingalls Wilder (linked to my review), a collection of inspirational or faith-based writings pulled from the columns in Little House in the Ozarks.
  • Writings to Young Women from Laura Ingalls Wilder (3 volumes) I’ve not read this yet, but it appears to be the same type of thing: some of the columns from the first book sorted into different categories.
  • On the Way Home, a diary of her move with her husband and daughter in a covered wagon from South Dakota to Missouri.
  • West From Home (linked to my review), letters Laura wrote to Almanzo while visiting their daughter in San Francisco, where she visited the World’s Fair.
  • A Little House Traveler contains the above two books plus the previously unpublished The Road Back, about the first trip she and Almonzo took back to De Smet, where Laura grew up and where they met.
  • A Little House Sampler, stories and writings of Laura as well as of Rose Wilder Lane, compiled by William T. Anderson.
  • Pioneer Girl (linked to my review), the script of Laura’s first draft of what was to become the Little House books, wonderfully and thoroughly annotated by Pamela Smith Hill.

Biographies of Laura:

  • I Remember Laura by Stephen W. Hines (linked to my review), a collection of articles and interviews of people who actually knew Laura.
  • There are several, William Anderson’s perhaps the most well known. More on Anderson’s work, and some information on MacBride, is here.

Books about the family by Laura’s daughter, Rose Wilder Lane:

  • Let the Hurricane Roar (also known as Young Pioneers)(linked to my review), a fictionalized novel about her grandparents’ “prairie life,” written without her mother’s permission or knowledge
  • Free Land: I don’t know if this is about any particular family members, but it is about the same times and situations.

Books about the rest of the family. I have not read any of these, so I don’t know about their authenticity, ow close or far they are from the facts:

  • Roger Lea MacBride, Rose’s sole heir and the co-creator and co-producer of the Little House on the Prairie TV series, published a series of books based on Rose’s childhood.
  • Little House: The Martha Years by Melissa Wiley, a series of books about Martha Morse, Laura’s great-grandmother
  • A series of books about Charlotte Tucker, Laura’s grandmother, also by Melissa Wiley: Little House by Boston Bay, On Tide Mill Lane, The Road from Roxbury, Across the Puddingstone Dam
  • Books about Caroline Quiner Ingalls, Laura’s mother, by Maria Wilkes
    Little House in Brookfield
    Little Town at the Crossroads
    Little Clearing in the Woods
    On Top of Concord Hill
    Across the Rolling River
    Little City by the Lake
    A Little House of Their Own
  • Old Town in the Green Groves (Little House) by Cynthia Rylant
  • Nellie Oleson Meets Laura Ingalls (Little House) by Heather Williams
  • Mary Ingalls on Her Own (Little House Sequel) by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel.
  • (Thanks to Sherry for several of these!)

For the younger set:

Modern books related to Laura:


Music related to Laura:

The following are not books, but rather blog posts or sites related to Laura:

I have plans for a couple this February, but I see many more I’d like to get to! I hope you do, too!

(Update: Be sure to check the comments for suggestions others have added.)

(Sharing with Semicolon‘s Saturday Review of Books, Literary Musing Monday, Carole’s Books You Loved)


40 thoughts on “Laura Ingalls Wilder Reading Challenge 2018 and Book List

  1. I had no idea there were so many! I live about an two hours from her Ozark home and have never gotten to go! I’d love to but it seems like every time we go through there we are in a hurry and can’t stop. 😦
    I’ll be signing up this next year! 🙂

    • You need to go!! We went by there on our way back to SC from a trip to Nebraska. It is well worth the time for anyone who loves Laura Ingalls Wilder’s work!! 🙂

  2. I am looking forward to participating again! I’d like to read a couple of books this year and I always appreciate the lists that you share with us. I have found them to be quite helpful.

  3. It’s been years since I read the Little House series (and probably only three of them), but I came across Caroline: Little House Revisited and got to about the half way mark when my library copy expired. The writing is beautiful and gives a real sense of being on the road with the Ingallses as they trekked from Wisconsin to Kansas. Every time I came to a stopping point in the book, I was gave thanks that I didn’t live or cook or travel then.

  4. GHOSTS IN THE LITTLE HOUSE by William Holtz is a biography of Rose Wilder Lane. It focuses on the relationship between mother and daughter, and is not quite as gentle as some of the other books (especially regarding Rose).

    I read some of the books in the multiple series by Melissa Wiley and Maria Wilkes in the days when I was purchasing for our school library. They were published in the late 90s and early 2000s, about the time that the Little House books were all the rage. I felt like they were attempts to capitalize on Wilder’s fame.

    Laura Ingalls Wilders’ writings are some of the best for children around. I still love to re-read them (which, one of the marks of a good piece of children’s lit is that adults enjoy it also). Thank you for doing this challenge.

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  11. Hello Barbara!
    A few books to add:

    Miller, John E.:
    -BECOMING LAURA INGALLS WILDER: The Woman Behind the Legend (probably the best, most well-documented straight biography of LIW)

    -LAURA INGALLS WILDER’S LITTLE TOWN (Great context for De Smet, Dakota Territory, now South Dakota. Discusses little-known historical events in the early years of that town’s founding, of which LIW and her immediate family, as well as her future husband, Almanzo Wilder, and several of his adult siblings, were a part.

    Hill, Pamela Smith. LAURA INGALLS WILDER: A Writer’s Life. (Literary Biography)


    Anderson, William T. ed.: THE SELECTED LETTERS OF LAURA INGALLS WILDER (2016). (Over 400 letters, edited by the premier historian of LIW.)

    Fraser, Caroline: PRAIRIE FIRES: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder (2017). (Historical Biography/places LIW within the historical context of the places and era in which she lived and wrote.)

    McDowell, Marta: THE WORLD OF LAURA INGALLS WILDER: The Frontier Landscapes that Inspired The Little House Books (2017). LIW in the natural world.

    Regarding the titles about Laura’s other family, often referred to as the “Martha” “Charlotte” “Caroline” and “Rose” Years, plus Mary Ingalls on Her Own, Laura Ingalls Meets Nellie Oleson, Farmer Boy Goes West, and Old Town in the Green Groves:
    These are largely fictional novels, written and published with little research or attention to historical accuracy. Some have more reliable information than others but they are first and foremost fiction, written for middle grades, and should not be relied upon for historical fact. While LIW’s original Little House books are rather fictionalized accounts of her childhood, and do contain elements of invention as well as ahistorical details, they are closer to historical fact than the other related fiction by other authors, including the two titles by her daughter Rose Wilder Lane (FREE LAND and LET THE HURRICANE ROAR) which use elements of family history but are also primarily fictional.

    As you can see, there is no shortage of titles for LIW fans and enthusiasts. This is still only a partial list. I’m happy to discuss others anytime.

    Looking forward fo reading others’ reactions to these titles!
    PS: Thanks for the shout-out. I’m overdue for some new content so your mention has given me motivation!

  12. PPS: I can’t believe I neglected to mention:

    Hill, Pamela Smith ed. PIONEER GIRL (2014). This is LIW’s original manuscript, which she revised at least 4 times, and was rejected for publication but became the jumping off point for her Little House series of novels. Hill and a team of researchers edited and notated the manuscript and it has enjoyed fantastic success since its publication in November 2014.

    Miller, John E.: LAURA INGALLS WILDER AND ROSE WILDER LANE: Authorship, Place, Time, and Culture. (2008). Miller explores the personal, political, and editorial relationship between mother and daughter.

    Woodside, Christine. LIBERTARIANS ON THE PRAIRIE: Laura Ingalls Wilder, Rose Wilder Lane, and the Making of the Little House Books (2016). Discussion of the authorship and editing process of the LH novels and the political motivations and beliefs that informed the narrative throughout the series. (Note that RWL is today considered a “Founding Mother” of Libertarianism for her political and philosophical writings. RWL was her mother’s primary editor throughout the novels’ creation and her influence on the narrative is well-documented.

    • Thanks for the recommendations! I do have Pioneer Girl listed under Laura’s books – I so appreciated the annotation there. I had suspected that some of the books about Laura’s extended family were probably less accurate, sadly.

  13. Please add the Beyond Little House website to your list ( It is the official site for the Laura Ingalls Wilder Legacy and Research Association, where readers can get insight into book read-alongs, LauraPalooza academic conference updates, activities of members, and much more!

    Though I haven’t updated in a while, I’d welcome visitors to my blog, Wilder Weather, where I explore the crossroads between weather and climate events and the LIW books! Like Melanie, I could use some motivation (i.e. new readers) to add new content!

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  25. Who knew there was so much? This is a good challenge with all the hub-bub lately for striking her books from reading lists. I’m in the middle of a household move so I won’t be able to participate but will definitely pin this article.

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