The Laura Ingalls Wilder Companion

For several years, I hosted a Laura Ingalls Wilder Reading Challenge during the month of February. I often referred to Annette Whipple’s site, the Laura Ingalls Wilder Companion. Now Annette has written a book: The Laura Ingalls Wilder Companion: A Chapter-by-Chapter Guide.

A chapter is devoted to each book in the Little House series. Annette summarizes the plot, then, as the title suggests, she goes chapter by chapter sharing interesting background information, discussing life in Laura’s time, explaining concepts or situations that might be confusing, etc. Sidebars share even more information.

Laura had not written the Little House books as strict autobiographies. So some information is made up to smooth out the story. For instance, her nemesis, Nellie Olsen, was actually based on three different girls Laura knew. Annette’s “Fact or Fiction?” inserts discuss some of those made-up parts.

Next, each chapter shares instructions and illustrations for several Little-House-related activities. For instance, the first chapter, based on Little House in the Big Woods, tells how to make homemade butter, paper dolls, vinegar pie, snow pictures, pancake people, snow maple candy, and more–all activities that Laura’s family did in the books.

Each chapter ends with a “House Talk” section, several questions for thought and discussion. A few from the first chapter: what would you like and dislike about living in the Big Woods, what kind of work did Laura and Mary do to help their parents, how do you help your family, how did Charlie lie, why didn’t Pa shoot the deer at the end of the book?

Scattered throughout the book are photos of the Ingalls family, their various homes, news photos from the times (like a snowed-in train in The Long Winter chapter).

A final chapter tells “What Happened Next”—what ultimately happened with each of the Ingalls family members.

Annette didn’t shy away from or gloss over the difficulties in Laura’s book, like how African-Americans were depicted or the treatment and feelings towards the Indians.She points out what was wrong and how attitudes have changed today.

[Laura] didn’t tell readers how or what to believe. Instead, she let readers like you decide what to think.

We change and grow as a country and a people. When we do, we realize the ways people lived and thought in the past weren’t always right. We can learn from the past and make changes in ourselves (p. 42).

An extensive glossary defines unfamiliar terms, and a final section lists resources to explore.

This book is a great companion for exploring the Little House books personally, as a family, or as a class or home school. Highly recommended.

(Sharing with Carole’s Books You Loved, Booknificent, Senior Salon)

Laudable Linkage


Here are a variety of good reads I’ve come across lately:

“Little House on the Prairie” Paper Dolls. So cute!, and generous of the creator. (I’m sorry, they were free when I first saw them, but aren’t any longer.)

Don’t Take the Fear Bait—Much to Lose, But More to Gain.

Suicide Is Not the Solution. From one who was tempted.

What Will the Virus Teach Us? “God has a purpose in everything that He does. Being the good Father that He is, He designs our lives with all kinds of opportunities to grow and change and become more like Him.”

God Hasn’t Distanced Himself From Us. “We often equate good with how comfortable we are or how safe we feel. God desires us and loves us too much to leave us in our current condition, so He calls us to walk in obedience through hard places, so we might resemble Christ more.”

A Prolonged Sabbath in a Culture of Productivity, HT to Challies. “Can I allow myself and my children to give up being productive or educated or entertained for even a small amount of time? Can I allow us to be bored? To be unessential? To rest?”

Quarantine: Nothing New Under the Sun. “Let’s seek to be a blessing, whether in our homes or online. Let’s be known for our reasonableness, not our agitation.”

How Talia’s Disabled Daughter Taught Her About the Love of God, HT to Challies.

With so many meeting “virtually” these days, I found this funny: a conference call as if it were a real life meeting. The ones I have participated in have gone much more smoothly than this, but my husband and sons have experienced many of these things.

Happy Saturday!

Book Review: Old Town in the Green Groves

Laura Ingalls Wilder originally wrote out the story of her life in Pioneer Girl. When that manuscript was rejected several times, acting upon suggestions from editors, Laura reframed her narrative into a story for children about a pioneer family traveling west (p. 31). She left out a year that the family traveled back east due to the grasshopper infestations that twice ruined their crops and hopes in Plum Creek, although she had told of it in Pioneer Girl. Pamela Smith’s Hill’s notes on this section in Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography says:

She deliberately chose not to depict this part of her family’s experiences in her fiction. “It is a story in itself,” Wilder explained to Lane in 1937, “but does not belong in the picture I am making of the [fictional Ingalls] family (LIW tp RWL, [Dec. 1937 or Jan. 1938], Box 13, file 193, Lane Papers). Moving the fictional family east and not west would have undermined Wilder’s optimistic portrait of their resilient pioneer spirit. Furthermore, her experiences in Burr Oak were more urban, gritty, even edgy. Although Wilder introduced some adult ideas and themes into her later novels, she waited until the fictional family had moved west once more into Dakota Territory, where her main character was a more mature adolescent. Wilder herself was just nine years old when the family moved to Burr Oak (p. 95, note 99).

I’ve seen some criticism of Laura for leaving out the events that take place in Burr Oak. But I would defend her decision for several reasons. Everything I have read about memoirs and autobiographies says you can’t share everything. She did include this era in her original autobiography. The Little House books were fictionalized, focusing on the life and progress of a pioneer family. The time in Burr Oak might have seemed a stop or even a setback to the action. Plus the family’s proximity to a saloon and the unsavory behavior they saw and heard might not have seemed suitable to an audience of children at the rime she was writing.

Old Town in the Green Groves about Laura Lingalls Wilder's lost yearsBut readers are curious about the “lost years” in the LH narrative. So Cynthia Rylant was asked to write what was known about the family’s story during this period in the style of the LH books. Her book is Old Town in the Green Groves.

The story begins back in Plum Creek, where the family contentedly moved from their winter rental house back to their farm. Baby brother Freddie was born. Ma was severely ill for a while, but recovered. Then the second wave of grasshoppers returned and destroyed everything growing. Pa declared he’d had enough of the “blasted country.” He had debts to pay, and the crop that would have paid them was ruined. Pa sold the farm to pay off the debts and lined up a job at a hotel in Burr Oak in Iowa.

On the way, the family stayed with their aunt and uncle and cousins, Peter and Eliza Ingalls and their children. They helped in various ways around the farm until ready to move on. Sadly, brother Freddie died there.

One chapter describes meeting with a kind beekeeper who was also planning to move since the bees couldn’t thrive without flowers. (Hill’s note on p. 96 of her book says Charles and this beekeeper kept in touch with each other for years).

When they arrived in Burr Oak, they lived above the hotel. Life was hectic: Ma helped with cooking and cleaning, and the girls all had to help, too. The saloon next door was loud, people were constantly coming in and out. Laura missed the quiet of her home and the prairie.

The book goes on to describe the various people they encountered and things that happened in Burr Oak before they decided to head west again.

I think Rylant did a good job. Just glancing over this section again in Pioneer Girl, I can see how Rylant took the narrative and fleshed it out. It’s more or less in the style of the LH books, but it’s not Laura: it couldn’t be.

I was glad to see the illustrations by Jim LaMarche in my library copy were also similar to the Garth William’s illustrations of the Little House.books. Like the words, they were not quite the same, but they seemed a similar style and spirit.

The book cover shown above is the one on my library copy. I’ve seen another illustrated cover here that makes Laura seem a little older and a photographed cover here that I didn’t care for at all.

I share my friend Ann‘s concern over the placement of the book on the back cover. The top says “Read all the Little House books.” The covers of all the books are shown, with this book set in-between On the Banks of Plum Creek and By the Shores of Silver Lake. I’m assuming this was done to show that the action in this book takes place between those two. But, as fine as this book is, I would regard it as supplemental and wouldn’t include it as part of the set or as one of the LH books.

Though this book describes some of the hard times the family went through, it also shares their resilience and hope. It’s a good story in its own right, but especially for fans of the Little House books.

(Sharing with Carole’s Books You Loved, Booknificent)

Laura Ingalls Wilder Reading Challenge Wrap-up for 2019

The end of February closes the Laura Ingalls Wilder Reading Challenge for this year. I hope you had fun with it, and I look forward to hearing about what you read!

A week from today I’ll use to draw a name from the comments on this post to win either The Little House Cookbook compiled by Barbara M. Walker, Laura’s Album: A Remembrance Scrapbook of Laura Ingalls Wilder by William Anderson, The Little House Coloring Book, or a similarly-priced book related to Laura. A week should give some of us who are still reading time to finish up and post about our reading. You don’t have to have a blog to participate: you can tell us what you read in the comments here. If you have a blog, you can either let us know what you read in the comments or share the links back to any reviews or challenge-related posts from your blog or even from Goodreads if you review books there. Due to shipping costs, I’m afraid I can only ship to those in the US, unless you’d like a Kindle version.

For my part, I read:


Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Fairy Poems, compiled by Stephen W. Hines, illustrated by Richard Hull. I had forgotten that Laura wrote such poems until Rebekah mentioned them. Laura is usually more matter-of-fact than fanciful, though some of her descriptions are lovely. So I was interested to see how she did with fairy poems. Hines provides a brief introduction, telling how Laura came to write the poems for the San Francisco Bulletin. Then he shares an adaptation of an essay Laura wrote called “Fairies Still Appear to Those With Seeing Eyes.”

There are only five poems in the book, spread out over several pages with a number of illustrations. The poems are very old-fashioned, naturally, as they describe the various activities fairies are involved in. I’m not normally into fairy poems, so I don’t know how they would measure up for young readers today.

Honestly, I didn’t care for the illustrations much. I think I would have preferred lighter colors, maybe a watercolor effect. I liked the detail of the plants and animals, but not the fairies and people.

Have you or your children read this book? What did you think?

LIW song book

The Laura Ingalls Wilder Songbook compiled and edited by Eugenia Garson.

The copy I checked out from the library looks like the one above, but I saw other copies on Amazon with a Garth Williams illustration of Pa with his fiddle on the front.

What I appreciated most about this one was Garson’s research. She looked up every song mentioned in the Little House books, provided a few sentences of background for it (when it could be found), and a quote from the LH book where it was mentioned. Sheet music is provided for all the songs, making me wish I could play the piano enough to pick out the tunes. I was familiar with just a few of them. This would be a nice resource for anyone wanting to learn more about music from this era.


I also read On the Way Home and The Road Back by Laura Ingalls Wilder. These two books have been packaged together with West From Home, Laura’s letters to Almanzo while visiting Rose in San Francisco for the World’s Fair, into one volume called A Little House Traveler. Since I had read West From Home a few years ago, I did not read that one at this time. The first is Laura’s record of moving with her husband and daughter by covered wagon from South Dakota to Mansfield, Missouri; the second is her journal of traveling back to South Dakota to visit her two remaining sisters 40 years later in an un-air-conditioned Buick. I reviewed them here.

I also wrote Why Laura Ingalls Wilder Is Still Worth Reading because some question whether she is any more. No, she and her family were not perfect. But we can still learn from them.

That’s it for me. How about you? Remember, leave a comment on this post about what you read or did for the challenge before Thursday of next week to be eligible for the drawing.

Update: The giveaway is closed. The winner is Rebekah! Congratulations!

(Sharing with Carole’s Books You Loved)

Traveling with Laura Ingalls Wilder

I read two short books about Laura Ingalls Wilder’s travels as an adult. They weren’t written with an eye toward publication, at least not in the form she left them. They were just travel journals, notes she made for herself along the way. Perhaps she just wanted to remember certain things about her trips, perhaps she wanted to note details for letter-writing, or perhaps she did plan on incorporating some of the information into future articles or books. But since she did not start writing for publication until seventeen years after her first trip, it seems more likely that these were just notes she kept for herself. Both were published after her death.

The first book, On the Way Home, details Laura’s move with her husband and daughter from De Smet, South Dakota to Mansfield, Missouri in 1894. Laura’s daughter, Rose, who was seven at the time, provides an introduction and ending to set the context from her vantage point as a child. Rose had had to stay with her grandparents (Ma and Pa Ingalls) while her parents had diphtheria. Dire prediction were forecast about their health, but they survived, although Almanzo walked with a limp the rest of his life and “was never as strong as he had been” (p. 8). In addition there was a worldwide “panic,” which Rose explained was different from a depression. For these and various other reasons, the Wilder family decided to move, traveling with anther family, the Cooleys. Rose shares details of some of their preparations, like Laura’s sewing to make money. Once Laura “made sixty good firm buttonholes in one hour, sixty minutes; nobody else could work so well, so fast. Every day, six days a week, she earned a dollar” (pp. 11-12). I enjoyed seeing a few glimpses of the Ingalls family through Rose’s eyes, like her “aunt Grace, a jolly big girl,” singing “Ta-ra-ra boom-de-ay” (p. 9).

After the family got their covered wagon ready, packed it, and said good-bye to their loved ones, the narrative shares Laura’s notes. Often she jotted down little details like the price of crops, landscape conditions, places they found to bathe or trade, and the weather. (The first day, their thermometer showed 102 degrees inside the wagon!) Of course, as with any trip, there were various mishaps, like a horse running away, causing a later start one day.

Some of her most interesting notes involved the people they met along the way, like a Russian settlement.

Laura’s notes end just after the family’s arrival in Mansfield. Rose takes up the narrative again, describing her father going out every day to search for just the right spot. When he found it, the family dressed up to take the $100 bill they had hidden in Laura’s writing desk to the banker and buy the land. But the $100 was missing. Rose was highly offended that her parents asked her if she had told anyone about it or played with the desk. Since they could not find the money, Almanzo looked for work for a few days while still keeping an eye out for an ideal property. Finally they found the $100 and bought what they later named their Rocky Ridge farm.

To be honest, I have never been fond of Rose. I read one biography of her years ago in which she just did not seem like a likeable person. Then in more recent years I read that she played fast and loose with facts, even in biographies she wrote. So I have never really trusted her. I enjoyed her writing and the scenes from her viewpoint here, but she paints Laura rather harshly most of the time. Then again, Rose seems highly sensitive. For instance, when her father cut wood from the property to sell in town, she greeted him outside when he came back and learned he had sold the whole load. Excited by the news, she ran in to tell her mother. When she “pranced out to tell my father how glad she was . . . he said, with a sound of crying in his voice, ‘Oh, why did you tell her? I wanted to surprise her.'” Rose then writes:

You do such things, little things, horrible, cruel, without thinking, not meaning to. You have done it; nothing can undo it. This is a thing you can never forget (pp. 106-107).

She might have been referring to her father being cruel for his reaction, but I think she’s talking about herself. Somehow she magnified what would have been in the grand scheme of things a minor misunderstanding and disappointment into something “horrible” and “cruel.”

There’s one really odd sentence in Laura’s section. She described hating to leave the Russian settlement where they were camping. As she looked back on the scene:

I wished for an artist’s hand or a poet’s brain or even to be able to tell in good plain prose how beautiful it was. If I had been the Indians I would have scalped more white folks before I ever would have left it (p. 30).

She wasn’t wishing the Russians harm, because she had enjoyed her time there. Looking at it again just now, she seems to be saying if she lived there, she would have put up a fight rather than leave the area – or perhaps she understood the Indians fighting to stay on their land in a way she had not when she was a child.

The Road Back contains Laura’s notes made some forty years later on a trip back to De Smet to visit Carrie and Grace, the only remaining family members. It was interesting reading this right after the previous book, because they covered the same ground, only going the opposite direction, in an un-air-conditioned Buick instead of a covered wagon. Laura was 64 and Almanzo was 74.

I marveled at how many times Laura remarked on the good dirt or gravel roads. Some roads were made of cement, but many were not: yet in that day they still beat the trails or prairies they had come in on.

They had not been back in the forty years they had lived in Mansfield. Laura had written Little House in the Big Woods, but it had not been published yet. So she was not well known as a writer at that point except for her columns for the Missouri Ruralist.

Once again Laura detailed road, weather, crop, and economic conditions of the places they traveled through. She also listed their travel expenses: their first night on the road, they spent $3.42 for gas, food, a night in a cabin, and paper. They got a lot of their news about different areas from filling station attendants. Once again, Laura’s humor winks in places. She described seeing a group of signs along the road that said, “For the land’s sake, eat butter.” When they stopped to eat, she wrote, “I had bacon and eggs and coffee, bread, and for the land’s sake ate the best butter I’ve tasted” (p. 305).

I enjoyed her different observations about seeing again the places and people she had know. She said of Carrie, “She had changed a great deal but I knew her.” (I guess so, after 40 years.)

She waxed a bit more philosophical in this journal. She and Almanzo and those they visited also did some sight-seeing. One interesting stop was observing the carving of Mount Rushmore in progress.

The narrative ends near the end of the trip, where they stopped to eat and call Rose to say they were nearly home. Laura noted that though she didn’t keep up very well with the accounting, the trip cost “$120 for 4 weeks and 2,530 miles” (p. 344) for the trip to De Smet and back.

TravelerThese two books have been packaged together with West From Home, Laura’s letters to Almanzo while visiting Rose in San Francisco for the World’s Fair, into one volume called A Little House Traveler. Since I had read West From Home a few years ago, I did not read that one at this time. On the Way Home and West From Home had been published as stand-alone books, but The Road Back has only been published here. Rose had On the Way Home published a few years after her mother’s death. Roger Lea MacBride, Rose’s lawyer and heir, found the notes for the other two book in Rose’s papers after her own death. He had West From Home published and wrote the introduction. Abigail MacBride, Roger’s daughter, provided the introduction for The Road Back. It’s interesting that the mode of transportation for the first trip was a covered wagon; for the second, a train; and for the third, a car.

Sprinkled throughout the book are pictures of the Ingalls and Wilder family, their homes, and some of the scenes the Wilders might have seen in their travels. At the end is a short (three-page) biography of Laura, a family tree, photographs of notes children had written to her, and a copy of her last letter to Rose.

I enjoyed visiting with Laura on her travels. Even though her notes were off the cuff and not polished, I enjoyed her powers of observation and descriptions as well as her characteristic humor.

(Sharing with Literary Musing Monday, Carole’s Books You Loved)

Why Laura Ingalls Wilder Is Still Worth Reading


I have hosted the Laura Ingalls Wilder Reading Challenge during the month of February for the past eight years. In recent years Laura Ingalls Wilder’s books and legacy have come under closer cultural scrutiny. There’s evidence that Pa knowingly homesteaded on land that belonged to Indians and skipped town to avoid debts. Last year Laura’s name was even removed from the Association for Library Service to Children’s award due to perceived “inconsistency between Wilder’s legacy and the association’s core values of inclusiveness, integrity and respect, and responsiveness” and “anti-Native [American] and anti-black sentiments in her work.”

Some who charge Wilder with racism fail to read the concerning passages in context. For instance, one oft-quoted passage states that “the only good Indian is a dead Indian.” But, in context, this statement was made by the Ingalls’ neighbor in Little House on the Prairie, and “Pa said he didn’t know about that. He figured that Indians would be as peaceable as anybody else if they were left alone.” In The Long Winter, Pa advocates believing and following the advice of an Indian predicting a severe winter ahead. Another troubling sentence in Little House on the Prairie reads, ” … there were no people. Only Indians lived there.” When an editor pointed out to Laura that the sentence made it sound as if Indians weren’t considered people, Laura had the sentence changed to “‘… there were no settlers.’ She wrote to the editor, ‘It was a stupid blunder of mine. Of course Indians are people and I did not intend to imply they were not.'”

Pa participates in a minstrel show in blackface. But the family enjoyed and respected a black doctor whom they credited with saving them from scarlet fever. Pamela Hill Smith has a section in Pioneer Girl explaining how blackface was viewed at the time, saying that “Before the American Civil War, many abolitionists embraced minstrelsy as a way to reach a broader American audience, and some minstrel troupes performed songs with distinctly abolitionist themes” (p. 254, note 62). It was not considered offensive then, though it is now.

Even the ALSC said that “Changing the name of the award should not be viewed as an attempt to censor, limit, or deter access to Wilder’s books and materials…This change is not a call for readers to change their personal relationship with or feelings about Wilder’s books, nor does it suggest that anyone stop reading Wilder’s books, talking about them, or making them available to children. The change, however, may prompt further critical thinking about Wilder’s books and the discussions that can take place around them.”

Here on Laura’s 152nd birthday, I want to share why I believe Laura is still worth reading:

1. Her books depict accurate, if not right, views of the times. Parents and teachers who use Laura’s book should discuss the larger picture. Probably most of the settlers’ negative feelings about Native Americans sprang from fear. A major massacre by Native Americans occurred during this time in history, so naturally settlers were afraid and wary. But study can be made about why the Native Americans reacted as they did and the ways they were mistreated. Our country’s treatment of Native Americans is one of the worst marks on its record. But it would be anachronistic to have the characters of the late 1800s depicting enlightened thinking of the early 2000s.  The books can also act as a springboard to discussion of how times and attitudes have changed over the years. No time or culture has every aspect right. It takes long years to change cultural thinking. We don’t learn from history by excising the parts we disagree with today. Wrong attitudes can be viewed in light of the times, not to excuse them but to understand them and to trace how those attitudes have changed since that time. Society still has a long way to go, but we can look back and see that progress has been made.

2. Laura is not responsible for her father’s wrongdoing. She was a child when he made his decisions.

3. Laura’s books are historically based fiction. Some have faulted Laura for not including some aspects of her family’s history in the books and for changing some details. But the books were not meant to be completely autobiographical. Laura originally wrote her life story in Pioneer Girl, but then changed her focus to stories for children.

4. Laura’s books represent a significant swatch of American history. Through story Laura shares with us what is was like to travel in a covered wagon, build a homestead, establish a town, and so many other aspects of pioneer life.

5. Laura’s book depict strong family values like industriousness, independence, frugality, hospitality, community, resilience through hardships, thoughtfulness towards others.

6. Laura’s books can spark discussions, such as:

  • Every culture has its blind spots. What were some of theirs? What are some of ours?
  • Every person and culture has good and bad points. What were some good and bad attitudes in the Little House books? (Good: industriousness, frugality, hospitality. Bad: wrong views of other races, Laura’s wanting to “get back” at others, particularly Nellie Olsen).
  • What led to the hostility between settlers and Native Americans? How could things have been handled differently?
  • Look at how far society has come in its thinking about other races over the years. But our racial attitudes on an individual and national level are still not what they should be. How can we grow in this area?
  • Were there any signs in the books that attitudes were changing? (For instance, Laura’s family was treated by a black doctor at one time. Pa interacted with the Indians sometimes, assured Ma it was fine to do so, and in The Long Winter believed an Indian who came to warn the white men that a bad winter was coming).

7. Laura’s writing is realistic, not idyllic. Some have charged Laura with painting the pioneering family and life as idyllic. But…locusts? Blindness? Bilzzards? Wolves? Fire? Drought? Lack of food and resources? No, nearly every book deals with some kind of calamity. And Laura even realistically depicts sibling squabbling and parental tension.

8. Laura’s writing is excellent. Her stories would not have been read and loved all these years if they were not readable and enjoyable.

9. If we stopped reading people with flaws, we wouldn’t have anyone to read.

I agree with Katrina Trinko’s conclusion here:

Wilder — an amazing writer who poignantly and vividly depicted a crucial part of American history — deserves to remain honored as an icon of American children’s literature. By all means, let’s pair reading her with conversations about America’s past and what was right and what was not and what remains debated.

But let’s encourage critical thinking, not purging.

See also:

The Real Story Behind “The Little House on the Prairie” Controversy
Learning From Laura Ingalls Wilder
Historical Perspective or Racism in Little House on the Prairie?

(Sharing with Literary Musing Monday)

Laura Ingalls Wilder Reading Challenge 2019 Sign-up

It’s time for the Laura Ingalls Wilder reading Challenge for 2018! The basic idea is to read anything by, about, or relating to Laura Ingalls Wilder during February, the month of her birth and death. I have an extensive book list here if you’d like some ideas beyond the Little House series, but if course the Little House series is delightful to read or reread.

In the comments below let us know what you’re planning to read. On Feb. 28 I’ll have a wrap-up post where you can tell us how you did and what you thought, either in the comments or with a link back to your posts. You don’t have to have a blog to participate, but if you do I’d appreciate your linking back here.

Sometimes participants have done projects or made recipes from the series as well. If you do so, please do share with us! Annette at Little House Companion has some activities and other resources.

At the end I’ll draw a name from those who participate to win their choice of a prize:

The Little House Cookbook compiled by Barbara M. Walker


Laura’s Album: A Remembrance Scrapbook of Laura Ingalls Wilder by William Anderson


Little House Coloring Book, which contains art and quotes from the books. It’s not designed as an “adult” coloring book, but adults could certainly use it. 🙂

If none of those suits you, I can substitute a similarly-priced Laura book of your choice. To be eligible, leave a comment on the wrap-up post at the end of the month telling us what you read for this challenge. I’ll choose a name through a week from then to give everyone time to get their last books and posts finished.

This year I am planning to read On the Way Home, written by Laura as she, Almanzo, and Rose traveled from South Dakota to Mansfield, Missouri, and The Road Back, in which Laura and Almanzo traveled back to De Smet for a visit.

How about you? Will you be joining us this year? What will you be reading?

(Sharing with Literary Musing Monday)

Laura Ingalls Wilder Reading Challenge 2019

With all that we’ve had going on lately, Feb. 1 is sneaking up on me. With the month of February comes the annual Laura Ingalls Wilder Reading Challenge, which will take place February 1-18.

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. I posted a Laura-related book list here, if you’re looking for something other than the Little House books.

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 can join in any time during the month. 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. 28. If you don’t have a blog, you can let us know in the comments on that post what you read.

No need to share now what you are going to read: you can save that for our sign-up post Friday. I just wanted to give you a heads-up that the Laura Ingalls Wilder Reading Challenge is coming!

Update: this year’s sign-up is here!

Laudable Linkage


Here’s my latest list of thought-provoking reads:

Women, Don’t Be Weak-minded, HT to True Woman. “I’m grieved every time I see another woman I care about succumb to the latest ‘Christian’ bestseller which, more often that not, is feel-good psychology scantily clad in a few decontextualized Bible verses.” “Critical reading in one thing. But, trying to glean ‘something good’ from an author who denies Christ’s supremacy, man’s depravity, or Scriptural inerrancy is entirely another thing all together and should be avoided.”

How (Not) to Discover Your Spiritual Gifts, HT to Challies.

Five Things I’d Tell My Newlywed Self.

A Slanderous Charge. Far from promoting racial prejudices and stereotypes, the Little House series shows a different side.

I’d Like to Have an Argument, Please, HT to Out of the Ordinary. “In fact, all this opining just makes things worse. You don’t like what someone wrote and it upset you? Shouting your reaction is infantile (mere stimulus-and-response) and, worse, destructive….What we need instead is argument: inference from evidence to clear conclusions. Or, in a more right-brained approach, the setting-out of a compelling alternative.”

And finally, this cracked me up:

Happy Saturday!

Laudable Linkage


Here’s another round of notable reads found recently:

How to Avoid Becoming (Heavenly) Hangry on Vacation.

What Your Child Needs More Than Self-esteem, HT to Story Warren.

A Parent’s Guide to the 5 Skeptics Who Want to Shame Your Kids for Being Christian, HT to Challies.

When You Don’t Enjoy the Little Years. Even though you love your little ones dearly, some days are hard.

Can I Trust God With My Child’s Suffering? HT to True Woman.

How to Bring the (Whole) Bible to Life for Kids, HT to True Woman. Though I chafe at the phrasing of the title (the Bible IS living – John 6:63), I know what the author meant, and there are some great ideas here.

When the Content Police Came for the Babylon Bee, HT to Challies.

Hope for People With Food Allergies, HT to True Woman.

The Real Story of Christopher Robin, HT to Glynn. Sad, but I hope on some level the family retained some joy that the Pooh stories were such a dear part of many people’s childhoods.

Several people have asked me if I’ve heard of the recent ruling to remove Laura Ingalls Wilder’s name from a literary award. I’m not surprised, especially in today’s climate. There were characterizations and incidents in the books that we cringe at today. But I hope this does not lead to a pulling of her books from shelves or reading lists. We encounter what we would consider wrong attitudes in a number of older books, even classics. If we tossed books that had anything in them we disagreed with – well, we wouldn’t have much left. It takes long years to change cultural thinking. The better way, I believe, is to realize that every person and every generation is a mixture of good and bad and to educate about both sides. A couple of good articles I’ve seen on this are Scrubbing Laura Ingalls Wilder is a Dangerous Step Toward Ignorance (HT to Melanie) and How to really Read Racist Books to Your Kids, (HT to 19th Century Classic Children’s Books You Might Have Overlooked, which I found through Story Warren). I wouldn’t agree with every point in the latter (mainly the evolutionary lens), but both articles make good points.

I usually like to close these posts with a funny or thoughtful picture or meme – but I don’t have one handy and need to get on to today’s tasks, so I’ll wish you a Happy Saturday!