May 19, 2017

DIY Laura Ingalls Wilder Event

Any time is the perfect time to celebrate Laura Ingalls Wilder and her Little House books. You might host a pioneer celebration in conjunction with a book club, a birthday, or just for fun.

1. Basic Plans

Will your Laura Ingalls Wilder event be for adults, children, or a mixed audience?  Do you want a weekend celebration or on the exact day? Will your weather be nice enough to be outdoors? What space can you use to party?

2. Gather Laura Ingalls Wilder Facts

Do you want to focus on the books, Laura, or pioneers in general? Do you want to teach them something new? What do you want the party-goers to remember about Laura Ingalls Wilder? Do you want to emphasize how Laura fictionalized the Little House books? Or do you just want the guests to relax?

Consider how to share information. Will it be through a game like bingo? Trivia? Presentation? Discussion?

Look around this blog for some information in addition to some recommended resources. You may also want to use some of the books listed below to learn more about Laura Ingalls Wilder.  Have some fun with quotes or a game.
Learn about this LIW quote HERE.

3. Plan Little House Activities

What pioneer and Little House activities do you want your guests to experience, if any? If children are participating, consider what we did at our Little House party. These may be a simple game or something much more elaborate like teaching a skill such as sewing, knitting, or baking.

4. Plan Little House Food

The Little House Cookbook (linked to my review) is an incredible asset if you want authentic pioneer food. Here on this blog, I share less authentic Little House recipes so they can be made in modern kitchens with pantry ingredients. However, a simple beverages such as tea, coffee, or lemonade please crowds, too, especially paired with some 19th-century candy.

5. Little House Decorations

When it comes to decorations, I think less is more. And if your event can be outdoors, the better! We used things like quilts, tablecloths, and logs for our Little House birthday party. Canning jars and wicker baskets also add an old-fashioned touch for Little House decorations. The food may even be the decorations. A few Little House and Laura Ingalls Wilder quotes scattered around the room or tables will also give some of your guests something to do during down time. 

I recommend the following nonfiction books in addition to all the Little House fiction books. (Links to reviews or affiliate links to Amazon..)
Pioneer Girl (This is basically a Laura Ingalls Wilder and Little House encyclopedia. Must have!)
Laura Ingalls Wilder: A Biography
Little House Traveler
The Selected Letters of Laura Ingalls Wilder
Writings to Young Women from Laura Ingalls Wilder: Volume 1, Volume 2, Volume 3
Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little Town
Laura Ingalls Wilder: A Writer's Life
The Little House Cookbook

~ Annette Whipple
This post contains affiliate links.  If you make any purchases through the Amazon links, I will earn a tiny percentage at no additional cost to you.  Thanks for your support.

April 6, 2017

85 Years of Little House

The Little House legacy began 85 years ago when Laura Ingalls Wilder's first book, Little House in the Big Woods, was published on April 6, 1932. 

Around 1930, when Laura was in her sixties, she bought a supply of inexpensive notebooks and pencils. She began to write. This time it wasn’t a newspaper column but a book about her life focusing on her family’s pioneer experience in the American West. She titled it Pioneer Girl
Pioneer Girl manuscript. South Dakota Historical Society Press.
Laura filled six tablets with stories from sixteen years of her life. Laura wrote the manuscript hoping it would be published for adults, but she also wrote the stories for her daughter, Rose Wilder Lane. Laura included little notes, like personal sidebars, for Rose. The notes provided additional information she didn't want published.

Rose, a published author, offered her mom writing advice and typed the manuscript. She further edited Laura’s work and even sent it to her agent. Because of the Great Depression, publishers were not making a lot of books, so Laura did not sell Pioneer Girl to any publishers or magazines.

The publishers didn’t want THAT book, but they might be interested in a children’s book.

Likely without Laura’s knowledge, Rose adapted the Pioneer Girl manuscript and created a picture book for a young audience. One editor with Knopf, Marion Fiery, liked it but wanted a longer book for older children.

February 7, 2017

Happy 150th Birthday, Laura Ingalls Wilder!

Our favorite prairie girl was born on February 7, 1867. It's been 150 years today!

Have you considered why we honor the life and legacy of Laura Ingalls Wilder? Different aspects of Laura's life, when combined, give us plenty to celebrate! Laura wrote the Little House books about her pioneer childhood. Unlike many authors who have written about their childhoods, we have not forgotten Laura. I think that's because her books engage readers and immerse them in the late 1800s frontier. 

Laura Ingalls Wilder: Pioneer Girl

Laura spent her childhood on the American frontier as a pioneer. Laura experienced a childhood that people who didn't experience it did not fully understand. The pioneer life was a topic that had not been written about too much for children when Laura wrote the books. The Ingalls family certainly wasn't the only family moving, homesteading, and living west of the Mississippi River, but Laura's experience recorded (though fictionalized) in well-written books left a lasting legacy.

Laura Ingalls Wilder: The Writer

February 1, 2017

Laura Ingalls Wilder Events

Laura Ingalls Wilder was born on February 7, 1867. Her 150th birthday is just a week away. Look for events in your community to celebrate. Ask your local library, school, or university to bring in someone to talk about Laura Ingalls Wilder sometime in 2017. (If they don't know where to start, look at these resources. If you are a Laura Ingalls Wilder presenter and would like me to add you to the list, let me know!) Or create your own Laura Ingalls Wilder event

Near Pennsylvania? I'm presenting at the Oxford Library on Saturday, February 4th. Later in the month I'll be at the Kutztown Community Library on February 18th. I hope to see you there!

~ Annette Whipple

January 15, 2017

Laura Ingalls Wilder 150th Birthday Celebration Part 4

Are you excited about the 150th birthday of Laura Ingalls Wilder? I hope so! This is the fourth part in this series. (Please see the bottom of this post for links to the other LIW celebration posts.) Today, it's all about the food!

Refreshments enhance any Laura Ingalls Wilder celebration, especially a birthday celebration. You might simply serve punch and a birthday cake. One of the libraries where I'm presenting for Laura's birthday has chosen this route. It's simple and it makes sense.

If you want to go beyond birthday cake, consider some of these pioneer food ideas.

Pioneer Food
popcorn balls
homemade butter on bread (or crackers)
maple snow candy
boiled eggs
dried apples or blueberries
johnny cakes

19th Century Candy (Not all are dated to Laura's earlier pioneer days.)
candy corn
conversation hearts
See more 19th century candy here.

hot chocolate

apple pie
vinegar pie
ice cream

A special note: 

December 8, 2016

Laura Ingalls Wilder 150th Birthday Celebration Part 3 Activities

Are you planning a 150th birthday celebration of Laura Ingalls Wilder? You may or may not want to have activities beyond a discussion about Laura's life and why she is still relevant today.

This is part three in a series of posts about celebrating Laura Ingalls Wilder's 150th birthday. See below for links to more posts.

Pioneer activities are such fun and bring the topic to life! Children will especially enjoy hands-on pioneer activities.

Think of the fun Laura had in Little Town on the Prairie at the literary meetings. They had spelling bees, singing, speeches, and more. These activities would work well for mixed-age groups. You could have the spelling bee or speech centered on Laura or pioneer living. Play Little House bingo or trivia. Consider readings from some of Laura's writings beyond the Little House books.

Laura and her friends often visited over handiwork like sewing, knitting, and crocheting. A small group of friends may enjoy that or even coloring pages from Cheryl Harness's Laura Ingalls Wilder Coloring Book or printables.

You might consider organizing pioneer games or  pioneer"work", especially for younger Laura fans. They'll eagerly harvest the garden and wash laundry.
Create a treat and enjoy it together. Bake an apple pie, make applesauce, or make butter. Pop corn over the stove or make popcorn balls. A unique experience may be maple snow candy.

As you complete any of these activities to celebrate the 150th birthday of Laura Ingalls Wilder, consider how you'll discuss her and why she is still relevant today. Will you take turns reading from a book or two? Memorize? Research and share? Sounds like fun!

Laura Ingalls Wilder Event Posts

Part 4: Pioneer Food
Part 5: Pioneer Decorations
~ Annette Whipple
This post contains affiliate links.  If you make any purchases through the Amazon links, I will earn a tiny percentage at no additional cost to you.  Thanks for your support.

October 7, 2016

Laura Ingalls Wilder 150th Birthday Celebration Part 2

Laura Ingalls Wilder's 150th birthday is February 7, 2017. I shared some suggestions to get you started planning a Wilder celebration in part 1 of this series. Today we'll look at what your Laura Ingalls Wilder celebration will look like.

You've already considered when and where the LIW party will be. You've also determined who you might invite. The party-goers will greatly determine what you do during the party. A ladies' night out party will look very different than a children's party.

Your celebration may be mostly in the form of a presentation, from you or someone who puts on Laura Ingalls Wilder programs (linked to my programs).

Laura the Woman

Though party-goers may know the Little House books better than Laura Ingalls Wilder the person, consider how or if you will celebrate the woman of Laura beyond the books. Consider some of these questions and brainstorm more.
  • What was Laura passionate about as an adult? 
  • What was Laura like as an adult? 
  • How did Laura first begin her writing career?
  • What made her write the Little House books? 
Most of all, I hope you will discuss
  • Why is Laura Ingalls Wilder still relevant today?

Laura the Child

Most people think of Laura as a child and teenager since that is how they know her best from her Little House books. Consider highlighting some events from her childhood. Or highlight facts vs. fiction from the books. How was Laura's childhood different than others' on the American frontier? 


You'll want to research this information for yourself. I would strongly suggest you use Pamela Hill Smith or William Anderson's books to do so. If you are near any of the Wilder or Ingalls home sites or the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum, I would encourage you to visit them. Here is a partial list of Laura Ingalls Wilder resources. I also highly recommend Laura Ingalls Wilder: A Writer's Life (affiliate link), though I don't have a review of the book here. It's full of fascinating information!

If you do not have Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography of Laura Ingalls Wilder, I would suggest you start there. It's basically a LIW encyclopedia!

Little House Books

Do you want to discuss the Little House books, too? You might like a particular Little House book (or Laura biography). I have some Little House printables to help you get started. 

How to Present

You may want to just share the information about Laura. However, you may also want to create a game or ask others to research a specific Laura topic. Have fun with this!

Next time we'll talk about some activities you might include in a Laura Ingalls Wilder 150th celebration party. If you haven't already subscribed to Little House Companion or my newsletter, please consider doing so! 

Laura Ingalls Wilder Event Posts

Part 4: Pioneer Food
Part 5: Pioneer Decorations

~ Annette Whipple
This post contains affiliate links.  If you make any purchases through the Amazon links, I will earn a tiny percentage at no additional cost to you.  Thanks for your support.