August 3, 2017

My New Books

I'd like to share some personal news with you. It's not related to Laura Ingalls Wilder or the Little House books. If you're not interested, just skip this blog post. 

I'm so glad you are still reading! This month I will have two new books for children out from Rourke Educational Media. These are nonfiction books, written especially for children in grades 2-4. I think the photographs and graphics really make these books pop. They were fun to research and write.

Flowers Book Description: 
Flowers are more than just decoration. They have an important job. But they can't always do it alone. Find out more about the work of flowers, how they attract help, and how they help plant species survive.
Preorder Flowers
(Amazon links are affiliates at no extra cost to you.)
Soil Book Description:
Soil hides most of the time, but it's important. Dig into the layers of soil and learn how it is made. Find out how soil helps plants and other living things thrive. Are you ready to get your hands dirty? 
Preorder Soil
I can't wait to see the actual books! (I did get to see PDFs of the books before it went to print, but it's not quite the same.)

Some have asked, so I thought I would let you know if you are interested in supporting any author (including me), in addition to buying a copy of the book (which make great gifts), you can ask your local library to purchase a copy of the book. (If you do, make sure you borrow it!) Like many authors, I love to provide author visits to schools, libraries, and even private groups. Recommendations are always appreciated. 

If you are curious about my writing, please check out my website. You might also want to sign up for my newsletter or like my Facebook page. Thanks for your support!

Thanks so much!
~ Annette Whipple

July 28, 2017

Pioneer Girl Perspectives Review

Fans of Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House books have long wondered about the rest of her story. The fictionalized books only tell us so much (and being fiction, it's not all truth). In my years of reading and research, I've come to admire Laura Ingalls Wilder not only for her Little House books, but for the life she lived. 

South Dakota Society Press brought together a team of nine Laura Ingalls Wilder experts. Each of the Wilder experts (plus an interview with Noel Silverman of the Little House Heritage Trust) explore different aspects of the Little House author in Pioneer Girl Perspectives: Exploring Laura Ingalls Wilder (affiliate link). The individual essays come together and give the reader a better understanding of Wilder's life, career, and more through the editorial work of Nancy Tystad Koupal. Wilder's personal and writing relationship with her daughter Rose Wilder Lane are examined. Curious about the Benders in Kansas? That strange episode is addressed, too. This book considers mid-western influences, fairy tales, and so much more!

Pioneer Girl Perspectives does just what the title states. It explores the life of Laura Ingalls Wilder from different perspectives. It's another excellent resource for any Laura Ingalls Wilder fan from South Dakota Historical Society Press.

In case you don't know, Laura Ingalls Wilder's autobiography was finally published in 2014. Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography (linked to my review) provides Wilder fans with her own account of her pioneer childhood, written for adult readers. When she and Lane could not find a publisher, it was used as the foundation of the Little House books. Wilder's text and Pamela Hill Smith's extensive annotations make Pioneer Girl a treasured Laura Ingalls Wilder encyclopedia.

Thank you South Dakota Historical Society Press for providing these scholarly Laura Ingalls Wilder books. Be sure to read The Pioneer Girl Project, a site dedicated to sharing the research and findings of the research team.

I understand fans' desire to know more about the Little House author. To help children understand pioneer living and the Little House books, I provide pioneer workshops for children. For fans (adults and children) of the books who want to know more, I offer a couple Laura Ingalls Wilder programs. I've even recommended resources here at Little House Companion. Because a lot has been written about Wilder. These are two Laura Ingalls Wilder resources you don't want to miss!

~ 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.

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: