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A Look at Laura Ingalls Wilder

Final Project Childrens Literature April Fleming

Laura Elizabeth Ingalls was born February 7th 1867 in Wisconsin.


Laura was the second daughter of Charles and Caroline Ingalls She had three sisters Mary, Carrie, and Grace and one brother Fredrick, who died at nine months old. She moved about the country with her family living in Wisconsin, Missouri, Kansas, Minnesota, Iowa, and South Dakota

Laura married Almanzo Wilder August 25, 1885


Laura has a daughter Rose, December 5, 1886 The Wilder Family leave South Dakota and eventually end up in Missouri.

Laura Ingalls Wilder dies February 10th 1957 at 90 years old.

Writings

Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote many books over her career. Her most notable works are her Little House series. The Little House series is based on her life as a child. These books are considered historical fiction although they are based on autobiographical fact.

The Little House Series

Little House in the Big Woods Farmer Boy Little House on the Prairie On the Banks of Plum Creek By the Shores of Silver Lake The Long Winter Little Town on the Prairie These Happy Golden Years The First Four Years

Little House in the Big Woods

Little House in the Big Woods is the first book in the

Little House Series. In this book we are introduced to Laura and her family. Laura is 5 in this book and we are taken through life in the small cabin in Wisconsin where the Ingalls family must survive off the land. Wilder takes the readers through the day to day tasks of a mid 1800s family as they farm, take care of stock, hunt, and make food and clothing from scratch.

Farmer Boy

Farmer Boy was written describing

Almanzo Wilders childhood. Wilder describes a part of Almanzos childhood in Malone NY when Almanzo was 8 and 9 years old. Almanzo Wilder is the man that Wilder one day will marry.

Little House on the Prairie

The Ingalls family moves from Wisconsin to Kansas by covered wagon. In Kansas Pa builds a log cabin and the Ingalls family begins a new life. They make new friends and also have several run in with the Indians. As the Indians become more upset with the settlers presence on their land, they become more hostile, frightening the Ingalls family. At the end of the first year Pa hears that the government is going to throw them off the land so he packs the family up and they leave Kansas for a new place to live.

On the Banks of Plum Creek

On the Banks of Plum Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder begins as the Ingalls family

moves from Kansas to Plum Creek Minnesota. The family settles into a dug out next to the creek and begins to work on the land. The first winter the Ingalls live in the dugout as they save money and clear land to plant on the following year. The second summer Pa builds a wood home with new boughten doors and hinges. This house is a wonderful luxury for the Ingalls family, whose wheat is growing well. After they move into their new home, Laura and Mary begin school in town. They enjoy school and make many friends. Just before the wheat crop is about to be harvested, grasshoppers fly in and eat everything. Pa goes east to work and make money to live and Ma and the girls continue on the farm. With the grasshopper eggs there is no way to make a crop the following year so Pa works best he can and finds work when he can. At the end of the third summer the grasshoppers all walk together and fly away to the west leaving the prairie bare and able to be used again. Another winter comes and Pa gets caught in a blizzard just before Christmas. He survives three days under a snow bank within sight of his house and makes it home safe for Christmas Eve, where the family celebrates together happy that Pa is safe and the grasshoppers are gone.

By the Shores of Silver Lake

By the Shores of Silver Lake begins 5 years after the end of On the Banks of Plum Creek. The family has faced many hardships. The crops do poorly,
Mary becomes blind, and there is little money. There is also a new baby sister Grace. Pa decides to move the family to a railroad camp to work for Lauras Uncle Hi. The family moves out to Dakota territory and work in the railroad camps. At the end of the summer they move into the Surveyors house to look after the railroad equipment all winter. There with the Boast family they have a snug happy winter. In the spring the rush of new settlers begin and Pa files on a claim. They live in the new town of De Smet for a short time before moving to their new claim.

The Long Winter

The Long Winter describes the hard winter of 1880-1881 when the

new town of De Smet is cut off from the world by blizzards. Beginning in October of the year the town is hit with one blizzard after another. Trains are unable to get through and many people in town do not have enough food or fuel for the winter. The Ingalls family survives on bread made from grinding wheat in a coffee mill and twisting hay sticks to burn for fuel. There is no kerosene for their lamp so they must create a light by making a button lamp out of grease and a button. Almanzo Wilder and Cap Garland make a trip to find wheat, risking their lives, for the town. They succeed and bring back wheat that lasts the town through May when the trains begin to run again.

Little Town on the Prairie

In this book Laura begins to work while going to school and helping her parents. They continue to work their claim while living in town for the winters. Mary goes to college for the blind with Laura promising she would get her teaching license when she was sixteen and teach to keep her there. The town is growing the there are many fun activities to do in town all winter. The Ingalls family becomes very involved and Laura makes many friends in town. Laura also works many jobs like sewing shirts, working for a seamstress and staying on a claim with a woman how must go along. As Laura approaches 16 Almanzo Wilder begins to walk her home and shows an interest in her. On Christmas Eve Laura is surprised by being offered a teaching job and getting her certificate even though she is only 15.

These Happy Golden Years

These Happy Golden Years begins with Laura leaving to teach school.

Every week Almanzo comes to bring her home for the weekend. A friendship develops and after teaching school Laura and Almanzo continue going on sleigh and buggy rides. Laura teaches three schools total in this book and works as a seamstress as well. Mary comes home to visit for the summers and Pa adds onto the house and begins to prosper on his land. Laura and Almanzos friendship grows through buggy rides, training wild colts and sleigh rides. Almanzo proposes to Laura and they hurry to marry before his family arrives to make a big, expensive production out of it. Almanzo and Laura move to his tree claim not far from Ma and Pas and begin their new life together.

The First Four Years

The manuscript for The First Four Years was found in Rose Wilder Lanes things after her death. It was published as it was written and sounds very different from the rest of the Little House Series. The First Four Years details the first years that Almanzo and Laura were married and had their daughter Rose. In the first four years they suffered many hardships. They lost several crops, caught diphtheria, lost a son 12 days after birth, and lost their house to a fire. In the end they picked up the pieces and kept on trying as they were farmers at heart.

Literary Elements Used by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Plot- the story Setting-Where it takes place Characters

Themes

The Little House series uses the theme the power of a family working to conquer outside dangers. This is a common theme found in historical fiction. This series is considered historical fiction because they are written with a setting that is authentic for this time period. While the stories are based on autobiographical fact, there is much embellishment to make the books more marketable.

Websites to see

http://www.dahoudek.com/LIW/default.as px http://www.walnutgrove.org/ http://www.lauraingallswilderhome.com/ http://www.discoverlaura.org/history.html http://www.discoverlaura.org/history.html http://www.liwms.com/

Activity

TSW use the sites given above to research Laura Ingalls Wilder. Students will compare and contrast what is fact in her stories and what is fiction Students will then write a compare and contrast paper using the Venn Diagram they used for research. http://www.eduplace.com/graphicorganizer/pdf/ venn.pdf

Works Cited

Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic Home and Museum. Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic Home and Museum, 2010. Web. 23 July 2011 <http://www.lauraingallswilderhome.com/>. Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial Society. Laura Ingalls Wilder Society, Inc, 2009. Web. 25 July 2011 <http://www.discoverlaura.org/history.html>. Norton, Donna E., and Saundra E. Norton. "Historical Fiction." Through the Eyes of a Child. Ed. Aurora M. Ramos. Boston, MA: Pearson, 2011. 428-429. Print. Rule, Deb H. Deb Houdek Rule. 2 May 2011. 23 July 2011 <http://www.dahoudek.com/default.aspx>. Walnut Grove, MN. Wilder Pageant Committee, 2011. Web. Jul. 2011 <http://www.walnutgrove.org/>. Wilder, Laura I. By the Shores of Silver Lake. New York, NY: Harper Collins, 1939. Print. ---. Farmer Boy. New York, NY: Harper Collins, 1933. Print ---. The First Four Years. New York, NY: Harper Collins, 1971. Print ---. Little House in the Big Woods. New York NY: Harper & Brothers, 1932. Print. ---. Little House on the Prairie. New York, NY: Harper Collins, 1935. Print. ---. Little Town on the Prairie. New York, NY: Harper Collins, 1941. Print ---. The Long Winter. New York, NY: Harper Collins, 1941. Print ---. On the Banks of Plum Creek. New York, NY: Harper Collins, 1937. Print. ---. These Happy Golden Years. New York, NY: Harper Collins, 1943. Print