'Little House' saga didn't end with author's death—December 14, 2007
When Laura Ingalls Wilder published “Little House in the Big Woods” in 1932, she had no idea that she was creating a classic. When she completed the eighth volume of her “Little House” series in 1943, she had created a literary picture of pioneer life as she had experienced it in Wisconsin, Kansas, Minnesota and South Dakota.
These books made not only the author famous, but also the places where she had lived. Thousands of people wrote to her at her home in Missouri and stopped to visit her right up to her death in 1957 at the age of 90. Fans still seek out the sites made famous in her books.
Some of the stories included in her books have been turned into picture books for younger children, such as “Dance at Grandpa’s” and “Winter on the Farm.” The library also has two volumes titled “A Little House Christmas,” which include holiday stories taken from the Little House books.
Because of the great interest in Laura and her family, other authors have continued the series by writing books that feature family members from different generations. Roger Lea MacBride wrote the “Little House, the Rose Years” series, which follows Laura’s daughter Rose after the family’s move to Missouri.
The “Little House, the Caroline Years” series is written by Maria D. Wilkes and Celia Wilkins. These books tell the story of the childhood of Caroline Quiner, who grew up to be Laura’s mother.
Melissa Wiley wrote the “Little House, the Charlotte Years” series, which follows the Boston childhood of Charlotte Tucker, who grew up to be Laura’s grandmother. Wiley also wrote the “Little House, the Martha Years” series about Laura’s great-grandmother, Martha Morse, growing up in Scotland.
On Saturday, December 15, you and your family will have the opportunity to meet the “author” of the original “Little House” books. Betty Jean Steinshouer will present “Christmas with Laura” at 2:00 p.m. in the library’s second floor meeting room. There is no charge for the program, which is being sponsored by the Friends of the Library with partial funding by the Nebraska Humanities Council.
Steinshouer is an actress and scholar from St. Petersburg, Florida, who has worked as a touring Chautauqua performer for twenty years. She last performed in Hastings in 2005, when she portrayed Willa Cather at the Friends’ annual meeting.
Ashley Landwehr will begin the afternoon’s entertainment with fiddle music. Following the program, gingerbread made from Laura’s own favorite recipe will be served.
Join us as we celebrate “Christmas with Laura” and learn more about pioneer Christmas traditions! Children are welcome when accompanied by an adult.