Posts Tagged ‘Laura Ingalls Wilder’

LauraPalooza 2012: Register Now!

May 6, 2012 @ 1:54 pm | Filed under: Events, Little House

The second-ever LauraPalooza—a conference for Laura Ingalls Wilder scholars and fans—will be held in Mankato, MN this July 12-14th. Details at the site:

The theme of LauraPalooza 2012 is “What Would Laura Do?” and will include a mix of scholarly research and Little House fandom. More information, including the full schedule and registration form, can be found by visiting Beyond Little House. Look for the heading “LauraPalooza 2012”. All information that you need can be found there in the pull-down menu.

Events include:

• Special performance by Alison “Nellie Oleson” Arngrim
• LIW biographer William Anderson
Little House Cookbook author Barbara Walker
• Authors’ reception including Barbara Walker, The Wilder Life author Wendy McClure, My Life As Laura author Kelly Ferguson, and others
• The return of the National Weather Service’s Barbara Mayes Boustead and physics teacher/Laura fan Jim Hicks
• Original research and insight on Laura, her life, and her books
• Conference-ending Spelling Bee and Silent Auction
• Special post-conference field trip to Walnut Grove, Minnesota — the setting for On the Banks of Plum Creek!
• A special presentation by Dean “Almanzo Wilder” Butler and Dale Cockrell of Pa’s Fiddle Recordings about the PBS Little House music special filmed last January in Nashville.

There’s also going to be a camp—Camp Laura—for kids grades K-6 (while parents are attending the conference).

Registration is open through May 31st.

I sooo wish I could go! Alas, it coincides with Comic-Con, a busy, busy weekend for us Bonny Glen folks. One of these years I am determined to get to LauraPalooza, though. If you can make it this year, you absolutely should! And then send me pictures. 🙂

Dear Genius

June 24, 2011 @ 7:57 pm | Filed under: Books, Books About Books

Dear Genius: The Letters of Ursula NordstromA book of letters I ought to have included in my ode to epistles and epistolaries the other day: Dear Genius: The Letters of Ursula Nordstrom. Miss Nordstrom, the pioneering editor behind Harper’s Department of Books for Boys and Girls from 1940 to 1973, was something of a genius herself. The list of children’s classics she was responsible for publishing is staggeringly long and awesome: Little Bear, Where the Wild Things Are, Goodnight Moon, Danny and the Dinosaur, Where the Sidewalk ends, Harold and the Purple Crayon, oh and a little thing called Charlotte’s Web—to name a very few.

Dear Genius is a collection of letters she wrote to authors, illustrators, reviewers, even parents and children who had written with responses to her books. She is unfailingly poised, charming, and insightful, even when responding to criticism. And her voice, oh her wonderful voice! Her letters are simply crammed with personality—she is wry, teasing, incisive, direct, and altogether brilliant.

Her editorial letters provide a fascinating look at the history of children’s publishing in America, both on the grand scale of publishing trends and literary vision, and on the micro scale of word choices for a single line of a specific book. For instance, in a 1957 letter to Syd Hoff about Danny and the Dinosaur, an early “I Can Read” book for beginning readers:Danny and the Dinosaur by Syd Hoff

I think you should just say “One day Danny went to the museum.” (He didn’t actually want to “see how the world looked a long, long time ago,” as you put it, do you think? Very unchildlike. He might have wanted to go to see the dead mummies, or other specific things in a museum, but I wouldn’t mention that here because you mention it on following pages. So just have a simple statement on this first page. “One day Danny went to the museum.”) It is pretty short and if you can think of one more short sentence for this page by all means add it. I can’t come up with any suggestion myself. Page 8: You’ll have to simplify what he saw on this page. NOT THAT I WANT YOU TO GET SELF-CONSCIOUS ABOUT “I CAN READ.” I told you I wanted you to let me worry about that aspect and that’s all I’m doing now. You could just say “He saw Indians. He saw bears. He saw…” I haven’t been in a museum in 150 years and can’t think of anything else, but you can.

Or, in September 1963:

Maurice, before I sent the paste-up I went through it, rereading the words, and looking at the pictures again. It is MOST MAGNIFICENT, and we’re so proud to have it on our list. When you were much younger, and had done only a couple of books, I remember I used to write you letters when the books were finished, and thank you for “another beautiful” job—or some such dopiness. Now you’re rich and famous and need no words of wonder from me. But I must send them, anyhow, when I look through Where the Wild Things Are. I think it is utterly magnificent, and the words are beautiful and meaningful, and it does just want you wanted it to do. And you did just what you wanted to do.

Or, from a reply to a reader of Little House on the Prairie in 1952:

Your letter to Mrs. Wilder…came several weeks ago. We took the liberty of opening it as we do many of the letters that are addressed to Mrs. Wilder…[she] is now in her late eighties and we try to handle much of her correspondence here.

We were indeed disturbed by your letter. We knew that Mrs. Wilder had not meant to imply that Indians were not people and we did not want to distress her if we could possibly avoid it. I must admit to you that no one here realized that those words read as they did. Reading them now it seems unbelievable to me that you are the only person who has picked them up and written to us about them in the twenty years since the book was published. We were particularly disturbed because all of us here feel just as strongly as you apparently feel about such subjects, and we are proud that many of the books on the Harper list prove that. Perhaps it is a hopeful sign that though such a statement could have passed unquestioned twenty years ago it would never have appeared in anything published in recent years.

Instead of forwarding your letter to Mrs. Wilder I wrote her about the passage and said that in reprinting we hoped that she would allow us to change it. I have just received her answer. She says: “You are perfectly right about the fault in Little House on the Prairie and have my permission to make the correction you suggest. It was a stupid blunder of mine. Of course Indians are people and I did not mean to imply they were not.” We are changing the next printing to read “There were no settlers.”

Fascinating. I could quote from this book all day but you’re much better off scrounging up a copy yourself.

Laurapalooza!

July 12, 2010 @ 12:15 pm | Filed under: Little House

This coming weekend, Laura Ingalls Wilder fans and scholars from all over the country will gather in Mankato, MN, for the first-ever Laurapalooza Conference. I was invited to attend, but alas, I couldn’t swing a weekend away the week before Comic-Con. When your hubby’s a comic-book editor in San Diego, July is ALL ABOUT Comic-Con.

I’ll be LauraPaloozing in spirit, though, and eagerly following news of the conference on Twitter and at the Beyond Little House site.

Mankato, as you may know, is not only rich in LIW history, it’s the town on which Maud Hart Lovelace based the Deep Valley of her Betsy-Tacy books. As you can imagine, Mankato is high on my list of Places I Absolutely Must Visit Someday.

Laurapalooza speakers include LIW biographers John Miller, William Anderson, and Pamela Smith Hill. Visit Beyond Little House for more information.

Little House News (Not About Books)

May 21, 2009 @ 3:52 pm | Filed under: Little House

The Wisconsin Historical Society has published some Civil War-era letters written by members of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s family, including one by Caroline Quiner Ingalls (Laura’s mother) to her sister Martha (who was named after “my” Martha, Laura’s great-grandmother).

I haven’t had a chance to read the letters yet—just got the announcement—but it sounds like at least one of them mentions Charlotte, Laura’s grandmother. This batch of letters wasn’t among the family archive material the Laura Ingalls Wilder estate gave me when I was researching the Martha and Charlotte books, so this is new and exciting stuff for me too.

The long letter from Aunt Martha to Laura full of anecdotes about the Quiner children’s early years isn’t among these. It was written after Caroline’s death and was an important source of information for Maria Wilkes during her writing of the Caroline books. I’d love to see that one published some day. I have a copy somewhere in my files, but I think the original belongs to the Ingalls Wilder estate—or possibly one of the museums? There are Laura-related treasures in many of the home sites and museums that celebrate her work and life.

The Little House Books in Chronological Order

October 14, 2008 @ 6:19 am | Filed under: Little House

A frequently asked question:

Where can I find a listing of all the Little House books in order?

Here you go:

Books about Martha Morse, Laura’s great-grandmother, by me, Melissa Wiley:

Little House in the Highlands
The Far Side of the Loch
Down to the Bonny Glen
Beyond the Heather Hills

Books about Charlotte Tucker, Laura’s grandmother, also by me:

Little House by Boston Bay
On Tide Mill Lane
The Road from Roxbury
Across the Puddingstone Dam

Books about Caroline Quiner Ingalls, Laura’s mother, by Maria Wilkes & Celia Wilkins:

Little House in Brookfield
Little Town at the Crossroads
Little Clearing in the Woods
On Top of Concord Hill
Across the Rolling River
Little City by the Lake
A Little House of Their Own

Books by and about Laura Ingalls Wilder (the originals):

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

Books about Laura’s daughter, Rose Wilder Lane, by her heir, Roger Lea MacBride:

Little House on Rocky Ridge
Little Farm in the Ozarks
In the Land of the Big Red Apple
The Other Side of the Hill
Little Town in the Ozarks
New Dawn on Rocky Ridge
On the Banks of the Bayou
Bachelor Girl

Note: Many of the Martha, Charlotte, Caroline, and Rose books have gone out of print and can be difficult to find. Some of them are only available in abridged editions.

For a listing of other books by and about Laura Ingalls Wilder, visit the publisher’s website.

Author Interview at Ramblin’ Roads

June 27, 2008 @ 3:21 pm | Filed under: Little House

Did you know there’s an I Remember Laura blog-a-thon going on this month? Every Monday in June, Miss Sandy of Quill Cottage is hosting a little blog carnival about Laura Ingalls Wilder. This week, the theme is “Musical Memories and Beautiful Books,” and the always amiable Karla of Ramblin’ Roads to Everywhere asked if she could interview me about my own Little House books. She asked great questions, and her post is up at Ramblin’ Roads today. Thanks again, Karla! It was a pleasure.