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
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
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.
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.
Well, I’m pretty blown away this morning by the photos in this post at Pondered in My Heart—and by the tremendous compliments paid me by her family’s enthusiasm for my Martha and Charlotte books. There is nothing more exciting to an author than seeing how her books have come to life for someone. Kimberlee’s daughter Mary Rose is apparently a big fan, and her thoughtful big sister made her some Charlotte-inspired goodies for Christmas: a handmade copybook, Blue Back Speller, and gorgeously illustrated alphabet book. Truly lovely work, Lydia. I am very impressed.
And wait until you see the handcarved toys and spindles Kimberlee’s sons made for their sisters. What a family!
By the way, the original "Blue Back Speller"—Noah Webster’s American Spelling Book, originally published in 1783 and used by generations of American schoolchildren—has been republished in a facsimile edition. That’s what I used to help me write some of the scenes in Charlotte’s schoolhouse. You can read most of it online at Google Books.
But I have to say, I think I prefer Lydia’s version!
Little House fans won’t want to miss Sarah Miller’s interview with Pamela Smith Hill, author of the new biography, Laura Ingalls Wilder: A Writer’s Life. I can’t wait to get my hands on the book.
Sarah Miller is the author of another book high on my TBR list: Miss Spitfire: Reaching Helen Keller, about the fascinating Anne Sullivan.
I was reading a lovely post about St. Andrew by Elena at My Domestic Church and, to my surprise, stumbled upon my own name. Elena mentions that St. Andrew is the patron saint of Scotland, and adds:
Our family has been reading Melissa Wiley’s Martha
Books for almost nine months now and these stories are set in Scotland.
Young Martha, the laird’s daughter, is always helping in the kitchen
with baking bannocks, or eating bannocks, so the kids and I have
decided to actually make bannocks tomorrow in celebration of the feast
day. I’ll post pictures and let you know if they turn out okay!
I look forward to seeing those pictures!
I posted a recipe for bannocks here a long while back.
And here’s a Martha/Scotland-related resource & activities page.
One of the books I read during my research for the Martha Books was Dorothy Wordsworth’s Recollections of a Tour Made in Scotland in A.D. 1803. The time period was just about right; Little House in the Highlands is set in 1795, and change came slowly to those remote glens.
Dorothy traveled with her brother, William, and their friend, Samuel Taylor Coleridge. (Ooh! Now there’s an idea for a novel!) In her journal she wrote,
“It was harvest-time, and the fields were quietly (might I be allowed to say pensively?) enlivened by small companies of reapers. It is not uncommon in the more lonely parts of the Highlands to see a single person so employed. The following poem was suggested to Wm. by a beautiful sentence in Thomas Wilkinson’s Tour in Scotland.”
And then she copied out William’s poem (written two years later), “The Solitary Reaper.”
A note in my Wm. Wordsworth collection tells me that the line from Thomas Wilkinson is this:
“Passed a female who was reaping alone; she sung in Erse, as she bended over her sickle; the sweetest human voice I ever heard: her strains were tenderly melancholy, and felt delicious, long after they were heard no more.”
I love to know the story behind a poem, a novel, a painting. Here is William’s poem, all the lovelier to me for knowing what sparked it in his mind.
The Solitary Reaper
by William Wordsworth
Behold her, single in the field,
Yon solitary Highland Lass!
Reaping and singing by herself;
Stop here, or gently pass!
Alone she cuts and binds the grain,
And sings a melancholy strain;
O listen! for the Vale profound
Is overflowing with the sound.
No Nightingale did ever chaunt
More welcome notes to weary bands
Of travellers in some shady haunt,
Among Arabian sands:
A voice so shrilling ne’er was heard
In spring-time from the Cuckoo-bird,
Breaking the silence of the seas
Among the farthest Hebrides.
Will no one tell me what she sings?—
Perhaps the plaintive numbers flow
For old, unhappy, far-off things,
And battles long ago:
Or is it some more humble lay,
Familiar matter of to-day?
Some natural sorrow, loss, or pain,
That has been, and may be again?
Whate’er the theme, the Maiden sang
As if her song could have no ending;
I saw her singing at her work,
And o’er the sickle bending;—
I listen’d, motionless and still;
And, as I mounted up the hill,
The music in my heart I bore,
Long after it was heard no more.
This week’s Poetry Friday round-up can be found at Hip Writer Mama.
What’s Poetry Friday? Susan Thomsen explains at PoetryFoundation.org.
UPDATED! A reader reports that the Loftus Store shipped her one of the old (unabridged) books, and one of the new (abridged). If you order from these sources and you want the unabridged editions, be sure to request the versions with the illustrated (painted) covers. The photo covers are the abridged editions.
Alicia, aka Love2Learn Mom, has just returned from a trip to South Dakota. One stop on her route was De Smet, the town Charles and Caroline Ingalls settled in during By the Shores of Silver Lake. Alicia writes that she found
two gift shops that still had quite a few copies of the [unabridged] Little House
prequels available for sale (and were willing to ship telephone orders).
Here’s the info in case you’d like to pass it along…
The Loftus Store
Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial Society
This one had at least five copies of most of the books
They have Caroline books as well as my Martha and Charlotte novels.
Karen E. noticed that a1books.com has a selection of the original, unabridged editions of some of my Martha and Charlotte books for reasonable prices, if you’re still looking.
The abridged versions are in the bookstores now, and please note that although the covers say "by Melissa Wiley," I declined to have any involvement in the cutting down. I have not read them. I did notice that one of my fairy tales in Highlands was pulled out and reprinted in the back of the book, under a heading about how "Martha loved when her mother told her stories." Eek.
The wonderful Keller family runs a used-and-new online bookstore, and they kindly hosted my booksigning at the Virginia Home Education Association conference a few years back. They had me sign some extra books for their inventory, and they still have a few of these in stock if you’re looking for the unabridged editions of my Little House novels.