Rediscover: Little House on the Prairie

This new hardcover edition of Little House on the Prairie has a foreword by Patricia MacLachlan, who grew up on the Wyoming prairie and saw herself in Laura.

Laura Ingalls Wilder, author of the much-loved Little House series, was born 150 years ago, on February 7, 1867 in Pepin, Wis. Wilder's novels are based on her experiences growing up on the American frontier, from eating crispy-roasted pig tails to more sobering challenges of pioneer life. Impressively, five of the nine books in this series won Newbery Honors.

Bich Minh Nguyen, author of Pioneer Girl, said in a Shelf Awareness interview, "It never struck me as strange when I was growing up that a Vietnamese American girl would identify so strongly with Laura Ingalls Wilder. I can identify with her sense of home, of searching for home and wanting a place to call her own, while at the same time wanting adventure.... It is a story of migration and immigration within the United States." Indeed, many authors we've interviewed cite the Little House books as childhood favorites: Laura Kaye, Martine Leavitt, Mary-Louise Parker, Leslie Pietrzyk, Chloe Neill, Maria Russo, Melanie Shankle, Heather Gudenkauf, Sara Paretsky and Laurie Halse Anderson, to name a few.

To celebrate Wilder's 150th birthday, HarperCollins just released unjacketed, hardcover, nonillustrated editions of three of the original novels: Little House in the Big Woods, Farmer Boy and Little House on the Prairie ($12.99 each). HarperCollins is also the publisher of Louise Erdrich's exquisite, not-to-be-missed Birchbark House series for middle-graders, set in the 19th-century Midwest, like the Little House books--but from the point of view of an Ojibwe family. --Karin Snelson, children's editor, Shelf Awareness

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