Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Laura Ingalls Wilder

Today is the birthday of writer Laura Ingalls Wilder, born just north of Pepin, Wisconsin in 1867, author of the wildly popular children's book Little House on the Prairie (1935)and other books about growing up in the Midwest in the 1800's. They are all part of the Little House series, which she began writing in her 60's. THAT gives me hope! Since her death about a hundred different titles have appeared in the Little House series that she created. From her books have come a wonderful television series on NBC (1974-1984) - in my opinion, one of the BEST shows ever on television. Also, a 26 episode animated Japanese cartoon series called "Laura, The Prairie Girl", a couple of made-for-TV movies, an ABC mini-series (2005) and a musical.

All of her books have remained in print continuously since the time they were first published, have been widely translated, and have sold millions of copies. Little House in the Big Woods begins, "Once upon a time, sixty years ago, a little girl lived in the Big Woods of Wisconsin, in a little gray house made of logs."

Those words must have captured me because, although I don't have too many specific memories of elementary school, I clearly remember reading the first book and anxiously anticipating library day so I could check out the next one. I read all of them in succession and loved every one.

The TV series came on when I was almost an adult,so my fondest memories are of watching the shows in syndication years later with my own children. I think my daughter saw all 10 years of the series multiple times. I loved it because each episode taught a wholesome, loving lesson about how to treat each other, knowing wrong from right and the importance of always doing the right thing. I believe the show had a positive impact on my children and for that I honor Laura Ingalls Wilder today.

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