If You Love Little House, These Books Are For You
Who doesn’t love the Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder? From the time the first book in the series, Little House in the Big Woods, was published in 1932, generations of American children have grown up with the beloved tales of Laura, Mary, Carrie, Almanzo, and the gang. At my house, we love the series so much that one of my daughters is named Laura in honor of the author.
So if you’re like us and you feel like you just can’t get enough Little House in your homeschool, what do you do when you’ve finished the series? Of course, you can go back to the beginning and start reading it again (which I recommend). Or, you give some of these books a try…
The Latsch Valley Farm
This series came highly recommended by two different friends, Paola Ciskanik and Phillip Campbell. I can’t wait to gift this series to my grandchildren who are huge Little House fans. Available from Bethlehem Books, the Latsch Valley Farm series tells the story of a Polish immigrant family living in rural Wisconsin in the 1870s. Written by Anne Pellowski.
Happy Little Family
This series by Rebecca Caudill is sometimes called the Fairchild Series. It is a popular series among Catholic homeschooling families and follows the adventures of the Fairchilds, a Kentucky family living in the late 1800s. It is available through Bethlehem Books and is also on Audible.
Ralph Moody’s Little Britches series contains eight books that tell the story of a boy growing up on a Colorado ranch in the early 1900s. Often touted as the “Little House for Boys”, Moody’s books make excellent read-alouds as well.
The prequels and sequels to the Little House books
The popularity of the Little House series led to the creation of prequels and sequels. These books are not as well-known, but they are excellent addendums to the Little House books and are every bit as enjoyable. The Caroline Years by Maria Wilkes is a seven-book series that tells of the upbringing of Caroline, the girl who will become Ma Ingalls. On the other side, there are the ten books of The Rose Years series, by Roger Lea MacBride which tell of the adventures of Rose Wilder, the daughter of Laura and Almanzo.
The Martha and Charlotte Years
Melissa Wiley, a fellow homeschool mother, wrote two series of historical fiction based on the lives of Laura Ingalls Wilders’ ancestors. The Martha Years is a series about Laura Ingalls Wilder’s great-grandmother, Martha Morse Tucker. The Charlotte Years is a series about Laura Ingall’s Wilder’s maternal grandmother, Charlotte Quiner.
Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm
This classic 1903 children’s novel by Kate Douglas Wiggin tells the story of Rebecca Rowena Randall and her aunts, one stern and one kind, in the fictional village of Riverboro, Maine. Rebecca’s joy for life inspires her aunts, but she faces many hardships that cause her to grow in wisdom and understanding.
Anne of Green Gables
Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery is one of the most perennially popular youth novels set in frontier times. Anne Shirley is a precocious orphan girl trying to make her way in a Prince Edward Island village in the early 1900s. The popularity of the book led to seven additions to the series, including the popular Anne of Avonlea. (Note: Homeschool Connections offers a series of self-paced courses on the Anne series.)
Sarah Plain and Tall
Patricia MacLachlan’s 1986 classic Sarah Plain and Tall tells the story of a woman who comes to the frontier to marry the widower, Jacob, whose ad she saw in a newspaper. Jacob and Sarah overcome the challenges they face to build a new life together on the prairie.
The Courage of Sarah Noble
Published in 1954, The Courage of Sarah Noble by Alice Dalgliesh follows the life of an eight-year-old girl, Sarah, who journeys with her father into the Connecticut wilderness in 1707, where they must learn to deal with the weather, the wildlife, and their Native American neighbors. At 64 pages this is an easy and enjoyable read.
Finally, if you have older children who still like the “young person on the frontier” genre but want something more challenging with more mature themes, I highly recommend Willa Cather’s My Antonia. Cather (author of Death Comes for the Archbishop) tells the stories of Jim, a Virginian boy, and Antonia, a Bohemian immigrant girl, who come to the Nebraska prairie in the 1890s. Cather weaves together romance, adventure, and nostalgia in this classic tale of the coming of age of America. This one is ideal for high school-age students.
That about does it for today, but I’m sure there are more out there. What do you think? Do you have any recommendations to add to the list? Visit us and let us know in our Catholic Homeschool Community!
ADDENDUM: Homeschool Connections offers courses on the Little House and Anne of Green Gables series for Catholic homeschoolers.
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