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Laura Ingalls Wilder: A Biography

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Dive into the world of the author of the beloved Little House series! From her pioneer days on the prairie to her golden years with her husband, Almanzo, and their daughter, Rose, Laura Ingalls Wilder has become a friend to all who have read about her adventures. This expertly researched, behind-the-scenes account of Laura’s life chronicles the real events that inspired h Dive into the world of the author of the beloved Little House series! From her pioneer days on the prairie to her golden years with her husband, Almanzo, and their daughter, Rose, Laura Ingalls Wilder has become a friend to all who have read about her adventures. This expertly researched, behind-the-scenes account of Laura’s life chronicles the real events that inspired her to write her stories, and also describes her life after the last Little House book ends.


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Dive into the world of the author of the beloved Little House series! From her pioneer days on the prairie to her golden years with her husband, Almanzo, and their daughter, Rose, Laura Ingalls Wilder has become a friend to all who have read about her adventures. This expertly researched, behind-the-scenes account of Laura’s life chronicles the real events that inspired h Dive into the world of the author of the beloved Little House series! From her pioneer days on the prairie to her golden years with her husband, Almanzo, and their daughter, Rose, Laura Ingalls Wilder has become a friend to all who have read about her adventures. This expertly researched, behind-the-scenes account of Laura’s life chronicles the real events that inspired her to write her stories, and also describes her life after the last Little House book ends.

30 review for Laura Ingalls Wilder: A Biography

  1. 5 out of 5

    Shelley

    I read this book because my daughter, Emily, is doing a biography on Laura Ingalls Wilder for school (we both love Little House on the Prairie & have all nine seasons on DVD). I grew up reading all her books and watching all the shows and so I couldn't resist not reading this book when my daughter bought it home. Even though I remember all the episodes and have basically a good memory of her books, I felt this book went further into Laura's life. I didn't realize just how much they travelled I read this book because my daughter, Emily, is doing a biography on Laura Ingalls Wilder for school (we both love Little House on the Prairie & have all nine seasons on DVD). I grew up reading all her books and watching all the shows and so I couldn't resist not reading this book when my daughter bought it home. Even though I remember all the episodes and have basically a good memory of her books, I felt this book went further into Laura's life. I didn't realize just how much they travelled and exactly how independent and tough she was, not to mention just how "busy" her life was. It was exhausting just reading about it, never mind living it. I wish it went into why she didn't have anymore children and I presume her married sisters didn't have children, or if Rose remarried and had any children as there was no mention of it. I wish there were more pictures in the book and I hope one day that Emily and I can visit her home and museums.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Maren

    This was an excellent read for someone like myself who has read the Little House books a number of times. I also recently read the autobiographies of Rose Wilder Lane, so this all seemed so familiar, filling in the gaps and expanding the story beyond what I've previously read. My heart just breaks for these families and the lost babies and difficult circumstances life threw at them, and yet I'm so amazed at the perseverance and faith that they all exemplified. Pa & Laura are definitely on my This was an excellent read for someone like myself who has read the Little House books a number of times. I also recently read the autobiographies of Rose Wilder Lane, so this all seemed so familiar, filling in the gaps and expanding the story beyond what I've previously read. My heart just breaks for these families and the lost babies and difficult circumstances life threw at them, and yet I'm so amazed at the perseverance and faith that they all exemplified. Pa & Laura are definitely on my list of people I want to meet in heaven!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

    I went on a road trip with my mom and dad and went to see Laura's houses that she lived in.... It was awsome and on the trip I bought this book and just read it and it was really good cuz you could learn more about her life with your parents and sisters and her husband Almanzo and their daughther Rose.... I would read this book over and over again and go see her houses again... I use to watch the show Little House on the Pairie when I was younger and fell in love with the story and how they live I went on a road trip with my mom and dad and went to see Laura's houses that she lived in.... It was awsome and on the trip I bought this book and just read it and it was really good cuz you could learn more about her life with your parents and sisters and her husband Almanzo and their daughther Rose.... I would read this book over and over again and go see her houses again... I use to watch the show Little House on the Pairie when I was younger and fell in love with the story and how they lived making a living....

  4. 5 out of 5

    Angela Verdenius

    As a kid, I loved all the Little House books. Finally getting to see the grown woman behind the books was fascinating and so interesting. I admit I even had a little lump in my throat at the end! Laura Ingalls, you were a treasure to the kids you wrote for, and an inspiration to those with a hard life. Schools would do well to have their students read this book to learn about life, how hard it was, and how to overcome bad times and keep moving forward with a positive attitude.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jenn

    I read the Little House on the Prairie books as a child and just assumed then that the people in the book were fiction and as a child I never gave one thought about the author. When I found an article about her sister Mary on the internet recently it made me pause and think about the author and her life. So I went online to find if there were any books about Laura Ingalls Wilder and found this one. The book was an easy read (I finished it in about 3 hours), almost like it was aimed for children. I read the Little House on the Prairie books as a child and just assumed then that the people in the book were fiction and as a child I never gave one thought about the author. When I found an article about her sister Mary on the internet recently it made me pause and think about the author and her life. So I went online to find if there were any books about Laura Ingalls Wilder and found this one. The book was an easy read (I finished it in about 3 hours), almost like it was aimed for children. I would have like a few more concrete details but still found it very interesting. Laura Wilder lived during a time where covered wagons were the norm through times where automobiles were prevalent. It gave me a renewed interest to read her books as an adult knowing they were based on true life experiences and were not just fiction.

  6. 4 out of 5

    April

    I chose this book after reading the Stieg Larsson books because anything Little House is special to me. I needed something that wouldn't disappoint. I suppose it is unfair to rate any book after reading a series that wow'd me. But this book receives only 3 stars. It was blandly written, brief and managed to hit only the high points of Laura's books without a lot of additional details. I plowed through the book quickly and at no time did I think about putting it down and not finishing it. But as I chose this book after reading the Stieg Larsson books because anything Little House is special to me. I needed something that wouldn't disappoint. I suppose it is unfair to rate any book after reading a series that wow'd me. But this book receives only 3 stars. It was blandly written, brief and managed to hit only the high points of Laura's books without a lot of additional details. I plowed through the book quickly and at no time did I think about putting it down and not finishing it. But as a Little House mega-fan, the book wasn't all I had hoped it would be.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Kristin Burleigh

    I love this book. I love ALL of the books in this 'series'. I read them when I was in 6th or 7th grade and BEGGED my mom for the set for YEARS until she finally got it for me on my 15th or 16th birthday! I now have the boxed set all safe and sound on my bookshelf where I look at them lovingly every time I pass. They were my childhood, and will be passed onto my children should I ever be blessed with any. Definitely suggest for younger readers; it's a CLASSIC!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Josiah

    This is one of the best biographies I’ve ever read! Anderson gives us the perfect summary of the Ingalls’ life, specifically Laura. I’ve learned so much that I never knew. This book is perfect for adults and children to learn about one of the best authors that ever lived, Laura Ingalls Wilder.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Sherry

    Loved this! Now I totally want to go to Missouri and see her house!

  10. 5 out of 5

    My Book Strings

    Perfect for the target age group.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Juli

    I first read the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder in grade school. Growing up in a small Kansas town, I loved reading stories of the prairie and pioneers. I remember imagining what it must have been like to travel in the back of a covered wagon, and to be a homesteading pioneer family. Many, many children (and adults) have happily had those same thoughts, ever since the first Little House book was published in the 1930's. I remember several family vacations where we drove ho I first read the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder in grade school. Growing up in a small Kansas town, I loved reading stories of the prairie and pioneers. I remember imagining what it must have been like to travel in the back of a covered wagon, and to be a homesteading pioneer family. Many, many children (and adults) have happily had those same thoughts, ever since the first Little House book was published in the 1930's. I remember several family vacations where we drove hours out of our way to visit Ingalls and Wilder family homestead sites and museums. It was always worth the drive. We would all gather around the displays and point out possessions we remembered from the books. Seeing photographs of the family was amazing as well. It made the pioneer era seem so close...and yet so far away. A time gone by, but remembered fondly. I still love her books. Her writing is simple, but strong, conveying the strength, determination and love her family had for each other and the land. William Anderson's biography of Laura shares details about her family, each of their home sites, facts about their friends and neighbors, and the challenges they faced. At 232 pages, the book is a quick read, telling the history of the Ingalls and Wilder families in a charming, informative way. There are several black and white photographs and illustrations as well. I enjoyed learning about Laura's later years writing magazine articles, newspaper columns and her books. That was a portion of her story that was new to me. I enjoyed learning more about her childhood and young adult life as well. I had forgotten how many times Laura's family moved due to financial hardship, natural disaster or other reasons. It must have been hard to pick up and leave everything behind so many times. Reading about Laura's life definitely brought back all the warm feelings I have for this family. I spent many hours as a child reading their story, and it was nice to revisit old memories. This book would be a great read for anyone who enjoys the Little House books, young and old. It's a quick read, but very well written and informative. William Anderson has written several books about Laura Ingalls Wilder including The Little House Sampler and The Little House Guidebook. For more information on the author and his books, check out his website:

  12. 4 out of 5

    LynnDee (The Library Lush)

    I read this book because it had been on my To-Read shelf for almost 5 years. This is a middle grade biography about Laura Ingalls Wilder. I didn't really learn anything new per say, but considering that the 150th anniversary of her birth is next month and also that the book would count for the Librarian Reading Challenge (a reading challenge I'm participating in at work), I figured now was a good time to read it :).

  13. 5 out of 5

    Theresa Garton

    A good summary of Laura’s life. It is a little simplistic in parts

  14. 4 out of 5

    Sally Cartwright

    A simple and evocative summary of Laura's life that beautifully recaptures the essence of the Little House on the Prairie books. Took me right back...

  15. 4 out of 5

    Mara

    good early middle school level biography on Laura Ingalls Wilder

  16. 4 out of 5

    Scott

    At times I found myself thinking that William Anderson had the easiest job ever – his biography subject had already told the whole world about the details of her life through her own writings and so the subject of the biography had already done most of Anderson’s work. This thinking is unfair to Anderson, of course, but I felt that way at times because I have read all of Wilder’s books and therefore many events were not new to me. However, Anderson does a nice job of trying to present the facts At times I found myself thinking that William Anderson had the easiest job ever – his biography subject had already told the whole world about the details of her life through her own writings and so the subject of the biography had already done most of Anderson’s work. This thinking is unfair to Anderson, of course, but I felt that way at times because I have read all of Wilder’s books and therefore many events were not new to me. However, Anderson does a nice job of trying to present the facts and goes into much greater depth of issues than Wilder ever does in her books which are accessible to very young children. Since I did know the basic events in Wilder’s early life, I found Anderson’s book most interesting when he told about her life after her marriage to Almanzo Wilder and their life in Mansfield, Missouri. Those children familiar with the Little House books will most likely enjoy reading more about Wilder and her love for family, the land, and children.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Scash

    This book was fascinating to me. I learned so much more about Laura's life from this biography than what the tv show and her books cover. Laura started writing the Little House series IN HER 60'S! Amazing that she could remember so many details. Also, I was surprised to learn she only had one surviving child and from what I could discern her daughter Rose, had no living children. It saddens me that she doesn't have any descendents. Laura's life changed so much over the course of her 90+ years... This book was fascinating to me. I learned so much more about Laura's life from this biography than what the tv show and her books cover. Laura started writing the Little House series IN HER 60'S! Amazing that she could remember so many details. Also, I was surprised to learn she only had one surviving child and from what I could discern her daughter Rose, had no living children. It saddens me that she doesn't have any descendents. Laura's life changed so much over the course of her 90+ years...covered wagons and horses to trains to cars to her first airplane ride at 87! Such an inspiring person and the actual photos of Laura included in the biography added 'realness' to the story of her life!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Zoe

    This was an easy read - might be considered a YA level of biography, andyone 12 and up could read it, but the average person knows so little about Mrs. Wilder's later life. It tells a great deal about her time in the Ozarks, how she became a write late in life but didn't write the Little House series until she was in her 70's, and just how famous she and her daughter were. (Rose Wilder Lane was a bestselling author). If you've ever closed the last of the Little House books and wondered what happ This was an easy read - might be considered a YA level of biography, andyone 12 and up could read it, but the average person knows so little about Mrs. Wilder's later life. It tells a great deal about her time in the Ozarks, how she became a write late in life but didn't write the Little House series until she was in her 70's, and just how famous she and her daughter were. (Rose Wilder Lane was a bestselling author). If you've ever closed the last of the Little House books and wondered what happened next, this is definitely worth a couple hours of your time.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Story_Girl

    This is one of the better Laura Ingalls Wilder Biographies I have read. It includes some fantastic photographs of Laura and her family, a lovely touch. It's written in an easy to read style, mimicking Laura's early books and it contains some fresh information, especially about the later years of Laura's life. I learnt somethings I never knew before - which I think is the hallmark of a good biography. What I really liked about this biography is that it is written in a way that you could read it w This is one of the better Laura Ingalls Wilder Biographies I have read. It includes some fantastic photographs of Laura and her family, a lovely touch. It's written in an easy to read style, mimicking Laura's early books and it contains some fresh information, especially about the later years of Laura's life. I learnt somethings I never knew before - which I think is the hallmark of a good biography. What I really liked about this biography is that it is written in a way that you could read it with children, or children could read it themselves; and since the Little House books were children's books, I think that was a wise move. The people portrayed evoke the same image and feeling as Laura's characters and the overall feel of the book is a good fit with the Little House series. But best of all, William Anderson doesn't go out of his way to point out inconsistencies between Laura's life and her writing as many people do. A lot of biography authors and researchers think it makes them look intelligent or important to compare ever aspect of Laura's life with her work and point out how this never happened, this person never existed, this is not the correct place etc. and this is why Laura choose to write it this way... At the end of the day they do NOT know. They cannot know whether Laura made a conscious decision to fictionalise something or if that is really how she remembered it - after all for some of the years she wrote about Laura was only two years old. We know Laura's books are technically fiction, which is why we still want to read biographies to see what her real life was really like, but we do not need someone trying to put themselves in Laura's head. So well done William Anderson! I enjoyed this biography and would recommend it to any Little House fan.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Alicia

    I read this probably when I was about 8 to 10 at the height of my obsession with the Little House series. I remember having such a great time reading this and learning more about her and her family. Honestly it's been over 10 years so I really don't remember much besides just perhaps some vague snippets of her life story.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jill Diamond

    I read this book at the suggestion of my mom. Our whole family enjoyed the Little House on the Prairie books and the tv shows. I can’t see a girl in ringlets without thinking if Nellie Olson. I learned a lot of new things about LIW in this book, and overall it was enjoyable. The writing style seemed to be aimed at a young audience.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jenny Ford

    A very enjoyable read. Gives her biography nicely without giving away too much. In certain places, the book tells you where to read a certain story in a book Laura Ingalls wrote. I love reading about her and her life.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Courtney

    I thought I knew about everything when it came to the story of Laura Ingalls. This book actually had more information than I had ever heard. Good addition to any collection.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Susan Holt-angeline

    I Love Laura Ingalls Wilder!!!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Nicholas A

    When Laura was little she did not have any dolls finally one day on her birthday her parents surprised her with a doll.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Kim

    I have read a lot about Laura Ingalls Wilder over the years, yet this biography provided a useful chronology as well as information and details that I had not encountered before.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Dana

    I really loved reading the story behind the beloved books!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Sidney McQuade

    This is such a good read! Her life is so fascinating and the book was hard to set down. I recommend this to older students who have read the Laura Ingalls Wilder series.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    Pleasant reading and for those who have read the Little House books it does fill in some bits in Laura's life story.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    Love Laura!

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