Laura Elizabeth Ingalls was born February 7, 1867, in a little log house in the Big Woods of Wisconsin. Published in over forty languages, Laura Ingalls Wilder's eight original Little House books continue to be widely read favorites of young people (and adults too) since they were first published in 1932. Beginning with The Little House in the Big Woods in 1932, the Little House books follow Laura Ingalls and her family as they travel west by covered wagon, beginning in Pepin, Wisconsin through Indian Territory in Kansas, to Minnesota, Burr Oak, Iowa (where sister Grace is born, but not mentioned in the books), and then to De Smet in Dakota Territory, where she met and married Almanzo Wilder.
Laura Ingalls Wilder initially began writing as a way to preserve her memories of a"life story" and to preserve the stories of her childhood for today's children, to help them to understand how much America had changed during her lifetime. Initially working with the title, When Grandma Was a Little Girl, the first book, Little House in the Big Woods, was published in 1932 with editorial assistance from her daughter, Rose Wilder Lane. Lane was an established and well known writer at that time (including having written the first biography of Herbert Hoover in 1920) whose role in editing the Little House books is somewhat fuzzy - the family and Rose maintain that she was little more than an adviser to her mother, but the remaining correspondence between the two shows a mutual collaboration with Rose's role diminishing as the series progresses.
Classified as fiction rather than as autobiography, the books are told in the third person, with Laura Ingalls acting as the central character.
"There was a Christmas tree that year at the new church. Laura and Carrie remembered a Christmas tree long ago in Minnesota, but Grace had never seen one. Laura thought the best part of that Christmas was seeing Grace's delighted face when she looked at the Christmas tree with its lighted candles shining, the bright-colored mosquito-bar bags of candy and the presents hanging from its branches"
-from These Happy Golden Years
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