My mother, Charlene Notgrass, read the Little House books to me when I was a child. My parents also took my siblings and me to visit several of the places where Laura and Almanzo lived. I have now had the opportunity to read the Little House books to my own children and take them to Laura and Almanzo's home in Mansfield, Missouri.

When the 150th anniversary of Laura's birth arrived in 2017, our family started developing resources to help other families learn more about the real-life Laura Ingalls Wilder. We produced a field trip guide to the places connected to Laura around the United States and filmed videos on location at several of them. I developed a program in which I sing songs Laura talks about in her books, show historic photos, and talk about her experiences. I have had the opportunity to share that program many times in person and online.

Over several years of research, I kept finding exciting information that I wanted more people to see and hear. That was the impetus for creating this unit study.

I am indebted to many people and organizations who keep Laura's memory alive, including the following:

  • The dedicated staff and volunteers who maintain the Laura Ingalls Wilder historic sites. You can find a map with links at Homeschool History.

  • Pamela Smith Hill and the team at the South Dakota Historical Society who turned Laura's Pioneer Girl manuscript into a magnificent resource.

  • Nancy Cleaveland, Janilyn Kocher, and Gina Terrana have created an amazing resource with their Laura Ingalls Wilder A-Z website. It has extensive details and documentation about a huge variety of topics related to Laura and life in the 19th century.

  • Dale Cockrell, former director of the Center for Popular Music at Middle Tennessee State University, produced a series of CDs through the Pa's Fiddle Project that enhanced my interest in the music of the Little House books.

  • Craig G. Wright, Supervisory Archivist at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library, maintains a priceless collection of materials related to the Ingalls and Wilder families.

And many thanks to you for keeping Laura's memory alive in your family!

I hope that you enjoy exploring this study as much as I enjoyed creating it. Please reach out if you have any questions.

John Notgrass

P.S. - Here I am in 2017 at the Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic Home & Museum with my enthusiastic children.

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