216 N Marshall Ave

Litchfield MN 55355


All Pioneerland

While all Pioneerland Library System buildings remain closed to the public due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Curbside Pick-up of library items is available. You may place items on hold using the online catalog. Library staff will call you to schedule a pickup time once your hold is ready. Pickup days/times vary by location. Please contact your library if you have questions or need assistance in using this service.

Friday, December 21, 2018

The Week Between

By Jan Pease

It’s time to catch our breath before the New Year comes.  This is the week between.  I start noticing the change in light just after New Year’s, because I’m really sensitive to Seasonal Affective Disorder.  In the jungle that is our middle room, a tree is yearning and stretching toward the west.  One orchid is blooming, gloriously. The asparagus fern is sending out long, shoots, indiscriminately.  I wonder if it is drawn toward our SAD light, or maybe the last rays of sunlight as the sun sets.   Anyway, they know that more light will come our way, even if skies are gray or the cold is bitter.

Sometimes we make resolutions for the next year.  Mine are pretty simple.  I hope that I will be kind.  I hope to encourage rather than complain.  I will try to be generous with my time and resources.  I will try to be gentle with myself.  I will work harder at being healthy. 


Two gentle picture books come to my mind when I think about this time of year.  One is “Stranger in the Woods” by Carl R. Sams and Jean Stoick.  Mr. Sams and Ms. Stoick set up a snowman in the woods, took stunning photographs of wildlife interacting with it, and turned it all into a lovely picture book. Their books have won more than 80 awards.   I recommend that you sit in a cozy chair with a cup of something warm to drink, preferably with a child or cat in your lap, and absorb the beauty of these photographs.

Another book, “The Christmas Wish,” by Lori Evert and Per Breiehagen, has stunning photographs of their   4 year old daughter Anja wearing traditional Norwegian clothing and Sami reindeer shoes, interacting with Arctic animals.  They have since developed a line of “Wish” books and products, but this first book is simply amazing.  I believe its title in Norway was “The Christmas Dream.”  

There is just something magical about snowy woods.  One of my favorite parenting memories is of taking our daughter and two of her friends out to Youngstrom Woods during a rare January thaw.  The girls were sure they were lost, but I could always hear them.  The stillness of the woods was breathtaking, even with the giggling girls traipsing through the snow.

 I’m a fan of “Star Trek: Enterprise.  A favorite episode has brash Captain Archer chide an older, wiser alien, Captain Drennig, about his culture not visiting planet Earth:  “I’m surprised your ancestors never made it to Earth.” Captain Drennig says, “We don’t believe in travelling great distances.  There’s far too much to see close to home.”    Like the fictional Captain Drennig, I find wonder in our own back yard.  Catch your breath, put on some quiet music, and enjoy hearing Nature breathe in and out as one year closes and another year starts.  Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Grownups, Find Some Christmas Cheer at the Library

by Beth Cronk, Litchfield Head Librarian

It’s the holiday season!  Pioneerland libraries will be closed on Monday, December 24, and Tuesday, December 25, for Christmas.  The following week, we will be closing at 5 p.m. on Monday, December 31, and we will be closed on Tuesday, January 1, for New Year’s.  Otherwise the hours will be normal all of the other days.

Christmas books, movies, and music are always in demand this time of year.  We’ve got some new additions for grownups available.

12 Days at Bleakly Manor is an inspirational mystery that we just got in large print.  Author Michelle Griep launched a series called “Once Upon a Dickens Christmas” with this novel.  Set in England in 1851, this story is set up when guests receive mysterious invitations to spend Christmas at a manor home and are promised a substantial sum of money if they stay the entire twelve days.  A formerly engaged couple finds they are both among the guests.

Deck the Hounds is the latest Andy Carpenter novel by David Rosenfelt, but apparently it can be enjoyed even if you haven’t read any of the others.  Criminal defense lawyer Andy gives a homeless man with a dog some money, then later learns that the dog is quarantined for biting someone who attacked them.  Andy and his wife give them a place to stay at Christmas, and Andy’s legal services come in handy when the homeless vet is accused of a crime.  This sweet Christmas mystery is recommended for animal lovers. 

Yet another cozy Christmas mystery, Lark! The Herald AngelsSing is part of the Meg Langslow series by Donna Andrews.  Meg discovers a live baby in the manger while directing a nativity pageant.  A note suggests that the baby’s father is Meg’s brother, and Meg sets out to find out who the baby’s parents actually are.  Along with the mystery aspect of the story, this is a funny and heartwarming novel.

Some of our other new Christmas novels include Six Cats a Slayin’ by Miranda James, Christmas on the Island by Jenny Colgan, The Christmas Star by Donna VanLiere, and A True Cowboy Christmas by Caitlin Crews.

Don’t forget the Christmas DVDs:  Christmas in the Air is a Hallmark Christmas movie that has just been added to our collection.  Those seem to be more popular all the time!  Catherine Bell stars as a professional organizer who is hired by a frazzled widower with two young children.  He’s a toy inventor who has twelve days to get his life and business in order before pitching his new products.  It sounds like it has exactly the kind of opposites-attract, gentle romance you expect from a Hallmark Christmas movie.

Do you remember Pat Boone’s holiday specials on TV in the ‘70s?  Two of them have just been released on the DVD Pat Boone and Family: Christmas and Thanksgiving Specials.  You get the whole Boone family, plus Dinah Shore, Rosemary Clooney, Tom Bosley, and other stars from years ago.  Now, if they would just release the John Denver and the Muppets Christmas special from the ‘70s, I’d be really happy.

Whether it’s a music CD, a movie, or a book for kids or adults, our library has a huge number of holiday items available to check out.  Pick up a cookbook of party recipes for New Year’s Eve while you’re here, too!  Have a very merry Christmas and a happy new year.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Thanksgiving Movies at the Library

Library column for 11/21/18
by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian

“Come, ye thankful people, come, Raise the song of harvest-home; All is safely gathered in, Ere the winter storms begin.”  This Thanksgiving hymn by Henry Alford was written in 1844, but here in rural Minnesota we still understand the importance of bringing in the harvest before winter begins.  My neighbors were working hard at that in the little bit of warm weather we had lately.

The Litchfield Library, along with all Pioneerland libraries, will be closed on Thursday for Thanksgiving.  We’ll be open normal hours the rest of the week.  As you gather with family and friends, or as you have a quiet day at home, perhaps you’d like to have a Thanksgiving movie on hand to watch after you’re done eating turkey.  There are a number of movies in the Litchfield Library collection that have some connection to the holiday.

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving is the obvious choice if you have children in the house.  Not as good as A Charlie Brown Christmas or It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, this 25-minute TV special from 1973 is still fun.  Charlie Brown has a predicament: what to do when his pushy friend Peppermint Patty invites herself and others to his house for Thanksgiving dinner, even though his family is going to be leaving for his grandmother’s house?  Snoopy saves the day with an assortment of snacks served on the ping-pong table.  To be like Charlie Brown, my family usually eats popcorn, pretzels, toast, and jelly beans on Thanksgiving night, a tradition we started when my kids were little.

Intended for a bit older audience than Charlie Brown, Pieces of April is a 2003 movie about a free-spirited 21-year-old attempting to make Thanksgiving dinner for her estranged family.  Her parents, siblings, and grandma drive to New York City from suburban Pennsylvania while April discovers her oven doesn’t work, and she turns to her eccentric neighbors for help.  Katie Holmes stars in this comedy about family dysfunction; critics say it’s endearing, if a little edgy.

Holiday Inn is one of those 1940s classics: Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire, and music by Irving Berlin.  A couple of friends who have left show business run an inn that is open only on holidays – a perfect vehicle for a movie full of holiday-themed musical numbers.  There is a Thanksgiving holiday in the movie, and the Christmas scenes include the song “White Christmas,” so you can start to get in that holiday spirit, as well.

Paul Blart: Mall Cop isn’t a favorite of movie critics, but you might get some laughs out of it anyway.  Kevin James stars in a story about a New Jersey security guard who defends a mall from a group of organized criminals who take shoppers hostage on Black Friday.

Do you watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on Thanksgiving morning?  The movie Miracle on 34th Street begins with the parade, where the actor playing Santa is discovered to be drunk and is switched with a very popular replacement.  The replacement is then hired to work as Santa in the store, but things take a turn when he claims to be the real Santa Claus.  The 1947 version, starring Maureen O’Hara and Natalie Wood, won three Oscars.

I am thankful for all of the library users and supporters in our area who help make our library a hub of the community. I wish you and yours a peaceful and bountiful Thanksgiving Day. 

Friday, December 7, 2018

Sometimes Books Go Viral Too!

By Jan Pease

Santa visited the library Thursday night for one of the best family events of the year.  He held babies, talked seriously to children about getting along with their siblings, and was kind to our kids who have a hard time talking to people outside of the family.  I have no idea how many people came, because I forgot to use my little clicker.  I estimate about 150 or so.   Children were able to choose a book, make a countdown paper chain, and decorate a wooden ornament with glitter glue. 

Thank you, Friends of the Litchfield Library, for sponsoring this fun event.

Beth wrote last week about the best of lists for adult books.  I watched an older children’s book suddenly “go viral” throughout the world thanks to social media.  A video of a Scottish grandmother laughing hysterically while reading “The Wonky Donkey,” by Craig Smith, a teacher in New Zealand,   went viral on YouTube and Facebook about 12 weeks ago.    

Suddenly everyone in the U.S. wanted to read “The Wonky Donkey.”    Used and new paper back copies of this little book were offered at ridiculous prices in the hundreds of dollars.    Scholastic Inc reprinted the book and offered it on their book order for around five dollars.  Miss Julie from Mighty Dragons Preschool was able to purchase several copies from Scholastic and she allowed me to get one while the excitement was still at a high level.  Now the book is offered at the more reasonable price of about $5.00. 

This is a silly book, but it has become controversial.  This is another book that people either like or hate. Read the reviews at   The poor donkey has an artificial leg. Should we really call him wonky because of that?  Another disturbing image in the book is a bird that flies around carrying the eye lost by the donkey.  So he’s a winky wonky donkey.  Some people found Mr. Smith’s humor offensive, some didn’t.  I cringe while writing this, but even though I find the humor a bit off, I have read it aloud several times, and enjoyed it immensely.    It’s been interesting to watch the price skyrocket due to demand and then plummet when paperback copies flooded the market.

This year marked the 20th anniversary of Harry Potter, by J.K. Rowling. .  This series rocked the  world of children’s publishing and then it was discovered by adults. The books became with longer and longer and movies were made of each title.  

2018 also marked the 33rd Anniversary of The Polar Express, a favorite Christmas time book that  I’ve never successfully read at Story Time because it makes me cry.

2018 also was the 75th anniversary of the Boxcar Children. Even though new titles are issued each month, children seem to prefer the original books written by Gertrude Chandler Warner

Whether you choose a book at the top of the charts, or choose a time-honored book that has been read by generations of children, I hope you’ll give a gift of reading this Christmas. 

See you at the library!  

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

2018's Best Books

by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian

It’s that time of year when the lists of the best books of the year come out, most of them before December 1st.  I suppose they are published so early so that you can use them as guides for buying Christmas gifts.  As a person who orders books for four libraries all year long, I love to compare these lists to the choices I’ve made, as well as to each other; in the end, there’s not much consensus on what’s really the best.  It is fun to see which books end up on multiple lists, though – there must be something great about them!

The one book that I keep seeing on one list after another is Educated by Tara Westover.  Amazon named it the best book of 2018.  Most places don’t choose just one top book, but the memoir also ended up on the New York Times, Time Magazine, Oprah Magazine, Real Simple, Publishers Weekly, Reader’s Digest, Library Journal, and NPR lists of the best books of the year, often on their top ten.  I think I’m going to have to read this one with the adult book club once it isn’t being checked out constantly.  It has been one of our library system’s most popular books this year.

In her memoir, Westover tells the story of growing up in a survivalist family in the mountains of Idaho.  She was so isolated that she didn’t get an education, but she taught herself enough math and grammar to be admitted to college, which was a path out of her dysfunctional family.  She eventually earned a PhD from Cambridge University, completely changing her life.

The Line Becomes a River: Dispatches from the Border is another memoir that is appearing on multiple best-of lists.  Author Francisco Cantú is the grandson of a Mexican immigrant, the son of a park ranger in the American Southwest, and himself a former Border Patrol agent.  He found the Border Patrol work dehumanizing and left it, but when an immigrant friend disappeared after traveling to Mexico to visit family, he found himself needing to find out more about what happened.  Reviewers describe the writing as no-nonsense but beautiful. The subject of the book is certainly very timely.

There There by Tommy Orange is making the cut for many end-of-the-year lists.  This novel is about urban Native Americans attending the Big Oakland Powwow in Oakland, California.  Orange reveals the reasons each character is attending: to reconnect with family after getting sober, to honor a loved one’s memory, to watch a relative perform, and to perform for the first time after learning the dance on YouTube.  Reviews of the book include words like “masterful,” “groundbreaking,” and “devastating.”  Orange is a professor and an enrolled member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma; this is his first novel.

Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup is a nonfiction book that’s appearing on many of the year-end lists.  Wall Street Journal reporter John Carreyrou originally broke the story of the fraud that was being committed by the company Theranos.  He and the newspaper were threatened with lawsuits but they continued to investigate what turned out to be the biggest corporate fraud since Enron: founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes was lying to investors and the FDA, raising billions of dollars of investment capital for a technology that didn’t work.  Carreyrou tells the whole story in this book.

These books are available at the Litchfield Library, along with many others you may see on gift guides and best-of-2018 lists. 

Friday, November 23, 2018

Santa Claus is Comin' to Town!

By Jan Pease

First, I have to tell you some great news.  Santa is visiting the library Thursday night, December 6th from 5:30-7:00.  He will read a story at 6:30 and lead us in singing his special song, “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.”  We missed having him in 2017, so I’m extra-excited about his visit this year.  There will be plenty of time to take a great picture of your kids with Santa, and I guarantee that they will enjoy the story time. 

Blame it on years of working in libraries and bookstores, but I just realized that the books I want to tell you about can be alphabetized, A,B,C,D, and E, but only if you use their titles.

For A, we have “Auntie Luce’s Talking Paintings,” by Francie Latour.  This colorful book tells the story of a young girl who visits her Auntie Luce every summer.  She discovers the wonders of painting and learns about her family and the history of Haiti through her aunt’s talent. 

For B, we have “Blue,” by Laura Vaccaro Seeger.  This gorgeous book celebrates both the relationship of a boy and his dog and the many shades of blue. 

For C, we have “Carmela Full of Wishes,” by Matt de la Peña.  This sweet book gives a glimpse into the lives of family members who work hard and love deeply.   Mr. de la Peña also writes young adult novels.

For D, we have “Dragons in a Bag,” by Zetta Elliott.  This book introduces a new series, as we meet a boy named Jaxon who has a special errand to perform for the somewhat scary woman who raised his mom.  He has to deliver a bag full of baby dragons to a magical place, but he can’t let them out of the bag or feed them anything sweet.  Of course he does both. 

And for E, we have “Elbow Grease,” by John Cena.  He is best known for being a WWE wrestler.  He also acts, does voices in animated films, and now he’s written a book.  Elbow Grease is a small monster truck that wants to compete with the full-sized monster trucks in a Demolition Derby.  Will the little guy persevere and show the big trucks he can do it?  Is John Cena famous?

These children’s fiction books can be found at Litchfield library in alphabetical order by author’s last name.  If that seems confusing, just ask a staff member for a little help.  See you at the library!

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Closed for Thanksgiving

Pioneerland libraries will be closed on Thursday, 11/22/18, for Thanksgiving.  We will be open regular hours the rest of the week.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Winter Is Here. Yes, It Is.

by  Jan Pease

“Winter is Here.”  Yes, it is.  Kevin Henkes’  new book is about a very timely topic. As we watch the snow arrive, the library gives a great vista facing east and west.  In “Winter is Here,” Mr. Henkes  writes,

“The dog is bounding.

The squirrels are scurrying.

The birds are huddling.

The children are slipping, digging, skating, building, sledding . . .
Why is this all happening?
It’s winter!

Winter is here!”

This sweet book might help you face the next 6 months with a cheerful attitude.

“A Parade of Elephants,” also by Kevin Henkes, is a book you can judge by its cover.  A parade of elephants marches up, down and around.  This is another cheerful picture that can help relieve winter doldrums.

Jim Arnosky is famous for writing and illustrating books about nature and animals.  He asks, “Why?” in his new book, “Look at Me.”  Why do some animals change color, grow huge horns or antlers, or stretch or puff up their skin.  One can imagine that looking fierce or protective might give an animal some defense if attacked, but what about a peacock’s enormous tail?

“We are Grateful: Otsaliheliga” pronounced (oh-jah-LEE-hay-lee-gah) is a book written by Traci Sorell.  She is an enrolled citizen of the Cherokee Nation and lives in northeastern Oklahoma. This picture book gives a glimpse of Cherokee life in both ancient and modern times, but it is written on a level children can understand.   Ms. Sorell teaches us that the Cherokee people are grateful for all the elements of life throughout the year.  The Cherokee nation developed its own written language and Ms. Sorell   includes words in Cherokee and written in the Cherokee alphabet created by Sequoyah.                                          
Mo Willems has another series out, “Unlimited Squirrels.”  He reaches new heights of silliness, even including a corny (  I get it, a-corn y)  joke at the end.  “I Lost My Tooth” is the newest book in the “Unlimited Squirrels” series.   A squirrel loses one of his  teeth  and his friends try to help him.  Then they all chime in on the corny jokes.    Here is an example of one of Mr. Willems’  jokes; Question: “What do you call a bear with no  teeth?” Answer:  “A gummy bear!”

Finally, because the world needs more “Pete the Cat” books, I give you “Pete the Kitty and the Baby Animals.”   Pete the Kitty is about as cool as Pete the Cat, but he’s much shorter. 

I don’t know what else to say, except, “see you at the library!”


Friday, November 2, 2018

Let's Get Down to Business

by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian

Business books are often on the bestseller lists, but oddly enough they aren’t very popular at the Litchfield Library.  I’ve always put those two pieces of information together and guessed that the people in our city who are the most interested in the latest business books are people who buy books instead of visiting the library. Nevertheless, we do offer books about business.  Some are like self-help books – encouragement and guidance for entrepreneurs and executives.  Some analyze industries or business history or economics.  Our library has several recent books that fall under the category of business.

Dare to Lead: Brave Work, Tough Conversations, Whole Hearts is Brene Brown’s newest.  Unlike her others, this one is a business book - more specifically, a book about leadership.  It’s a current bestseller.  Brown has worked with Facebook, Pixar, the Air Force, Google, and other large organizations when doing her research, and this book is the result of a seven-year study on leadership. Brown says that leadership isn’t about status and power; it’s about responsibility, courage, and developing the abilities of the people you manage. 

Atomic Habits: Tiny Changes, Remarkable Results is a new book by James Clear, an expert on habit formation.  This is another current bestseller.  Clear says that motivation isn’t the main factor in breaking bad habits or starting new ones; setting up an environment for success often matters more.  He addresses procrastination, motivation at work, and how to apply his ideas to business. 

Capitalism in America: A History is Alan Greenspan and Adrian Wooldridge’s new book on economics.   Greenspan is well known as the chair of the Federal Reserve from 1987 to 2006, and Wooldridge is a writer for The Economist as well as a historian.  The book examines the history of business and increasing prosperity in the United States.  The Financial Times describes the book as having three themes: productivity as the measure of economic progress, the pairing of creation and destruction as the sources of growth, and political reaction to creative destruction. 

Thank You for Shopping: The Golden Age of Minnesota Department Stores is a brand-new book from Minnesota Historical Society Press.  Author Kristal Leebrick delivers a nostalgic look back at the twentieth century glory days of stores like Dayton’s, Donaldson’s, Powers, and Young-Quinlan.  These stores were destinations: Dayton’s Christmas displays and flower shows and meals at Schuneman’s River Room were special occasions. The book is illustrated with vintage photos and ads, and it even includes recipes from the stores’ restaurants.  The Mill City Museum is running a companion exhibit of photos from mid-November through February.

The book Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Company that Addicted America is a critical examination of the corporate origins of the current opioid crisis.  Author and journalist Beth Macy investigated how the introduction of OxyContin in 1996 was handled irresponsibly by Purdue Pharma; the company aggressively promoted the drug to physicians through all-expenses-paid symposia and a large salesforce that individually targeted doctors who frequently prescribed opioids.  Macy then traces the spread of the addiction epidemic from the first dealer in a small Virginia town to the widespread problem we have today, crossing class and geographic lines. 

Other books we have that are currently on the New York Times business best sellers list are Leadership in Turbulent Times by Doris Kearns Goodwin, Bad Blood by John Carreyrou, Grit by Angela Duckworth, and Principles by Ray Dalio. 

The public library isn’t only about novels and children’s books, although we do have great collections of those.  When you want to read a business-related book, remember that the library carries those, too. 

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

No story time October 31

The library will not be having a story time on Wednesday, October 31.  Join us for Toddler Time next Wednesday at 10:15!

Friday, October 26, 2018

Just Enough Information

By Jan Pease

Children are curious.  They ask questions.    A few weeks ago a little girl asked me about the “crack”  in my chest: the scar from heart valve surgery in 2010. Sometimes it’s difficult to know how to answer those innocent questions.  I just said that it was from when my doctor fixed my heart.  She didn’t need to hear about wired ribs and tubes being pulled out! 

 Child’s World has just published a set of books that show children and adults coping with daily life while dealing with issues like autism, arthritis, diabetes, spina bifida, cancer, food allergies, and other difficulties.  Jeanne Marie Ford, who writes for television and teaches college English, wrote  
these books, which are brightly illustrated and give just enough information.

As I look back at our summer, I remember instances dealing with young people that turned into confrontation, basically problems respecting library staff, the library building, and other library patrons.  A new nonfiction series from Child’s World, “Respect,” was written by T.M. Merk, an elementary educator.  This series, with titles like “Being Bella,” and “Journey to Joy’s House,” looks at topics such as respecting authority, respecting property, and respecting yourself.    

I finally have a drawing book at my level!  We purchased several books in a new drawing series by Susan Kesselring, “Five Steps to Drawing …” The pictures are broken down into five steps; steps one through four establish the outline, and step five is always  to add color.  You basically copy each step and see what happens.  I managed to draw a lion using the ideas from “Five Steps to Drawing Zoo Animals.” My lion is smiling and doesn’t look like a penguin, so it must be successful.     I think the most popular item in the series will be the book about drawing “Machines at Work.” 

Mary Lindeen, a former elementary teacher who writes and edits books, has written a series titled “Continents of the World.”   Small amounts of general information and gorgeous photos are paired to give a glimpse into each part of our world.    Again, just enough information is provided.    


When I started working here in 1991 (insert surprised emoji) I remember that our juvenile nonfiction was dated and not very attractive. Illustrations were often black and white.   A lot of books sat on the shelf for years without being checked out.   Our juvenile nonfiction   today is attractive, up to date, and books seem to fly off the shelves.  Many children get impatient with fiction and like to learn about real places, people, and animals.  Many books now include information for further reading.  Websites are suggested for further exploration and full-color photographs are now the norm.  It’s a good time to be alive and reading!


Friday, October 19, 2018

Reading about Laura Ingalls Wilder

by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian

Minnesotans love Laura Ingalls Wilder.  She was a Minnesotan for part of her childhood, so On the Banks of Plum Creek is set here.  Personally, I love the window into history that Laura’s well-written children’s books give us. 

 Pioneerland libraries are bringing in a Laura Ingalls Wilder interactive history performer between late October and Thanksgiving.  Historian Melanie Stringer acts the part of Laura in the mid-1890s, when she, Almanzo, and their young daughter Rose had settled on Rocky Ridge Farm in Missouri.  Stringer has studied Wilder extensively, and she travels the country presenting Laura as she might have been after she had lived through the events in her books but before she became a writer.

The programs in Meeker County are happening in early November.  Our first “Meet Laura Ingalls Wilder” program will be in the community room behind the Grove City Library on Friday, November 2, at 6:00 p.m.  The event at the Litchfield Library will be on Wednesday, November 7, at 6:00 p.m.  Cosmos Library hosts its program in the community room next to the library on Thursday, November 8, at 10:00 a.m.  And Dassel Library’s program will be held upstairs at the Dassel History Center and Ergot Museum at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, November 10.  All are free to attend, funded with assistance from the Clean Water, Land, & Legacy Amendment, and there’s no need to sign up.

So what can you check out at the library if you want to learn more about Laura before or after the events?  We have many things to choose from.  We have the Little House series itself in the children’s department, including some in audiobook format – good for a family road trip.

The library has the recent adult novel Caroline: Little House, Revisited by Sarah Miller.  This popular book imagines the story of the Ingalls family from the perspective of Ma Ingalls.  If you’ve ever thought about what Caroline must have gone through every time Charles decided to move the family, this may be a book you’d enjoy.

The recent non-fiction book for adults, The World of Laura Ingalls Wilder: The Frontier Landscapes That Inspired the Little House Books, takes a nature-focused approach to understanding the series.  Author Marta McDowell deeply researched the locations featured in the novels, and she details the landscapes, wild plants, and gardens from each place.  The book is full of illustrations and maps. 

Caroline Fraser won the 2018 Pulitzer Prize in Biography for her book Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder.  This comprehensive historical biography of Wilder is based on unpublished manuscripts, letters, diaries, and land and financial records.  Fraser demonstrates that Wilder’s life was even more difficult than her books show, despite the hardships they describe.

I just finished reading Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography, the bestselling book that the South Dakota Historical Society published in 2014.  It was Wilder’s first crack at writing down her life story, and it demonstrated to me how good she was as a novelist.  As she revised the stories multiple times, Wilder fictionalized some characters and events, and she made her word choices more vivid, which made the novels suspenseful and moving.  This scholarly book also makes it clear that Laura wrote the books and had good instincts for them, and her daughter Rose did not.

If you are enthusiastic about Laura like I am, or if you just want to learn more about the realities of pioneer history, come to one of our programs.  If none of the dates in our county work for you, check out the whole Pioneerland schedule on our website, because Melanie will be performing in Hutchinson, Atwater, and in many other communities in the region.