Today is Laura Ingalls Wilder's birthday. She was born in Wisconsin in the year 1867. So technically, today marks her 143rd birthday. I don't know about you, but as a child, I felt a very strong connection to Laura Ingalls. I loved her book series and I never missed the television show. It didn't help that Melissa Gilbert, who played Laura on the show, looked exactly like me. It's almost freaky when I see pictures because we could have passed as twins, all the way down to the freckles and braids.
There is a lot of controversy as to who actually wrote the Little House book series. Some say Laura did, others say her daughter did. At this point, it doesn't matter to me. The books are classics and I think every child should read them, especially American children so they can learn what life was like for the pioneers. My girls loved the books and have read them over and over. My boys haven't read them yet, and even though they're traditionally looked upon as books for girls, I know my boys would like them too.
Ironically, it's said that the first drafts of the Little House books were initially turned down by an agent because they lacked drama. I don't know about that -- there's a lot of drama in them between the animals, the Indians, the fear of freezing to death, and so forth. Because of those things, that's why I believe these stories appeal to boys just as they do to girls. One of these days I'm going to get myself over to Laura Ingalls Wilder's home in Missouri.
Laura said the reason she wrote her books was to preserve the stories of her childhood for the children of today to help them understand how much America had changed during her lifetime. Just think about how much it changed during her lifetime alone. Now think about how much things have changed since the 1800s. Today's kids look like they have cell phones surgically attached to their hands, with earbuds and iPods dangling elsewhere on their bodies. I'm always taken back when I remember in one of Laura's books how she got her very own tin cup for Christmas. Yes, a tin cup! She was so happy because she no longer had to share cups with her sister. Kids today have so much. Many have no idea what it would be like to have to do without even the simplest things -- like their own cup.