The first of Laura Ingalls Wilder's "Little House" books was published in April 1932 and, having watched my eight year old granddaughter work her way through the series for the past several months, it's obvious that 75 years later the books still captivate little girls.
April marks the 75th anniversary of the first publication in 1932 of "Little House in the Big Woods." The story of Laura's early life in a cabin in 1860s Wisconsin launched a nine-book series that made Wilder a household name, helped by the hit award-winning TV series "Little House on the Prairie" that ran on NBC from 1974-1983.Honestly, I thought that the books were probably a lot older than this because I didn't realize that Wilder, with lots of editing help from her daughter, Rose, had not published the first of the books until she was in her mid-sixties. It makes me smile to think that my granddaughter's own children will probably be enjoying these same books a couple of decades from now. Good books last forever.
Embraced from the start by America's teachers, the books have been read by or to generations of elementary school kids, which has helped to keep the books in continuous print. The series has sold more than 41 million copies in the United States and been translated into over 40 languages, from German and French to Arabic and Japanese.
The white clapboard farmhouse where Laura and her husband Almanzo spent most of their adult lives stands on a hillside among rolling pastures and woods in the Ozarks of southern Missouri. The couple moved here to raise apples and horses after losing their first farm in South Dakota and briefly living in Florida.
Wilder was already famous, so her home was quickly preserved as a museum after her death in 1957 at age 90.