Welcome to Walnut Grove!
Whether you are a new fan of Laura Ingalls Wilder, or you have been a fan
for many years, we are glad that you are here! Within the materials and resources
that we have created and collected, we focus on Laura’s book “On the Banks of Plum Creek”, and the Ingalls family’s time in Walnut Grove.
Both of us are Walnut Grove natives who have gone into the teaching field
and work at schools near Walnut Grove. We have both been involved in “Fragments of a Dream,” an outdoor Pageant (theater production) that really brings Laura’s book to life. Each summer, volunteers band together to put on the show, and each year seems to get better than the year before! For more information, including dates and ticket information, please go to https://walnutgrove.org/pageant/. This website will also have information about other events and activities in Walnut Grove and the Walnut Grove area. School groups and school tours are always welcome at the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum in Walnut Grove!
We plan on continuing to develop materials for teachers to use when teaching about “On the Banks of Plum Creek”, so be sure to check back in as more materials and resources will continue to be added!
Thanks for checking us out!
– Shalayna Knapper & Daniel De Smith
Let’s put it into context…
The “Little House” books by Laura Ingalls Wilder have been a long time favorite of
children and adults across the country, as well as around the world. Laura tells a story of life on the frontier and shares stories and recollections of a time that seems almost foreign to most of us today.
Laura Ingalls was born in Pepin, Wisconsin on February 7, 1867. At this point, her family consists of her “Pa” (Charles), “Ma” (Caroline), and older sister, Mary. Later, the Ingalls family will add two more daughters, Carrie, and Grace.
In her first book, “Little House in the Big Woods” , Laura talks about her family’s life living in a log house in the woods of Wisconsin. The story picks up in the book, “Little house on the Prairie”, where Laura tells of the family moving to settle in Kansas. From Kansas, Laura tells us that the family moved to Walnut Grove, Minnesota in 1874 and tells of her life on the Prairie in “On the Banks of Plum Creek”. This is where we will put our focus.
Now, it is important to note that the “Little House” books are considered to be works of historical fiction. While many of the events described in the books are based loosely on Laura Ingalls Wilder’s memories and family history, she did change some details, facts, and timelines to better suit the flow and formatting of these stories. These changes were also done to make the books more appropriate for young readers.
Another important fact to note is that the “Little House” books were published between 1932 and 1943, with some being published after her death in 1957. Laura was writing these books looking back in her memories almost 60 years after the events that she is recounting. The language and terminology used in her writings are different than what would have been used in the 1800’s, but is also quite different that the language and terminology that we use today.
As you prepare to read “On the Banks of Plum Creek” with your students, take some time to look into what life would have been like for the pioneers in the 1870’s. This would be a great opportunity to get your students involved. Think of different aspects of life (school, community, entertainment, household chores, etc.) and have your students do an activity researching what these would have looked like and then compare and contrast with what they like to do now. Of
course, you may choose to do a different activity to help set the stage for your classroom trip back in time to Walnut Grove, Minnesota.