Bonnets and dreams of the West

What children’s book or character left an impression on me? When I think back on my reading as a child I do not recall many children’s books. I read Sacajawea in the fifth grade, Romeo and Juliet in eighth grade (on my own), and was often found tucked away in the seemingly forgotten corner of the library where all the great poets were waiting to woo me with their prose.

I do recall reading the entire Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder over and over. Laura had such a challenging and exciting life. She was a free spirit, never stuck in one place for very long. I loved traveling with her family from the woods of Wisconsin to  Kansas to Minnesota to South Dakota. The family stood by each other. No matter how bad things got they were there for each other and they did not give up. It seemed that giving up was not something the knew how to do.

I wanted so much to be like Laura that I made homemade butter for Thanksgiving dinner one year. My dad bought me a bonnet on a trip to the Amana colonies, a bonnet that was often dangling from the strings down my back as I ran around the farm and through the fields. When winter came and blizzards hit I would pick up The Long Winter and realize how easy I had it. Knowing what Laura and her family had gone through made me appreciate the things that I had even more than I already did.

The stories are classics. I gifted my daughter a copy of the entire series when she was nine. I read the books out loud to my children. Letting them experience what it was like to travel to unsettled territory.

This series is the one that stuck the most even through to adulthood.

What children’s book left an impression on you?


About Angela Schroeder

Angela Schroeder is a single mother of three. She was born and raised in Iowa in a river town known for its pearl buttons. Having four siblings, she never lacked for someone to play with. As she grew older, she found herself pulled into books and writing more and more. Her parents are her heroes, her siblings her confidants and tormentors, and her children are a wonderful blessing. Church is important to her children and her. They enjoy the friendships they’ve made with the people there. Writing has always been a passion. Her first experience was in fifth grade when she went to a one-day writing conference. After that she knew it was something she wanted to pursue.
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8 Responses to Bonnets and dreams of the West

  1. I discovered the Little House books when I was about eight and our class teacher insisted on having some new classroom books to replace the ancient ones NO child would ever want to read! I couldn’t get enough of them, read them to my daughter when she was younger, and I still pick them up from time to time. I re-read The Long Winter last year and yes, it certainly makes you think twice before complaining!


  2. I never read the Little House books when I was a child, but I read them with my sons when they were 6-8 (ish). I thoroughly enjoyed them. When we got to “Farm Boy”, my boys certainly realized how good THEY had it! I suppose, since I was older, that I was more awe-struck by the idea of the parents to take off so often to travel so far away from everyone and every thing…and how precarious their situation was so much of the time.Had any of the near-tragedies come through and Pa Ingalls had been hurt badly for fallen ill …or died, the thought of the woman and those three little girls alone in the wilderness always makes me shudder!


  3. jeff7salter says:

    I never read that series, but I enjoyed watching the early season or two of that TV show. And I really liked the TV movie (I guess it may have been the pilot episode).
    I also read a bio of Sacajewa when I was in 4th or 5th grade!


  4. Patricia Kiyono says:

    I remember spending a lot of time in the library, too! And I loved all the Little House books, but I didn’t have a pioneer bonnet. I do remember liking the long skirts and asking my mother to make me one, but that’s about the ONLY thing I would have liked from that era – that, and the fun family times. And like Jeff, I enjoyed the TV series, too!


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