Books to Read
Arrington, Frances. Bluestem. Philomel Books, 2000.
With their father away and their mother traumatized by the death of
a child, eleven-year-old Polly and her younger sister are left to
take care of themselves and their prairie homestead.
Conrad, Pam. Prairie Songs. Harper & Row, 1985.
A young pioneer wife has difficulty adjusting to the harsh conditions
of life on the prairie, and becomes totally unable to cope after a
MacLachlan, Patricia. Sarah, Plain and Tall. Harper &
In the late 19th century a widowed Midwestern farmer with two children
advertises for a wife, but when she arrives from Maine, she has trouble
adjusting to life on the farm.
Turner, Ann W. Grasshopper Summer. Macmillan, 1989.
A boy and his family move from Kentucky to the southern Dakota Territory
in 1874, where harsh conditions and a plague of hungry grasshoppers
threaten their chances for survival.
Van Leeuwen, Jean. Nothing Here But Trees. Dial Books, 1998.
A close-knit pioneer family carves out a new home in Ohio in the early
Wilder, Laura Ingalls. On the Banks of Plum Creek. Cadmus,
Laura and her family live in a dugout in Minnesota and face misfortunes
caused by floods, blizzards, and grasshoppers.
Bial, Raymond. Frontier Home. Houghton, 1993.
Describes the challenges that settlers faced when creating a new home
on the prairie.
Gillespie, Sarah. A Pioneer Farm Girl: The Diary of Sarah Gillespie,
1877-1878. Blue Earth Books, 2000.
Excerpts from the diary of Sarah Gillespie, a pioneer in Iowa in the
nineteenth century. Includes activities, photos of artifacts, and
a timeline related to the era.
Greenwood, Barbara. A Pioneer Sampler: The Daily Life of a Pioneer
Family in 1840. Ticknor & Fields, 1995.
A blend of fiction and fact provides a full picture of mid-nineteenth-century
Isaacs, Sally Senzell. Life on a Pioneer Homestead. Heinemann,
An overview of life on a pioneer homestead including building a home,
cooking, clothing, schools, and everyday activities.
Kalman, Bobbie. Pioneer Recipes. Crabtree, 2000.
An illustrated cookbook that features recipes from the many immigrant
groups who settled in the Midwest. Describes how pioneers prepared
their meals and gives step-by-step instructions on preparing recipes.
Patent, Dorothy Hinshaw. Homesteading: Settling American's Heartland.
Describes the activities of homesteaders who settled the prairies
during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Includes
building a home, starting a farm, and surviving on the prairie.
Toht, David. W. Sodbuster. Lerner, 1996.
Includes quotes from pioneers' diaries, verses from songs, old-time
remedies, games, and recipes. Presents the hardships, as well as the
good times, of pioneer life.
Warren, Andrea. Pioneer Girl: Growing Up on the Prairie. Morrow,
Describes the daily life and activities of a pioneer girl growing
up on the prairies of Nebraska in the late 1800s. Includes living
in a soddy, collecting buffalo chips for fuel, battling prairie fires,
learning to quilt, surviving a drought, teaching school, and becoming
a rancher's wife.