From Little Houses to Little Women: Revisiting A Literary Childhood

by Website Editors | Jun 6, 2017

Our Recommended Reading for Children & Young Adults and Recommended Reading for Adults articles have been popular resources for readers interested in Laura Ingalls Wilder and Little House on the Prairie. Here is a brief overview of From Little Houses to Little Women: Revisiting A Literary Childhood.


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Author: Nancy McCabe
Publisher: University of Missouri Press (December 9, 2014)

A typical travel book takes readers along on a trip with the author, but a great travel book does much more than that, inviting readers along on a mental and spiritual journey as well. This distinction is what separates Nancy McCabe’s From Little Houses to Little Women from the typical and allows it to take its place not only as a great travel book but also as a memoir about the children’s books that have shaped all of our imaginations.  McCabe, who grew up in Kansas just a few hours from the Ingalls family’s home in Little House on the Prairie, always felt a deep connection with Laura Ingalls Wilder, author of the Little House series. McCabe read Little House on the Prairie during her childhood and visited Wilder sites around the Midwest with her aunt when she was thirteen. She didn’t read the series again until she decided to revisit in adulthood the books that had so influenced her childhood. It was this decision that ultimately sparked her desire to visit the places that inspired many of her childhood favorites, taking her on a journey that included stops in the Missouri of Laura Ingalls Wilder, the Minnesota of Maud Hart Lovelace, the Massachusetts of Louisa May Alcott, and even the Canada of Lucy Maud Montgomery.  From Little Houses to Little Women reveals McCabe’s powerful connection to the characters and authors who inspired many generations of readers. Traveling with McCabe as she rediscovers the books that shaped her and ultimately helped her to forge her own path, readers will enjoy revisiting their own childhood favorites as well.

About the Author: Nancy McCabe
Nancy McCabe is the author of four memoirs about a range of topics: adoption and heritage; violence against women, memory, and creativity; travel, childhood, reading, and children’s literature. Her previous books include After the Flashlight Man: A Memoir of Awakening (Purdue 2003) about which Lee Martin writes, “Nancy McCabe makes plain, with stunning grace and strength, the redemptive power of story.” Publisher’s Weekly says of her second book, Meeting Sophie: A Memoir of Adoption (Missouri 2003), “As a new mother and grieving daughter, McCabe struggles poignantly and triumphantly to maintain her own identity as she creates her place within family. Her tale will be familiar and inspiring to those interested in delving into their own family relations, as well as to single women considering adoption.” And finally, Crossing the Blue Willow Bridge: A Journey to my Daughter’s Birthplace in China (Missouri 2011) was described in Adoption Today as “wonderfully entertaining, serious at the right moments, sensitive and compassionate enough to give it heart, humorous and honest enough to make it real.” Nancy’s essays have won a Pushcart prize and made the Best American Essays Notable List five times.

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