Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography

by Website Editors | May 1, 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 Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography.


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Author: Laura Ingalls Wilder
Editor: Pamela Smith-Hill
Publisher: South Dakota State Historical Society Press (December 30, 2014)

Follow the real Laura Ingalls and her family as they make their way west and discover that truth is as remarkable as fiction. Hidden away since the 1930s, Laura Ingalls Wilder’s never-before-published autobiography reveals the true stories of her pioneering life. Some of her experiences will be familiar; some will be a surprise. Pioneer Girl re-introduces readers to the woman who defined the pioneer experience for millions of people around the world.

Through her recollections, Wilder details the Ingalls family’s journey from Kansas, Missouri, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, back to Minnesota, and on to Dakota Territory sixteen years of travels, unforgettable stories, and the everyday people who became immortal through her fiction. Using additional manuscripts, diaries, and letters, Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography builds on Wilder’s work by adding valuable context and explores her growth as a writer. Author of an award-winning Laura Ingalls Wilder biography, editor Pamela Smith Hill offers new insights into Wilder’s life and times.

In an introduction, Hill illuminates Wilder’s writing career and the dynamic relationship between the budding novelist and her daughter and editor, Rose Wilder Lane. Sharing the story of Wilder s original manuscript, Hill discusses the catalysts for Pioneer Girl and the process through which Wilder’s story turned from an unpublished memoir into the national phenomenon of the Little House series. Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography also explores the history of the frontier that the Ingalls family traversed and the culture and life of the communities Wilder lived in.

This groundbreaking volume develops a fuller picture of Wilder’s life and times for the millions of readers who wish to learn more about this important American author. It contains one hundred and twenty-five images, eight fully researched maps, and hundreds of annotations based on numerous primary sources, including census data, county, state, and federal records, and newspapers of the period. An important historic and literary achievement, this annotated edition of Pioneer Girl provides modern readers with new insights into the woman behind the fictional classics Little House in the Big Woods, Farmer Boy, Little House on the Prairie, On the Banks of Plum Creek, By the Shores of Silver Lake, The Long Winter, Little Town on the Prairie, These Happy Golden Years, and The First Four Years.

About the Author: Laura Ingalls Wilder
Laura Ingalls Wilder was born in 1867 in the log cabin described in Little House in the Big Woods. She and her family traveled by covered wagon across the Midwest. Later, Laura and her husband, Almanzo Wilder, made their own covered-wagon trip with their daughter, Rose, to Mansfield, Missouri. There, believing in the importance of knowing where you began in order to appreciate how far you’ve come, Laura wrote about her childhood growing up on the American frontier. For millions of readers, Laura lives on forever as the little pioneer girl in the beloved Little House books.

About the Editor: Pamela Smith-Hill
Pamela Smith Hill is the editor of Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography (2014) and three historical novels for young adults: Ghost Horses, The Last Grail Keeper, and Voice from the Border. She has taught creative and professional writing at universities in Oregon, Washington, and Colorado, as well as a course on Laura Ingalls Wilder through Missouri State University. She grew up forty miles from Rocky Ridge Farm, launched her writing career not far from De Smet, and now lives and works in Portland, Oregon.

Pick up your own copy of Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography here.

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  1. This book is very intense at times and very informative..

  2. How much is the book were can I get it. Love the show watch all the time in reruns I have not yet found it on DVD.

    • You can find the complete dvd series at Amazon but I think they have a new improved set on dvd. I got mine years ago buying one season at a time.

  3. I got this book last year for Christmas!!! I still haven’t finished it because i read and reread each section several times just to understand it all. A couple of years ago I got to go to Pepin, then the Little House site, and to Burr Oak. It was such a fun trip. I loved seeing the places they lived and the artifacts from her life. Next time I visit I will go to Walnut Grove for sure! Thank you for sharing in this life long obsession we all have with Laura and her family.

  4. I love the story of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s and on my bucket list I hope to visit the places that she has traveled and to see her grave I am truly amazed.


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