When I was as little as I can remember, and looked shockingly similar to the little girl you see in this space each day, I loved to listen in as my father and mother read the Little House on the Prairie books to my older brothers and sisters. As I got older I listened more and more to these beloved stories and as the older children finished the last book we started all over again, this time reading to myself and my younger brothers and sisters. My parents took turns reading, though to be perfectly honest I mostly remember my Dad reading. Perhaps this is because my mother was always reading to us and her turns reading the Little House Books just blend into the million other stories she read. Though when my Dad read he always skipped over the descriptions of the dresses…”too much about bodices” he says! Even his editing is held close to the hearts of our family as we reminisce about the treasured time spent reading these stories together. They became such an integral part of our childhood. We became Laura, Mary, and Almonzo…living and making decisions that would create a life to be valued as their lives are valued. These books provided infinite launching points for further study and learning. They truly are magnificent.
We recently finished reading E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web, another childhood classic, to our little girl. When we finished and started discussing what to read next we landed on Little House in the Big Woods, the first of Laura Ingalls Wilders classics. I was not expecting what it would mean to start reading these favorite books to my own children. I was a bit overcome with the connection to my own childhood, my own parents, and my own treasured experience reading these books when I was her age. And I was a bit overcome with excitement for her as she begins a journey through another little girls life that holds so much richness and experience to learn from. Yes…it was no insignificant moment as I walked across the sunny porch and joined her in the chair to begin what is surely to be a most excellent adventure!