Pioneer and Prairie Life
By: Katie Bibbiano
English 314

This is an annotated bibliography of children’s literature based on a 4th-5th grade unit on pioneer and prairie life.

Pioneer and Prairie Novels (fiction)

    Lawlor, L. (1991). Addie Across the Prairie.  New York: Aladdin Publishing.

Addie’s family is traveling by wagon to homestead on the vast Dakota territory and Addie soon learns that she has the pioneer spirit.

    Lawlor, L. (1992). Addie’s Dakota Winter.  New York: Aladdin Publishing.

In her new home in the Dakota territory, Addie gains a new friend and learns about courage.

    Lawlor, L. (1994). Addie’s Long Summer.  New York: Aladdin Publishing.

Twelve-year-old Addie eagerly awaits her cousins’ summer visit to her prairie home.

    Wilder, L.I.  (1935). Little House on the Prairie.  New York: Harpercollins.

The adventures of Laura Ingalls and her family continue as they leave their little house in the big woods of Wisconsin and head for Kansas in the family covered wagon.

    Leeuwen, J. (1996). Bound For Oregon.  New York: Puffin Books.

Based on the original accounts of "Mary Ellen Todd’s Oregon trail journey,” this first person novel recounts a family’s adventure as they travel by covered wagon in 1852.

    Turner, A.W. (2000). Grasshopper Summer.  New York: Aladdin Publishing.

In 1874, eleven-year-old Sam and his family move from Kentucky to Southern Dakota territory, where harsh conditions and a plague of hungry grasshoppers threaten their chance for survival.

Pioneer and Prairie Picture Books

     Anderson, W. (1998).  Pioneer Girl: The Story of Laura Ingalls Wilder.  New York: Harpercollins.

This picture book recounts the life story of the author of the Little House books, from her childhood in Wisconsin, to her old age at Rocky Ridge Farm.

    Williams, D. (1996). Grandma Essie’s Covered Wagon.  New York: Knopf Publishing.

Recounting the early experiences of his grandmother, born in 1901, William describes her journey from Missouri to Kansas with a large family in a covered wagon.

    Reynolds, M. (1999). The Prairie Fire.  Custer, WA: Orca Book Publishers.

When a prairie fire nears the family homestead, young Percy shows just how useful he can be.

Pioneer and Prairie Expository Text (non-fiction)

    Greenwood, B. (1995). The Pioneer Sampler.  Boston: Houghton Mifflin Publishing.

This non-fiction book opens a window into the lives of pioneers by giving lots of background information about pioneer life inside of a story about a pioneer family.


    Henry, J.L. (1988). Log Cabin in the Woods: Biography of a Pioneer Boy.  New York: Macmillan Publishing.

This book chronicles the life off eleven-year-old Ollie who is living in a log cabin in Indiana in 1832.  Vivid pictures are used to portray the information presented in the book.

    Anderson, W. (1995). Laura Ingalls Wilder: A Biography.  New York: Harper Collins.

This biography is illustrated with  maps and photos.  It contains information on the author of the Little House books and shows how her life books paralleled her own experience growing up in America’s heartland.

Plains Indians Legends

    Chapman, C. (1995). The Boy Who Loved Bears: A Pawnee Folktale.  New York: Scholastic Books.

In this Plains Indians legend, a young hunter learns the secret of the bear.

Pioneer and Prairie Teaching Resources

    Solski, R. (1987). In Pioneer Days.  Napanee, Ontario: S & S Learning Materials.

This book provides teachers with over 50 activities that pertain to the pioneers.  It also gives lots of reading suggestions and good teaching ideas.

    Read and Respond: Frontier American Literature. (1993).  San Clemente, CA: EduPress.

This book gives read aloud ideas and novel study ideas for units on pioneer and frontier life.  It also contains reproducible and activities to go along with many popular books.

Here are Some Great Informational Sites for Teaching Pioneer and Prairie Life
Laura Ingalls Wilder Home Page
 Laura Ingalls Wilder Webquest

This web page was created on November 26, 2002
Elmhurst College Home Page