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End of Summer Book Recommendations – 08/11/11

Posted on: Thursday, August 11th, 2011

Our blog this week was an end of summer vacation activity to have the kids think about what they would take on a trip if they were traveling in 1861, 150 years ago.  These book recommendations can be used for some reference material or simply as some fun history reading.

Daily Life in a Covered Wagon by Paul A. Erickson.  This book follows the Larking Family on their journey in 1853 from Indiana to Oregon.  It describes what day to day life was like in a covered wagon as it traveled along the Oregon Trail.  The family traveled over 2,000 miles during their 5 month on the trail.  Excellent illustrations and black and white photos which help provide the visual images to go along with the story.

A Pioneer Sampler: The Daily Life of a Pioneer Family in 1840 by Barbara Greenwood can be enjoyed as much by parents as by children.  The book is about the fictional Robertson family’s activities and describes the details of everyday life on the frontier circa 1840.  The family motto is:

      Eat it up,
      Wear it out,
      Make it do,
      Or go without.

It’s a good reference book on topics such as period clothing, food, schooling, social life, household items, and more.  There are also instructions for simple, fun activities such as growing a potato plant, dyeing fabric using an onion, or making a cardboard jumping jack. The book is also beautifully illustrated.

Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Laura was born in the Wisconsin woods in l867.  She wrote the Little House books based on her own experiences growing up on the Western frontier, just like the characters in her stories.  Laura and her family traveled by covered wagon across the Midwest.  She finally settled down in Mansfield, Missouri, with her husband, Almanzo, where she lived until she was ninety years.  This book was the beginning of the series and chronicles a year of Laura’s life on the frontier.  A truly great and classic read. Follow it up with “Little House on the Prairie”.

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