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Scary stuff in the Little House Books

We all want to shield our children from things that frighten them. Unfortunately, there seems to be no letup to the tragedies and disasters that give us all nightmares. We may seek escape from the events of the day in books, especially books set in other times. […]

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Why Miss Teets Banned the Little House Books

Why Miss Teets Banned the Little House Books

 Anita Johnson was my beloved second grade teacher. I remember her as a sweet southern lady with a marvelous singing voice. One of the best things about her was that she read Little House in the Big Woods aloud for story time. Once, she let me read […]

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Lessons from Laura: Creating Nellie Oleson

“She’s my Nellie Oleson.” We all had a childhood nemesis—the bratty kid who tried to get us in trouble, foiled our plans, stole our friends. My Nellie Oleson was a bossy know-it-all who lived down the street. Every time she deigned to play with the neighborhood girls, […]

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Lessons from Laura: The evolution of the Little House books

Lessons from Laura: The evolution of the Little House books

Laura Ingalls Wilder submitted her autobiography, Pioneer Girl, to literary agents in 1930. The factual account of her life was intended for adult readers and it languished, failing to find favor with publishers until she re-worked part of the story into a shorter volume for children, entitled […]

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Understood Betsy: Children’s classic resonates today

Understood Betsy: Children’s classic resonates today

Thirty-five years ago, I bought a copy of Understood Betsy and two Nancy Drew mysteries at a yard sale.  The mystery stories were like so many others I’d read, and now the plots are long-forgotten. But I always remembered Betsy. Nine-year-old Elizabeth Ann is an orphan, who […]

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Harrowing Road Trips Then and Now

Christopher C. Baldwin was en route to Zanesville, Ohio, on business for the American Antiquarian Society in Worcester, Mass., when he became Ohio’s first traffic fatality. On August 20, 1835, Baldwin was riding out front with the stagecoach driver, and, while passing a drove of hogs on […]

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More from the Footnote Files: The Ohio Penitentiary as a Labor Force

More from the Footnote Files: The Ohio Penitentiary as a Labor Force

I did a LOT of research before I began to write Fips, Bots, Doggeries, and More.  A lot of the interesting stuff I learned about the 1830s never made it into the book, and now, hooray! I have a blog on which to share. Today’s essay is […]

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Bridges and Connections and How We Make ’em

Bridges and Connections and How We Make ’em

Recently, I was talking with another aspiring novelist at a networking event, and she asked,   “Do you write scenes for your novel out of order, then connect them later?” Well, yeah…often I can picture every detail of a scene so clearly that I feel compelled to write […]

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The Footnote Files

The Footnote Files

I spent twenty years researching and learning about everyday life in the 1830s for my book, Fips, Bots, Doggeries, and More, and in the process, I dredged up a great deal of information that didn’t make it into the finished book! So in this and future posts, […]

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