Laura Ingalls Wilder Lesson for Kids: Biography & Facts

Instructor: Jenny Homer

Jenny has masters' degrees in public health and public administration.

This lesson talks about the author Laura Ingalls Wilder. Learn about her life as a pioneer moving west in America and how she used these experiences to write her books.

Who is Laura Ingalls Wilder?

Can you imagine being a kid and moving with your family to a place where very few people are living? You don't know what you'll find on your trip or who you'll meet. It's long before computers, telephones, and cars have been invented, and there are all sorts of dangers, such as disease, wild animals, bad storms, and run-ins with Native Americans.

This was the experience of Laura Ingalls Wilder and her family as they moved west in America in the late 1800s. They were pioneers, some of the first to settle the area. Laura Ingalls Wilder took the stories from her childhood and wrote them as part of a series for kids called the Little House books. Millions have read these books.

Little House on the Prairie was published in 1935.

Laura Ingalls Wilder's Life

Laura Elizabeth Ingalls Wilder was born in a log cabin near Pepin, Wisconsin, on February 7, 1867. Her father wanted to find a place where the family could earn a living.

Laura, back center, with her parents and sisters.

Today we would go by car or airplane, but in those days Laura traveled in a covered wagon with her parents and three sisters. They stopped in Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, and Minnesota, and finally built a house in what is now South Dakota. American settlers would get land for free to build a house. Laura's mom made their clothes, and they all worked very hard. They also met Native Americans.

The Ingalls family traveled in a covered wagon.

When she was fifteen years old, Laura became a teacher. She married Almanzo James Wilder when she was eighteen. They had a daughter named Rose. It was hard growing crops and earning money. There was sickness, and they did not always have enough food. In 1894, the Wilders moved to Mansfield, Missouri, and stayed there.


It wasn't until Laura Ingalls Wilder was in her sixties that she decided to write about pioneer life. She had been a writer for magazines and newspapers, but hadn't written a book. Laura wrote her books in pencil. Her daughter Rose helped out.

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