Burr Oak Laura Days 2012

Check out this video from Burr Oak about their Laura Days back in 2012.

Sarah's Notebook

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The Laura Ingalls Wilder Park and Museum in Burr Oak, Iowa has put out a video about their most recent event. Put the last weekend in June on your calendar for next year.

I’d like to point out that they are wrong about the games. None of these are games Laura would have played, although they are old-fashioned.

Also, they really should have taken a few second shots of some things. Like when a door opens up and somebody starts to come out and hurriedly backs in, stop shooting and start over. However, it does a nice job showing what the event is like and I think it will make you want to visit next time. I’m especially glad to see they had a stagecoach back which I think is great thing to get a photo of the stagecoach in front of the Masters Hotel. Looking forward to next year.

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July 2020 Presentations Online

Me in front of the screen

I haven’t had online programs for awhile now, but this month I have TWO digital presentations. Check back to find out about new programs.

July 9, 2020 at 10:00 am – Iowa Public Radio Book Club –  Little House on the Prairie – Laura Ingalls Wilder/ Birch Bark House – Louise Erdrich (fiction)
– I’ll be part of the on air book club. It will stream online live. Find all the information about how to stream it.

Saturday, July 11th at 7:00 p.m. (Walnut Grove) Laura’s Prairie Summer:
Episode TWO: Playing Games / Grasshoppers
Interview with Sarah S. Uthoff, a respected authority on Laura Ingalls Wilder, one-room schools, historic foodways, and living history will speak about her many Laura projects. She is a dominant online presence in the Laura Ingalls Wilder World with her Trundlebed Tales site and its many related connections. Uthoff is an active Wilder researcher and a well-known Wilder authority and sought after speaker.

Sarah S. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many times at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. She is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales fighting to bring the History, Mystery, Magic, and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation. How can you help?  Attend one of her programs,  schedule one  yourself,  watch her videos,  listen to her podcast,   look at her photos, and find her  on   Facebook ,   Twitter ,     LinkedIn ,     SlideShare,   and  Academia.edu . Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and former director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

Top 10 Posts During June 2020

Sarah Uthoff in front of Surveyors House 2017
Sarah Uthoff in front of Surveyors House 2017

Here are the blog posts and pages that have had the most views last month. Take a look maybe there is something there that will interest you, too.

Historic Clothes with Micarah Tewers

Laura Ingalls Wilder Summer 2020

Pa’s Beard

In the Kitchen With Laura July 2014

Schedule of Presentations

Guiding Light – Cancellation and Michelle and Danny

Matthew’s Death and Anne of Green Gables Roundup

Gone With the Wind Behind the Scenes

In the Kitchen With Laura Supper vs Dinner

Images Of The Past: Carrie Ingalls Swanzey

Anne of Green Gables Readalong

Laurapalooza Video Diary – Sleepy Eye

Pa’s Bell at Walnut Grove

Sarah S. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many times at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. She is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales fighting to bring the History, Mystery, Magic, and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation. How can you help?  Attend one of her programs,  schedule one  yourself,  watch her videos,  listen to her podcast,   look at her photos, and find her  on   Facebook ,   Twitter ,     LinkedIn ,     SlideShare,   and  Academia.edu . Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and former director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

Farming: Then And Now – An online agriculture lesson

I recently took a class on farming present and past and one of the assignments was to create an online version of the lesson. I chose to do it as blog post. Please come along and join the activities. It’s based on this lesson plan. It assumes Zoom meetings that have groups pre-set up. We won’t have those available, but please watch and join in the rest of the activities.


Segment 1

Farm Bureau: “Farming today is just as important as it was in the past. Farmers have always produced food, but their methods of production change throughout time. Machines make it easier and more efficient to plant, care for, and harvest crops. Machines do a lot of work that people and animals used to do, and they do it faster and more accurately. Before tractors, farmers mainly used horses to help with difficult work. Once tractors became economically feasible for each farmer to own, the number of horses decreased and the number of tractors increased. Farmers today continue to produce the food needed by humans and livestock, as well as producing other resources, just as they did in the past, but with new technology and innovation.”

Although the goals are the same farm life is very different from what it was 100 years ago. In the survey below each question starts with something that would have been done in the past with the second option being something that is done in the present. Complete the survey and see if you’d rather be a farmer now or then!

E-mail me at info@trundlebedtales.com when you’d rather be a farmer.


On Friday afternoon at 2pm we’ll be doing a live Zoom class meeting. We’ll be going through the presentation “Iowa Agriculture: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow.”

After the presentation you’ll be put in Friday group rooms on Zoom to discuss and fill out a Know-Want to Know-Learned diagram. You can draw it and scan it or type it up. Everyone will be expected to turn in the diagram. E-mail it to info@trundlebedtales.com


A farmer’s job is to manage a farm. They may own everything on the farm, they may work for the owner, or they may be contracting growing. Contract growing is owning the farm, but raising things on contract for someone else. There are farmers who raise acres of crops. Crops are plants grown to be sold for use as food or other products. There are also farmers who focus on livestock. Livestock are animals raised on a farm to be sold as food and to make many other products that you use.

The chores or everyday jobs that have to be done on a farm depends on the time of year and what is raised on the farm. On farms that raise crops farmers often use machines that do particular jobs to help them get the most yield. At harvest time, machines like combines are used. A combine gathers a crop and cuts, sorts, and cleans the plant that is being harvested. Yields are the amount produced on a farm each year. Yields are given as per acre. Each acre is 43,560 square feet (a little smaller than a football field).

In your groups we’re going to watch the video and then work with your group to come up with definitions for these terms. Fill them out on the Google doc.

Read: Farming Then & Now by Scott Foresman (We’re going to have to look into how we can share it. We might have to do it live on Zoom.)

Segment 2

Before the next live Zoom watch these 2 videos.

Next up is a vocabulary live quiz. We’re going to have a list of people’s names and vocabulary terms. There will be two sets of each vocabulary word. The instructor will draw one student and one vocabulary word. We’ll go through all the vocabulary twice.

Download two circle Venn Diagram or draw one. Look at comparing farming yesterday and today. As part of our live Zoom we’ll share screen and go through the photo album looking to identify farming yesterday and today. Use this website to explore and help fill out your Venn Diagram.

During this time’s Zoom session, we’ll also bring in farmer Myron XXXXX to answer questions about his farming operation today and how it has changed over the years.

Whether you decide you’d rather be a farmer in the past or in the present, write a 3 paragraph answer explaining your choice.

  • Paragraph 1 : Which answer you’d pick and why you didn’t pick the other option.
  • Paragraph 2: Reasons you answered the way you did.
  • Paragraph 3: Summing up why you feel the way you do.

After you write your reply, e-mail it to info@trundlebedtales.com

Check out these Agriculture Fun Facts.

Find the standards for this lesson at the bottom of this lesson plan.


I hope you have a enjoyed this lesson and found it useful to learn more about agriculture in Iowa.

Mentions June 2020

Sarah in her 1890s dress in set up
Me in the set up

Mentions continue to be slow. If you don’t have speaking engagements, you don’t make a lot of news. I do have one this month. The blog Ups and Downs of Family History V2.0 featured me as their Blog of the Week. I appreciate the shout out. They seem to be a mix of topics blog, too. Give it a look.

Smith, Paul. “Trundlebed Tales – Featured Blogger of the Week June 12, 2020.” Ups and Downs of Family History V2.0, https://upsdownsfamilyhistory.wordpress.com/2020/06/12/kaitlin-h-powell-featured-blogger-of-the-week-june-5-2020 Accessed June 13, 2020.

Sarah S. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many times at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. She is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales fighting to bring the History, Mystery, Magic, and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation. How can you help?  Attend one of her programs,  schedule one  yourself,  watch her videos,  listen to her podcast,   look at her photos, and find her  on   Facebook ,   Twitter ,     LinkedIn ,     SlideShare,   and  Academia.edu . Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and former director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

Laura Ingalls Wilder Summer 2020

Digital Events Updated: July 6, 2020
Scroll Down. They are Listed below the Homesite schedule.
Digital Events Updated: July 8, 2020 
Book Club event postponed until July 9, 2020.

UPDATED July 13, 2020: Follow this link to my Laura Ingalls Wilder fandom 2020 podcast.

I didn’t do a podcast episode this year projecting what was going in Laura Ingalls Wilder fandom this year. — Boy, that was a good call. I wouldn’t have even been close and frankly I don’t know that I know a lot now. Please consider all of this as possible to change. Check directly with any site before you go.

No matter what they’ve ended up doing the museums were forcibly closed a least part of the year in prime school tour time. Like many other institutions they need help. If you have some extra money or you’re looking for something to put part of your stimulus money, any of the homesites could use some money.

Before we get into the official homesite reports, I want to take a moment to point out the biggest on-going Laura Ingalls Wilder event of the year. Starting in March Alison Angrim began reading the “Little House” books on her Facebook page. It’s had a large audience and a good chunk of them are TV show fans so it’s wonderful they’re being exposed to the books. Also, Alison is pointing out the layers of the story which I think some people don’t get.

Pepin, Wisconsin

Starting Friday, June 12 at 10:00 am the museum will be open regular hours will be 10:00 am – 5:00 pm daily (7 days a week). They will also be open July 4th & Labor Day. They are asking guests to wear a face mask and to observe social distance. Hand sanitizing stations will be available.

Laura Days, their yearly festival, has been canceled for this year. Next year’s dates are September 11-12, 2021. There were some changes announced for this year. I think they will all still be in place next year.

Independence, Kansas

Little House on the Prairie opened on June 1st. They encourage patrons to wears masks when inside the buildings. They will also be providing hand sanitizer inside each building to promote the safety of our patrons and employees.

Prairie Days was canceled this year. They will have a special event for Carrie’s 150th Birthday celebration August 1, 2020.

Walnut Grove, Minnesota

The museum opened on Friday, June 19th. They will be open limited days: Wednesday – Sunday 10:00 am – 5:00 pm. Limited Buildings are open. Social Distancing and masks are required.

Their pageant, Fragments of a Dream, was canceled for this year. However, they are going to do special online events. (See below.)

Burr Oak, Iowa

The Laura Ingalls Wilder Park & Museum in Burr Oak, Iowa has decided to remain closed for the 2020 season. They feel this is the safest option to protect their Staff, Volunteers and Guests. The online gift shop will remain open, so we encourage you to consider supporting the museum in this way.

Their Laura Days event is canceled for the year.

DeSmet, South Dakota

Both the Ingalls Homestead and the Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial Society opened up as of June 1st. The Ingalls Homestead has put together a great list of everything that’s closed and opened there this year.

The pageant is being replaced by a radio play this year. It will be Facebook lived and then available through South Dakota Public Radio online. (See below)

Old Settler’s Day has been bumped back to August (no official date yet). The Harvey Dunn Plein Aire painting event is canceled for this year. They are exploring an option of having a digital version, but nothing is finalized yet.

Keystone, South Dakota

They will only let 14 people in at one time. Masks will be required. If you don’t have a mask the museum will have them for sale. There will be hand sanitizer for use. The museum will be open Tuesday-Saturday from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm.

Spring Valley, Minnesota

The Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum in Spring Valley has reopened as of June 13th. Visit daily between 10am – 4pm. You can walk-in for a self-guided tour or make a reservation for a guided tour. Masks are required.

Mansfield, Missouri

The museum reopened as of June 1st. New safety measures have been implemented throughout the historic site, including 6 feet social distancing. All visitors are being asked to wear face masks. If you don’t have a mask, they are available for purchase for just a $1.00.
The Museum gallery and historic properties are being capacity controlled and hand sanitizing stations will be positioned around Rocky Ridge Farm.

Both Rocky Ridge Adventure Pioneer Camps for kids are canceled for the year.

Their new event in Mansfield is the Laura Ingalls Wilder Children’s Festival. It was held for the first time last year and was moved to the fall on the original schedule for the year.  A selection of authors will be available for you to meet and sign books at the Ann Short Turner Community Center. Its new dates are November 5th and 6th.

At this point Wilder Days is still scheduled to happen October 9th and 10th.

Mansfield’s pageant, Laura’s Memories, is canceled. It will NOT be part of Wilder Days this year. It will return in 2021.

Malone, New York

They are open from 10:00am – 3:00pm, Thursday through Monday. Time slots available for tours are 10am, 11:30am, and 1pm. Tours are approximately 1 hour long, with time in between for sanitizing. Non tour visitors are always welcome, but access to the Wilder home and barns is only available through a guided tour. Certain smaller areas, for example the second floor of the Wilder farmhouse, will not be accessible and will NOT be included on the tour during this time.

Tours can be reserved online. Please make reservations at least 2 days in advance. Please call 518-483-1207 during open hours for questions or more information. Please call in advance if your group is large enough to require 2 tour groups (maximum per group is 5), so we can arrange times close together. Masks must be worn. Temperatures will be checked and contact information collected for contact tracing if needed.

Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum

While the Herbert Hoover National Historic Site as part of the National Park Service is open with some COVID-19 protections in place, the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum is part of the National Archives and will be closed until the National Archives re-opens. As part of that they have canceled this year’s Laura Day event. Speaker William T. Anderson has been rebooked for next year. Luckily you don’t have to wait. Here’s Anderson’s last Laura Day appearance.

And since nobody asked, here’s mine.

Digital Events

The Walnut Grove pageant is canceled this summer. Instead they are doing a digital replacement series.  I’m going to do one interview and when I get a finalized list I’ll add the other speakers. Watch for links when they come out.

The De Smet pageant is also canceled this summer. They are going to replace it with an online production called The Hard Winter. The Hard Winter was what The Long Winter was called before someone at Harpers decided that nothing should be presented to children as hard. The De Smet pageant people decided that instead of trying to get the proper rights clearences for Laura material, they’d instead do a brand new original production.

I had thought maybe they’d do the original radio play script of The Long Winter that they’d bought all rights to when they started the pageant. Instead it’s going to focus on the town in general’s experience with the Hard Winter. I think this is a great idea for a new take because as John Miller would say there were many more people who had very similar experiences during that winter. I’m looking forward to it.

Digital experiences by both groups are listed by date below. All times are Central Daylight Time.

July 8, 2020 at 10:00 am – Iowa Public Radio Book Club –  Little House on the Prairie – Laura Ingalls Wilder/ Birch Bark House – Louise Erdrich (fiction)
– I’ll be part of the on air book club. It will stream online live. Find all the information about how to stream it.

“Due to a technical issue in our Iowa City office, the July Talk of Iowa Book Club will now take place tomorrow, July 9, from 10-11 a.m. We apologize for the inconvenience!” UPDATED July 8 2020

Before July 9, 2020 – Walnut Grove Pageant’s LAURA’S PRAIRIE CHALLENGE! If you are more than a coach potato and want to get in the stream with us, request information and apply to enter email us at LaurasPrairieChallenge@gmail.com.

Online Laura-Nellie Contest. On Zoom you will be interviewed and asked to demonstrate some pioneer skills including (but not limited to) questions about Laura Ingalls Wilder and demonstrate a talent such as baking vanity cakes, dancing with your parents or even singing a song like ‘Ol Dan Tucker! We will do an initial round via Zoom and choose great performances to share live on our YouTube and Facebook.

Pa Ingalls Look – Alike Contest. Not to leave anyone without a chance to share, we are looking for recent images of you that look like Pa Ingalls! Email pictures! Must be suitable for children. We will do a live interview with the winner.

Both contests are about fun and recognition. There are no great prizes or free trips back in time but at least you’ll have the opportunity to imagine part of history with us in our two challenges! Deadline for emails to LaurasPrairieChallenge@gmail.com is July 9th. “Laura’s Prairie Summer” will be live at 7:00 p.m. July 10-11, 17-18, 24-25! Check the Wilder Pageant webpage at walnutgrove.org and our Facebook page for frequent updates.

Friday, July 10th at 7:00 p.m. (Walnut Grove) Laura’s Prairie Summer:
Episode ONE: A New Home / Dancing in the Blizzard
Dean Butler who played Almanzo Wilder on the NBC television series. Plus interview with Dale Cockrell, a specialist in American popular music will share his work as founder of “The Pa’s Fiddle Project,” an educational program dedicated to recording music of the “Little House” books and reconnecting the nation’s children with the rich music legacies embedded in them.

Saturday, July 11th at 7:00 p.m. (DeSmet) The Hard Winter
Facebook live

Saturday, July 11th at 7:00 p.m. (Walnut Grove) Laura’s Prairie Summer:
Episode TWO: Playing Games / Grasshoppers
Interview with Sarah S. Uthoff, a respected authority on Laura Ingalls Wilder, one-room schools, historic foodways, and living history will speak about her many Laura projects. She is a dominant online presence in the Laura Ingalls Wilder World with her Trundlebed Tales site and its many related connections. Uthoff is an active Wilder researcher and a well-known Wilder authority and sought after speaker.

Friday, July 17th at Noon. (DeSmet)  The Hard Winter: It will be on SDPB Broadcast or at sdpb.org

Friday, July 17th at 7:00 p.m. (Walnut Grove) Laura’s Prairie Summer:
Episode THREE: Welcome Home / The Central Truth / Lemon Pie
William Anderson, author of the 2016 book “The Selected Letters of Laura Ingalls Wilder”. He has written extensively about Laura Ingalls Wilder and has authored or edited around 25 books and more than a hundred articles.

Saturday, July 18th at 7:00 p.m. (DeSmet) The Hard Winter: It will be on SDPB Broadcast or at sdpb.org

Saturday, July 18th at 7:00 p.m. (Walnut Grove) Laura’s Prairie Summer:
Episode FOUR: Brotherly Love (V) Missed Opportunity (L) Town Council
Wendy McClure, author of “The Wilder Life: My Adventures in the Lost World of Little House on the Prairie”.

Friday, July 24th at 7:00 p.m. (Walnut Grove) Laura’s Prairie Summer:
Episode FIVE: Justice with No Peace / Under the Stars
Alison Arngrim who played everyone’s favorite Nasty Nellie Oleson will join the series for a live interview with wit and stories you will not want to miss!
Barb Mayes Boustead climatologist and meteorologist who writes extensively about the weather described in Laura’s books.

Saturday, July 25th at 7:00 p.m. (Walnut Grove) Laura’s Prairie Summer:
Episode SIX: Vanity Takes the Cake / Making Laura’s Dream
Pamela Smith Hill, editor of Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography, an award winning Laura Ingalls Wilder biography.

Sarah S. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many times at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. She is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales fighting to bring the History, Mystery, Magic, and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation. How can you help?  Attend one of her programs,  schedule one  yourself,  watch her videos,  listen to her podcast,   look at her photos, and find her  on   Facebook ,   Twitter ,     LinkedIn ,     SlideShare,   and  Academia.edu . Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and former director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

Publishing Industry Handout

Looking back on my presentation about book design and the publishing industry.

Sarah's Notebook

UPDATED July 1 2020: This was originally published getting ready for my presentation about book design and the publishing industry and their effect on the “Little House” books. Normally I do a PDF handout, but this one I just used the text as the blog post. However, I just copied it out of the paper copy so I kept it short. My personal rule is that any presentation handout shouldn’t be longer than 2 pages so that people can easily share the information when they return home. That limitation lead to briefly mentioning some things and leaving out some people like Mildred Boyle. I think though this gives a solid baseline on publishing the “Little House” books. As part of this update I’m going to bold the names of people. I did NOT update to the current MLA style.

Publishing Industry

“The Little House” books, the classic children’s series by

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BBC Wonders About Anne

Revisiting Anne

Sarah's Notebook

L.M. Montgomery Shelf

In honor of the L.M. Montgomery Institute meeting this week on Prince Edward Island, I wanted to do a post. I’d be saving this one. BBC News took a look at the fans who come to Prince Edward Island. I understand this impulse a lot more than the reporter does, since it was my high school graduation present to go and visit PEI. It was a wonderful time and I so want to get back. It really was like stepping into an Anne book and really gave me a feeling of being like home.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/fast_track/9722594.stm

UPDATED June 30 2020: Once again it’s right after the L.M. Montgomery conference, but this year because of on-going pandemic precautions it went online so I got to attend. Look for this year’s tweets under the hashtag #LMMI2020.

The link still gets you to the page the article was on, but it had a video…

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Quote: “A Student’s Zip Code”

Taking another look at a great quote! Should a student’s future be decided by their zip code?

Sarah's Notebook

From time to time I like to share a quote that I come across. I found this one in material that I read for an AEA class, Introduction to the Online Learner. Really it’s one of the most powerful statements about education I have come across in along time. There are things beyond providing a knowledge based or even a critical thinking style education that schools provide, but in an educational climate where schools are constantly being challenged to do more with less and the only answer many administrators are willing to accept is more consolidation (despite a plethora of research to prove them wrong), the concept back of this quote has the ability to break educational thinking free of the always bigger box schools. It’s a powerful quote, please pass it along.

“For far too long, access to a high quality education has been too closely tied to…

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Matthew’s Death and Anne of Green Gables Roundup

Today’s most focuses on Matthew’s death, but then goes on to a round up of all my Anne of Green Gables related posts.

L.M. Montgomery Shelf

Matthew’s Death

It’s a sad topic to pick up on by I wanted to share this from Anne of Green Gables. Apparently they are doing a read along like I was doing with Rilla. Megan Follows who played any in the definitive TV movie from Sullivan Productions. If you haven’t seen it, it’s basically perfect, ignore the rest of the Anne stuff although his Road to Avonlea the TV show is amazing.

The chapter she was assigned to read was the one where Matthew dies. It’s a really powerful chapter. It makes me cry – EVERY SINGLE TIME. Even knowing it’s coming. It’s like my grandfather (my real one, not Matthew) dies again – EVERY SINGLE TIME.

Listen and prepare to cry:

Other Anne of Green Gables posts:

Anne of Green Gables Readalong by L.M. Institute

Anne of Green Gables the Movie 1919

Book – Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

Looking for Anne in PEI

Anne Bridge

Anne movie sites you can visit

Sullivan Anne of Green Gable Sites

Anne And Gilbert: A Review

Anne’s American Cousins

Kate MacDonald Interviewed

L.M. Montgomery Links

Rilla of Ingleside

L.M. Montgomery and the Bala Museum

Video Tour of the Bala Museum

Book: Lucy Maud and the Cavendish Cat by Lynn Manuel

Sarah S. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many times at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. She is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales fighting to bring the History, Mystery, Magic, and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation. How can you help?  Attend one of her programs,  schedule one  yourself,  watch her videos,  listen to her podcast,   look at her photos, and find her  on   Facebook ,   Twitter ,     LinkedIn ,     SlideShare,   and  Academia.edu . Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and former director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.