Here in Utah, Pioneer day is July 24th, so I thought this might be a good time to mention some pioneer stories you could read with your family. Children are naturally curious about pioneers and the lives they lived. They often wonder what children in the past did for fun, what kind of food they ate, what kind of chores they did, and what their families were like.
One of the best ways to answer those questions and more is by reading historical fiction stories together. If your child is especially interested in pioneer girl stories, here are a few of the best.
HATTIE BIG SKY
By Kirby Larson
It’s 1917 and 16-year-old Hattie Brooks has just inherited her uncle’s homesteading claim in Montana. Hattie, an orphan, decides she must make a home for herself and travels from Iowa to Montana to become Hattie Homesteader. Once there, she finds out that in order to keep the place, she must prove the claim with enough fencing and farming to satisfy government specifications. This is a great story with an amazing and determined character who will steal your heart.
THE EVOLUTION OF CALPURNIA TATE
By Jacqueline Kelly
Callie Vee Tate wants to be a naturalist and study science, but girls in 1899 didn’t become scientists. With the help of her grandfather she figures out why the yellow grasshoppers in her backyard are so much bigger than the green ones and she imagines a future much grander than a life spent in the kitchen making meals for her husband.
THE BALLAD OF LUCY WHIPPLE
By Karen Cushman
California doesn’t suit Lucy Whipple. She enjoys the comforts of her home in Massachusetts but moving out West was her mama’s dream and she finds herself, with her family, in California during the American Gold Rush. Lucy is suddenly thrown into back-breaking work, and worst of all, days with no books. But slowly Lucy begins to understand that home isn’t just where you live, it’s being around the things you love and the people you love.
By Caroline Starr Rose
Written in verse, this is a beautiful story about a strong new heroine who is determined to find her way home again. May is helping out on a neighbor’s homestead in Kansas until Christmas. But when the couple she is staying with disappears, May finds herself all alone in a blizzard. She must somehow find a way to make the fifteen-mile journey back home.
OUR ONLY MAY AMELIA
By: Jennifer Holm
Inspired by the diaries of her great-aunt, the real May Amelia, Jennifer Holm gives us a beautifulll crafted tale of one young girl whose unique spirit captures the courage, humor, passion and depth of the American pioneer experience. May Amelia will touch your heart.
By Carol Ryrie Brink
This is a story about a young girl who has to make her own place in the world. Caddie is living on the open plains of 1860 Wisconsin with her family. She isn’t your ordinary girl who likes to spend time sewing and baking like her sisters. Caddie is a bit of a tomboy and would rather hunt, swim or visit the Native Americans. This is a look into her life as a young pioneer girl.