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FAQ The Laura Ingalls Wilder Companion: A Chapter-by-Chapter Guide

Now that more people know about my newest book, The Laura Ingalls Wilder Companion: A Chapter-by-Chapter Guide, I'm getting a lot of questions. So...I thought it was time to create a FAQ of the most common questions.

When will The Laura Ingalls Wilder Companion be available? 

Because of COVID-19, the publication date (also known as a book birthday) has been changed to August 4, 2020. BUT you can pre-order it today from your favorite bookstore (or these online retailers).

Does The Laura Ingalls Wilder Companion have endorsements yet? 

YES! I'm thrilled that two endorsements have come in from William Anderson and Brandon Marie Miller

"The Laura Ingalls Wilder Companion is filled with historical facts, activities, and commentaries on each of the Little House books. It is a useful tool for reading and teaching Wilder’s pioneer series.” —William Anderson, author of Laura Ingalls Wilder: A Biography, A Little House Sampler, and Laura Ingalls Wilder Country
 “A fun and comprehensive look at the popular Little House series, (that doesn’t shy away from elements deemed controversial today,) Whipple’s book is packed with photographs, chapter-by-chapter background information and analysis, and a wealth of hands-on-activities straight from the novels’ pages.” —Brandon Marie Miller, author of Women of the Frontier

Is The Laura Ingalls Wilder Companion for adults or kids? Is it for teachers? 

When I wrote the book, I knew I wanted children to be the main audience for it. There's so much history that young readers just don't understand. Several adult readers have told me how much they learned and appreciated my manuscript, so I hope lots of adult Little House fans read my book, too. I expect a lot of teachers and families will also use it. 


How did you come up with 75 activities for The Laura Ingalls Wilder Companion?

I've always enjoyed coming up with activity ideas related to books for children. (Once upon a time I was a teacher.) I read each of the Little House books 3-5 times while researching. As I read each of the books 3-5 times as part of my research, I looked for possible "Live Like Laura" activities. Some activities, crafts, and recipes are easy for children to do independently; others are more complicated. Because there are already great books like My Little House Crafts Book and The Little House Cookbook, I needed to make sure my book offered a variety of unique activities that would appeal to both boys and girls and readers of all ages. 


Is The Laura Ingalls Wilder Companion just a discussion guide with activities?

Every Little House book has a chapter devoted to it in my book. (There's also a tenth chapter devoted to the Ingalls and Wilders' lives after the Little House books.) Within each chapter the reader explores the Little House books to better understand the context and history. Sidebars highlight "Fact or Fiction" aspects of the books. The 75 activities include "Live Like Laura/Almanzo" activities, crafts, and recipes. Each chapter ends with the discussion questions called "House Talk." (If you subscribe to my author newsletter, you've seen this for The Long Winter.) These are what many would consider discussion questions, though they can be answered in the reader's mind, in a small group, or in a large-group setting like a classroom. I also defined several hundred pioneer words in case young readers today weren't familiar with them. I point readers to resources like the Ingalls and Wilder homesites and other fabulous books and videos I've appreciated over the years.

Do you address the racism in the Little House books in The Laura Ingalls Wilder Companion?

I've been hearing more and more how parents are hesitant to hand over the Little House books to their younger children because of racism concerns. Teachers use them less in classrooms. I want to provide young readers and adults a resource to think deeper about the concerning attitudes of some of the Little House characters. 

Within concerning chapters, I provide specific context. Here's an excerpt from the introduction which is more general:
Race issues are part of Wilder's story, but so are hard work, independence, and the importance of family. They’re Wilder’s story, but they’re also America’s story—our history. We need to think about these issues even when they make us uncomfortable. 

Where can I buy The Laura Ingalls Wilder Companion?

Any bookstore! Actually, it's only available for pre-order now, but if you tell your local bookstore the title and my name (Annette Whipple), they can order it for you. If you don't have a local bookstore, consider using Bookshop.org which supports local bookstores. (Of course, Barnes and Noble and Amazon have it for pre-order, too.) Once the book is out, consider supporting one of the Wilder museums by buying it through them. 

Will you have special launch events near the release of The Laura Ingalls Wilder Companion

I will certainly have special events online. My local circumstances and restrictions (in regards to COVID-19) will determine if there will be in-person events. Unfortunately, I'm not certain what events will be allowed or what traveling I will be able to do this summer and fall. 

Book Description:

The Laura Ingalls Wilder Companion: A Chapter-by-Chapter Guide provides brief introductions to each Little House book, chapter-by-chapter story guides, and additional information related to each of the books’ content and history. “Fact vs. Fiction” sidebars tell the surprising truth about Laura Ingalls Wilder’s writing, while 75 activities, crafts, and recipes encourage kids to “Live Like Laura” using easy-to-find supplies. Thoughtful questions help the reader develop appreciation and understanding for stories. 
Available now for pre-order!
IndieBound
BookShop
Barnes and Noble
Amazon

Happy Trails!
 ~ Annette 

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