Ask Waldorf inspired families what their favorite books are and most will respond with a resounding, the Little House on the Prairie series, by Laura Ingalls Wilder.
Kitty and I started with the first in the series, Little House in the Big Woods, when Kitty was 5. We would read one chapter each evening before bedtime. It quickly became our most favorite time of the day. In fact, Kitty started asking to go to bed earlier and earlier, just so that we could read together for longer each night. It was the first chapter book for us and I am so thankful that it set the way for many many hours of happy reading together throughout the years.
The story of Little House On The Prairie fits in wonderfully well with a Waldorf inspired home life. It resonates with girls and boys alike. It is about a pilgrim family who travel across the American prairie in a wagon, stopping from time to time to make a homestead before continuing with their journey. It is beautiful and gentle and talks about an era when life revolved around the everyday simplicity of survival. The story is told through young Laura’s eyes and describes every aspect of pilgrim life… living day-to-day in a wagon, Pa building a log cabin, baking honey-cakes over an open fire… they are always together and make happiness in all the little things they do.
Their lifestyle highlights the purity of family connections, of working together and treating each other with respect and love. It teaches us the value of connecting with the earth and animals in our everyday life. It shows our children that they can do important work within their family and that they can feel pride in the chores they do. And, for me, most importantly, it shows us that we can find beauty in everything we do, every day.
By the time Kitty and I came to the second and third in the series, we had quite scrapped the ‘only at bedtime’ restriction and would read for hours each day. I get a special warm feeling now (and a little teary too) remembering this time we enjoyed together. Our minds and spirits traveled back to a beautiful time in pilgrim history as our bodies cuddled together on the couch or on a blanket under a tree. If I could choose five moments to go back to, reading Little House On The Prairie with Kitty all those years ago, would just about top the list.
We built a homemade Little House on the Prairie playhouse in the back yard with bits and pieces from garage sales which led to hours and hours of Waldorf-inspired play for Teddy and Kitty. I know they made such special memories in their little house because they still remember and talk about it often.
You can purchase the Little House on the Prairie series at an excellent price through my affiliate link here (and yes, you will want all 9 volumes) :
Here’s another Discovering Waldorf Education article on the best Waldorf books for younger children.
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Blessings and magic,