Pioneer Girl: Growing Up on the Prairie by Andrea Warren
Reading Together, 2004
This book recounts many of the childhood memories of Grace McCance Snyder who grew up on the Nebraska prairie.
Andrea Warren grew up in Newman Grove, Nebraska. She has two brothers and two sisters. She always loved to read and write and wanted to become an English teacher. She got her first degree from University of Nebraska at Lincoln and taught high school English and history in Hastings. She later moved to Kansas City to study magazine journalism and began writing freelance articles and books. Her first book for children was published in 1996, Orphan Train Rider: One Boy’s True Story. She has since written several other books about history and the young people who get caught up in it.
- There were lots of hardships for families living on the prairie. What things made life hard? What did people do to make it more bearable?
- Grace often had to miss school to help out at the ranch. If you were a pioneer child, would you rather go to school or stay home and work?
- Men and women and boys and girls had different roles and jobs but often they had to do each other’s work. Do you think boys and girls had stricter gender roles then or now?
- Think of all of the things Grace loved about her life on the prairie. What was special to her? Would you like to live on the prairie?
- What episode in Grace’s life was most interesting to you?
- Windmills were important for pumping water on the prairie. We use windmills now in Nebraska for power. See what you can find out about wind power in Nebraska. Are there windmills in Lincoln?
- Look at books of quilt patterns and talk about the names of the patterns like log cabin and broken dishes. On a square piece of paper have the kids make their own quilt block, then glue them together to make a “quilt”. You can use the book, The Quilt-Block History of Pioneer Days: With Projects Kids Can Make by Mary Cobb, j746.46 Cob- available at most of our library locations.
- Blizzards have played an important role in the history of Nebraska. Are there other famous blizzards besides the “Schoolchildren’s Blizzard” mentioned in the book? Read aloud the first chapter of the book Winter Thunder by Mari Sandoz.
- Children often had to make do with homemade toys. Have the children make a doll from corn cobs and dress them with scraps of fabric and paint or other craft materials.
Prairie Visions: The Life and Times of Solomon Butcher by Pam Conrad, Harper Collins, 1991.
Prairie Songs by Pam Conrad, Harper and Row, 1985.
Children of the Wild West by Russell Freedman, Clarion, 1983.
Sod Houses of the Great Plains by Glen Rounds, Holiday House, 1987.
A Pioneer Farm Girl: The Diary of Sarah Gillespie, 1877-1878, Blue Earth Books, 2000.
In Care of Cassie Tucker by Ivy Ruckman, Delacorte, 1998.
The Schoolchildren’s Blizzard by Marty Rhodes Figley, Carolrhoda Books, 2004.