For my A to Z challenge, I am highlighting people who found success later in life. I is for Laura Ingalls Wilder. I received the whole series for my 7th birthday and treasure the set to this day. My husband and I visited her home in Missouri on a vacation in college. It is safe to say I love Laura Ingalls Wilder.
– Her family is descended from the Delano family, as in Franklin Delano Roosevelt, which emigrated on the Mayflower.
– Wilder lived in Kansas, my home state. Yea! Part of my reason for loving the series.
– She started teaching at 16 but never particularly enjoyed teaching. She said she felt the responsibility to help her family financially.
– Wilder was a five time runner-up for the Newbery Medal. In 1954 they inaugurated a lifetime achievement award for the children’s writers and illustrators named after Wilder and first awarded it to her. The Laura Ingress Wilder Medal recognizes a living author or illustrator whose books, published in the United States, have made “a substantial and lasting contribution to literature for child.” It is awarded biennially.
Route to success:
– Wilder started as a columnist and editor with the Missouri Ruralist in 1911. Her column was titled “As a Farm Woman Thinks.” This lead to writing a couple of articles for Country Gentleman magazine.
– Her daughter, Rose, pushed her mother to write. Following the stock market crash of 1929, her mother’s death and her sister Mary’s death, Wilder asked Rose’s help in publishing her first book. It was originally titled When Grandma Was a Little Girl. In 1932 it was published by Harper & Brothers as Little House in the Big Woods. She was 62 years old. They continued to collaborate for the rest of the series.
– The series steadily increased in sales for the rest of her lifetime. She died at the age of 90.
My Take Away:
Sometimes we have the will but lack the confidence of know-how. I love how this was a true collaboration with her daughter. I can see even at her young age how my daughter is able to convince me to do things I’m not sure I can do. A Mother-Daughter bond is pretty amazing. The people we gather around us as we reach for a goal is crucial to our success.