If you’re like me, and have an undying love for homesteading and the simple way of life, you most likely desire to pass this passion on to your children.
My own mother played a big role in where I am today in many ways, but the one that started me out on my journey towards homesteading was through books. She understood the importance of books and would diligently read to us every day.
Many of the books she read to us had story lines related to homesteading, and simple living. The characters from these stories ranged from American Pioneers and Native Americans to wilderness survivalists and down-south county folk.
All of them had one thing in common, people that used ingenuity and hard work to make their way in the world. They didn’t have much, but everything they did have had great value because they worked hard with their own hands to produce it. The families in these stories were drawn together out of necessity, working hard together just to survive.
But out of that necessity, a rich home atmosphere developed.
It was the desire for this atmosphere of hard work and togetherness that set our family on this road we are on today.
Some of the books in the list below are books my own mother read to me and others are ones I have found along the way. But all will spark a passion for homesteading and the simple way of life into your child’s little heart.
7 Homesteading Books For Children
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1.Blueberries For Sal -Robert McCloskey
This is a cute book about a little girl, named Sal, and her mother who go out one day to pick blueberries to can for the winter. In the story, there is a mix up with a mother bear and her cub; but in the end, they make it home safe with “a whole pail of blueberries and three more besides”. I love the illustrations in this book, especially the one of Sal and her mother hard at work canning blueberries in their kitchen, that is complete with a wood cookstove.
2. Ox-Cart Man -Donald Hall
This Book is really neat! It breaks a year of day-to-day life, in the ox-cart man’s family, down into the four seasons. They spend the year growing, harvesting, and hand making goods to sell at market in the fall.
3. Just Like Mama -Beverly Lewis
A Story about a 9 year old Amish girl, Susie Mae, that wants to be just like her mama. She spends a day following her mama around and trying to accomplish all of her mother’s chores, from milking the cow to picking berries. This book has beautiful warm full-page illustrations and a touching story that is sure to resonate with your children
4. When I Was Young in the Mountains -Cynthia Rylant
In this book, the author reminisces on her days as a child in the Appalachian Mountains. Its all about fresh cornbread, johnny houses, swimming in a swimming hole, bathing in a tin tub, and shelling beans on the porch swing. It paints a beautiful picture of the simple joys of childhood in the country.
5. Little House on the Prairie Series
This is one of the most well-known stories on this list. Many of you may have grown up reading this series of books. I can attribute most of my desire to go back-to-the-land and live a homesteading lifestyle to these books. It is a story of a girl named Laura Ingalls, her sisters, and her Ma and Pa in the late 1800’s as they leave the home they know and move westward.
One thing I love about this book is how in depth it goes into describing the activities of the Ingalls family. For example; they don’t just “build a house”,the story, instead, walks the reader step-by-step through the process of building their first home on the prairie. It also walks you through tasks such as butchering a pig, making butter, or through the steps of preserving their meat and produce for the winter.
While most would say these books are meant for slightly older children, I am in the process of reading through this series with my 5 and 3-year-old and every time we read, they beg me not to stop.
6. Caddie Woodlawn -Carol Ryrie Brink
This story is based on the life and memories of the author’ s grandmother, Caddie Woodlawn. Caddie Woodlawn is an 11-year-old tomboy that grew up in the mid 1800’s running wild with her brothers through the woods of Wisconsin. She plows, hunts, fixes things, and hangs out with Indians. This book is full of adventure and, some claim, has a better storyline than even Little House on the Prairie. I missed out on this book growing up, but am glad that I have it to read with my children today.
7. Little Britches Series -Ralph Moody
Little Britches is the first book in a series of eight. It can be described as Little House on the Prairie from a boys point of view. (I continue to use Little House on the Prarie for reference because, in my experience, most people have atleast some experience with them.) It is a story of an 8-year-old boy named Ralph Moody who moves to a ranch in Colorado in the early 1900’s. It’s one of those stories where you don’t want to put it down, and leaves you wanting to read the next book immediately! Your children are sure to love this one!
Have you read any of these titles? Do you have any other book suggestions? I’m always on the lookout for additions to our list of family favorites!