Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography continues to receive worldwide attention. Excerpts of the media coverage—print, online, and broadcast—are below; you can find the full story by clicking on the provided link.
Wall Street Journal, Arts: Books, Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Letters Show How ‘Little House’ Was Built, By Jennifer Maloney
Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography made another appearance in the Wall Street Journal. This time it was in conjunction with William Anderson’s new book , The Selected Letters of Laura Ingalls Wilder.
Publishers Weekly, Indie Publishing, Surprise Laura Ingalls Wilder Bestseller Transforms a Small Press, By Claire Kirch
Publishers Weekly’s Claire Kirch reports on “a remarkable 12 months for South Dakota Historical Society Press,” since the publication of Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography of Laura Ingalls Wilder, edited by Pamela Smith Hill, on 17 November 2015.
StarTribune, Books, Pamela Smith Hill, editor of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s autobiography, to speak in Twin Cities, by Laurie Hertzel
Reporter Laurie Hertzel conducts a Q & A with editor Pamela Smith Hill about Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography.
Hertzel also gives the following advice, “Never forget, the Little House books are fiction. That way you won’t feel cheated when you find out that Nellie Oleson was a composite character, or that Jack the brindle bulldog didn’t die—he was given away. (Or maybe that will make you feel worse.)”
StarTribune, Books, Tiny South Dakota press wrestled with oversized demand for Laura Ingalls Wilder bio, by Laurie Hertzel
“Pioneer Girl, Laura Ingalls Wilder’s autobiography—annotated and illustrated and published in lovely large-book format, with a full-color dust jacket—was the book that caught everyone by surprise last winter,” says Laurie Hertzel in her introduction to an interview with Nancy Tystad Koupal, director of the South Dakota Historical Society Press.
Koupal and Hertzel go on to discuss the risk and joy found in publishing Wilder’s Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Auotbiography.
The New York Times, Motherlode, The Book That Became the ‘Little House’ Books, by KJ Dell’Antonia
A self-described “Little House” geek, KJ Dell’Antonia, writer for Motherlode, the parenting blog of The New York Times, interviewed editor Pamela Smith Hill about Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography. Highlights include a discussion of the infamous Nellie Oleson and the complicated relationship between Wilder and her daughter Rose Wilder Lane.Willamette Week, Harper Lee’s Racist New Book Shouldn’t Destroy Your Love for Scout Finch, by Lizzy Acker
Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography continues to be linked to Harper Lee’s new book. In her review of Watchman, reporter Lizzy Acker says, “In an ideal world, someone would have instead used Watchman as a source text for a book about Lee’s life. To get an idea of what this could look like, see the South Dakota Historical Society Press’ annotated version of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s unpublished autobiography, Pioneer Girl. There, an editor was able to contextualize the work while acknowledging the source material was an unpublished draft. It was respectful, well-done and, most importantly, didn’t seem like a money grab by a shady lawyer taking advantage of one of America’s literary heroes in her final days.”
KELOLAND, ‘Pioneer Girl’ Sees Enormous Demand, by Erich Schaffhauser
In June, KELOLAND reporter Erich Schaffhauser traveled around the state of South Dakota to learn more about Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography and the enormous demand behind the book.
Video provided by KELOLAND.
Jeopardy, Final Jeopardy: American Authors
Only two of last nights contestants correctly answered the Final Jeopardy question: “Published for the first time in 2014, her Pioneer Girl was initially rejected, revised and transformed into a fictional series.” From the “American Authors” category the answer was, of course, “Who is Laura Ingalls Wilder?”
Publishers Weekly, BEA 2015: Big Names from a Little Press, by Claire Kirch
The largest book conference in the world, BookExpo America attracts big names and industry giants. In her article for Publishers Weekly, Claire Kirch talks about the big authors at the South Dakota Historical Society Press booth. Kirch reflects on last year’s BookExpo booth visitors who, while plentiful, were not fighting over the Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography swag and that “In hindsight, perhaps booksellers should have mobbed SDHSP’s booth last year.” This is because “Pioneer Girl has sold 125,000 copies in five print runs since its publication. The little press on the South Dakota prairie can’t even keep up with demand, which continues unabated.”
KSFY, The enduring success of “Pioneer Girl”, By Brian Allen
Nancy Tystad Koupal, director of the Pioneer Girl Project, along with the Ingalls Homestead speak with KSFY about Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography and its continued success as books fly “off store shelves again.”
Video provided by KSFY.
WORLD, Daily Dispatches, Historical society press can’t keep up with demand for Pioneer Girl, by Emily Scheie
“Wilder pulls off the difficult trick of telling a rich, satisfying story about good people being good.”—Ruth Graham, The Slate Book Review
WORLD reporter, Emily Scheie, takes a look at the reviews and media attention surrounding Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography. Through an interview with Nancy Tystad Koupal, director of the South Dakota Historical Society Press, Scheie finds that there is still a lot of interest in Laura Ingalls Wilder and her works.
NPR, Morning Edition, Rejected Decades Ago, Publisher Can’t Keep ‘Pioneer Girl’ In Stock
Minneapolis bookstore Magers & Quinn and Wendy McClure, author of The Wilder Life, talk about the bestselling book “Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography in this NPR radio segment.
Washington Post, Laura Ingalls Wilder finds new stardom in an old-fashioned way, by Nora Krug
The Washington Post takes a look at the phenomenon of Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography. The
Post’s “Book World” editor and “MisFits” columnist, Nora Krug, examines “one of the most coveted books of the season” and explores “the genius of Pioneer Girl.”
Argus Leader, State press prepares 50,000 more Wilder autobiographies, by Jill Callison
Reporter Jill Callison speaks with Nancy Tystad Koupal, Pioneer Girl Project director about the next printings of Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography. With a total of 50,000 copies of the book on their way, “The little press that could continues to total up sales numbers for a book that far surpassed initial expectations.” The Argus Leader also takes poll of how many readers have read this best seller.
New York Times, Combined Print and E-Book Best Sellers
Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography continues to be on multiple New York Times best seller lists, including four weeks running on the Hardcover Nonfiction list, as of April 19. On April 12, it was featured in the Sunday Book Review, print edition, at No. 10 on the Combined Print and E-Book Best Sellers list.
Reno News & Review, Peanut, by D. Brian Burghart
Is there a need for a physical book in the age of digital? Sundance Books and Music makes a good argument using Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography as an example.
Publishers Weekly, This Week’s Bestsellers: March 20, 2015, Not-So-Little Sales on the Prairie
Complete with sales figures and graphs, Publishers Weekly continues its coverage of Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography, which is “#2 in Hardcover Nonfiction with 18,926 sold—and #8 overall” as of March 27.
USA TODAY, Best-Selling Books
Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography forges its way to No. 10 in best-selling books nationwide! A Pioneering Press, by USA TODAY reporter Mary Cadden, has more about the “little press that could.”
The New York Review of Books, Laura’s World, by April Bernard
The New York Review of Books blog, Roving Thoughts and Provocations, considers the nostalgia of the Little House books. Author April Bernard shares her experience of reading Wilder’s novels and, most recently, Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography.
Kansas City Public Media, Laura Ingalls Wilder: Pioneering, Midwesternness And Literary Prowess, with Gina Kaufman
“Her children’s books shaped ideas about the Midwestern experience for multiple generations worldwide. She’s been gone more than sixty years, but her influence remains strong. . .” Listen to this radio program as guest Pamela Smith Hill speaks with readers on the American author’s continued draw.
Quote from the interview:
“I have been overwhelmingly surprised by the response to Pioneer Girl. I always knew that Laura Ingalls Wilder was popular that fans around the world found her enduring and they treasured her books, but what I didn’t realize is that Laura Ingalls Wilder is a actually rock star and she’s a global rock star, and she speaks to millions of people across generations, cultures, and continents.”
Publishers Weekly, This Week’s Bestsellers: February 9, 2015, An Unexpected Hit
“South Dakota Historical Society Press can’t print enough copies of Pioneer Girl, the annotated edition of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s 1930 autobiography. . . a total of 75,000 copies will be in print by late February. Pioneer Girl debuts on our Hardcover Nonfiction list this week with 8,316 units sold, according to BookScan; the book has sold 17, 090 copies since its release.”
Syracuse.com, Google Doodle celebrates ‘Little House on the Prairie’ with art by Ithaca professor, by Geoff Herbert
The Google Doodle on Laura Ingalls Wilder’s 148th birthday, February 7, was inspired by the 1970s television show Little House on the Prairie. Wilder’s “surprise hit” Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography has also been linked to the doodle.
New York Times Best Sellers, Hardcover Nonfiction
The New York Times named Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography at the nation’s number two seller in hardcover nonfiction on its February 15, 2015 list. Pioneer Girl ranked second after Atul Gawande’s Being Mortal and before Yes Please, by Amy Poehler.
Omaha World-Herald, After ‘Little House’ author Laura Ingalls Wilder’s autobiography sells out online, local bookstores have rare upper hand, by Barbara Soderlin
“It’s not often that small, independent bookstores say they can compete with Amazon on price or the size of their inventory. But the new annotated autobiography of “Little House on the Prairie” author Laura Ingalls Wilder has turned the tables for some shops. . .”
The Wall Street Journal, Laura Ingalls Wilder Autobiography ‘Pioneer Girl’ Tops Amazon Bestsellers, by Jennifer Maloney
“The annotated autobiography of Laura Ingalls Wilder, a scholarly work put out by the South Dakota Historical Society Press, was the No. 1 bestseller on Amazon Friday morning.”
NPR, All Things Considered, ‘Little House,’ Big Demand: Never Underestimate Laura Ingalls Wilder, with Melissa Block
Listen as All Things Considered host Melissa Block speaks with Nancy Tystad Koupal, director of the Pioneer Girl Project, about Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Pioneer Girl.
Quote from the interview:
“Everybody who’s ever read a Little House book or everybody who’s ever seen the TV show Little House on the Prairie really has been fascinated by Laura Ingalls Wilder and her life,” [Koupal] says. “And this book offers an opportunity to get behind the scenes and see what that life was really like.”
Publishers Weekly, A Little Press on the Prairie Grapples with a Bestseller, by Claire Kirch
“South Dakota Historical Society Press can’t print copies fast enough of Pioneer Girl. . . . The press released Pioneer Girl in hardcover format last November with a 15,000 copy print run; less than three months later, Pioneer Girl is in its third print run – of 45,000 copies – so that 75,000 copies. . . . The last remaining copies in the second print run were shipped last week to accounts and are shipping this week to individuals.”
The Kansas City Star, Living, New Laura Ingalls Wilder book tells the real ‘Little House’ story, by Tim Engle
Reporter Tim Engle reveals “shocking news” and counsels “patience” as he interviews both Pamela Smith Hill and Wendy McClure, author of The Wilder Life. They talk about Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography, the book’s “dreamy dudes,” and Hill gives insight into the relationship between Wilder and her editor, daughter Rose Wilder Lane.
MPR News, The Daily Circuit, Laura Ingalls Wilder’s ‘Pioneer Girl’ autobiography tells real prairie story
Laura Ingalls Wilder, the author best known for her “Little House on the Prairie” series, struggled to publish her own autobiography. In this radio show with guest, Pamela Smith Hill, listeners learn about the behind the scenes details to Wilder’s writing career. Two other related stories from MPR News are Five things you didn’t know about Laura Ingalls Wilder and Road trip: Laura Ingalls Wilder museums and attractions.
The Week, Review of reviews: Books
The Week named Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography the “Book of the week” in its December 26, 2014 issue.
PBS NEWSHOUR, New stories—not for kids—in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s ‘Pioneer Girl’ autobiography, with Jeffery Brown
Jeffery Brown at PBS NEWSHOUR speaks to Pamela Smith Hill about the differences readers will find in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Pioneer Girl and why Wilder’s writing has endured for generations.
Quote from the interview:
“Well, I think most Wilder fans already know that Laura Ingalls Wilder had a baby brother. . . . I think that’s one of the most revealing episodes in the autobiography. But she also talks about a period in her family’s life where the Ingalls family didn’t moved west, as they always do in the novel. Instead, they moved east. . . . Wilder’s first editor described the “Little House” books as the books that no depression could beat. . . . I think the books have a great deal of optimism and hope, but I think what makes the books endure is Wilder’s unique and personable voice. It’s very intimate. It’s at once simple and yet eloquent. . . . that unique voice offers readers a chance to project their own dreams and feelings and aspirations into the book.”—Pamela Smith Hill
A report from the Associated Press made it to Asia. Asahi Weekly is an English language beginner’s newspaper that is published in Japan.
The Wall Street Journal, ‘Pioneer Girl’ Tells Gritty Stories Behind ‘Little House’, by Jennifer Maloney
“Not long after she retired as a newspaper columnist, Laura Ingalls Wilder sat down to write the true, unvarnished story of her pioneer childhood. Writing with an adult audience in mind, her nonfiction account included dark, disturbing scenes and far graver hardships than she later depicted in her famed Little House series. . . . She titled it Pioneer Girl and finished the handwritten manuscript in 1930.” (Article includes an edited interview
with Pamela Smith Hill.)
The National Enquirer, Top 5 Things Not to Miss This Week, compiled by Casey Brennan & Gia Portfolio
Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography is featured alongside Barbara Walters, Nicolas Cage, Santa Claus, and Carrie Underwood. The National Enquirer states, “Lost since 1930, the autobiography of Laura Ingalls Wilder has been rediscovered! The book reveals the untold story of the Little House on the Prairie author.” See our post The Universal Appeal of Pioneer Girl for more information.
Dallas Public Radio, KERA Think, Prose On The Prairie, with Krys Boyd
“Laura Ingalls Wilder brought the pioneer experience to life for millions of readers. This hour, we’ll learn about how her personal encounters with the American frontier . . . with Pamela Smith Hill, editor of Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography.”
NPR, On Point with Tom Ashbrook, True Stories of The Real ‘Pioneer Girl’, with Jessica Yellen
“A big new look at the legacy of Laura Ingalls Wilder and the woman behind the Little House. Laura Ingalls Wilder was the pioneer girl with pluck. Along with Ma, Pa, sisters Mary and Carrie, and a covered wagon, this ‘half-pint’ took generations of readers on a heartfelt history lesson of 19th century America. . . . This hour On Point, back to the prairie and Laura Ingalls Wilder.” Guests included: Pamela Smith Hill, editor of Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography and author of Laura Ingalls Wilder: A Writer’s Life; Connie Neumann, board member of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Legacy and Research Association. Dean Butler, actor and filmmaker who played Laura’s husband, Almanzo Wilder, in Little House on the Prairie; and Karen Grassle, actress who played Caroline Wilder, or “Ma,” on Little House on the Prairie.
BBC, Women’s Hour, Laura Ingalls Wilder, with Jane Garvey
Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography “goes back to the original manuscripts of Laura Ingalls Wilder, author of Little House on the Prairie.” With guest: Nancy Tystad Koupal, director of the Pioneer Girl Project and the South Dakota Historical Society Press; and Tracy Chevalier, American novelist.
Iowa Public Radio, Talk of Iowa, Pioneer Girl: The True, Gritty Story of Laura Ingalls Wilder, with Charity Nebbe
“Laura Ingalls Wilder completed the original draft of her autobiography, Pioneer Girl, in the spring of 1930. It was never published, but it led to one of the most beloved series of books of all time.” With guest Pamela Smith Hill.
South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Dakota Midday, Historical Society Releases Laura Ingalls Wilder Autobiography, with Karl Gerhke
“After much anticipation, the Laura Ingalls Wilder annotated autobiography, Pioneer Girl, is finally getting into the hands of readers. The South Dakota Historical Society Press started shipping it on Monday to readers who pre-ordered the book. . . . Wilder wrote Pioneer Girl in 1929 and 1930 when she was in her early 60s, but it went unpublished. The stories in the manuscript were later included in the popular Little House series of children’s books. Pioneer Girl, however, depicts a much less sanitized account of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s life than the Little House books. South Dakota Historical Society Press director Nancy Tystad Koupal joined Dakota Midday to discuss the book.”
USA Today, Laura Ingalls Wilder memoir offers candid view of her life, by Jonathan Ellis
“The autobiography that served as material for the famed Little House children’s novels hits bookshelves this month, nearly 85 years after Laura Ingalls Wilder completed the manuscript. For fans of the children’s series, which depicted a fictionalized account of Wilder’s life growing up on the Western Frontier, Pioneer Girl is a less sanitized version of her life. And one that’s in demand: The number of pre-orders exceeded the original planned print run, said Nancy Tystad Koupal, director of research and publishing for the South Dakota State Historical Society, which is publishing the book.”
Quotes from the article:
“In terms of scope — nothing less than the total illumination of a critical literary work that gave birth to one of the greatest and most influential classics of American literature — the project is breathtaking for us, and we hope that it will be for readers, too,” said Koupal.
“I think what readers will find is a very candid, personal voice,” Hill said. “I think most writers would shudder to know that their rough drafts were out in the world for everyone to see. But in this case, using the rough draft version of Pioneer Girl, gives Wilder’s autobiography much more immediacy and much more strength.”
Argus Leader, Little SD-owned publishing house earns Wilder Book, by Kevin Burbach
“The South Dakota Historical Society Press in Pierre, which has produced award-winning books for years, plans to publish Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography by Laura Ingalls Wilder in November, more than 80 years after she penned the beloved Little House series. The books were also adapted into a long-running TV show. Nancy Koupal, the director of the press, said others have tried to publish the rough draft of the memoir in the past, but the press was the first to get approval from the Little House Heritage Trust, which maintains Laura Ingalls Wilder’s literary estate.”
The Guardian, Laura Ingalls Wilder memoir reveals truth behind Little House on the Prairie, by Alison Flood
“From her images of the ‘great, dark trees of the Big Woods’ to the endless grass of the prairies in the west, Laura Ingalls Wilder’s depictions of frontier life for America’s pioneers in her beloved Little House series of children’s books have won her countless fans. . . . [Pioneer Girl] contains stories omitted from her novels. . . . Wilder’s memoir also paints a different picture of her father, Charles Ingalls, known in the novels as Pa. . . . The South Dakota Historical Society Press will release a researched version of the book for the first time . . . including more than 100 images, maps, and hundreds of annotations.”
Publishers Weekly, The ‘Pioneer Girl’ Project: The Long Road to Bringing Laura Ingalls Wilder’s 1930 Autobiography into Print, by Krystyna Poray Goddu
“Laura Ingalls Wilder aficionados seem to have a boundless appetite for books about the author. And publishers appear eager to feed this hunger whenever possible, with books ranging from personal explorations like Wendy McClure’s The Wilder Life: My Adventures in the Lost World Of Little House on the Prairie (Riverhead, 2011) to the upcoming children’s biography Little Author in the Big Woods by Yona Zeldis McDonough (Sept. 2014, Holt/Ottaviano). The missing piece in nearly everything published about Wilder, however, has been the sound of her own voice, something that Wilder biographer Pamela Smith Hill and publisher South Dakota Historical Society Press are working to remedy as they prepare a heavily annotated version of Wilder’s 1930 autobiography, Pioneer Girl, for publication.”
NPR, Book News, Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Memoir to be Published
“Laura Ingalls Wilder’s rough memoir of frontier life, which served as the basis for her Little House on the Prairie series, will be published.”
The Associated Press, Wilder Memoir to Give Gritty View of Prairie Life, by Kevin Burbach
“Laura Ingalls Wilder penned one of the most beloved children’s series of the 20th century, but her forthcoming autobiography will show devoted Little House on the Prairie fans a more realistic, grittier view of frontier living. Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography—Wilder’s unedited draft that was written for an adult audience and eventually served as the foundation for the popular series—is slated to be released by the South Dakota Historical Society Press nationwide this fall. . . . The children’s series never presented a romanticized version of life on the prairie—in Little House in the Big Woods, Laura and her sister Mary gleefully help dissect the family pig before bouncing its inflated bladder back and forth in the yard. But the series also left out or fictionalized scenes that Wilder deemed unsuitable for kids, including much of the time the family spent in Burr Oak, Iowa, and Walnut Grove, Minnesota, according to Pamela Smith Hill, a Wilder biographer and the lead editor on the autobiography. ‘So you can read Pioneer Girl as nonfiction rather than fiction and get a better feeling of how the historical Ingalls family really lived, what their relationships were and how they experienced the American West,’ she said.”
Publishers Weekly, BookExpo America, BEA 2014: Little Booth, Gigantic Books, by Claire Kirch
“Even with all the celebrity authors wandering around Javits, it’s impossible to overlook two monumental South Dakota Historical Society Press books about larger-than-life subjects: Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography of Laura Ingalls Wilder, edited by Pamela Smith Hill, and Love Letters from Mount Rushmore. . . . According to Hill, Wilder’s autobiography reveals for the first time the truth of her footloose childhood in a pioneering family that later fueled the stories in the Little House on the Prairie series.”
To see what reviewers are saying about Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography, visit our Reviews page.