Author: Louise Erdrich
Through each of her Little House books, Laura paints a comprehensive and incredibly detailed picture of pioneer life, making readers all over the world feel like they are living it along with her. However, Laura’s experiences only make up half of the frontier story. For readers interested in the experiences of the Native Americans living on the prairie, there is a series similar to Laura’s in its scope and descriptive powers. The Birchbark House series tells the story of Omakayas, an Ojibwa girl living in the southern Ontario Lakes region. Omakayas, which means “Little Frog”, grows up with an adoptive family on Madeline Island. She lives the life of a typical 7-year-old, and readers who delight in Laura’s descriptions of everyday pioneer chores will find much to love as they watch Omakayas learn to cook, tan moose hides, and pick berries. Omakayas experiences her own frontier journey, moving further and further west escaping smallpox epidemics, encroachment by white settlers, and many other dangers and difficulties before finally settling on the plains of Dakota Territory. There are five books in this series, following Omakayas and her family as they grow and travel. If you’re looking for a new series about the American West to devour, The Birchbark House should be first on your list.