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Two classic novels read in concert and contrast

Talk of Iowa, hosted by Charity Nebbe

Little House on the Prairie, by Laura Ingalls Wilder, published in 1935, tells the story of the Ingalls family. They are white settlers traveling West to Kansas from their home in Wisconsin. The Birchbark House, by Louise Erdrich, published in 1999, explores a similar time period and also revolves around family life. The book follows an Ojibwe family living on Madeline Island in Wisconsin as they seek to preserve their way of life in the face of colonialism.

At the center of both books are two bright inquisitive young girls: Laura and Ohmahkaus. In this edition of the Talk of Iowa Book Club, Charity Nebbe and three expert readers explore these two books for young readers and discuss what we can learn from reading them together.

This program was originally produced on July 9, 2020\


  • Brent Criswell, fifth-grade teacher and co-operator of The Good Earth, a nature-based education program.
  • Sarah Uthoff, Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and creator of trundlebedtales.com
  • Christine Nobiss, Plains Cree-Saulteaux of the George Gordon First Nation in Saskatchewan and SHIFT Director and Decolonizer with Seeding Sovereignty.  
Charity Nebbe is the host of IPR's Talk of Iowa
Matthew was a producer for IPR's River to River and Talk of Iowa