Pioneer Girl: A True Story of Growing Up on the Prairie
In the little Nebraska town where I grew up, everything centered around farmers and farming. My father was the superintendent of schools, but farming still had a tremendous impact on our lives, for many of the students in school lived on farms, and farming drove the economy of the community. I would visit my friends who lived on farms, but I never much liked it. Too quiet out there, away from town. Too much work to do--all those chores, twice a day. Too dirty. I was always stepping in something I didn't want to step in. As for those endless cornfields--well, you could get lost out there, and that sometimes worried me. Still, I had great admiration for farmers and their families. Every family member worked. My friends worked. And they worked hard! But they also had something very special, for they were living on land homesteaded by their grandparents and great-grandparents. If the work was this hard now, what must it have been like for those first homesteaders? I had learned a little from Willa Cather's books, especially My Antonia (one of my all-time favorite books), but I was curious to know more. I began looking for the story of a homestead child, and I found a wonderful account in the book No Time on My Hands, a memoir dictated by Grace McCance Snyder to her writer-daughter Nellie Snyder Yost when Grace was 80 (she lived to be 100). I loved the story. I especially loved Grace's spunk and determination. I had found my subject. To the material from the memoir, I added family members' recollections of Grace, plus a wealth of information from other sources to tell what life was like for homestead children. All in all, it was a very satisfying book to write. I just wish I could have known Grace. What an incredible person she was!
Awards for Pioneer Girl: A True Story of Growing Up On The Prairie (Morrow Junior 1988)
* Recipient of the Midland Authors Award
School Library Journal: