Pioneer Picture Books

In the Midwest, our children are taught about the pioneers who traveled west of the Mississippi River in covered wagons. We almost never talk about earlier pioneers who’s frontiers were further east.

Scott Russell Sanders is a writer from Ohio who writes about those earlier pioneers, for the lands they settled were no less wild. Warm As Wool is based on a real family from Ohio’s history. Betsy and Josiah Ward are credited with owning the first sheep in their township. Mrs. Ward had saved her money and bought the sheep herself, with the idea of keeping her family warm in wool clothing. This would be fun to read to kids learning about any pioneers.

The Floating House was a new bit of history for me. Pioneer families used flat boats to travel down the Ohio River in search of land to homestead. The flat boat would be equivalent to the covered wagons used later on the prairies. Growing up here in the Midwest, I never learned about this type of travel. This story says that when the family reached the desired settlement, they purchased their land and used the timbers of the flat boat to build their first house.

Sanders has another picture book I’d like to read, Aurora Means Dawn.

I don’t think I have it in my school library. I will have to go looking at the Public Library.


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