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      Anderson, Janet S., Sunflower Sal, Albert Whitman and Company, Morton Grove, Illinois, 1997. Primary level.

Although Sal has trouble sewing a quilt like her grandmother, she plants sunflowers that end up looking like a quilt across her town and surrounding farms.

But Sal wasn't looking at seedheads. She was looking at color, the swirl of gold and tawny brown and coppery green that towered above and around her. It was so beautiful she almost couldn't breathe. (p. 10)

Bouchard, David, If Youre Not From the Prairie . . . , Atheneum Books for Young Readers New York, New York, 1995. Picture book with poetry.

This book captures some of the experiences common to people familiar with the prairie, appealing to each of the senses. 

If you're not from the prairie,
You don't know the wind,
You can't know the wind.

Our cold winds of winter cut right to the core,
Hot summer wind devils can blow down the door.
As children we know when we play any game,
The wind will be there, yet we play just the same.

If you're not from the prairie,
You don't know the wind. (p. 8)

Cooney, Barbara, Miss Rumphius, The Viking Press, New York, New York, 1982. Grades 2-5.

Although this book is not about the prairie, the care that Miss Rumphius takes in planting lupines to make her world beautiful can be transferred to any environment.

All that summer Miss Rumphius, her pockets full of seeds, wandered over fields and headlands, sowing lupines.

The next spring there were lupines everywhere. Fields and hillsides were covered with blue and purple and rose-colored flowers. 

Harshman, Marc, The Storm, Cobblehill Books, New York, New York, 1995. Upper elementary level.

A young boy, in a wheelchair, successfully braves a tornado in a barn in order to calm the families horses and keep them from bolting. 

He could hear now a continuous rumble of thunder and to the southwest the sky had turned a deep, deep blue. Here and there it was fractured by lightning. For a moment the wind stopped. The cackling of the hens, the snorting of the hogs, the chittering of the birds all went silent. (p. 12)

Harvey, Brett, Cassie's Journey: Going West in the 1860s, Holiday House, New York, New York, 1988. Grades 2-5.

A young girl's account of her family's travels from Illinois to California.   

At home in Illinois we had a farm, but things weren't going so well…Papa told her (Mama) we didn't have anything to look forward to in Illinois expect cold in the winter and fewer in the summer. He said we should take a chance on a new life in a new place. (p. 2)

Harvey, Brett, My Prairie Year: Based on the Diary of Elenore Plaisted, Holiday House, New York, New York, 1986. Grades 2-5.

A young girls account of the daily activities of her family's new life on the prairie.

Our house on the prairie was like a little white ship at sea. Not a tree, not a bush to be seen, just an endless tall grass that billowed in the wind like the waves of an ocean. (p. 2)

In the summer the sun was so hot it burnt everything yellow dry. Some days the heat was so intense that we were not allowed outside the shade of the house. One day I saw the horizon swimming in ripples like water and, as I watched, shapes began to appear. I ran to get Daddy. (p. 18)

Hunt, Irene, Across Five Aprils, Silver Burdett Press, USA, 1993. Grades 3-6.

Jethro Craighton grows up quickly as he learns about the family farm during the Civil War. 

The road in front of the house ran due north through that line where the last glacier had melted in some distant age and left its final load of drift, a line that separated the rich, black loam culture of northern Illinois from the poor, hard-packed clay culture to the south. 

Jethro regretted the melting of that glacier; if it could have hung on another hundred miles, life might have been very different for him and his family. (p. 15) 

Kinsey-Warnock, Natalie, When Spring Comes, Dutton Childrens Books, New York, New York, 1993. Grades 2-5.

A young girl dreams, in the middle of winter, about the warmth and activities that spring will bring.

When spring comes . . . The birds will come home, robins and bobolinks and noisy crows. Mama will chase the swallows from the porch, but they'll swoop and squawk and build a nest there anyway. (p. 9-10)

Kurekek, William, A Prairie Boys Winter, Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, 1973. Grades 2-5.

Descriptions and pictures of a variety of events including the first snowfall, rink-making, and hauling hay in the winter on the prairie.

The crows had been loitering around in great flocks, quarreling, cawing, and raiding farmers cornfields. Now they were finally leaving. They flew south every fall about this time to escape the harsh prairie winter. (p.1)

Kurekek, William, A Prairie Boys Summer, Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, 1975. Grades 2-5.

Descriptions and pictures of a variety of events including The Field Day, Catching Baby Killdeer, and The Swimming Hole in the summer on the prairie.

The boys loved birds, so they made sure the herd wouldn't step on a killdeer's nest they knew of near the barn road. A killdeer's nest lies flat, naked and exposed on the round, but this one was so cleverly camouflages that William was only able to find it by outsmarting the mother bird. (p.6)

Lawlor, Laurie, Addie Across the Prairie, Albert Whitman and Company, Niles, Illinois, 1986. Grades 3-6.

A young girl's account as she sadly leaves her home in Iowa to go with her family across the prairie in search of new opportunities.

There seemed to be no edge to the land. The very weight of the sky made Addie duck her head a little. She felt so frightened and small! She turned around and around, but every way she looked the view was the same -- rolling prairie stretching for miles and miles.

...When Addie became tired of staring at the emptiness, of trying to find something, anything, on the horizon, she dropped to her knees and let the tall grass with its sweet, dry smell swallow her up. The grasshoppers sang long, bandy-legged songs and leapt away when she moved closer for a better look. She watched battalions of dragonflies soar past, their wings glistening in the bright October morning in sunlight. Absent-mindedly, Addie dug her fingers down into the sod, the dense mat of dead grass and roots and back earth. Aphids, ants, and grubs burrowed frantically out of reach. (p. 5-6)

Lawlor, Laurie, Addie's Forever Friend, Albert Whitman and Company, Niles, Illinois, 1986. Grades 3-6.

The girls climbed over a fence. Wind blew thorough the long grass. Although the Dixons owned the land, they had not lived here in a long time. Wildflowers bloomed along a small stream that crossed one corner of the property. (p. 60)

Leeuwen, Jean Van, Going West, Dial Books for Young Readers, New York, New York, 1992. Grade 2-5.

A family travels westward and settles on the open prairie.  

On the other side of the river the land was flat, with no trees. There was not a bush and not a stone; nothing but green, waving grass and blue sky and a constant, whispering wind. It seemed a lonely, empty place. (p. 13)

MacLachlan, Patricia, Three Names, A Charlotte Zolotow Book, Mexico, 1991. Grades 2-6.

A grandfather remembers going to school across the prairie with his favorite pet dog.  

The wagon passes fields of prairie grass and wheat, paintbrush and bluegrass… (p. 15)

Spring came and the snow melted slowly…. There were spring storms, and sometimes tornadoes into thin dark clouds tunneling down from the sky. (p. 26)

MacLachlan, Patricia, Sarah, Plain and Tall, HarperCollins Publishers, New York, New York, 1985. A Newberry Medal book. Grades 3-6. 

Sarah comes from Maine, as a mail-order bride, to live with her new family on the prairie. She misses the sea, but falls in love with Jacob and his two children Caleb and Anna.

"No," she said. "There is no sea here. But the land rolls a little like the sea." (p. 20)

"Lots, and lots and lots of snow," chanted Caleb, rolling around in the grass. Sometimes we have to dig our way out to feed the animals. (p. 34)

"Papa needs five horses for the big gang plow," Caleb told Sarah. Prairie grass is hard. (p. 39)

The grasses flattened. There was a hiss of wind, a sudden pungent smell. Our faces looked yellow in the strange light. (p. 46)

Purdy, Carol, Iva Dunnit and the Big Wind, Dial Books for Young Readers- A Division of E.P. Dutton, New York, New York, 1985. Grades 2-5.

A humorous book about a weathered prairie women, her brood of children and their dealings with a tornado. 

Folks in Cob Hollow wondered how a woman with six children could survive alone on the prairie. But that didn't bother Iva Dunnit. She always said, There's only three things we need -- our wits, our strength, and young'uns that knows how to stay put. Iva Dunnit wasn't afraid of anything, and she and her six fine children could handle most troubles that come their way. Once they fought off a prairie fine. (p. 1-2)

Reynolds, Marilynn, Belle's Journey, Orca Book Publishers, Victoria, BC, 1993. Grades 3-6.

A young girl and her trusty horse get caught in a prairie blizzard on the way back from music lessons. 

At first the winter sky was clear and the snow sparkled in a thousand colors like crushed glass. But halfway home, a few hard, cold flakes of snow drifted across their path. Molly looked up. The sky had darkened to an angry grey. (p. 9)

…Soon it was snowing steadily. An icy wind began to howl as it blew the snow over the land. There was no escaping the storm now. Within minutes the wind was hurling sheets of snow across the fields. Molly and Belle were caught in a blizzard. (p. 9) 

Wilder, Laura Ingalls, The Long Winter, Harper & Row Publishers, New York, New York, 1940. Grades 3-5.

One book in Laura Ingalls Wilder series, The Long Winter details the hardships endured on the prairie.

She thought of how quickly the prairie fires swept through dry grass. Flame licks through the light, thin stems and is gone before the frail ashes can fall. Laura (p. 171)

There was not a track on the waves of snow, not a print of rabbits pay of birds claws. There was no trace of a road, no sign that any living thing had ever been on the frozen snow fields where every curve was changed and unknown. Only the wind had furrowed them in tiny wavelets, each holding its own faint line of blue shadow, and the wind was blowing a spray of snow from every smooth, hard crest. (p.266)

Wilder, Laura Ingalls, Little Town on the Prairie, Harper & Row Publishers, New York, New York, 1941. Grades 3-5.

One book in Laura Ingalls Wilder series, Little Town on the Prairie details the Ingalls's experiences as they set up a homestead on the prairie.

So when the mornings work was done, Laura took Mary walking over the prairie. Spring flowers were blossoming and cloud-shadows were trailing over the grassy slopes. (p. 10)

"The prairie looks so beautiful and gentle," she said. "But I wonder what it will do next. Seems like we have to fight it all the time." Laura (p. 89)

Williams, David, Grandma Essie's Covered Wagon, Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., New York, New York, 1993. Grades 2-5.

A family leaves Missouri and travels to Kansas to begin a new life.  

Most the land was prairie. It rolled on forever, like the back of some huge animal that might get up and run. The wind would whip out of nowhere, and sometimes Jack and I would grab the think cushions off the sofa, take them outside, and hold them against our bellies. When the wind blew, wed let go. The cushions would hold to us like magic! (p. 9)


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