Browse our suggested list of books and start your own pioneer bookshelf!
You'll find classic tales of pioneer times and lots of books with information and ideas for
activities. There are a few online video suggestions, too. Enjoy!
Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
As soon as Anne Shirley arrives at the snug white farmhouse called Green Gables, she is sure she wants to stay forever . . . but will the Cuthberts send her back to to the orphanage? Anne knows she's not what they expected—a skinny girl with fiery red hair and a temper to match. If only she can convince them to let her stay, she'll try very hard not to keep rushing headlong into scrapes and blurting out the first thing that comes to her mind. Anne is not like anyone else, the Cuthberts agree; she is special—a girl with an enormous imagination. This orphan girl dreams of the day when she can call herself Anne of Green Gables.
Anne of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery
At sixteen, Anne is grown up...almost. Her gray eyes shine like evening stars, but her red hair is still as peppery as her temper. In the years since she arrived at Green Gables as a freckle-faced orphan, she has earned the love of the people of Avonlea and a reputation for getting into scrapes. But when Anne begins her job as the new schoolteacher, the real test of her character begins. Along with teaching the three Rs, she is learning how complicated life can be when she meddles in someone else's romance, finds two new orphans at Green Gables, and wonders about the strange behaviour of the very handsome Gilbert Blythe. As Anne enters womanhood, her adventures touch the heart and the funny bone.
Anne of the Island by L.M. Montgomery
New adventures lie ahead as Anne Shirley packs her bags, waves good-bye to childhood, and heads for Redmond College. With her old friend Prissy Grant waiting in the bustling city of Kingsport and her frivolous new friend Philippa Gordon at her side, Anne tucks her memories of rural Avonlea away and discovers life on her own terms, filled with surprises . . . including a marriage proposal from the worst fellow imaginable, the sale of her very first story, and a tragedy that teaches her a painful lesson. But tears turn to laughter when Anne and her friends move into an old cottage and an ornery black cat steals her heart. Little does Anne know that handsome Gilbert Blythe wants to win her heart, too. Suddenly Anne must decide whether she's ready for love.
Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan
Set in the late nineteenth century and told from young Anna's point of view, Sarah, Plain and Tall tells the story of how Sarah Elisabeth Wheaton comes from Maine to the prairie to answer Papa's advertisement for a wife and mother. Before Sarah arrives, Anna and her younger brother Caleb wait and wonder. Will Sarah be nice? Will she sing? Will she stay
A Pioneer Story: The Daily Life of a Canadian Family in 1840
Meet the Robertsons, a pioneer family living on a backwoods farm. Their story begins in spring, when the hardships of winter are over and new chores are beginning. Readers follow the Robertson family through the year, until winter closes around them. Factual information and highly detailed drawings of daily life accompany each story and expand on what children have just read.
Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Little House in the Big Woods takes place in 1871 and introduces us to four-year-old Laura, who lives in a log cabin on the edge of the Big Woods of Wisconsin. She shares the cabin with her Pa, her Ma, her sisters Mary and Carrie, and their lovable dog, Jack. Pioneer life isn’t easy for the Ingalls family, since they must grow or catch all their own food as they get ready for the cold winter. But they make the best of every tough situation. They celebrate Christmas with homemade toys and treats, do their spring planting, bring in the harvest in the fall, and make their first trip into town. And every night, safe and warm in their little house, the sound of Pa’s fiddle lulls Laura and her sisters into sleep.
Steamboat! The Story of Captain Blanche Leathers
Written by Judith Heide Gilliland DK Children Publishing (March 2000) Picture book/biography Recommended ages: 6 - 9 years
This book tells the story of Blanche Douglass Leathers who was born in 1860 in Louisiana, USA. As a child, Blanche Douglass dreamed of being the captain of a steamboat. She grew up to be the first female captain of a steamboat on the Mississippi River.
The Little Pioneer
By Adam Hancher The story of a young girl's journey west with her family. Recommended ages: 5 to 8 years
Toys 100 Years Ago
Written by Allison Lassieur Recommended for ages 5-7 Read about toys from 100 years ago and see how different they were to today's toys.
Calligraphy For Kids: Learning Lettering Skills
Learn the basics in calligraphy. This book includes a calligraphy pen and nibs to get started. It has fun exercises and instructions. It also includes creative project ideas. Recommended ages: 8 - 12 years ISBN: 07641592 32
by Inc Kids Can Press Make crafts the pioneer way using everyday materials that are easy to find.
Written by Tom Smith A full colour, 64 page paperback student book designed for children ages 12 - 14 that chronicles the story of Canada's settlement. It includes such features as maps, timeline, activities historical illustrations and vignettes. It is part of a collection of supporting texts for Canada: A People's History series on CBC/Radio Canada. It is published by Nelson Canada 2006. ISBN-10 : 0176336575 ISBN-13: 978-0176336578
Handling Storms at Sea : The Five Secrets of Heavy Weather Sailing
Written by: Hal Roth "How should a sailor cope with storms at sea? Some advocate heaving to, others running off. Some say trail a sea anchor over the bow, others a drogue astern." Hal Roth has sailed around the world twice and written extensively about sailing.
Clocks: Building and Experimenting with Model Timepieces
Written by: Bernie Zubrowski Boston's Children's Museum Activity Book April 1988 "Instructions for using readily available materials to make working models of different kinds of clocks with suggested experiments to discover how they work. "
Written by Sophie Blackall (*author's reading available on You Tube) A lyrical text that tells the dramatic story of a family that lives in a lighthouse and tends it faithfully to keep sailing ships safe from hazards. Beautiful illustrations that capture the coastal landscape paint a vivid picture of life on the edge of the sea. The book includes factual information about lighthouses and their historical significance. It also details the coming of automation and technology that changes the lighthouse life forever.
Naming Canada: Stories about Canadian Place Names
By Alan Rayburn 360 pages, paperback "76 essays detailing the origin of some of Canada's most unusual place names. It includes names for cities, towns, villages, islands, rivers, lakes and mountain ranges. "
Before We Eat: From Farm to Table
Written by Pat Brisson The story of how food is produced before it gets to our table.
My Little House Craft Books: 18 Projects from Laura Ingalls Wilder Little House Series
Written by: Carolyn Strom Collins Easy step by step instructions for pioneer crafts.
On The Way Home: Diary of a trip from South Dakota to Mansfield, Missouri in 1894
Written by Laura Ingalls Wilder This work is written in diary form and tells the story of Laura Ingalls Wilder's travels in the United States.
Turn-of-the-Century Farm Tools and Implements
Re-print (2006) of 1898 Edition of this catalogue by Peter Henderson and Company. Details tools used in early gardening, agriculture and care of animals.
A Pioneer Thanksgiving: A Story of harvest Celebrations in 1841
Written by Barbara Greenwood The story of a family celebrating their first harvest in their new homestead in 1841.
Wilderness Homes (Legacy Edition) A Classic Manual On Log Cabin Lifestyle, Construction and Furnishing
Written by Oliver Kemp Originally published in 1908 Re-print March 2020
Acorn Pancakes, Dandelion Salad and 38 Other Wild Recipes: A Field Guide for Finding, Harvesting and Cooking Wild Plants
Written by Jean Craighead George *Note: Always have an adult's guidance when harvesting wild plants.
Click on the apple for a read aloud of Johnny Appleseed.
The Little House Cookbook: Frontier Foods from Laura Ingalls Wilder's Classic Stories
Written by: Barbara M. Walker Learn how to make favourite recipes from the Laura Ingalls Wilder stories using traditional methods.
The Female Emigrant's Guide and Hints on Canadian Housekeeping
This book was written by a famous Canadian, Catherine Parr Traill who lived from 1802 to 1899, to record her own experiences as a newcomer to the wilderness of Canada. It was originally published in 1854. It gives modern day readers a glimpse into how different life was for her and many other people at that time to how we live today. She describes household chores and some of the recipes she used in her early Canadian kitchen.
Ranger Rick Kid's Guide To Fishing:
The Young Angler's Guide to Catching More and Bigger Fish
Written by: Dave Mass
Melt and Mold Soap Crafting
Written by: C. Kaila Westerman Soap making crafts for children
Earth Basketry, Second Edition
Written by: Osma Gallinger Tod (1895 - 1983) (First published in 1933) This book details creating baskets using materials found in nature like leaves, roots, reeds, grasses, vines, shoots, willow, pine needles and bark. Projects include a cedar bark basket, a cat tail mat and a vine birdhouse.
The Guide to Woodworking with Kids 15 Craft Projects to Develop the Lifelong Skills of Young Makers
Written by: Doug Stowe Introduces children to the craft of woodworking. A comprehensive guide with step by step instructions for teachers, parents and grandparents to guide children in learning sage woodworking skills.
A Pioneer Christmas: Celebrating in the Backwoods in 1841
By Barbara Greenwood The story of how the Robertson family celebrates the Christmas season in their backwoods home. Learn about holiday traditions from 150 years ago. Includes crafts, games, songs and activities.
A One Room School
Written by: Bobbie Kalman Examines the daily routine of the one room school and includes stories and activities.
What Katy Did
"What Katy Did is an 1872 children's book written by Sarah Chauncey Woolsey under her pen name Susan Coolidge. It follows the adventures of a twelve-year-old American girl, Katy Carr, and her family who live in the fictional lakeside Ohio town of Burnet in the 1860s." Wikipedia Recommended age range: Grades 5 - 8 "Twelve-year-old Katy is constantly making and quickly breaking resolutions about how she will change her ways and treat others, especially her five younger brothers and sisters, with more respect and compassion. When Katy meets her Cousin Helen, she is awed by her kindness, prettiness, and generosity. Katy is determined to become more like Helen, a resolution that lasts only a few hours." goodreads.com Read along to find out how Katy learns some important lessons in life. What Katy Did has also been made into movie and can be found online here.
The Quilt-Block History of Pioneer Days: With Projects Kids Can Make
By Mary Cobb A book about how quilts were an integral part of pioneer life in the US. It includes project ideas for kids. The book links the development of quilt patterns to life experiences.
The Prairie Girl's Guide to Life
How to Sew a Sampler Quilt and 49 other Pioneer Projects for the Modern Girl (2007) Written by Jennifer Worick
The Quilting Bee
Written by: Gail Gibbons Recommended for: Pre-school to Grade 3 Includes the history of quilts and quilt pattern names.
The Life and Times of a Honeybee
Written by: Charles Micucci This book is a good introduction to honeybees including information about bees and beekeeping with good illustrations.