LitStaff Pick: Our Favorite TV Shows Based on Books We Love

“Little House on the Prairie”Little House

NBC broadcast the popular television series Little House on the Prairie from 1974-1982. The show was based on Laura Ingalls Wilder’s classic Little House on the Prairie books. The author’s original series consisted of eight children’s books set in the Midwest in the late 19th century. They were first published between 1932-1943, but have remained in print to this day and a successful franchise has evolved. Though considered fiction, the stories were loosely based on the author’s life. I’ve never read any of these books. I think I would have enjoyed them as a young adolescent, but I don’t recall being aware of them then. Thus the travails of growing up in a small town and attending a small elementary school with a closet for a library.

But I did watch the television show faithfully in its early years of production. It starred Melissa Gilbert as Laura and Michael Landon as her father Charles. The writers and directors weren’t afraid to tackle tough subjects – illness and death, racism, addiction, rape – and of course every episode had a problem to overcome. But the issue I remember most clearly is how Laura had to constantly deal with the town bully, Nelly Oleson. I detest bullies.

The show is syndicated and can also be seen on DVD. And of course, the books are still in libraries. Most libraries, I should say.

-Angie Dilmore

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