The “Little House on the Prairie” books, written by Laura Ingalls Wilder have sold over 60 million copies and been read by generations of young readers.
Fans of those books may now be interested in a new book that introduces the next generation of the Ingalls family.
It’s called “Ingalls on the Prairie: The Gene and Fern Ingalls Story,” written by descendant R. Lee Ingalls, a cousin of the Laura Ingalls family, who happens to have Waconia roots.
The author lived in Waconia in the early 1970s and graduated from Waconia High School in 1972. His family resided here into the ‘80s. Part of his parents’ story includes when the family moved to a farm just south of Waconia and their involvement in local activities. A highlight for him was winning a pony at the county fair.
The book continues the saga of the Ingalls family in the upper Midwest. It offers a short history of their ancestors, and follows Gene and Fern through their childhoods, to how they met, to their marriage and raising children.
From the time they were wed until their older children began to leave home, they endured more tragedy and happiness than most couples do in a lifetime, the book author writes. The two managed through all of it while raising eight kids in the ever-changing American landscape in the ‘50s and ‘60s.
The book is written in the style used by Laura Ingalls Wilder and is targeted at the same audience, Ingalls said.
R. Lee Ingalls (the R stands for Randall) found out he was a member of the Laura Ingalls family when he was in grade school. When he told his teacher, she didn’t believe him until his mother verified it at a parent-teacher conference.
Much of the family still lives in the area, said Ingalls, including his mother, now 88, who resides in a care facility in Cokato, Minn. Like the pioneer Ingalls family, the author’s family moved extensively. He now lives in Texas, and expects to return soon to visit his mother and ask her to sign copies of his new book.
Ingalls said he frequently gets asked about what happened to the Ingalls family after Laura’s accounts, and for years has considered writing a next generation book. Now retired from a career as a dancer and a project manager with AT&T, Ingalls said he has the time to research and write about the family, and has other books in the works.
The author also notes that Laura Ingalls Wilder didn’t write her first book until age 65. He is 66.
This year marks the 85th anniversary of the first publication of the Little House on the Prairie novel in 1935. R. Lee Ingalls just published book “Ingalls on the Prairie” is currently available through Amazon.