Lessons from the Prairie by Melissa Francis


I was thrilled to be offered a copy of this book to review by Ms. Francis’ publicist. I absolutely ADORED Little House on the Prairie as a child, first the books then the show, and I certainly remember Melissa Francis as the fictional “Cassandra Cooper”. What I didn’t realize was how funny she was in real life – or how smart. This was an interesting read, with some parts being laugh out loud funny and some parts being so touching they made me a bit teary. While I thought it would be all about Little House and what it was like on set and off, it went through Melissa’s life and some of her personal journeys as well.

Thank you for my review copy!

Lessons from the Prairie delivers one belly laugh after another as Melissa tees up an easy-to-follow, step-by-step guide to tackling life’s toughest challenges, and making your life happier.” – Megyn Kelly
For fans of the beloved TV show Little House on the Prairie, a self-help book by Melissa Francis, bestselling author of Diary of a Stage Mother’s Daughter and child star of Little House, revealing important life lessons inspired by a childhood on set.
Melissa Francis was only eight years old when she won the role of a lifetime: playing Cassandra Cooper Ingalls on the world’s most famous prime-time soap opera, Little House on the Prairie.

Now in Lessons from the Prairie, she shares behind-the-scenes stories from the set, and lessons learned from the show’s dynamic creator, Michael Landon, that have echoed throughout Melissa’s adult life. With novel insights on hard work, making mistakes, and even spirituality, Francis shares inspirational and practical life lessons that will appeal both to her current TV fans, and fans of one of the most adored TV shows of all time.



Melissa Francis, anchor of MONEY with Melissa Francis and Markets Now on the Fox Business Network, did not get her start on television in news. At the age of eight, she played Cassandra Cooper Ingalls on the world’s most famous prime-time soap opera, Little House on the Prairie, working alongside 1980s icons Michael Landon, Melissa Gilbert, and Jason Bateman.

In her book Diary of a Stage Mother’s Daughter, Melissa recounts her life as a child star in the 1980s, a life wholly controlled by a highly neurotic and dangerously competitive “tiger mother.” Now the mother of two young boys herself, Melissa reflects not only on her past but on the subject of parenthood and the impact of relentlessly driving a child to succeed, an approach that sent Melissa’s sister into a deadly spiral.

“What I have learned from a difficult childhood is that, no matter what has happened in the past, you can take charge of your life and be happy. Your life is your own. In fact, a tough past is actually a richness of experience to draw upon. You know what doesn’t work,” says Melissa.

Melissa eventually left acting, earned a degree in Economics from Harvard University, and went on to a successful career as a broadcast journalist. Today, Melissa Francis lives in New York City with her husband and two children. She anchors two daily shows on the Fox Business Network, including Money with Melissa Francis, which covers the intersection of Wall Street and Main Street. Prior to her role at FOX Business, Melissa spent nine years at CNBC, where she anchored shows such as Power Lunch, The Call, and On the Money, and made regular contributions to the Today show and Weekend Today.

Spotlight on PIONEER GIRL – the Autobiography of Laura Ingalls Wilder – annotated by Pamela Smith Hill

I seriously waited forever for this book to come out.

I heard it would be in the winter, then the spring, then the summer, then the fall. I pre-ordered it and waited months (literally). I received mine on November 30 and that was the second printing. It had already gone into a third printing.

PIONEER GIRL is the original life story of Laura Ingalls Wilder, written by her before she wrote the Little House books but from where the Little House books spring forth. Pamela Smith Hill has painstakingly created an in-depth annotated work here, giving background on the Ingalls family, other people in their lives, other items from daily life in the 1800’s, etc. It’s full of notes, pictures, and most excitedly, Laura’s own words.

You should know what you’re getting into here, though. This is not a novel or a “discovered work”. It is a large (think coffee table book) book of over 300 pages, most of which are scholarly notes and annotations stemming from Laura’s manuscript. Laura’s reminiscences are here, but most of the book is providing background, context, and historical data.

I’m slogging through it – a bit at a time. But if you are like me (a complete Laura fanatic) and often wondered “I wondered what the real Cap Garland looked like?” or “Wow – did that whole thing with Pa and the wolves really happen?” then this is the book for you.

Check out http://www.pioneergirlproject.org to see more on the book itself, including ordering it from the publisher.

And please consider ordering the book from a LIW homesite, such as Walnut Grove or DeSmet.

Here’s a beautifully organized listing of the homesites from my friends at Beyond Little House:

Laura’s Homesites

The beautiful cover by Judy Thompson is lovely to look at!

And just a note — I’ve had at least five people (and just about every news article I’ve seen) bring up the whole Bloody Benders bit. You’d think this book was chock full of sensationalism. It isn’t. If that’s what you’re looking for – here’s a link to Wikipedia — http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bloody_Benders