The Life of Louisa May Alcott
Genre: Biography

When Louisa May Alcott’sLittle Women was published in 1868 it was an instant success. Louisa drew on her experiences in writing the novel, but there’s a lot more to her rags-to-riches story. Louisa came from a family that was poor but freethinking, she started teaching when she was only seventeen years old. But writing was her passion. This informative biography captures the life of a compassionate woman who left an indelible mark on literature for all ages (Publisher description).

Author: Yona Zeldis McDonough Author's website
Illustrator: Bethanne Andersen

Start with this quote by Louisa May Alcott
"I want to do something splendid…
Something heroic or wonderful that won’t be forgotten after I’m dead…
I think I shall write books."
Louisa May Alcott More Louisa May Alcott Quotes

clickhere2.gif Watch scenes from Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind Little Women.
A PBS-American Masters presentation. (Advise stopping at the 10:30 minute mark. The section that follows explores Louisa's pulp fiction writing and is too mature for elementary students.)

external image calloutAudio.gif Click here for audio interview link
Scroll to the section labeled Audio
Louisa biographer-Harriet Reisen Discusses Louisa May Alcott.(duration 3:07)
Ms. Reisen tells how excited she was when her mother gave her a copy of Little Women.

Ms. Murphy likes the part where we find out that when the Empress of Japan came to visit the United States, the very first place she wanted to visit was Orchard House-the home of Louisa May Alcott.
You will find out about the famous people that were Louisa's neighbors and friends when she was just a young girl.


Visit Orchard House Museum-home of Louisa May Alcott

bluebonnet_clipart.gifBluebonnet Book Club activities

In 1852 Louisas first poem, Sunlight, was published in Petersons magazine under the pen name of Flora Fairfield. She also wrote thrilling and terrifying tales under the pen name of A.M. Barnard. Here is a small portion from Louisa, writing as A. M. Barnard.
Click to access full book

"The Abbot's Ghost" (1867), or Maurice Treherne's Temptation by A. M. Barnard.
(from-The Project Gutenberg EBook)
"Eight narrow Gothic windows pierced either wall of the north gallery. A full moon sent her silvery light strongly in upon the eastern side, making broad bars of brightness across the floor......As Octavia cried out, all looked, and all distinctly saw a tall, dark figure moving noiselessly across the second bar of light far down the hall."

What exactly is a pen name?

Louisa: The Life of Louisa May Alcott is a biography.

What is a BIOGRAPHY?

WRITE a Biography-Activity

Use the Time for Kids Biography Organizer to help you brainstorm.

**How to Write a Biography**
Fact Monster Homework Center gives you step by step guidelines on writing a well researched biography.

READ to EXPLORE the wonderful world of Louisa May Alcott books online. Click on the book you wish to read and viola! You will have the WHOLE book available.

See below, Ms. Murphy's Little Women book.
The illustrations are so warm and beautiful. When reading, I often feel I am right there with the March sisters in their adventures through their happy and sad times.
Little Women

Little Men

Amy Sacker designed covers for at least thirteen Alcott novels between 1899 and 1908.
At this time, book covers were a single color with stamped embossed gold or silver lettering.
Below are some examples (MS)
Jo's Boys
Eight Cousins
Rose in Bloom

clickhere3.gifClick the red button for access to a wider selection of online books in the Louisa May Alcott Collection.


Interesting note:
Louisa May Alcott's grave is on Authors Ridge of the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Concord, Massachusetts near her family and famous friends Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne and Henry David Thoreau.


Try something new and a little weird.
Little Women and Werewolves
by Louisa May Alcott and Porter Grand
(available for checkout at your public library).

This type of book is called a "Mash up".
An author takes a well known fiction story such as Little Women or Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice and "flavors" the tale with a bit of vampires, monsters, or werewolves. The result is a "mashed up" story which is usually very funny if a person is very familiar with the original book.

Thank you for the resources

Discovery School clipart
Louisa May Alcott Memorial Association/Orchard House
PBS-American Masters
The Project Guttenberg
Mark Schumacher
Amy Stacker
Little Woman-The devilish, dutiful daughter, Louisa May Alcott
HUMANITIES, November/December 2009
Volume 30, Number 6