The story of childhood on America's farms in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, Always Plenty to Do is a journey back to America's breadbasket. Fleshing out the contours of everyday life, it reveals what farm children saw, heard, smelled, tasted, and felt and how they worked, played, and learned. Drawing upon rich primary sources from the Great Plains and Midwest, Riney-Kehrberg combines biography and historical narrative to invite young readers into the nation's rural past.
Always Plenty to Do provides a strong, basic background in America's farm heritage through the eyes of children who experienced it. Readers will taste the biscuits and lard that mothers packed in lunch pails, and feel the weight of the buckets of water that children carried from the well. In addition to physical and technological differences (what life was like before the Internet, or even cars and electricity), Always Plenty to Do addresses emotional differences, such as the substantial responsibility children bore for the farm's success and their family's well-being.
"Engaging, respectful of a child's point of view, and not in the least condescending. A great research tool. Vivid imagery moves this comprehensive story along and stimulates the reader's own involvement." Jane Kirkpatrick, author of The Daughter's Walk
"How I loved this book! Pamela Riney-Kehrberg's meticulous research and engaging narration let us vicariously experience ways of work and play that are now lost forever. Always Plenty To Do provides readers of all ages with plenty to think about as we consider the gains and losses of inescapable change in how children live their lives from one century to the next." Claudia Mills, author of One Square Inch and The Totally Made Up Civil-War Diary of Amanda MacLeish
Pamela Riney-Kehrberg's interest in the lives of rural children was inspired by four grandparents who all grew up poor on Kansas farms. Riney-Kehrberg is professor of history at Iowa State University.