BETHEL — It’s been almost half of a century since the beloved TV series “Little House on the Prairie” debuted on NBC in 1974. After a ten-year run, the show went off the air in 1984, leaving a huge fan base behind. During the COVID lockdown, one of those fans, Alicia Hogan Murphy of Bethel, got hooked into reruns of the legendary show.
“When I found myself watching reruns of my favorite childhood TV show, ‘Little House on the Prairie,’ the author in me decided to write a book about the uplifting, positive messages and lessons taught by this iconic series,” sakid Murphy. “’Walnut Grove Hits Home: Prairie Values for the Modern Family’ was written to honor the life and work of the legendary Michael Landon.”
Landon, the show’s lead actor, writer, director and producer, died from pancreatic cancer in 1991. Bear Manor Media published “Walnut Grove Hits Home: Prairie Values for the Modern Family” this past summer, just days before the 30th anniversary of Landon’s death.
According to Murphy, the nostalgic 224-page book for adults and families takes readers back to a simpler time when being with family was the best feeling in the world. Even in today’s world, the lessons of television’s iconic “Little House on the Prairie” are still relevant and embraced by audiences worldwide. Based on Laura Ingalls Wilder’s series of “Little House” books, the drama series revolved around the 1870s adventures of the Ingalls family who owned a farm in Walnut Grove, Minn.
In her new book Murphy comprised a collection of episode segments and cast reflections to honor Landon and emphasize the timeless values and uplifting messages in the hit television series. Some of the topics touched on include staying positive, instilling courage in kids, addressing racism and prejudice, dealing with bullying, being both honest and disciplined, and having a selfless concern for others.
Murphy grew up on Long Island in New York. After attending Villanova University, where she studied Liberal Arts and Sociology, Murphy returned to her home state and got a Master’s Degree from Hofstra University. She began her career as an elementary school teacher, teaching fourth grade on Long Island, before moving back to Pennsylvania, where she taught third grade at Media Elementary School in Media.
After she married and had her first child, Murphy decided to be a stay-at-home mom. She eventually had two more children and launched her career as a writer. The Delaware County resident previously published three other books: “The Muddy Foot Prince” (2015, Curly Q Press); “Bear Hugs & Sock Bugs: A Collection of Wacky and Wonderful Poems for Kids” (2016, Curly Q Press); and “Motherhood: Insert Humor Here: The Infant & Toddler Years” (2020, Kindle Direct Publishing).
Because the release of her new book coincided with the anniversary of Landon’s death, Murphy decided to host a virtual event with the show’s cast to benefit the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PANCAN) and raise money for pancreatic cancer research, 3 p.m. EST (noon PT) Saturday, Oct. 30. The event will bring fans together to socialize, have fun, and be a part of the virtual “Little House on the Prairie” cast reunion.
Participants will discuss Murphy’s book; hear thoughts and memories from the members of the cast; engage in “Little House” trivia with the viewers; and have a small auction of “Little House” items.
“Members of the ‘Little House’ cast were enthusiastic about the project, sending supportive, wonderful contributions,” Murphy stated. “Jay Rosensweig, owner of SocialEvents123, will join me in hosting this virtual ‘Little House’ cast reunion.”
Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 on Oct. 30. To register, people can visit https://socialevents123.com/event-details.aspx?id=10061.
Murphy has been gearing up for the unique event, by personally raising money for PANCAN, in honor of Michael Landon. In September, Murphy took the PANCAN Push-Up Challenge and did 600 push-ups, raising $250. Earlier this month, Murphy and her husband Jack hosted a “Bonnets, Boots, Bubbly, and Beer” charity event at their home, raising $967.
“This book has been an extremely special project for me,” Murphy explained. “I wrote it during the COVID lockdown of 2020, a time when people were all reaching for the things that brought them joy. Having grown up watching and loving ‘Little House on the Prairie,’ I looked to find comfort in it during that time of isolation. I found myself taking note of many positive thoughts and messages from the show that I might be able to apply to my own family. As I wrote down those ideas, I wondered if others around the country and world might be inte
The “Little House” cast allowed Murphy to interview them via phone, email, FaceTime, and Cameo. According to the author, they offered wonderful thoughts and recollections for the book. Cast members all said that there has been an incredible resurgence of interest in their show since the start of the pandemic. Many of them sell autographed books, photos, and other “Little House” items online on their personal webpages. Murphy remembers having a “Little House on the Prairie” lunchbox when she was a child, as well as a “Little House” Cookbook. She also filled a whole photo album with newspaper and magazine articles about the show.
“I have seen every episode over and over,” she said. “My kids could tell you– I can probably recite each episode word for word! ‘Little House’ is an unbelievably inspirational series, filled with uplifting messages and positive lessons. In my opinion, we need more TV shows like this today.”
So far, Murphy says, that she has received nothing but positive feedback about the book.
“Readers who have loved watching ‘Little House on the Prairie’ over the years have said that they thoroughly enjoyed the book,” Murphy shared. “Wendi Lou Lee, who played Baby Grace Ingalls on the show, posted a very positive review on Amazon.com. There have also been readers who have never watched an episode but felt drawn in by the positive messages. Some even said they’d like to tune in now to see how the episodes play out! Earning praise and enthusiasm from cast members, the book offers a much-needed feeling of hope, community, and laughter, much like the show did. It is a refreshing journey into the past that will bring a sense of calm to the reader’s present.”
“Walnut Grove Hits Home: Prairie Values for the Modern Family” by Alicia Hogan Murphy is available in paperback ($24) and hardback ($34) at http://www.Amazon.com as well as http://www.BearManorMedia.com. An ebook will be coming soon. For a signed copy, email [email protected] For more information on all Murphy’s books, visit http://www.aliciamurphybooks.com.
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