Adult Readers Advisory, Children Readers Advisory

Celebrating Louisa May Alcott

On the occasion of a new adaption of Little Women, we have gathered works written by and about Louisa May Alcott and her universe.

Reading Louisa May Alcott

Little women / Louisa May Alcott; illustrated by Scott McKowen.

Little Women (1994 film adaptation). Actress Winona Ryder received an Oscar nomination for her portrayal of Jo March in this film adaptation also starring Claire Danes and Kirsten Dunst.

Behind a mask: the unknown thrillers of Louisa May Alcott / edited and with an introduction and afterword by Madeleine Stern.

Wild things: the joy of reading children’s literature as an adult / Bruce Handy. A how-to guide on how to re-encounter books once treasured after decades apart, including books by Louisa May Alcott.

What to read and why / Francine Prose. Essayist and book reviewer Francine Prose pays homage to the works and writers she admires most from Jane Austen to Charles Dickens to Jennifer Egan and, of course, Louisa May Alcott.

Books about Louisa May Alcott

Invincible Louisa: the story of the author of Little women / Cornelia Meigs.

Eden’s outcasts: the story of Louisa May Alcott and her father / John Matteson. This dual biography of Louisa and Bronson Alcott discusses the latter’s influence on the former within the broader context of the 19th century’s cultural activities.

Marmee and Louisa: the untold story of Louisa May Alcott and her mother / by Eve LaPlante.

Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy: the story of Little Women and why it still matters / Anne Boyd Rioux. What has allowed for Little Women to endure? This book details the Civil War-era contexts that inspired Alcott to write her story. The second half of the book provides behind-the-scenes takes on all the many adaptions of Little Women in stage and screen.

Louisa May Alcott: the woman behind Little women / Harriet Reisen. A broad-sweeping biography on Alcott with stories and details culled from her journals, letters, and recollections from the archives of her contemporaries, family and friends.

The Universe of Louisa May Alcott

American Bloomsbury: [Louisa May Alcott, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Margaret Fuller, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Henry David Thoreau : their lives, their loves, their work] (available as an audiobook) / Susan Cheever. Several of the 19th century’s greatest intellectuals had intimate connections to the town of Concord, MA.

American radicals: how nineteenth-century protest shaped the nation / Holly Jackson. Professor of History at Umass Boston takes a look at the communitarian ventures of the 19th century arguing that temporary and transitory activist work has staying power in unexpected ways.

Frederick Douglass: prophet of freedom / David Blight. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize in biography, David Blight’s powerhouse biography makes use of Douglass’s writings and new archival material previously unknown.

Uncle Tom’s cabin / Harriet Beecher Stowe; edited with an introduction and notes by Jean Fagan Yellin. Arguably the most well-read novel of the Civil War era, it would likely have been read in the abolitionist household of the Alcotts.

The ambassadors / Henry James; edited with an introduction by Harry Levin. James and Alcott wrote American characters representative of contrasting ideas of national identity and have different sensibilities around transatlantic travel.

Walden; and, Civil disobedience / Henry David Thoreau.

Louisa May & Mr. Thoreau’s flute / Julie Dunlap & Marybeth Lorbiecki; pictures by Mary Azarian. A charming picture book of the friendship between Louisa May Alcott and Henry David Thoreau based on the poem “Thoreau’s Flute” that Alcott wrote about Thoreau.

The house of the seven gables / Nathaniel Hawthorne. Classic novel by contemporary writer Nathaniel Hawthorne.