Laura Ingalls Wilder's Name Removed From Children's Literature Award

28 June, 2018, 09:13 | Author: Christina Harvey
  • Controversy The board voted unanimously to remove Wilder's name at their annual meeting over the weekend due to her anti-black and anti Native writings

"Only Indians lived there", implied that Native Americans were not people-in response, the publisher then changed "people" to "settlers".

"We believe it is not beneficial to the body of literature to sweep away her name as though the perspectives in her books never existed", they said. She added that no book, "including the Bible, has ever been 'universally embraced'".

Ingalls was the first recipient of the award, which honors authors or illustrators whose books were published in the United States and had "a significant and lasting contribution to children's literature", in 1954 for her Little House on the Prairie book series.

The association says the work of Wilder - best known for her "Little House on the Prairie" novels that chronicled her youth in Wisconsin and Minnesota - "includes expressions of stereotypical attitudes inconsistent with ALSC's core values".

After years of similar complaints, over this past weekend, the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) voted to change the name of the "Laura Ingalls Wilder Award" to the "Children's Literature Legacy Award", as reported by theWashington Post.




In "Little House on the Prairie", Wilder wrote, "Their Faces were bold and fierce and awful".

A number of commentators disagreed with the change, with one, history and economics author Lori Ann LaRocco, saying Wilder "inspired me to be an author and to be fearless". But she also says your average 8-year-old shouldn't have to read the "Little House" books without some background.

In a March Washington Post column, Caroline Fraser, who wrote Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder, argued for continuing support and reading of the Little House books.

Demonizing those Native Americans as the defacto bad guys of a series of books might be a way to teach racism, but it makes sense that the ALSC doesn't want to continue to name its highest honor after these stories. They found her descriptions of Native Americans, and sometimes her depictions of African-Americans, racist.

In addition, in another scene, Wilder depicts white men wearing blackface for the entertainment of others - including her father. Fraser stated that Wilder's work "vividly, unforgettably ... still tells truths about white settlement, homesteading and the violent appropriation of Indian land and culture".

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