Laura Ingalls Wilder’s name removed from children’s book award

Laura Ingalls Wilder’s name removed from children’s book award

Her first book, The Little House in the Big Woods was published in 1932 when she was 65.

Laura Ingalls Wilder has always been a prominent author in children's literature thanks to her well-known and -loved series Little House on the Prairie, but conflict has arisen in association with her books' offensive depiction of Native Americans.

"The ALSC stated though, that her books "[include] expressions of stereotypical attitudes inconsistent with ALSC's core values" based on Wilder's portrayal of black people and Native Americans.

Some characters even say, "The only good Indian is a dead Indian". She tweeted that the vote to change the award's name was a "significant and historic moment" but still only a step. It said, "The award was created in 1954 when an understanding of the message it sends to people of color, specifically American Indians and those of African descent, was not recognized".

The change, reported by Fox News, comes following a vote by the Association for Library Service to Children to rename the "Laura Ingalls Wilder Award" to the "Children's Literature Legacy Award".

In its decision to remove Wilder's name from the award, the library association had cited "anti-Native and anti-Black sentiments in her work" when it announced the review of Wilder's award in February.

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The associations stressed that the action "should not be viewed as an attempt to censor, limit, or deter access to Wilder's books and materials" or be seen as "a call for readers to change their personal relationship with or feelings about Wilder's books".

Wilder's blunt depictions of settler bigotry toward Native Americans has come under increased scrutiny in recent years. In 1998, an 8-year-old girl on the Upper Sioux Reservation was so disturbed after hearing her teacher read the statement aloud in class that she went home crying, leading her mother to unsuccessfully petition the school district to ban the book from its curriculum.

In addition, in another scene, Wilder depicts white men wearing blackface for the entertainment of others - including her father.

Laura Ingalls Wilder is one of the best-known children's authors. The ALSC says Wilder's work continues to be published and read but her "legacy is complex" and "not universally embraced".

The books inspired the hugely popular 1974-1983 television series Little House on the Prairie starring Melissa Gilbert.

"Each generation revises the literary canon", she wrote.

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