Laura Ingalls Wilder Name Nixed From Major Book Award

Racial concerns led to the American Library Association vote
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 24, 2018 2:30 PM CDT
Laura Ingalls Wilder   (Public Domain)

(Newser) – A major children's book award is getting a name change after honoring author Laura Ingalls Wilder for decades. The Association for Library Service to Children's board has voted to remove the name of the author, best known for her Little House on the Prairie novels, over racism concerns. Per the AP, the unanimous decision was made Saturday during a meeting in New Orleans over concerns with how the early-to-mid 20th century author portrayed blacks and Native Americans. Per the association, which is a division of the American Library Association, the "decision was made in consideration of the fact that Wilder’s legacy, as represented by her body of work, includes expressions of stereotypical attitudes inconsistent with ALSC’s core values of inclusiveness, integrity and respect, and responsiveness."

As the Guardian notes, that legacy includes a line once in Little House on the Prairie that described Kansas as having "no people, only Indians." Wilder, who died at age 90 in 1957, apologized for the line during her lifetime and amended it to read "no settlers, only Indians." The ALSC says Wilder's work continues to be published and read but her "legacy is complex" and "not universally embraced." The award that bore her name since she first won it in 1954 will now be known as the Children's Literature Legacy Award. (Read more Laura Ingalls Wilder stories.)

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