Culture&Arts

Laura Ingalls Wilder's name pulled from major kids' book award

Laura Ingalls Wilder's name pulled from major kids' book award

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".

Despite the tremendous success of the semiautobiographical series, the Chicago-based American Library Association over the weekend made a decision to rescind Wilder's Medal for Excellence in Children's literature, a prestigious designation in the children's literary world.

The association made a decision to remove Wilder's name from the award because her works include "expressions of stereotypical attitudes inconsistent with ALSC's core values".

The board continued: "It continues to be a focus of scholarship and literary analysis, which often brings to light anti-Native and anti-Black sentiments in her work".

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"Wilder's books are a product of her life experiences and perspective as a settler in America's 1800s". Many years ago, in 1952, Wilder's word choice was called into question after a reader complained that a phrase used in Little House on the Prairie, "there were no people".

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.

Some characters even say, "The only good Indian is a dead Indian". "Only Indians lived there".

Wilder's blunt depictions of settler bigotry toward Native Americans has come under increased scrutiny in recent years.

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The Laura Ingalls Wilder Legacy and Research Association released a statement defending Wilder's work. It told the story of five-year-old Laura and her pioneer family in Wisconsin.

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

"Laura Ingalls Wilder's books have been and will continue to be deeply meaningful to many readers".

Caroline Fraser, author of "Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder", said that children should still read the Wilder books, despite the racial insensitivity. She added that "For decades, her legacy has been awash in sentimentality, but every American - including the children who read her books - should learn the harsh history behind her work".

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