Laura Ingalls Wilder’s name removed from book award over portrayal of minorities


The Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association, announced over the weekend that it voted to strip Laura Ingalls Wilder’s name from a major children’s book award.

The move came after decades of complaints about how the “Little House on the Prairie” author portrayed blacks and Native Americans in her books.

{mosads}Wilder was the first author to receive the award in 1954, almost 20 years after she wrote the famous 1935 novel, in which she described unoccupied land as a place where “there were no people. Only Indians lived there.”

An editor at Harper’s decided to change the word “people” to “settlers” in 1953, though that did little to silence critics who characterized such wording as racist, according to The Washington Post.

The ALSC board made the decision to change the name of the award to the Children’s Literature Legacy Award during a meeting Saturday in New Orleans. The board said the decision was met with “a standing ovation by the audience in attendance.”

The group said Wilder’s novels include “expressions of stereotypical attitudes inconsistent with ALSC’s core values,” according to The Associated Press.

The board went on to say that Wilder’s written works will continue to be published, but added that her “legacy is complex” and “not universally embraced.”

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