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Library Association Removes Laura Ingalls Wilder's Name From Award

Library Association Removes Laura Ingalls Wilder's Name From Award
Laura Ingalls Wilder (1867-1957) as schoolteacher, 1887. Found in the collection of Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum, Walnut Grove. Artist : Anonymous. (Fine Art Images/Heritage Images/Getty Images)

By    |   Monday, 25 June 2018 10:57 AM

A division of the American Library Association is removing author Laura Ingalls Wilder’s name from a book award after years of complaints about her depictions of Native Americans in her books, The Washington Post reported.

The Association for Library Service to Children voted Saturday to remove Wilder’s name from the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award for "significant and lasting contribution to children’s literature." Now the name of the award is the Children’s Literature Legacy Award, The Post reported.

The Post noted a complaint to Harper, the "Little House on the Prairie" publisher, from a reader in 1952 about Wilder’s book. The book’s opening chapter has Pa, who was modeled after Wilder’s own father, discussing his desire to go to unoccupied land where "there were no people. Only Indians lived there."

Harper’s decision was to change the word "people" to "settlers," but criticism of Wilder’s books continued, with critics saying her depictions of Native Americans and some African-Americans were racist, The Post reported.

"This 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," the association said in a statement.
Wilder’s first book, "Little House in the Big Woods," was published when she was 65.

Her books depicted her family’s adventures traveling the Western frontier and also were adapted into a TV series, "Little House on the Prairie."

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. "Each generation revises the literary canon. While the answer to racism is not to impose purity retroactively or to disappear titles from shelves, no 8-year-old Dakota child should have to listen to an uncritical reading of 'Little House on the Prairie.' But no white American should be able to avoid the history it has to tell," Fraser wrote in March in The Post.
 

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A division of the American Library Association is removing author Laura Ingalls Wilder’s name from a book award after years of complaints about her depictions of Native Americans in her books, The Washington Post reported.
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2018-57-25
Monday, 25 June 2018 10:57 AM
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