A national children’s librarian board voted unanimously Sunday to strip “Little House on the Prairie” author Laura Ingalls Wilder of her place of honor atop the board’s annual award because of what they called “concerns” over Wilder’s “stereotypical” portrayal of other races in her series of pioneer children’s books.
The Association of Library Service to Children’s (ALSC) board voted this weekend, at their annual conference in New Orleans, Louisiana, to change the title of their annual award for excellence in children’s literature to the “Children’s Literature Legacy Award” because, they claim, Wilder’s work “includes expressions of stereotypical attitudes inconsistent with ALSC’s core values.”
The change reportedly received a standing ovation from members of the Chicago-based organization.
The group also objected to Wilder’s works being widely read and promoted, claiming that the author’s “legacy is complex” and “not universally embraced,” despite her ubiquity.
Wilder is, of course, known for her beloved tales of children growing up as pioneers and settlers in the American west, and many of her tales are based on her own childhood, lived in a ramshackle home in what is now Independence, Kansas, and later her experience as a teacher and homesteader. Wilder’s tales of growing up on the prairie were released to critical acclaim in the 1920s and 1930s, and then adapted into a beloved live-action television program in the 1970s.
But in today’s woke era, Wilder’s work is considered “controversial,” because of how she speaks of her family’s fear of Native American attacks, and her era-specific views on blacks. Intellectuals and historians might teach Wilder’s works in the context of her upbringing, but, apparently, children’s librarians are incapable of the same level of nuance.