Laura Ingalls Wilder's Name Removed from Book Award over Racism Concerns

Laura Ingalls Wilder signing books at the Brown Brothers Book Store in Springfield, Missouri, on Nov. 17, 1952. (Photo: The Springfield News-Leader Collection)

Laura Ingalls Wilder signing books at the Brown Brothers Book Store in Springfield, Missouri, on Nov. 17, 1952. (Photo: The Springfield News-Leader Collection)

A division of the American Library Association has voted to remove Laura Ingalls Wilder's name from a major children's book award over concerns with how the author portrayed blacks and Native Americans.

The Association for Library Service to Children's board made the unanimous decision Saturday at a meeting in New Orleans. The name has been changed to the Children's Literature Legacy Award.

The association says the work of Wilder — best known for her "Little House on the Prairie" novels — "includes expressions of stereotypical attitudes inconsistent with ALSC's core values."

The first award was given to Wilder in 1954. The ALSC says Wilder's work continues to be published and read but her "legacy is complex" and "not universally embraced."

Wilder turned her childhood experiences on the prairie into the "Little House" books, beginning with her first book, "Little House in the Big Woods," in 1932. Eight more books followed. 

Wilder spent two years of her childhood in Iowa when her family moved to Burr Oak in 1876 to operate the Masters Hotel in the tiny community that served as a stopping-off place for settlers heading west.

The Ingalls family's quarters were in the basement of the 11-room inn, near the kitchen. Wilder and her sisters helped their mother with the cleaning, cooking and serving.

The Masters Hotel has been restored and is now part of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Park and Museum.

Source: Des Moines Register