ALSC Changes Wilder Award to Children's Literature Legacy Award

The renamed award has been recast to honor authors of “books that demonstrate integrity and respect for all children's lives and experiences."
The Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC)  board unanimously voted to change the name of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award. The award will now be called the Children's Literature Legacy Award. "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," ALSC's website said after the its meeting at ALA Annual in New Orleans. Jacqueline Woodson, the 2018 honoree, will be the first to accept the award under its new name.

Jacqueline Woodson

In New Orleans, the historic vote was met with celebration and a little bit of disbelief. Debbie Reese, founder of American Indians in Children's Literature, tweeted from the meeting where the discussion and vote took place. After the board reviewed the task force's recommendations and discussion logistics, Reese's Twitter thread continued, "This is a historic moment for @wearealsc," she wrote. " A motion is being made to change the name of the award." "All in favor! Nobody opposed. Lot of tears!" "Tears of joy." Later in the thread, she wrote, "Tomorrow evening, I will joyfully be at the Newbery Banquet and hear Jacqueline Woodson receive the Children's Literature Legacy Award. Still in a state of disbelief!" "And so grateful, so very, very grateful to the people who brought this possibility forward, and to the task force, and to the @wearealsc board, for their thoughtful deliberation, and their vote to change the award name." The immediate reaction on Twitter appeared to be largely positive. Author Laurie Halse Anderson replied to Reese's twitter thread with a row of red hearts and many others reacted in similar fashion, expressing happiness or pride in their colleagues for the decision.
However, there were those who oppose the decision as well. One tweet suggested the award add "PC" for political correctness in its name. Matthew Ryan, whose profile identifies him as an English teacher, wrote, "Didn't wake up Sunday morning expecting to make a donation to the Laura Ingalls Wilder Home & Museum. But ALSC's decision to strip Wilder's name from the children's literature award motivated me."
Reese noted she had already heard some backlash after the vote. Changing the name isn't the only move by the board related to the award. Reese tweeted the task force recommendations that were approved: Option 1, Part 1: Change the name of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award. "Option 1, Part 2: If the name of the award is changed, we recommended the award description be amended to include language that recognizes honorees for their "significant and lasting contribution to children's literature through books that demonstrate integrity and respect for all children's lives and experiences." Option 1, Part 3, allows past recipients the option to be recognized under the new name. Option 2 was a recommendation to sunset the former Wilder Award and create a new award for  "significant and lasting contribution to children's literature through books that demonstrate integrity and respect for all children's lives and experiences." The ALSC webpage for the award now reads: "Welcome to the Children's Literature Legacy Award home page! At its meeting on Saturday, June 23, 2018, the Association for Library Service to Children Board voted to change the name of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award to the Children's Literature Legacy Award. 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.  In the weeks following the ALA Annual Conference, these award webpages will be revised to reflect the new award name." Wilder herself was named the inaugural recipient of the award in 1954. It was not an annual honor until 2016. There is no word yet if the board will look at past recipients and whether they meet the new criteria. Beyond the obvious Wilder, Theodor S. Geisel (Dr. Seuss) won the award in 1980. There has been discussion about renaming the Geisel Award as well.
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John A. Bass

Why tho?? Why change anything?? Stop with this bull shit, racism shit! Leave these Awards as they are! You all are fking with our history! Stop! But still, no matter how much we bitch and moan, groan, grip and complain, her name is NO LONGER on the Medal they issue to an author-illustrator that has a legacy of contributing to children’s literature! The reason this Medal was created! — We will forever stand against this deluded decision from this board! It’s unheard of to do this to Laura! — With who is on their board, now I clearly see that they are the racist ones. — Now they are trying to “get back” at the innocent white Americans, like Laura! I can’t believe we are allowing this bull shit to happen!

Posted : Jul 06, 2018 09:29

Jean M

The more I read Comments discussions like this, and see how quickly people are willing to demonize their colleagues as racists, Neo-Nazis, and just plain evil for the crime of thoughtful disagreement, the happier I am that in the space of 24 hours, #walkaway has gained the influence it has. If we cannot read texts and understand the difference between description and prescription, then we all need a refresher class in fourth grade.

Posted : Jul 03, 2018 09:18

Debbie Reese

This SLJ article and others are in a curated set of links I am compiling at American Indians in Children's Literature:

Posted : Jul 04, 2018 05:21


[This comment has been removed because it violates this site’s comment policy: “Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.”]

Posted : Jul 01, 2018 03:20

Library Teacher

I have been a dues paying member of ALSC in the past, but over time have felt that my views haven't been represented by the group. There are many of us that have opinions that differ greatly from the opinions of ALSC as a whole. I felt it was waste of my money to support a group that didn't support me. As a librarian, my opinion against changing the name is just as valid as those whose opinion is that it should be changed. The tone of your post is exactly the reason I left ALSC. There is no civility.

Posted : Jul 01, 2018 10:51

So, in the counterfactual

... where Laura Ingalls Wilder had somehow anticipated that her settler characters would be judged for their attitudes (beyond the subtle judgment she herself made, for instance of Ma, at her own distance of time) - and placed current words into their mouths, shown Pa to be enlightened about the minstrel show, etc.: would the award still be named for her? If she had made her characters better on the page than they were in life, would you then be comfortable at the thought a librarian somewhere is placing her books in kid's hands, despite the falsity? Or is the subject of Anglo/German/Scandinavian settlement unsuitable for children unless written now, in 2018? Are primary sources generally, to be discouraged in the school setting? I am genuinely curious about how those in favor of such changes, want past people to be remembered. You, child, and me, librarian - good; past people like little Laura, born bad - your modern life, hard; her life, easy and uncomplicated - is a strange takeaway to me. It seems like it tends toward elevating hubris. But hasn't hubris, though not unmixedly-negative, been implicated in some bad acts?

Posted : Jun 28, 2018 08:35


Saving the best for last. Thank you, Counterfactual.

Posted : Jun 28, 2018 10:27

Tad Andracki

It is moments like this when I am proudest of my profession: when we live up to its promise. Names change all the time; statues and monuments topple; and who and what we choose to honor says something not only about our past but also our present. A point of note for many who have raised concerns that the award should have been sunsetted and a new award take its place: the ALSC Board of Directors did consider this option ( In addition to the disadvantages mentioned within this document, a "clean break" would seem, personally, like an attempt to dissociate from the fact that the award was ever the LIW award. A name change is messier, but it does not deny that ALSC has not always lived up to its core values—the history of this award is complex. The promise of children's librarianship is that every child can see themselves reflected, can know that they are held, can be told "you are enough." As a profession, we have not lived up to this promise consistently. This brings us one step closer. Brava, ALSC, for this historic change.

Posted : Jun 27, 2018 09:08

Shelley Quezada

Tad, the argument you present about making a "clean break" with the LIW is very sound. It would indeed have created confusion had the award been simply sunsetted . I also agree with Roger Sutton's observation that eventually the name of the new award will likely evolve into "The Legacy Award" and hopefully we can all move on. It was a courageous decision on the part of the ALSC board to make this change and reflects an issue that many of us who teach children's literature have brought up in our classes for a number of years. And finally, someone posted a recommendation on this list to take a look at the recently published Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder by Caroline Fraser. Henry Holt and Company, 2017. The biography is highly informative and provides great context for this discussion. I can heartily recommend Vivian Gornick's lengthy review published Dec. 1, 2017 in the New Republic "Little House, Small Government".

Posted : Jun 28, 2018 05:55


I'm glad the committee stepped up and voted to change the name. As a bonus, I also think it's a much more fitting name, given what the award represents.

Posted : Jun 27, 2018 07:45


Slightly off topic: I thought this presentation from a year ago on the PBS newshour IMHO segment was really helpful. A woman of color sepcifically discusses the Little House books & how Ma's expressions of racism affected her as a child. But her conclusion was that we can think about these old, harmful attitudes expressed in books in the same way we understand out-of-touch family members who may have similar beliefs. We disagree with them, but we can still love them. Heartfelt and sincere: it's worth watching.

Posted : Jun 27, 2018 07:37


I am a first generation Japanese American and I have a profound love for English writings. I totally agree with Compassion and Judgement. Thank you for your post and being courageous to say what many people want to say but decide not to say because of being afraid of falsely accused of being racist.

Posted : Jun 27, 2018 06:58

Ruth E Quiroa

I have posted this elsewhere, and wish to repeat it here as I feel very strongly on this matter: "I appreciate the thoughtful way in which ALSC is moving to include all perspectives in literature (and history), rather than only those who were in power in the past. Honesty and transparency in relationship to our country's history as expressed in literature for children--the good and the bad--are truly important. Yes, it is crucial for children to be able to think critically about each author and illustrator's contributions to literature (and history) in light of the context of the focal time period within their work, together with who was in power and why, what people feared (oppressed and oppressors), and what people lost. Unfortunately, history books and trade books today still primarily present the stories of the powerful and the oppressors. Students need to be able to weigh and balance the intentions and biases of all textbook creators, and the authors and illustrators of children's books so that history is NOT whitewashed or biased. The simple changing of the name of this award is not an act of whitewashing or eraser. Rather, it allows this award to a) more closely align with its original intent and objectives for ALL authors and illustrators, and b) moves farther away from emphasizing a specific literary giant whose biased racism is evidenced in her literary art, thus, allowing for a more open-ended definition to what qualifies as a body of literary excellence. In sum, I believe this change makes way for inclusion, rather than exclusion. Thank you ALSC."

Posted : Jun 27, 2018 03:39

Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

I loved the Little House books growing up and I am so pleased ALSC renamed the award. Here’s my blogpost about it:

Posted : Jun 27, 2018 02:47


Speaking as an human being, it is perfectly appropriate and in fact important to have a serious self-reflective conversation about a past CLLA award going to Nikki Grimes after she had written AT JERUSALEM'S GATE. Is there anyone in the Diversity Jedi community who believes that book is an example of the inclusive values that ALSC has thrust into the forefront with its change of name of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award this past weekend? (And I would have ended the ALSC Wilder award, and created a new one, rather than engage in its erasure).

Posted : Jun 27, 2018 02:44

Susan Marihugh

I love the Laura Ingalls Wilder stories because they tell one part of the pioneer story that is close to my family story. It represents the way people were back then. Her work and life shouldn't be judged against today's values. Thank goodness humanity has progressed, not far enough, and unfortunately we are experiencing a painful set back right now. Why did the name of the award have to be changed rather than just discontinued and the new award will be given going forward? Progress has to also respect the past, as it's lessons are what move us to be better in the future.

Posted : Jun 27, 2018 01:05


This is such an interesting discussion and I have conflicting feeling about it. But I have read little about the efficacy of children's literature that aims to teach a lesson. I read many non-PC books growing up in the 1960s and 70s. Not sure that a single one affected my morals. I worry more that today's literature that always aims to teach a moral is just plain boring. Wilder at least provided exciting reading. All it would take is for a parent or teacher to say that settlers at the time were afraid of Indians and the government was pushing Indians off their land (it wasn't just Pa's actions. It was a government effort.) I think most of today's children's stories are lesson bound and just plain tiresome. Literature needs to be exciting to engage children. And a window into a different time and place.

Posted : Jun 27, 2018 12:30

Melanie Conklin

"Wilder at least provided exciting reading." I think it's very difficult to make the argument that there aren't many books as exciting as the Wilder books. There are millions and millions of books in the world now. But sometimes, we form these bonds with the books we read early in life, and it's hard to hear anything negative about them. I don't think the entertainment value of a problematic work is worth the pain it brings to marginalized readers, but again, no one's banning her books. It's more the idea that the complicated nuances of using her name on an award can't be communicated by the name of the award, and that means it's not ideal to name the award after her.

Posted : Jun 27, 2018 04:24

Sarah Hannah Gomez

Randy, how can you be so certain that your morals were not affected? And where do you get the idea or evidence that children's literature is out to teach them? You sound like one of my undergraduates at the beginning of the semester in my children's literature class, so I think my refrain to them bears repeating to you: books don't teach lessons, but you always learn something from reading a book.

Posted : Jun 27, 2018 04:50

Margaret Dilloway

People are acting like every Little House book ever printed is being burned in a bonfire while we "social justice pirates" or whatever the term is dance in their falling ashes, chanting CENSORSHIP. WE LOVE CENSORSHIP. WE HATE HISTORY. The books are not censored. An award name got changed. That is it. An award name that has been getting complaints for 70 years. They thought about it for 7 decades!! That is a long time to consider a problem and make a decision. The books still exist. They are still being read. They reflect their time and demonstrate how people thought. But that doesn't mean Ingalls' name gets to be on an award for the rest of time automatically. Changing an award name is not censorship or erasing history. Just as I don't want to see Confederate statues being celebrated in my public square, I don't want to see Ingalls' name on an award for children's literature, an award given to diverse authors, including authors of color. Taking those Confederate statues down doesn't mean the Civil War never happened and it's erased from school history books. Changing the name of a literature award doesn't mean Ingalls will be erased either. It does mean that we are being empathetic to the children who benefit from the award and the authors who receive the award. Teaching empathy is kid lit's reason for existence.

Posted : Jun 26, 2018 10:58


Sarah Cannon, to clarify my response... I feel the belief that preserving and learning from our history tends to be a more conservative view. The latest craze is to change the name of anything that is tied to racism, inequality, injustices of the past. An attempt to erase the history rather than understand and learn from the evolution of our country- mistakes and all. Many here have stated that we are holding the past up to the standards of equality and acceptance that define us today. In that comparison, history will always fail. We as a people have made mistakes and will continue to- why it is our History. No one is arguing against the evidence of ignorance and racism in the literature that reflected her life and her thinking in that time in history. We are arguing against the change because it is holding a period of the past up against today's standards. Had you retired the award, I don't think I would be concerned because it would still exist, reflecting the time. The new award would be more aligned with our standards today. History is history. We evolve from it and learn from it. We can't make it go away. We have to embrace it and be better for it.

Posted : Jun 26, 2018 09:55

Jean Mendoza

The ALSC decision to rename the award is evidence that people learn from history. Or at least, that some people do. The lesson in the name change (I think) has 3 components. One: Some children's books have been written that embed bias, harmful stereotypes, and misinformation inside an engaging story. Two: No one is required to name a a children's literature award after an author whose books do that. Three: One of the best ways to push back against historical marginalization of some groups of people is to say "We aren't going to do that now." History is full of "mistakes," as Jenifer said, as well as things that are much, much worse. It is also full of corrective measures, arrived at by carefully examining the bad and the ugly and trying to discern how to do less harm going forward. That's not a "craze"; that's *learning* from the "racism, inequality, injustices of the past" -- and embracing a wiser, more humane way of being in the world and sustaining human society.

Posted : Jun 27, 2018 08:12

Sarah Hamburg

Trying again, since my original comment was deleted. Adding my voice to those commending ALSC on this decision, which is in keeping with their charge to serve all young readers. Wilder was responsible for the representations in her work, and she herself knew her depictions were inaccurate when she wrote them. People who were “products” of the same time objected to the racism in the Little House series when it was published. As many others have said, each of us has a choice in how we respond in these times, too. I’m grateful to ALSC for their choice to value the lives and experiences of young readers. Also, for those speaking about previous award winners: no honoree is having their award rescinded. Wilder herself was the first recipient, and that honor stands. This conversation is about changing the name of the award, not about the work of award recipients. And while there is certainly a place and need to speak about antisemitism in larger conversations about representation, there is also a need to talk about how and when white Jewish people (myself among them) raise these issues, and to and about whom. And whose comments are allowed to stand. If one is criticizing the name change while raising questions about antisemitism in the work of a Black woman honoree, and ignoring antisemitism in the backlash against the name change (see the frequent use of the term “cultural Marxism” among those objecting) those dynamics are telling.

Posted : Jun 26, 2018 07:27

Emily Schneider

Ms. Hamburg, I have not called for rescinding Ms. Grimes' award, but for having a discussion about it. As for your argument about who is allowed to raise the issue of anti-Semitism, it seems rather strained. Apparently you find the comments referencing "cultural Marxism" to be coded anti-Semitism. The fact is, the anti-Semitism in Nikki Grimes' book is overt and dangerous. The fact that she is a black woman does not change that fact. I would, and have, raised the issue of anti-Semitism in works by white authors, and I have also called attention to racism in works by different authors, some of them Jewish. If you believe that Ms. Grimes should be exempt from such criticism, then just say so. The fact remains that almost no one on this comment thread seems concerned about anti-Semitism. The issue of whether or not to change the name of the award is contentious. I disagree with the change, but I respect very much the arguments in favor of it; they have a lot of merit. I cannot condone the indifference to the issue which I raised, which is quite relevant to encouraging a respect for diversity in children's books.

Posted : Jun 26, 2018 08:33

Sarah Hamburg Again, when one finds oneself taking the opportunity to discuss antisemitism in the work of a non-Jewish Black woman’s work, while minimizing the antisemitism of neo-Nazis in this comment thread (and those coming after ALSC) that’s a signal that something is wrong. As I’ve said here and elsewhere, Jewish representation is absolutely a needed conversation. But if one is questioning people — including Black Jewish people — about why there is concern for Wilder’s racism and not antisemitism elsewhere, while simultaneously disagreeing with the decision to change the award name... again, other dynamics are at play.

Posted : Jun 26, 2018 09:51

Allie Jane Bruce

Ms. Schneider, In your efforts to understand why several of us take issue with your raising these concerns in this context, I encourage you to examine the larger power dynamics at play here. Intentional or not, you, a White woman, are leveraging attention and energy about righting an injustice against Native and Black people into your criticism of a Black woman's work. These conversations do not happen in a vacuum; larger societal and structural injustices do not vanish in the online realm. I am Jewish and white too, and I come back to this idea frequently, which I'm paraphrasing from Martin Friedman: "If a person of color calls me a pejorative name, it might hurt my feelings. It might make me angry, or cry. But at the end of the day, I do not go to sleep in a world in which every institutional advantage and societal system is weighted against me." This is at the heart of what we are trying to say. It's not as simple as "Ms. Grimes should be exempt"--it's about whether, when you seek to do injustice, you start with yourself.

Posted : Jun 26, 2018 10:05

Mike Jung

The Children's Literature Legacy Award is an award that originates from ALSC. ALSC didn't try to force some other organization to change the name of its award; the organization changed the name of an award it created, administers, presents, and presides over. Real censorship is the polar opposite of that, of course. Removing books from bookstore and library shelves on a society-wide level is something only a society-wide government could do, and as we know, past and present history aren't low on examples of oppressive regimes that do such things. We also know that authoritarian and fascist governments are the enemies of inclusivity, diversity, and equality; racism is an inherent part of their ideologies. If true governmental censorship were to emerge here in the U.S., it certainly wouldn't deny any level of access the Little House books because of their racist elements, and a government that descends to such a state would inarguably see ALSC as a target, not an ally.

Posted : Jun 26, 2018 11:39

Bronya Clark

You can't change history...this is a foolish decision. What are you going to do now? Honor a vampire author??? Stupid...plain and simple!

Posted : Jun 26, 2018 07:21

Lindsay Eagar

Yes, there are several undead authors in the running for new book awards in their name. As we all know, once you take away Little House on the Prairie, all that's left is vampires.

Posted : Jun 27, 2018 03:25


This is a book award. However, I recognized several comments referring negatively to the current president. Sadly, this confirms my suspicions that the decision is rooted in politics. Conservative opinions are excluded more and more in education and literary world. This decision represents the opinions of only one portion of literary leaders.

Posted : Jun 26, 2018 07:01

Sarah Cannon

Jenifer, I'm confused. In what way does changing the name of the award exclude conservative opinions? Members of the organization were polled. The comments section on this article is open. Thus you seem to imply the decision itself is anti-conservative, which, since it was grounded in anti-racism, would mean that anti-racism is anti-conservative.

Posted : Jun 26, 2018 08:01


This is not a book award. It is an authorship award. "Children's Literature Legacy Award" is actually a more succinct and accurate name for what the mission and criteria were all along.

Posted : Jun 27, 2018 05:35

Sarah Hannah Gomez

That was me. I don't know how the rest of my name got cut off.

Posted : Jun 27, 2018 05:36

Jennifer Austin

I am so excited the name of this award has been changed (and also that Jaqueline Woodson won this year because she is phenomenal!) I grew up reading LHotP books, I pretended to be Laura while I played, and her books were the first time I realized that I could be an author too! I started as a child practicing in my head by narrating my life as I would write it on the page. These books are incredibly important. But that doesn’t erase their racism. They are an ugly part of American history that we should acknowledge, discuss, and dissect, but not something we should laud. Going forward we need to examine our past and make healthy determinations for the future we want to create and small things like being aware of the racism in our past (and present) and molding the world they way it should be not the way it was is how we should work for a better future.

Posted : Jun 26, 2018 04:47

Debbie Reese

On Monday, June 25, Melissa Gilbert (she played Laura on the TV show) posted this on her Facebook page: "In my research for the musical and another Laura project I’m working on I’ve found it’s true. Caroline and many others were prejudiced against native Americans and people of color because they didn’t know or experience time around them. They were also very afraid of them. The native Americans particularly because they fought brutally. But let’s face it. We invaded their country, slaughtered thousands of them and stole their land. They fought back. It’s time for us to own that. In my opinion we need to have open discussions about historical atrocities to ensure they aren’t repeated. Especially in the current climate where a despotic dictator holds sway over so many people in our country. He feeds on people’s fears and hatred so wherever possible it’s incumbent on us to show people who we were and who we don’t ever want to be again. It’s unfortunate that it’s come to this but it’s a teachable moment."

Posted : Jun 26, 2018 02:30

Amy G Koss

I think the change is exactly right! Hooray for taking this step! XO Amy

Posted : Jun 26, 2018 10:13

Kaye M.

Thank you, ALSC, for reminding me why librarians have always been my favorite people. You are standing on the right side of history.

Posted : Jun 26, 2018 09:05

Sarah Hannah Gomez

Racism is not a product of any particular time. It was alive and wrong in Wilder's day and it's alive and wrong now. To use an era as a defense for indefensible attitudes and positions is nonsense. I have fond memories of reading those books as a child, and I simultaneously have memories of being disgusted by the way Native people were portrayed and I simultaneously have memories of how hurtful the depictions of Dr. Tan and the minstrel show were. That's partly because I was an intelligent child and partly because I had intelligent parents, teachers, and peers who raised me to understand how much more complex the world is than the way Wilder put it. I'm not going to apologize for loving the parts of the books that I did when I was a kid, and I don't think anyone else should--or is. That's the point. We are all capable of understanding that we can love problematic things SO LONG AS WE ENGAGE WITH WHAT MAKES THEM PROBLEMATIC. Among the many ways we can do that is to take a deeper look at an award that associates Wilder with a) high and long lasting writing achievement and b) giving children books that resonate with, speak to, and honor them in all that they are and interrogate whether Wilder really lived up to both A and B. In the eyes of many ALSC members (and nonmembers including members of associated ALA divisions, scholars, authors, editors, and publishers, PLUS the general public), Wilder did a lot more A than B, so she has kept all the distinction she deserves as far as having her books perpetually in print, museums and festivals in her name, and millions of dollars going to (WHOM? Is Roger Lea MacBride still alive?) and people waxing on and on about how they love her books forevermore. But it doesn't make sense to go and seek an author who also satisfies A and B, which is what the committee does each year, and congratulate them on their achievement by putting their name next to a name that doesn't meet those criteria. This is a sound decision by ALSC. It makes me proud to have rejoined the association, and I'm especially pleased with how they are making it crystal clear on the website that they are not hiding the history of the award or the reasons they changed it. They are living proof that you can attempt to correct history without pretending it never happened and without declaiming responsibility from having perpetuated it.

Posted : Jun 26, 2018 08:37

Kaye M.

"Racism is not a product of any time." YES. It hurt then and it hurt now. It was given a "pass" then because of who held the mic and who had to stand back in the shadows.

Posted : Jun 26, 2018 09:05

Emily Schneider

Ms. Gomez, Although I do not agree with the name change for the reasons I outlined in my comment, you make some excellent points and I share your concerns about simply exonerating anyone from racism if she lived in an earlier era. Fortunately, there are now many primary sources easily available for providing complementary texts to children about marginalized groups and giving those groups a voice. Since you have written about your Jewish heritage in the past, I would be interested to see your response, as well as the response of anyone on this list, to my point about Nikki Grimes having received the Wilder Award. Her book, At Jerusalem's Gate, is full of pernicious and dangerous anti-Semitic tropes regarding the death of Jesus. In other words, if we are truly all committed to sensitivity and inclusiveness, should that commitment not extend to all groups?

Posted : Jun 26, 2018 05:32

Sarah Hannah Gomez

Hi, Emily, It seems you've gotten this article, which is a news piece informing the public of an event that passed over the weekend, confused with an op/ed or scholarly article, which is the appropriate venue for discussing the relative merits or failings of a past winner of an award. Your comments, therefore, are not at all related to this particular piece of news but just kvetching and derailing. The point you are trying to make in your comments are an excellent topic for a piece, and I would encourage you to write an actual article or op/ed about it rather than spam every comment thread here with your urging to transfer the focus of the piece to something you would prefer to talk about. Perhaps if you did that, people might be more willing to answer your questions and engage with your points.

Posted : Jun 27, 2018 04:45

Lisa Mantchev

Speaking as a writer whose childhood and imagination was enormously influenced by Wilders' work, I applaud the name change. This is us, holding ourselves accountable to future generations, letting them know that problematic works can be studied without being glorified.

Posted : Jun 26, 2018 08:14

Kelly Tyler

Thanks to the ALSC board and supporting membership for making the decision to value inclusiveness and diversity over maudlin nostalgia. We can still teach and read these books but do not need to stay static in our perception of legacy, meaning, and impact. Children deserve more!

Posted : Jun 26, 2018 07:39

Martha Brockenbrough

I’m not sure why my comment was deleted. It included no attacks. I did make an analogy about the fact that we’ve all moved past Edsels and Model Ts, and that the people who keep advancing the work of Wilder are harming readers and literature. It’s been well established that Native children are hurt by this author’s work. Meanwhile, there are plenty of new works that are better. For literature to continue, we need to embrace newer and better works. If this isn’t engaging in ideas, I don’t know what is.

Posted : Jun 26, 2018 07:30

Laura Shovan

Thank you, ALSC. Renaming this award as you have done recognizes that we have authors -- people with significant contributions to children's literature -- who come from a variety of backgrounds and experiences. One person's experience, POV, and historical context doesn't reflect the full legacy and range of books for children as they are and as they will be in the future. Well done.

Posted : Jun 26, 2018 07:14

Dr Laura McLemore

Here is an article on how and why I teach LHOTP in the classroom.

Posted : Jun 26, 2018 06:48

Patty Collins

The following message was shared yesterday with the membership of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Legacy and Research Association  (LIWLRA) following the announcement  to rename the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award. LIWLRA is a non-profit  organization  dedicated  to  preserving the scholarship  and  legacy  of the Ingalls and Wilder families. To learn more about LIWLRA, visit us on Facebook at Beyond  Little  House or go to June 24, 2018 Hello, LIWLRA members and friends, For decades, the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a part of the American Library Association (ALA), has granted the Laura Ingalls Wilder Legacy Award to authors who have contributed, as she did, a lifelong legacy and contribution to children's literature. As many of you are aware, the ALSC board recently voted to rename the award, erasing Laura Ingalls Wilder from the legacy her works created. When the LIWLRA board became aware of the pending vote, we drafted a response that we mailed to the chairwoman of the board as we felt it was important to convey that the legacy of Laura Ingalls Wilder is valuable. We stand by our board's consensus position that the legacy of Laura Ingalls Wilder, though encumbered with the perspectives of racism that were representative of her time and place, also includes overwhelmingly positive contributions to children’s literature that have touched generations past and will reach into the future. We believe it is not beneficial to the body of literature to sweep away her name as though the perspectives in her books never existed. Those perspectives are teaching moments to show generations to come how the past was and how we, as a society, must move forward with a more inclusive and diverse perspective. The LIWLRA continues its mission of preserving and promoting the legacy of Laura Ingalls Wilder through research, events, awareness, and unwavering support for the museums and sites that honor her across the country. We hope to see you at our next "LauraPalooza" conference in 2019, where we can continue dialog on this and the many other cultural, scientific, literary, and scholarly topics threaded into the study of Laura Ingalls Wilder, her family, and their words and works. We ask that all discussion of this topic remain respectful of the many diverse perspectives across the country, from the descendants of white settlers to those of the Native Americans displaced by them and the African-Americans enslaved by Americans. We will moderate this discussion heavily and will delete posts that we deem to be inappropriate. Respectfully, The LIWLRA Board of Directors

Posted : Jun 26, 2018 06:35

Lindsay Eagar

So should they have renamed the award the "Laura Ingalls Wilder (Who, Yes, Was Sometimes Problematic In Her Books But We Believe The Positive Messages Triumphs Over The Sentences About Dead Indians) Award"? The "Racist Laura Ingalls Wilder Award?" How do you keep the award in her name and at the same time acknowledge the harmful and flat-out racist things she wrote? Because if you're going to acknowledge that she was problematic, you HAVE to do it in the same instant that you are praising her. Otherwise, it gets buried.

Posted : Jun 27, 2018 03:23

Kathy MacMillan

Well done, ALSC. I've never been prouder to be a children's librarian.

Posted : Jun 26, 2018 06:17

Lindsay Eagar

Has anyone pointed out that it was not a requisite of living in the 19th century to be a racist? There were plenty of people who did not see Native Americans the way Wilder did. If there were people who managed to NOT be racist, you can't say that her work was simply a reflection of the times. It was still prejudice. Still her choice to view Native Americans and black people as inferior. Not to mention there are still racists today, so how is her book "of its time?" Racism is an effing epidemic. Change is good. Well done, ALSC

Posted : Jun 26, 2018 05:49

Sarah Hannah Gomez

Exactly what I've been thinking!

Posted : Jun 26, 2018 08:22

Jean Mendoza

Well said, Lindsay. And let's add that among the people who did not see Native Americans the way Wilder did -- were Native Americans. Many teachers and librarians who choose to share the Little House books with children seem to forget that the readership may include Native kids who will likely be stopped cold by characters who say "The only good Indian etc." and by the other bias and stereotyping in the books.

Posted : Jun 27, 2018 08:28

Sarah Hamburg

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Posted : Jun 26, 2018 05:35

Julia W.

Members of the kidlit world are speaking up to tell us that these books caused pain and shame to them as children. Thank you, ALSC, for listening. An award for children's literature needs to elevate the experiences of all readers.

Posted : Jun 26, 2018 04:59

Noella H

Great on ALSC for changing the award!

Posted : Jun 26, 2018 04:15

Cheryl Blackford

I wonder how many people opposing the name change of the award in this thread are white. As a white person I can only imagine what it must be like for a ten-year-old Native American child to sit in a classroom and hear the words "The only good Indian is a dead Indian". Or an African American child to hear the description of the blackface musicians. Skillful educators might be able to take the sting out of the words with careful class discussions but what if they can't? That said, the ALSC is not recommending that these books be banned; the organization is not censoring anything - it is simply changing the name of an award to better reflect the values of its members. It will be up to individuals to decide whether they want to read the Laura Ingalls Wilder books with their children or offer them in their libraries or whether they find alternatives representing a different point of view from that historical period. (Louise Erdrich's Birchbark House series is a good counterpoint.)

Posted : Jun 26, 2018 04:06

Katie Doyle

ALSC did the right thing and I applaud them.

Posted : Jun 26, 2018 03:57

Allie Jane Bruce

I am so proud, today, to be an ALSC member. To draw from Martin Luther King Jr.—the arc of the moral universe is long, but this weekend it has bent towards justice. Cheers and thank you to everyone who worked to make this change. This is a good time and space also to recommend the BIRCHBARK HOUSE series by Louise Erdrich. Do read it this summer if you never have; it’s soooooo good. A great one to read with 3rd grade and up, too!

Posted : Jun 26, 2018 03:55

Jess Creaden

I applaud the ALSC for their decision to honor inclusivity over the insensitivities of the past. This is truly an historic moment I'm proud to witness. Thank you for taking this important step to move our industry forward!

Posted : Jun 26, 2018 03:49

Gina Perry

I am thankful for the ALSC's decision. This is a change in the right direction for young readers and future recipients.

Posted : Jun 26, 2018 03:46

Heidi Schulz

Thank you, ALSC! This annual award is a product of our times. I’m glad to see it refecting values of inclusivity. Well done!

Posted : Jun 26, 2018 03:32

Brenda Higgins

As a retired librarian I am outraged. Is there any way we can protest this idiocy ?

Posted : Jun 26, 2018 03:22

Tandy S.

You could join the organization and fight for a new vote. If you're not in ALSC, your outrage is moot. Alternately, you could start your own organization and create your own award.

Posted : Jun 26, 2018 03:29

Tandy S.

Remember in Little House in the Big Woods, when Laura is feeling angry and miserable because Mary has pretty blonde hair and Laura has "ugly" brown hair? Ma's offhand comment makes her feel terrible about herself. She slaps Mary and gets in trouble. But everybody sympathizes with Laura, right? So easy to empathize with Laura and her brown hair--why is it so hard for some folks to empathize with IPOC children with brown skin?

Posted : Jun 26, 2018 03:09

Laura Jacobsen

I was gonna leave a rant, but many more have said it far better than I can. I was named for LIW and honestly had forgotten about most of the books’ specifics. Being reminded of the minstrel scenes, I now remember my mother “skipping” over those while reading to us, and my confusion over the term “darkie”. Thank you ALSC for choosing progress.

Posted : Jun 26, 2018 02:36

Rebecca Donnelly

I'm adding my voice to the chorus of commenters who applaud ALSC for approving this change. Changes that ask people to confront the problematic elements of their cherished memories are never going to come without a pushback, but we're all better for them in the end. Those who love Wilder will continue to love her; those who believe that the racist content in the books outweighs their sentimental value will continue to advocate for fairer representation in children's books, publishing, and librarianship. I'm looking forward to the day when the first Native writer wins the Children's Literature Legacy Award, and when that writer visits schools and libraries where Native children won't have to see the name Wilder, associated with erasure of Native cultures, at the top of the billing. Well done, ALSC!

Posted : Jun 26, 2018 02:12


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Posted : Jun 26, 2018 05:03


You realize that the books are still widely available in libraries and stores and classrooms and homes across America, right? You realize changing the name of the award doesn't change that, right? You also surely recognize that changing the name of an award isn't a disrespect to a long-dead author or her legacy, that she still has her award, that many, many authors still have an award with her name on it, and that none of this erases her name, books, or the television series from history. Right? Rather, what this does is respect those authors going forward who deserve to be honored for their work without having to have their work associated with racist content.

Posted : Jun 26, 2018 05:23

Gwen Athene Tarbox

Wilder was not writing a memoir - she and her daughter Rose altered many aspects of the Ingalls’ experience in order to emphasize libertarianism or to hide the fact that the Ingalls were far less pious/naive than the image the mother and daughter put forward in the series. For instance, long before Laura supposedly began her first job in DeSmet as a seamstress and expressed shock at the behavior of the town’s inebriated residents, she and her sister Mary had worked as waitresses in a public house run by her parents. If you wish to learn more about your family’s background, you might wish to turn to many of the recently published, well-researched biographies of Wilder and her daughter. There are also many commendable histories of American girlhood in the nineteenth century to which you could turn your attention, as well as texts on the spiritual and literary tradition of children’s fiction in the Victorian era. Your use of the term “virtue signaling” suggests to me that you do not work on a regular basis with young people, many of whom have had to develop coping devices at a very early age to withstand the various ways our society continues to devalue their cultural experiences and family histories.

Posted : Jun 26, 2018 05:57

Erin Smith

Thank you, ALSC! I shouldn't be surprised by the nonsense I'm seeing in this thread, but (sadly) I am. As someone who plans to go to library school to work with children and teens, I'm excited to see this happen. And for god's sake, stop clutching your pearls. A name changed. Nothing is being "taken away" from white people. Many more people have said this more eloquently upthread.

Posted : Jun 26, 2018 02:02


The dramatics from people opposed to this decision are completely disproportionate to what was actually done. An award was renamed to better reflect our values of inclusivity, no books were burned, discarded, or censored in the forming of this decision. When I received a questionnaire (as a member of ALSC) asking my opinion on the name, I encouraged them to change it. People are products of their time, yes, but that doesn’t mean we continue to elevate them. Times have changed, thankfully, and we need to change with them. Those books aren’t going anywhere. History isn’t being “erased.” There are no book burning parties. Just an acknowledgement that attitudes considered acceptable over a hundred years ago are no longer acceptable today.

Posted : Jun 26, 2018 02:00

Karis R.

One of the hardest things about growing up (as humans and as a society) is realizing that our childhood heroes aren't the blameless people we thought they were. I adored Laura Ingalls Wilder as a kid. Doesn't mean she wasn't problematic. And sure, she may have just ben repeating the morals of her day, but there's no harm in changing the name of this award to reflect the new reality that we're not okay with that. Kudos to ALSC on making this choice. Don't listen to the naysayers.

Posted : Jun 26, 2018 01:56


If your need to cling to legacy outweighs the very real hurt that legacy perpetuates, you need to reexamine your thinking. Thank you, ALSC and all of those who did the hard work to move us forward.

Posted : Jun 26, 2018 01:51

Nilah Magruder

As I mentioned up-thread, I read Wilder's PRAIRIE books when I was younger, and one of the scenes that has always stuck out, that I was never able to forget, was Laura's father and a few other men performing a minstrel show in blackface. As children's book authors, I think it is important for all of us to consider the wider, global audience of our stories, and the fact that our words have just as much power to do good in a child's life as do harm. I applaud the board for re-evaluating the name and mission of this award. "Books that demonstrate integrity and respect for all children’s lives and experiences": well said.

Posted : Jun 26, 2018 01:04

Lori Lee

Bravo to changing the name. Thank you, ALSC, for the commitment to inclusiveness and growth.

Posted : Jun 26, 2018 01:00


There is really just an attention grab. Like libraries are even relevant anymore lol.

Posted : Jun 26, 2018 12:48

Kaye M.

Well, there are a lot of problems here.

Posted : Jun 26, 2018 09:03

Greg Andree

I know a lot of people worked hard to accomplish this. I appreciate that Wilder will remain in the American literary "canon" even as we acknowledge that an award named for her is problematic. I'm glad from now on the award will keep the focus on recipients rather than on Wilder, and her outdated and problematic depictions of native people.

Posted : Jun 26, 2018 12:43


Thank you, ALSC. I applaude this forward thinking move. Such a great thing!!

Posted : Jun 26, 2018 12:38

Gwen Athene Tarbox

First, Wilder was writing historical fiction and often included incidents and “memories” of scenes that she did not witness firsthand. For instance, her depiction of members of the Osage nation is historically inaccurate and perpetuates stereotypes that were considered unsavory in the 1940s, let alone today. Wilder was barely 3 years old when her father built that house on the prairie so she is putting forward a fictive account of that period of history - she was not depicting her own memories. These FACTS about Wilder are readily available. Moreover, there were plenty of mid-century authors-Virginia Lee Burton, Sidney Taylor, and Maurice Sendak to name a few-who eschewed racist content. My mom, who was among the intended audience for the Little House books, was able to identify hurtful passages back then and to be reviled by the minstrel scenes from Little Town on the Prairie. Second, no one is censoring Wilder, but perhaps it would be helpful for anyone denigrating the ALA to explore the rich world of #OwnVoices narratives that can be read by all children without causing them to go home from school and ask their parents or guardians about cruel words and pictures in texts. Third, children from underrepresented groups are not the only ones who are impacted when a profession honors a racist text; White children are harmed, as well, and carry with them inaccurate images of the past, thus encouraging them, as adults, to place their love of a childhood memory over the well-being of actual children. Thank you to the ALA and to all those thoughtful librarians and allies who debated this topic and who explained their rationale with such care. In a month where US policies are tearing asylum seekers’ families apart, I applaud the ALA’s actions, and I wonder at the empathizing ability of individuals who are opposed to this small move towards a more inclusive awards system.

Posted : Jun 26, 2018 12:36


Thank you for dropping this info, Gwen! I cosign what you've said here.

Posted : Jun 26, 2018 05:06

Lyn Miller-Lachmann

To the people who say we aren't allowed to change a name because it "erases history": In Portugal, where I live and work much of the year, there is a beautiful bridge that connects Lisbon with points south. It was built by a ruthless dictator who denied basic rights to women and workers (including workers on the bridge itself) and carried out bloody colonial wars throughout Africa. This ruthless dictator made sure the bridge carried his name, and for 8 years, it was known as the Salazar Bridge. After a revolution ended his regime and brought democracy to Portugal, the bridge was renamed the 25th of April Bridge to commemorate the date of the revolution. In the words of Dr. King, "the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice," a fact that naming choices must, and usually do, reflect.

Posted : Jun 26, 2018 12:23

Katie L. Carroll

I think this decision is the right move and applaud the ALSC for making the name change.

Posted : Jun 26, 2018 12:18

Lee Gjertsen Malone

I read those books aloud to my daughter a few years ago, and my warm and fuzzy memories of them were forced to confront the actual reality of the words on the page. They have value and I'd never suggest they should be not read. But as we discuss these books we need to recall this scene, from Little Town on the Prairie, and remember that Pa wasn't just about giving hugs and farming, he was also part of this: Then up the center aisle came marching five black-faced men in raggedy-taggedy uniforms. White circles were around their eyes and their mouths were wide and red. Up onto the platform they marched, then facing forward in a row suddenly they all advanced, singing, 

“Oh, talk about your Mulligan Guards! These darkies can’t be beat!” 
Backward, forward and backward and forward they marched, back and forth, back and forth. 

“Oh TALK aBOUT your MULLigan GUARDS! These DARKies CAN’t be BEAT! We MARCH in TIME and CUT a SHINE! Just WATCH these DARKies’ feet!” 

The man in the middle was clog dancing. Back against the wall stood the four raggedy black-faced men. One played a jew’s-harp, one played a mouth organ, one kept the time with rattling bones, and one man clapped with hands and feet. The cheering started; it couldn’t be stopped. Feet could not be kept still. The whole crowd was carried away by the pounding music, the grinning white-eyed faces, the wild dancing. There was no time to think. When the dancing stopped, the jokes began. The white-circled eyes rolled, the big red mouths blabbed questions and answers that were the funniest ever heard. Then there was music again, and even wilder dancing.

Posted : Jun 26, 2018 12:15

Dana Mele

What a wonderful and welcome change! Thank you ALSC for listening and taking these steps!

Posted : Jun 26, 2018 12:11

Julie Rowan-Zoch

Thank you, ALSC, for the name change of the award! A small token of justice goes a long way!

Posted : Jun 26, 2018 12:07

Julia Ember

I'm really happy to see ALSC make this positive change for inclusivity!

Posted : Jun 26, 2018 12:05


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Posted : Jun 26, 2018 12:15


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Posted : Jun 26, 2018 05:04

Kosoko Jackson

Thanks for doing the right thing, ALSC!

Posted : Jun 25, 2018 11:53

heidi heilig

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Posted : Jun 25, 2018 11:44

heidi heilig

*ALSC rather :3

Posted : Jun 25, 2018 11:49


Dozens of critical comments were purged from this thread for allegedly being uncivil, yet this one remains? Gives us a pretty good idea of the moderators' biases.

Posted : Jun 27, 2018 12:53

Anonymous Quoter

This whole thing reminds me of George Orwell's 1984: “Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.” Should librarians really be in the business of rewriting (renaming) awards... wouldn't a better approach be to keep the name, but make people aware of the uncomfortable representations? Doesn't this seem like ALCS is just trying to wash itself of any culpability in choosing the name in the first place?

Posted : Jun 25, 2018 11:23

Sarah Cannon

Renaming an award (and keeping a public record of doing so) in no way falsifies or rewrites anything. In renaming the award, the ALCS accepted responsibility, carefully considered what to do, and voted to take action. Arguing that they're dodging responsibility for the previous name is like saying it's dishonest to stop falling off your bike once you've learned to ride it.

Posted : Jun 26, 2018 01:44

Kacy Helwick

“Should librarians really be in the business of rewriting (renaming) awards… wouldn’t a better approach be to keep the name, but make people aware of the uncomfortable representations?“ But isn’t that what the name change is doing? Making people aware? Also when you are honoring a living author with a lifetime achievement award for their lasting contribution to children’s literature, how much attention and time should be taken away from current winner and their achievements to be spent justifying why the award is named after an author whose work is harmful to many children? I also wonder how many of the upset people even knew that this award existed last week, before the name change. Since we’re on SLJ, probably more than the people commenting on Twitter, but it makes me wonder.

Posted : Jun 27, 2018 02:02


Stand up to this madness. Contact the ALSC and demand they change their decision. complaining here does nothing. Contact them directly. If it doesn't stop here where will it stop? Who else wants to rewrite history?

Posted : Jun 25, 2018 11:20

Melanie Conklin

FYI, this issue was voted on and approved by the ALSC membership. it was not made by committee. It was made by the majority of critically thinking, learning, and caring members.

Posted : Jun 26, 2018 12:11

Library Teacher

Most of the people who disagree with the decision probably stopped being members of ALSC long ago. The majority of the members don't share my views and I got tired of paying a ridiculous amount of money and not having my voice heard. Those who agree with the decision are very intolerant of those of us who don't agree. I care about what my students read, but I don't remove books because they are a product of their time. I provide the resources and students can choose what to read. I will be updating all of my LHOP books this year because they are worn out. I have the Birchbark House and it has not gone out once since I purchased it. I'm going to purchase books that my students read.

Posted : Jun 26, 2018 03:37

Melanie Conklin

Edited to amend: after talking with some other ALSC/ALA members, I've learned that there was not a vote, but rather there was an opportunity via email to give feedback for all members.

Posted : Jun 26, 2018 07:11

Kathleen McGroarty

I believe the better idea would have been to leave the Wilder award as is and perhaps stop awarding it. Then adopt a new award giving it the new name. This preserves the Wilder and what it meant to the times while acknowledging modern thinking. Completely changing the award because you don’t agree with what was written at the time of and by LIW is like viewing her work as insignificant as well as those who have been awarded the Wilder.

Posted : Jun 25, 2018 11:00



Posted : Jun 26, 2018 12:19


Exactly this! But the problem with this (very good idea) is that starting new award doesn't allow for Wilder to be erased. Past winners "have the option" of using the old name or the new name... something tells me that any past award winner who wants to keep the old name is going to be called racist, regardless of their reasons for doing so. It's an attempt to push Wilder (and history in general) into the background. Literally every historical figure is problematic in some way. For example MLK, despite being a hugely important and overall hugely positive historical figure, believed being gay was immoral- should we rename everything that was named in his honor? Of course not, that view was pretty prevalent at the time, but despite knowing better now, we choose to acknowledge that he was foremost a force for good/inclusiveness/justice. History matters, we can't pick which parts of it we want to admit to, not anymore. People keep mentioning how other voices have been silenced in the past... well, raise them up now. Just don't try to ignore what came before. It was bad to stifle people then, it's equally bad to stifle our past. When I read the Little House books in school as a child, we read them in conjunction with a book from a Native American pov, and afterwards a visit from a speaker from a local Native American tribe. That's how you learn from history. You try to see all sides, discuss why certain views are bad (in this case "the only good Indian is a dead Indian) and learn not to repeat past mistakes. Sweeping stuff under the rug fixes nothing. Wilder's views and that pov were important, it was what it was. Make a new award and move on with modern times.

Posted : Jun 26, 2018 12:50


I am a school librarian for kids from Black, Latinx, South Asian and Native descent. I support this fully. Why? These books aren't being censored. I still carry them in my library. We SHOULD read about our past mistakes and prejudices along with our history, so we can discuss how to do better. But planning an honor or award on something tells kids these words are valid. It tells kids that these words are more important than them. It tells them their hurt doesn't matter. Call me crazy, but I don't think kids lit is about the author. It's about the KIDS. These books should teach them and uplift them. They shouldn't validate the prejudices these kids hear every day about themselves. So, think about that when you go to the mat for a book written nearly a century ago over a kid who is HERE NOW. Tell me again why this is the wrong call.

Posted : Jun 25, 2018 10:42

Laura M. Jimenez, PhD

"I don’t think kids lit is about the author. It’s about the KIDS. These books should teach them and uplift them. They shouldn’t validate the prejudices these kids hear every day about themselves." I love this. Thank you.

Posted : Jun 25, 2018 11:16


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Posted : Jun 25, 2018 11:22

Kristin Gray

Beautifully said Kate. Thank you.

Posted : Jun 27, 2018 06:16


Several commenters opposed to the name change seem to equate removing an author's name from an award with "censoring" (says commenter Margaret Warren), "blacklist[ing]" (commenter Morgan), or "erasing" (commenter Melinda). Have these commenters seen evidence that Wilder's works are being removed from schools or libraries? Or that teachers, librarians, booksellers, and families are being forced to deny Wilder's existence, or keep silent about the time period? I cannot speak for all communities but here in the notoriously liberal San Francisco Bay Area, Wilder's works are frequently discussed and widely available. Accusations of censorship seem specious to me. Many commenters also situate Laura Ingalls Wilder in history, noting that her views were reflective of (White) culture at the time. If we can accept that Wilder was a product of her time then let us also acknowledge that we too are a product of our time, and that the values we embrace now may differ from the values of decades or centuries ago. The long-ago, likely all-White ALSC members who named an award after Wilder probably did not consider critiques of Wilder. Today, we benefit from looking at historical figures with nuance and multiple perspectives, including critical perspectives.

Posted : Jun 25, 2018 10:35


This is brilliant!

Posted : Jun 26, 2018 01:40

Mike Jung

The Children's Literature Legacy Award is not a product of Laura Ingalls Wilder's time. It's an award that's given to author right now, and changing its name is (among numerous other things) an important way of recognizing that our understanding of literature and its creators not only CAN grow and change with time, but that it MUST. The world of 1954 was one in in which the voices of historically marginalized and oppressed peoples were easier to dampen and dismiss, but we no longer live in that world, despite the efforts so many people are making to drag us back there. We live in the present day, and those voices are being heard. Much respect and gratitude to the ALSC for this extremely thoughtful, nuanced, and principled decision.

Posted : Jun 25, 2018 10:23

Mike Jung

Oh, and an addendum: there ARE attempts at historical erasure taking place regarding Laura Ingalls Wilder's books, it's true. The racism expressed in those books, to be precise. People are trying very, very hard to erase the racist aspects of the LITTLE HOUSE books from the historical record. I'm grateful to ALSC for making a decision that fully and openly addresses that very real, very negative thing instead of being complicit in those efforts to continue its erasure.

Posted : Jun 25, 2018 10:46


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Posted : Jun 25, 2018 10:22

Library Lady

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Posted : Jun 26, 2018 01:36

Tracy S

No one is taking the Little House books out of libraries--or even suggesting that kids should not be allowed to read them. Mrs. Wilder's award is not being taken away. Rather, the ALSC is recognizing that the racist language and racial stereotypes don't reflect excellence today, so she is not a good symbol for the award any longer. I can only imagine the internal conflict of being an author who is a person of color upon being awarded the Wilder Award. Honestly, I remember being shocked as a child when I read the passage where Ma Ingalls announced that she hated Indians, having never met any. "The only good Indian is a dead Indian" made me feel sick--I am Native American (although my upbringing was more white middle class). Later, when I read them to my kids, I found myself skipping sections of Little House on the Prairie, or stopping to compare Ma and Pa's views, and to explain why it was wrong to think they could just move onto land that belonged to the Osage and other tribes and do what they wanted. I didn't read them to my younger children. Congratulations to Jacqueline Woodson as the first recipient of the Children’s Literature Legacy Award and to Debbie Reese for her advocacy on this name change.

Posted : Jun 25, 2018 09:30

Martha Brockenbrough

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Posted : Jun 25, 2018 09:13


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Posted : Jun 25, 2018 09:50

Laura M. Jimenez, PhD

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Posted : Jun 25, 2018 11:14

Charles M Schwartz

I echo what others have written -- are we now going to erase all the negative things that happened from history? Because they offend US? Caroline Quiner Ingalls was not the only person at the time who believed this -- unless you are going to scour every book written at or written about the time and eliminate them as well, this amounts to a publicity stunt to appease a very small group of readers.

Posted : Jun 25, 2018 09:01

Kaye M.

It's interesting that the renaming of one award has everyone leaping to the word "erasure." No one is burning Laura's books. No one is dismissing her mother from the annals of history. They both get to keep their names and their legacy. Many of the Natives chased away so they could have this establishment, and denigrated in these books, do not.

Posted : Jun 26, 2018 09:02

Melanie Conklin

Throughout history, words have changed as we have broadened our knowledge and evolved our understanding. Streets are renamed. Schools are renamed. Sports teams and entire cities are renamed. Change is natural and it is good. Our actions must reflect what we learn from history, or else our learning is meaningless. The ALSC membership voted for this change, and I am proud to see that they have reflected their learning in their actions.

Posted : Jun 25, 2018 08:43


Melanie, you are on fire with your thoughtful and well-reasoned responses! Keep it up.

Posted : Jun 25, 2018 09:53


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Posted : Jun 25, 2018 10:17

Stacy Whitman

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Posted : Jun 26, 2018 12:05

Melanie Conklin

"You don’t represent us, the way we view Laura Ingalls Wilder, her books, American history, or literature in general." Who is "we"? I ask because the ALSC membership voted to approve this change. "you biased people" How am I biased? Is it bad to want inclusion for all people? Because that is the stated goal here. " reflect what we value" I value all human beings. Are you saying that you do not? Look, anyone who's really up in arms about the re-naming of an award needs to examine their feelings. Do you get similarly enraged when a street is renamed? What about a school? Or a stadium? Do you march against your local grocery store getting replaced or improved? Do you storm the government offices if they dare to create a new law? My guess is that you do not take these actions, because you actually do understand that critical thinking and learning are at the heart of humanity, and that changing an award name to be more inclusive of all is the right thing to do, even if change is hard.

Posted : Jun 26, 2018 12:07

Library Lady

As a Children's Librarian I am disgusted. As an American, I am appalled. What the heck is going on here? I long ago gave up on the ALA as being any sort of reasonable voice and am so glad I dropped my membership. ALSC should be ashamed of itself. It is asinine to put 21st century sensibilities on literature from the past. If we do that, we are going to have to purge (and make no mistake that is what this is) the whole canon every 30 or so years. Who knows what atrocities lurk in Diary of a Wimpy Kid or Charlotte's Web? I'm sure future leaders of ALSC will find something in those too. Focus on real issues for goodness sake!

Posted : Jun 25, 2018 07:47

Melanie Conklin

"If we do that, we are going to have to purge (and make no mistake that is what this is) the whole canon every 30 or so years." As learning and thinking beings, I sure hope we do just that. Our standards should always evolve and reach for excellence. Calling for us to ignore our critical thinking skills is a strange notion, and one I find completely contrary to the mandate of education at large. Learning is good, and so is change, for it is the manifestation of what we have learned. Without it, our learning is empty.

Posted : Jun 25, 2018 08:47

Library Lady

Judging a book written in the 1800s on current standards is not the way to go. Children are smart and can enjoy literature written at different time periods and from different perspectives and survive it. In fact, this is what learning is all about. So in your world, there are no timeless works? No timeless stories that people have been relating to for centuries? Out with Shakespeare. Out with Tolstoy. That's not learning or diversity of thought, that is mandating what you think is "appropriate" for people to read and is EXACTLY what we as librarians are NOT supposed to do.

Posted : Jun 25, 2018 10:06

Stacy Whitman

That you're seeing this as a call for censorship rather than simply a realignment of who we honor in the name of the award itself is a bit... well, overwrought. No one is calling for censorship of the entire body of work of Nikki Grimes, Tomie de Paola, Katherine Paterson, Jerry Pinkney, Laurence Yep, Ashley Bryan, or any of the other recipients of the LIW Award. They're just saying there's a better way to honor the body of these authors' work than to use the name of an author who wrote that "the only good Indian is a dead Indian." And far better to share The Birchbark House to show what life was like for Native Americans in that time period to children than to teach them that stealing land from Native Americans was okay.

Posted : Jun 26, 2018 12:02

Library Teacher

So why is the Native American perspective the only one that is okay? They didn't do nice things either. If there was a quote "The only good pioneer is a dead pioneer" in a book by a Native American, would that be okay? Ridiculous.

Posted : Jun 26, 2018 03:28

Gabrielle Halko

It’s really telling — and disheartening— to see so many comments decrying the erasure of “history” when so many people were stereotyped or erased from that history. The pioneer narrative of the West is *one* story. It is by no means the only one. And enough with the “PC” and “censorship” pearl-clutching. No writer writes in a vacuum, and we can’t assume a neutral “truth” to Wilder’s work. Wilder’s personal politics — and those of her daughter, who was influential in the LHOP series — were messy and often unsavory. Those politics certainly shaped her portrayal in the 1930s of a childhood lived 60 years prior. If you decry this change because it’s “PC” or “censorship,” you’re saying that your own ideas of history are threatened by acknowledging others’ experiences that were left out of the story. And you’re saying that readers should be uncritical and passive rather than responding according to the values of *their* times. Finally, this is a change of name for an award. No one is banning LIW’s books. What is happening is a long overdue acknowledgment of the pass that Wilder and Random House have gotten for decades because of nostalgia and a powerful but incomplete ideology of US history.

Posted : Jun 25, 2018 07:40


Here here. Perfectly stated Gabrielle. Nothing is being censored, no one is banning anything, just making sure that the award is more inclusive and reflective of the organization's values moving forward.

Posted : Jun 25, 2018 09:51

Laura M. Jimenez, PhD

Thank you! No one is banning LIW’s books. Why is this such a huge problem. ALSC decided that the award was better served NOT being named for a racist author. Was racism the norm of the time? Yes. Does that mean ALSC must keep honoring a time in history that was racist, homophobic, sexist, and ableist? She’s not being “erased”. Her books are not being threatened. Her name is being taken off of an award because ALSC decided her books do not align with their ideals.

Posted : Jun 25, 2018 11:06


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Posted : Jun 26, 2018 01:26

Tasslyn Magnusson


Posted : Jun 26, 2018 03:47

Tasslyn Magnusson

Yes to Melanie Conklin and Laura Jimenez, PhD - sorry, thought it would be more closely aligned. As a PhD in history and a kid lit writer, I celebrate the new future for this award! As I celebrate a school in Virginia that recently changed it's confederate nuame to Obama Elementary. These are appropriate and important steps forward for this organization and for children's literature. Read Prairie Fires for a terrific historical contextualization of the Ingalls family and Laura's own writing career and the ways in which she wrote to reflect her personal and political viewpoints and how she tried to "save" an incorrect and wrong view of American history and the role of the "Valiant pioneer."

Posted : Jun 26, 2018 03:52


YES! Thanks for this comment, Gabrielle!

Posted : Jun 26, 2018 04:53

Margaret Warren

Appalling to change this in order to make it acceptable to others. Honestly you are censoring books according to this article. I normally looked for books you awarded, but never again. I’ll direct my family to read non censored books! This is unbelievable. I would not donate ONE RED CENT to your organization!

Posted : Jun 25, 2018 05:47

Melanie Conklin

"Appalling to change this in order to make it acceptable to others." I believe your use of the word "others" says it all. Who are these others? Perhaps they are people who aren't white? " I’ll direct my family to read non censored books!" Who censored the books? Perhaps you've misconstrued this article about re-naming an award with fears that these books are now banned? I assure you they are not banned, though it's to the discretion of every librarian to decide if a book that says "the only good indian is a dead indian" should be in their collection.

Posted : Jun 25, 2018 08:50

Tracy S

Margaret: No one is censoring the books or taking away Mrs. Wilder's award that she was given. They are renaming an award. The award is for an author's entire body of work, not one book, like the Newbery. It would be a pity if you gave up reading all those great authors simply because their books were marked "Wilder Award author." Are you only reading non-censored books, as in books that have never been challenged or removed from libraries or schools? Or do you really mean the opposite, that you are reading censored books, as in books that have been challenged? I have no problem with you reading either, since the point is that it is your choice (although I am a little concerned that you will "direct" rather than recommend reading material to your family). I think you will find that ALSC and librarians everywhere support your right to read what you want.

Posted : Jun 25, 2018 09:57

Emily Schneider

I disagree with the decision to rename the award. I believe that concerns about racism in Wilder's books are completely legitimate and I share those concerns. However, it seems that the vehement attacks on her are based on a very limited reading of her works without historical or literary context. Discussion of her books should be complemented by reading and analyzing other works which more accurately reflect the experience of Native American peoples. As others have pointed out, there are virtually no children's books until quite recently which do not include many abhorrent prejudices in our history: In addition, I must point out that if the committee is truly concerned with recognizing works which value "inclusiveness, integrity, and respect," they should be aware that they gave the award to Nikki Grimes, whose book, At Jerusalem's Gate, is filled with ugly and historically inaccurate views of the Jewish people in the context of Jesus's death. (Ms. Grimes is the author of many other distinguished works, but the committee cannot have been unaware of the inflammatory nature of this book of "Easter poems."

Posted : Jun 25, 2018 05:28

Melanie Conklin

This decision wasn't made by committee. It was voted on by the membership.

Posted : Jun 26, 2018 12:23

Emily Schneider

I am not referring to the name change of the award, but rather to the 2017 granting of the award to the author of an overtly anti-Semitic children's book. That award was chosen by a committee. Do you or any of the others on this list of comments have anything to say about that? Are inclusiveness and diversity the exclusive property of only some groups?

Posted : Jun 26, 2018 05:01

Melanie Conklin

Edited to amend: after talking with some other ALSC/ALA members, I've learned that there was not a vote, but rather there was an opportunity via email to give feedback for all members.

Posted : Jun 26, 2018 07:05

Shane redden

Absolutely the single most ridiculous thing yet to come from PC culture. So every piece of Literature ever written before what the year 2000 was inappropriate and should be overlooked regardless of its impact on the World. These books and the show are inspirational and part of generations of lives.

Posted : Jun 25, 2018 11:34

Melanie Conklin

"Absolutely the single most ridiculous thing yet to come from PC culture." If "PC culture" is a synonym for "culture that values all human beings" then I'm for it.

Posted : Jun 25, 2018 08:54


Yeah good luck with finding any type of book that fits that bill. You will never ever rewrite history and I will be sure any donations from anyone I know will stop being sent to anyone who supports this type of PC nonsense.

Posted : Jun 25, 2018 09:48

Julie M.

Ingalls Wilders books opened an important dialogue about both historical and present day racism, and ignorance, with my daughter when she was only five. I’m not sure how else I would have found an appropriate moment to do so for years. That in itself is a valuable contribution. And Laura’s father CLEARLY expressed views that were atypical of the time. He taught her NOT to be racist. What happened to that? Let’s just stop talking about the Civil War because there were too many people with stereotypical attitudes killing each other. I can’t even believe this.

Posted : Jun 25, 2018 10:56

Stacy Whitman

...and yet her father also stole land from the local Native tribes, and knew he was doing so. We're not talking about *stopping* talking about LIW. We're simply no longer honoring her racist legacy with the name of an award. Her books still sell to this day. They're sadly in no danger of being replaced (even though there are plenty other books out there that treat that time period with a greater respect for the people the Ingalls displaced). I'd recommend reading The Birchbark House, alone or at least in tandem with LIW's books, rather than assuming that the status quo is always best.

Posted : Jun 25, 2018 11:54

Dr Laura McLemore

He did steal land. In fact he left Indian land.

Posted : Jun 26, 2018 06:38

Nilah Magruder

It's interesting you say that Laura's father taught her not to be racist, because one of the scenes that sticks out in my memory from reading LITTLE TOWN ON THE PRAIRIE as a teen is Laura's father and his friends doing a minstrel show in blackface.

Posted : Jun 26, 2018 12:25

Carol Wayne

Thank you for saying take away from the books was that Ma was afraid, and fear made her hate. The real Caroline Ingalls lived through a sad time in our history when both whites and native americans were killing each other. But Pa...he seemed to have a deep respect for the native americans, their knowledge and traditions. Also, the first African American doctor I ever saw in literature was Dr. Tan in Little House on the Prarie...yes Pa did blackface in Little Town on the Prarie...but again .. during that time it was acceptable...cant we use this as a discussion point?

Posted : Jun 26, 2018 06:43

Kaye M.

"Both whites and Native Americans were killing each other." <--- Um, can we talk about the fact that this is a story told from a very white gaze and one actually told from an adult perspective, and Laura certainly would have everything to lose if she had actually considered the fact that her people did more damage to Natives than could ever be said the other way around? Also, yes, fear is one aspect of hate. (Another, that I notice that many not marginalized educators hate to discuss, is superiority and dehumanization, which is demonstrated very strongly in this book series.) But that is not an excuse to embrace that hate and apologize for it and coddle it. I have not heard, to this day, as a twenty-something teacher, a teacher appropriately discuss fear and hate and how Ma is WRONG to fear and hate and how she holds a dominance in that fear that Native women are not given leave to vocalize - because they had more to fear from Ma and her encroachment and stealing of their land.

Posted : Jun 26, 2018 08:58

Nilah Magruder

Sure we can use it as a discussion point, but that doesn't have to do anything with the award. Unless you're hoping an hour-long panel discussion about Wilder's books is added to the award ceremony going forward. No one is saying don't read the books. The award name changed. That's all. The books still exist, Wilder's legacy still exists.

Posted : Jun 26, 2018 09:11


Stupid,stupid, stupid!!! You can’t rewrite history!

Posted : Jun 25, 2018 10:42

Melanie Conklin

No, but you can learn from it, and your actions can reflect that learning.

Posted : Jun 25, 2018 11:23


The Wilder Award was established to recognize authors whose works “have had a substantial and lasting impact on children’s literature.” Does Wilder’s own work not meet this criteria? What of Mark Twain’s work? How is their revelation and description of a 19th century appreciation differ from today’s debate on divorce, islam or LBGT issues? The ALSC claims to want inclusion; however, that was not the purpose of the award. The committee would have been better served to select Option 2 rather than make the political point and diminish the value of future receiptents’ work. Retiring the Wilder Award was the honorable way to achieve ALSC’s goal without making a spectacle of the affair. Poor form ALSC, poor form.

Posted : Jun 25, 2018 08:49


I would like them to list any books from that time period that did not reflect poorly on minorities. Most likely they won't be able to, now Laura Ingalls Wilder gets added to the ever growing list of blacklisted historical figures. How long will it be before her books are banned in schools and anyone that defends the literary quality is shamed for defending a history that today's leaders would rather the entire world forget. You can discuss how her views were shaped by the times she lived in and use it as an example of how far the United States has come without completely throwing it all away. I am so very disappointed in this decision.

Posted : Jun 25, 2018 08:29


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Posted : Jun 25, 2018 10:07

Sarah Cannon

grerp, literature from around the world focuses on the importance of "hard work, faith, family, courage, and sacrifice." This is not specific to Laura Ingalls Wilder's America, which was, in point of fact, built on top of American Indians' America, where people also valued these things. For one moment, step away from what this award's name means to you, and imagine what it would mean to receive it as a American Indian or a black author, especially if you read Laura Ingalls's books when you were an American Indian or black child, and experienced them as a slap in the face. No one is erasing anyone. However, it behooves us *as Americans,* as people who believe in "hard work, faith, family, courage, and sacrifice" to do the hard work, show the courage, and make the necessary sacrifices when we recognize an unjust situation. The best way to honor the memory of Laura Ingalls Wilder is to have faith that, if an American Indian or black child said to her, "This hurt me," she would be sorry, apologize, and vow to do better. Humility is not the same as humiliation.

Posted : Jun 26, 2018 02:25

Stacy Whitman

I would ask you instead to name the voices that were lost because so many racists were prioritized in publishing, and how many voices might now be lost because librarians such as those commenting here are more interested in preserving the status quo than improving the future, and learning from our racist past.

Posted : Jun 25, 2018 11:51

Melanie Conklin

"You can discuss how her views were shaped by the times she lived in and use it as an example of how far the United States has come without completely throwing it all away. " Yes. You can do that. Many do. The only thing that changed here was the name of an award. Just like the renaming of a street, school, or stadium. Perhaps consider the many peoples whose histories have actually been erased in the course of this country's history. Perhaps consider that updating the name of an award can be a step forward, and that sometimes, instead of fighting the change, we can choose to take a step forward together.

Posted : Jun 26, 2018 12:22

Tasslyn Magnusson

Yes. 100% yes.

Posted : Jun 26, 2018 03:44


If nothing else, thanks to the ALSC for reminding me to buy a set of the “Little House” books for all the little ones in my life.

Posted : Jun 25, 2018 07:39


As a former librarian, I must say I hate this happened! She wrote what she sorry this happened! I’m from Missouri and live close to Mansfield!!

Posted : Jun 25, 2018 07:21

Stephanie Hasty

I am a person of color from Mansfield, MO and this name change makes me so sad and angry. What people are saying about LIW on Twitter and in some comments makes me sad and angry. I appreciate those that understand the nuances of language, but what it boils down to is an honor being stripped away from a woman's whose literature changed and continues to change the lives of millions. I used to give tours of the home, people from all over the world (literally) came to look at her house and talk about her legacy. I understand that the task force didn't take their job lightly. However, the best option would have been Option 2: a new award for a new time and then we wouldn't see LIW's name being dragged through the mud on the internet.

Posted : Jun 26, 2018 04:02

Darla L Grediagin

Thank you for this perspective. Your letter voiced all I was feeling about this change. I agree with you the Option 2 would have been a better choice.

Posted : Jun 27, 2018 01:45

Kelly L Thompson

Changing the name of this award is ABSOLUTELY RIDICULOUS! Laura wrote what she wrote, NOT to be prejudice, but as an honest reflection of the world she knew growing up in the 1800s! Laura was writing from an historical perspective and just because it is not PC by today's standards doesn't mean her award should be changed. Shame on the ALSC!!!

Posted : Jun 25, 2018 06:48

L.Isa Dasen

Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote historical fiction and it reflects the time in which it was written whether good or bad. I feel it’s unfair to change the name of this award and a bit like Laura Ingalls Wilder is being “banned” from her own award. I would rather see the award ellimated than changing the name.

Posted : Jun 25, 2018 11:41

Laura Harrison

Me, too. I am astonished and horrified by the name change. Laura Ingalls Wilder was and is worthy of an award named after her. The Little House Books were and are favorites of generations of children. Her work has meant so much to so many. I cannot believe people who know children's literature would do this. It is embarrassing and shameful. Laura Ingalls Wilder is iconic. I only hope the purging of her books don't come next. It would be a great loss for future readers.

Posted : Jun 27, 2018 12:22


It doesn’t mean that Wilder is a pos, it means we’re evolving and realizing that words can hurt. Knowing the power of words is a specialty of this group, so being mature and forward-thinking and, y’know, kind and changing the name of an award is a way to show our evolution as a society.

Posted : Jun 25, 2018 05:31


No, I disagree. It's looking at Wilder, through a modern lens and changing our opinion on her. She no longer deserves to have an award named after her. It does erase history, it says: this person, despite having been considered so special and influential as to have an award named in her honor, is embarrassing and we don't want people to think about her when we are giving out awards. It's trying to pretend that she wasn't important to literature. Make a new award. But no, a new award won't do. It would allow for Wilder to still be memorialized by the organization.

Posted : Jun 26, 2018 12:11


Oh, and by new award, I mean no longer giving out the Wilder Award and replacing it with something entirely new.

Posted : Jun 26, 2018 01:07

Compassion and Judgment

When our kids are stagnant in their reading at a deficient level as they have been since the start of the Obama administration, as judged by their 4th grade NAEP scores, it is hard to believe that ALSC is spending one milisecond on the name of an award. This is a distraction for adults while our children are spiraling in the wrong direction. Shame on us. And don't say it's a matter of self-esteem. Kids in marginalized groups through the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s had no window, mirror, glass door, or curtain books either, and somehow whole masses of them seemed to achieve more and more. We in our age of political correctness worry about our feelings more than we do about our children. Shame on us again. By the way? Anyone alive who has received this award who chooses not to re-accept it under the new name? Get ready for a Twitter dogpile and accusation of being a racist.

Posted : Jun 25, 2018 04:03

Library Lady

You nailed it. Thanks for posting.

Posted : Jun 25, 2018 07:54

Melanie Conklin

"Kids in marginalized groups through the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s had no window, mirror, glass door, or curtain books either, and somehow whole masses of them seemed to achieve more and more." Do you mean how marginalized Americans suffered from inherited poverty, inability to secure home loans, inability to create wealth, and mass incarceration hugely disproportionate to their percentage of the population? Is that the achievement to which you refer?

Posted : Jun 26, 2018 12:14


How absolutely ridiculous. We are erasing our history and the contributions that people have made by judging them retroactively by the standards of our times, not theirs. Hell, Lincoln was a racist too and proposed sending freed slaves back to Africa. Should we now erase his legacy as well? I am ashamed of the U.S. today and the destruction of our history, good or bad by liberal PC culture.

Posted : Jun 25, 2018 01:53

Library Lady

Well said!

Posted : Jun 25, 2018 07:41

Melanie Conklin

" We are erasing our history" No one's erasing history. These books are in print, and probably always will be, and the entire history of the award will be canonized forever on the internet. It's pretty shocking to see so many professionals whose focus is literacy and education choosing to conflate the issue of re-naming an award with erasing history. Perhaps you should think on the peoples whose history has actually been erased in the course of this country's past: Native families, African families, Chinese families...the list goes on. Now is a time to move forward with integrity and wisdom rather than hysterically clinging to the past.

Posted : Jun 25, 2018 09:32

Compassion and Judgment

Actually, changing the name of the award without acknowledging the previous name, and giving past winners the option to re-accept under the new name, is in fact erasing history. ironic, in the sense that erasure is one of the things that the Diversity Jedi are rightfully most concerned with! The responsible thing to do would have been to sunset the Wilder award and created a new one. Instead, the ALSC decided to be the Party, as another commenter says below, and wipe out its own past. "Oceania was at war with Eastasia: Oceania had always been at war with Eastasia. A large part of the political literature of five years was now completely obsolete." Not a good look or example.

Posted : Jul 07, 2018 02:31

Ernie Cox

We need to get clarity on what people mean when they say something is "PC". If it means an action that attempts to correct histories of inequality (in which White folks are often the beneficiaries) then let's say it. What does this mean if people insist their actions are NOT "PC". Are they preserving the status quo of exclusion? Wilder's body of work excludes a major part of the history of the West. It will be painful for some people to reconcile their affection for this White view while also realizing it hurts and degrades many people. I have fond memories of watching Little House on the Prairie. Those memories are not worth protecting when they halt our profession(and society) from becoming more inclusive.

Posted : Jun 24, 2018 11:06


Most authors write about what they know. She wrote about what she knew. So, yes, parts of the history were not included.

Posted : Jun 25, 2018 04:49


Rediculous. All people are guilty of inequality. Get over your white guilt and get out of your safe space.

Posted : Jun 26, 2018 12:13


The television show was very different from the books.

Posted : Jun 27, 2018 12:21

David Edwards

When it comes to censorship, particularly human censorship, count me out. The fact that this censorship is coming from librarians is particularly objectionable. Librarians condemn Laura Ingalls Wilder and Dr. Seuss for offensive stereotypes, an accusation almost certain to be leveled at Richard Scarry and others. And has anyone forgotten Roald Dahl’s Oompa-Loompas were originally a tribe of 3,000 black pygmies, secretly (and likely illegally) conveyed from “the very deepest and darkest part of the African jungle where no white man had been before.”? I shudder to think of the offenses waiting anyone reading Mark Twain or Joel Chandler Harris. And that goes for a great many books that might speak of their time, but offend so painfully in ours. Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote her reminiscences as a 19th century child, including her uninformed feelings of apprehension and “stereotypical attitudes” regarding American Indians. There is also talk of renaming the Theodore S. Geisel (Dr. Seuss) Award. I expect the Edgar Award will suffer the same fate. After all, it’s well known that Edgar Allen Poe married a child, his 13-year-old cousin. Scott O’Dell was a notorious “womanizer,” using the parlance of the day. Will he be removed from the award bearing his name? And what of John Newbery and Randolph Caldecott? Surely, if one peers close enough, one might uncover something unsavory these men said or did that could merit their exclusion. Let’s not forget one Newbery winner was a convicted cattle rustler, another smuggled drugs, and there remain additional closet doors I could fling open for inspection. How much cutting and altering are we prepared to do before history can be dressed up and paraded down the catwalk, unblemished and inoffensive to our unblinking and self-righteous scrutiny?

Posted : Jun 28, 2018 12:13

Laura Harrison

Very well said! My sentiments exactly!

Posted : Jun 30, 2018 05:58

Marguerite Chipp

Thank you. It is this same sort of thinking that would have Mark Twain removed from the schools and do lord knows what to The Mark Twain Prize. BTW, why don't they start at the top as far as writing goes and get rid of the Pulitizer Prize. Now there is a man who does not deserve to have a prize named after him. But, of course, with that prize you get money and money talks, doesn't it?

Posted : Jul 02, 2018 07:25

Laura Harrison

Have you read the Little House books? I truly hope you take the time and read the series. Growing up in the 70's they meant the world to me and many of my friends. I wrote constantly as a child after reading the series. I aspired to be just like Wilder. I grew up to study children's literature and illustration. Illustration in great part to the wonderful original illustrator of the Little House books Helen Sewell and later the amazing Garth Williams. My occupation for almost two decades has been recommending and selling books (mostly children's books). Laura Ingalls Wilder's works impacted my entire life. In the most wonderful ways possible. No committee or organization will ever make me love Laura Ingalls Wilder less.

Posted : Jun 30, 2018 06:41

Don Edwards

The ALSC is totally wrong on this decision. You are the racists. You have lost all credibility from the American public!

Posted : Jul 06, 2018 07:27



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