Progressive or revisionist? Laura Ingalls Wilder Award’s name changed after debate over racist content
“Little House on the Prairie” is often associated with log cabins and family hardships, but a recent move by the Association for Library Service to Children has brought a new theme to the fore: racism.
The group voted last week to change the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award’s name to the Children’s Literature Legacy Award, citing the author’s derogatory language towards Native Americans as reason for the name removal. The name change was first proposed in February of this year, and members spent months of discussion before reaching a verdict.
Though the official decision has already been made, public debate over the issue continues. The association has faced backlash from both literary scholars and institutes, including a Missouri museum dedicated to Laura Ingalls Wilder. Critics accuse the association of attempting to redact history rather than breed conversation.
What do you think? Is the pain associated with Wilder’s content enough reason to remove the author’s name from an award? Or is the removal doing more harm than good in shielding readers from America’s past? Call 866.893.5722.
The Association for Library Service to Children’s full statement regarding the award’s name change can be read here.
Sherri L. Smith, young adult author and faculty at Goddard College’s MFA in Creative Writing program and Hamline University’s MFA in Children’s Writing program; her newest book comes out in August and is called “Who Were the Tuskegee Airmen?”