Ingalls Wilder dropped from US book prize over racism


Her "Little House on the Prairie series" is world-renowned for its portrayal of the struggles of prairie life in North America in the 1800's.

Laura Ingalls Wilder, the author of the famed Little House on the Prairie books, has had her name removed from a prestigious children's book award over concerns of her depictions of black and Indigenous Americans.

The ALSC said the decision was made because "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". "Only Indians lived there", implied that Native Americans were not people-in response, the publisher then changed "people" to "settlers".

The author Jacqueline Woodson, known for award-winning books including Brown Girl Dreaming and Another Brooklyn, will be the first honoree of the newly named Children's Literature Legacy Award. It said, "The award was created in 1954 when an understanding of the message it sends to people of color, specifically American Indians and those of African descent, was not recognized".

The racial issues in her books have been debated long before February, when the ALSC announced it would be voting on whether to keep Wilder's name on its award, calling her legacy "complex". Many years ago, in 1952, Wilder's word choice was called into question after a reader complained that a phrase used in Little House on the Prairie, "there were no people". The semi-autobiographical books followed the trials and tribulations of her real-life family, the Ingalls, as they survived pioneer life in the American West.

The character who is Laura Ingalls's mother, Caroline Ingalls, is not subtle in her hatred of the Native Americans, saying repeatedly she doesn't like them, before she has even encountered them.

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She also wrote that her mother believed that "the only good Indian was a dead Indian".

"Whether we love Wilder or hate her, we should know her", she wrote.

MAYER: Lindsay says the ALSC spent months surveying librarians and readers on their feelings about Wilder and that most of her membership supports the move, although some have struggled with it.

"Each generation revises the literary canon".

Her first book, The Little House in the Big Woods was published in 1932 when she was 65.

"But no white American should be able to avoid the history it has to tell".