On Saturday, the Association of Library Service to Children (ALSC) voted to change the name of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award to the "Children’s Literature Legacy Award."
The AP reported that the name was changed due to “concerns with how the early-to-mid 20th century author portrayed blacks and Native Americans” in her book. The ALSC was concerned about the “expressions of stereotypical attitudes inconsistent with ALSC’s core values of inclusiveness, integrity and respect, and responsiveness," AP writes.
For decades, people have debated the educational value of Little House books, "Little House on the Prairie" in particular, due to their use of language referring to the aforementioned demographics.
The highly controversial line "the only good Indian was a dead Indian" has been of particular concern amongst academics.
People have a lot of different reactions.
In a time when school librarians are struggling to defend themselves as educators, ALSC decides that it’s better to change the name of an award rather than count on us to teach about the writing in the context of the time period in which it was written. https://t.co/4T9SNthqY7— Kimberly Darata (@kdarata) June 25, 2018
I'm so glad ALSC renamed the Wilder Award. I thought they would, but I wondered what they might change the name to. The Children's Literature Legacy Award has the advantage of not seeming to reflect the values & scope of a single author's work but rather the legacy of all kidlit.— Rebecca Donnelly (@_becca_donnelly) June 24, 2018
In 1989, a woman filed for a petition to remove the book from the curriculum after her 8-year-old girl from the Upper Sioux Reservation came home in tears over the book's content read in class.
There have been other attempts to remove books from curriculums and even ban them across the nation. Some of these classic novels include "To Kill a Mockingbird" and "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn."
All of these books are highly criticized for their word choice, such as liberally using the word "n***er." But the historical and cultural significance of these stories is typically ignored in these academic conversations.