Missouri museum denounces Laura Ingalls Wilder award change

Laura Ingalls Wilder

Eugene Christopherson (American, 20th century), oil-on-board titled MRS. INGALLS HARVESTING: LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE SERIES. Image courtesy of Sloans & Kenyon and LiveAuctioneers

MANSFIELD, Mo. (AP) – A Missouri museum dedicated to Laura Ingalls Wilder has expressed disappointment at a recent decision to remove the author’s name from a national literary award.

The Laura Ingalls Wilder Home Association in Mansfield released a recent statement disagreeing with the action to rename the major children’s book award, the Springfield News-Leader reported. Wilder was best known for her “Little House on the Prairie” series.

The Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, decided Saturday to rename the accolade to the Children’s Literature Legacy Award. The national association cited concerns about the portrayals of blacks and Native Americans in the early-to-mid 20th century author’s works.

The national association called Wilder’s legacy “complex” and “not universally embraced.”

Jean Coday, the Mansfield museum’s director, said Wilder believed her books were historically accurate and reflected American life.

“However, difficult it may be to agree with social mores within these years, the fact remains that was a different time and what was accepted then would not be today,” Coday said. “Mrs. Wilder was writing a historical account of her childhood to inform today’s children how proud they may be in their heritage and their nation.”

Wilder lived in Mansfield for several years, where the Laura Ingalls Wilder Home and Museum currently stands.

“Many believe that Mrs. Wilder’s famous ‘Little House’ books are American treasures and she should be honored as their author,” Coday said.


Information from: Springfield News-Leader, http://www.news-leader.com

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