The #ALSC has it wrong.
Click the link to read the article on why they removed Laura Ingle Wilder’s book award.
They decided to remove Laura Ingle Wilder’s book award because:
“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,” the board of the Association for Library Service to Children said on its website.”
Whatever happened to freedom of expression and freedom of accessibility? No, you’re not banning them, but you’re aggressively sending a negative message concerning freedom of expression when you remove an award that both freely expresses a time consistent with the past, and that offers a glimpse into that time period. If you want to condemn books, there are plenty to do so with today for their moral impurity, not because they don’t include everyone in a “positive” light.
This matters because you cannot erase the past. And removing an award because it spoke unkindly of a certain people does not make the book any less valuable and worthy of acclaim. If anything, it teaches you about the mindset of people, allowing us to reflect on how wrong we were, and how far we’ve come. You’ve upheld her for so long for her contribution of depicting life as it was, allowing individuals to take their own learning into their own hands, making of it what they will, but here, you’ve denied them that before they even pick it up, not allowing them to make their own judgements about her “stereotypical writing,” because you’ve already done so when you labeled it unworthy by removing her award.
For librarians everywhere, we’re taught that we shouldn’t ban books because of the people’s rights, even when that material is very questionable, which a good bit truly is, but here, the message given is: we can’t ban it, but we can make known our distaste for it because it doesn’t fit with inclusiveness, integrity, respect, and responsiveness. My response: since when do we get to label books like that, if we’re the same people who won’t ban them?
It’s not banned, but you’ve done just as good by removing her award. Very distasteful to her memory and family, who very likely don’t share the same, “stereotypical,” views.
“The Laura Ingalls Wilder Legacy and Research Association released a statement defending Wilder’s work, saying that while her writing included “the perspectives of racism that were representative of her time and place,” it also made “positive contributions to children’s literature”: (Chow, June, 2018).
“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.”