‘Little House on the Prairie’ author removed from book award over 'racist' language

The main characters in the TV series

The US Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) has removed Laura Ingalls Wilder's name from the title of a major children’s book award.

The BBC report how the association did so in response to repeated complaints over the author's "anti-Native and anti-Black sentiments in her work".

The ALSC voted on Saturday to rename the ‘Laura Ingalls Wilder Award’ to the ‘Children’s Literature Legacy Award’. A deciison which was reportedly met with a standing ovation.

The ALSC, a division of the American Library Association, drew attention to Wilder’s "expressions of stereotypical attitudes" and suggested they "inconsistent with ALSC's core values".

Wilder's children's novels about pioneer life in the American West have drawn negative attention for several decades..

One of the opening chapters of the Little House books describe a land with "no people. Only Indians lived there".

"The only good Indian is a dead Indian" another character says.

Russia Today report how in 1998, an eight-year-old native American girl on the Upper Sioux Reservation of southwestern Minnesota came home in tears after listening to her teacher reading the novel.

The girl’s mother complained to the school, and tried for months to have the book dropped from the curriculum. The American Civil Liberties Union at one point got involved, and threatened the school board with a lawsuit.

African-American characters are also called "darkies" in the book.

Some fans of Ingels work say they offer an important historical perspective and should be used as teaching tools for children.

"We acknowledge that Wilder's books not only hold a significant place in the history of children's literature and continue to be read today," the board's recommendation said. "We also acknowledge that they have been deeply painful to many readers."

Born in 1867, Wilder was best known for her Little House on the Prairie novels which were published between 1932 and 1943.

The novels became a television series in 1974 which ran until 1983.

- Digital Desk

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