Monday, June 25, 2018

In Support of the Children’s Literature Legacy Award

Reading While White supports and celebrates the decision to change the name of the "Laura Ingalls Wilder Award" to the "Children's Literature Legacy Award."  We salute those who worked over the days, weeks, years, and decades to make this change.  We have a long ways to go, but this is one important step towards equity and towards fully valuing the humanity of every child.  An enormous "Thank you!" to everyone who worked on this in ways large and small.

8 comments:

Michelle Metschel said...

Question: Why must we erase all examples of racism from history? How do we learn from our past mistakes? Ms. Wilder was a wonderful writer and she wrote about the times she was living in. Should we erase all examples of hatred towards others in all books, no matter when written, because it offends us now? How do we learn from our past? We should not be revisionists. Perhaps we should take away the bible? There are plenty of examples of hatred, murder, rape, and teaching to hate and get rid of others in this book. You s are entitled to your opinion, and this is your blog. But because it is public, I felt the need to comment. Perhaps you should stay away from the library all together. Your mind might get expanded.

Sam Bloom said...

Hi Michelle! Actually, no one here is saying anything about erasing history or censoring books. You can read Wilder's books and recommend them to whomever you want. Personally, though, I'm thrilled that the award will no longer bear her name, and I look forward to suggesting the Birchbark House books by Louise Erdrich as authentic and well-rounded alternatives at my own library branch.

Mike Jung said...

Wilder's books aren't going anywhere - they'll continue to be read, purchased, and celebrated. If we do actually reach a point where the federal administration decides to start practicing true, government censorship (which is terrifyingly possible right now), the Little House books certainly won't be on the list of targets. And we absolutely mustn't erase racism from history, which is why this name change matters so much; ALSC has chosen to acknowledge the racism in Wilder's work in the most open and unmistakable way at their disposal.

Library Teacher said...

I have tried suggesting The Birchbark House to my students, but the prefer LHOP. I have not had one student choose TBH in all the years I've had it. Based on circulation numbers TBH got weeded this year and LHOP got replaced. I would have preferred that ALSC create a new award and let the LIW award stand as is.

Sam Bloom said...

Library Teacher, have you read the Birchbark House yourself? I think book suggestions are much more effective when we ourselves feel passionate about the books. And please, don't use circ numbers as the lone reason to weed titles, especially those by people from marginalized backgrounds. Put it on display, face-out, and continue to do so any chance you get.

Jean Mendoza said...

That's an important point, Sam. Librarians and teachers communicate much about a book through their enthusiasm for it. Do they book-talk it? Read aloud from the first chapter, or other passages, to entice kids to pick it up themselves? Display it prominently? Enthusiastically suggest it to kids who are looking for something new? Birchbark House is ground-breaking and every bit as significant historically as the Little House books -- and IMO it should not have been weeded. (Especially if there are few other titles in the collection by Native writers.) Library Teacher doesn't say what the staff did to promote interest in the book, but as you point out, books by people from marginalized backgrounds may, for some audiences, require a little extra boosting but it's worth the effort, and the patience, for many reasons.

Roger Sutton said...

I'd recommend starting students with another in the Erdrich series, notably THE GAME OF SILENCE. THE BIRCHBARK HOUSE itself is kind of sleepy.

Monica Edinger said...

I have been using THE GAME OF SILENCE and CHICKADEE with my 4th grade students for several years now in a literature circle unit along with Joseph Bruchac's HEART OF A CHIEF and James M. Marshall's THE JOURNEY OF CRAZY HORSE.