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History Lessons and Rose Colored Glasses

History Lessons and Rose Colored Glasses

The Laura Ingalls Wilder Award was established in 1954 to honor books published in the U.S. that have a big impact on children’s literature. What an honor this must have been to Laura and her family! Having passed away in 1957, she is not around to witness the horror of what is going on in the world today concerning this award and other choice pieces of history.

Laura Ingalls Wilder was the first recipient of this award and her name has now been striped from the award and as the first recipient. The Association for Library Service to Children says the award will now be known as the Children’s Literature Legacy Award.

Of the many articles I have read of this decision, it was made based on the fact that most critics say her books include stereotypical and reductive depictions of Native Americans and people of color.

I grew up reading the beloved stories of Laura Ingalls Wilder. Many of you did. Did you feel insulted by the content? Not me. I believe this feeling of books or statues or whatever else can be picked at as causing insult is just a way of others having their voices heard.  Then the media takes it and runs with it and there you have it! Mayhem.

Are we going to ban the Little House books from our children’s reading lists? Will the famed Little House on the Prairie tv series reruns now be cancelled?

Will Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn be struck from history? Will Hemingway’s books be banned from libraries because of some of his beliefs? We’ve already started removing statues and crosses from public properties because someone, somewhere was insulted.

Who are these people who demand these decisions about our history  be changed or hidden away? Do they want to view our world through rose-colored glasses? If we had known then what we know now history would have been different. But we didn’t, so they aren’t, and no amount of erasing history will change the past, present, or future for our children. History cannot be swept under the rug or hidden like a skeleton in the closet. It is what it is.

The Little House books were published between 1932 and 1943 and were based on Wilder’s childhood in a settler and pioneer family. People thought differently. They lived differently. We have learned from our parents past mistakes as will our children learn from ours. Lets not make cutting history from the record books be one of our mistakes.

Here are a few links on articles written about this sad decision. Google Laura Ingalls Wilder in the news for more.

Read about Wilder’s life and accomplishments here.

~Elle

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About Elle Knowles

Elle Knowles lives in the Florida Panhandle with her husband and off-at-college-most-of-the-time son. She has four daughters, one son, and eleven beautiful grandchildren. 'Crossing the Line' is her first novel. The sequel 'What Line' is a work in progress. Recently published is Coffee-Drunk Or Blind - a nonfiction story of homesteading in the Alaska wilderness with her parents and four siblings, told through letters by her mother and remembered accounts from the family.

6 responses »

  1. If we hide the truth, if we try to hide from history we’ll just keep repeating it. LIW wrote from her experiences at a different time in history, even by the time the series was on TV they had changed the depiction of First Nations peoples, and I assume if they redid the series today it would be even different. We should know all we can of history, especially from great literature. We need to learn and grow, progress, not regress and censor and ban. I was saddened by this news when I heard it the other day. This was well-written, I’ve shared it.
    Hope this day treats you kindly. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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    • Thanks! And yes, it’s so true about the different time in history. By the time my grandchildren have children there may not be much ‘real’ history left if this sort of thing continues to happen!

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  2. You cannot change history. You can only learn from it. It was a different time.

    Liked by 1 person

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  3. This is a difficult topic. I understand the need to acknowledge the baked-in biases of our past, certainly where young readers are concerned. Still, I resonate with this statement from the USA Today article you reference: “But let’s encourage critical thinking, not purging.”

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