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Nolte: Book Burners Disappear ‘Laura Ingalls Wilder’ From Literary Award

Melissa Sue Anderson, Michael Landon, Karen Grassle, and Matthew Labyorteaux in Little House on the Prairie ( Ed Friendly Productions/NBC, 1974)
Ed Friendly Productions/NBC

The American Library Association has removed Laura Ingalls Wilder’s name from a major award based on how her iconic Little House on the Prairie novels portray minorities.

“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 Association for Library Service to Children said in a statement.

The vote to remove her name was unanimous. A standing ovation followed.

The award will now be called the Children’s Literature Legacy Award.

Wilder wrote her series of iconic novels, eight in all, between 1932 and 1943. These were autobiographical children’s books that looked back on Wilder’s own childhood, her experience growing up in the American Midwest in the 1870s.

The series remained so popular, it resulted in a long-running television series starring Michael Landon that ran for nine seasons, between 1974 and 1983. Even during its final year, the show was ranked #28 in the ratings.

This move by the children’s division of the American Library Association, the largest library association in the world, is yet another example of the left’s ongoing fascist crusade to erase history deemed offensive by 21st century standards; to figuratively burn books (and movies and art) through bans (Huckleberry Finn and To Kill a Mockingbird!), various acts of outright censorship (Gone with the Wind), calls for censorship (classic 70’s sitcoms and Pepe Le Pew), the literal rewriting of Mark Twain, condemning good-natured comedy as racist (Steve Martin), and now we have the Orwellian disappearing of one of the most popular and enduring children’s authors America has ever produced.

The left is constantly asking us to forgive and tolerate past and present foreign cultures guilty of monstrous acts, but refuse to offer the same forgiveness, the same pleas for understanding to America and Americans.

Having read all of Wilder’s Little House books, there is no question they portray black people and Indians in stereotypical ways. Wilder herself realized this when she amended a line in one her books that read “Kansas had no people, only Indians” to “Kansas had no settlers, only Indians.”

Wilder was a product of her time. If I were to pass on her books to children, I would certainly have a discussion about this beforehand. And that is what literature is supposed to be about — debate, discussion, and dissection. Such things are healthy for the mind and spirit, especially the growing mind and spirit. But to disappear someone, to disappear Laura Ingalls Wilder is lazy and un-America.

Why not Franklin Delano Roosevelt next? Why not the man who interred Japanese Americans in mid-20th century America? Roosevelt didn’t write offensive things, he acted on them, engaged in racist policies that stripped law-abiding Americans of their rights.

Statues torn down, Gone with the Wind screenings canceled, the greatest writer in American history (Mark Twain) rewritten… This way lies only madness. And to say so does not defend the elements in art and history that are immoral (Huckleberry Finn, however, is one of the most moral novels ever written). What we are defending is the idea of both honoring and acknowledging our past and great American art, while being mature enough to embrace the uncomfortable discussions that must sometimes come with them.

The mind and spirit cannot mature in a purified world.

 

Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC. Follow his Facebook Page here.

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