Administered by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award was first given to its namesake in 1954. The award, a bronze medal, honors an author or illustrator whose books, published in the United States, have made, over a period of years, a substantial and lasting contribution to literature for children.
Laura Ingalls Wilder
Laura Ingalls Wilder was born in 1867 in Wisconsin. She became an elementary school teacher, married, and moved to Mansfield, MO, in 1894, where she lived until her death at age 90.
Wilder's first book, The Little House in the Big Woods (1932), was published when she was 65. It began the story of five-year-old Laura and her family in the Wisconsin woods. Her other publications include Farmer Boy (1933), Little House on the Prairie (1935), On the Banks of Plum Creek (1937), and By the Shores of Silver Lake (1939).
Wilder wrote about home and the family primarily to entertain. She was interested in providing her young readers with information on how life was lived by their ancestors. Wilder's books were not about the country's leaders; they were about the country's people. Winners are announced at the ALA Midwinter Meeting and receive the medal at the Annual Conference in June.
Between 1960 and 1980, the Wilder Award was given every five years. From 1980 to 2001, it was awarded every three years. In 2001, it was awarded every two years. With the 2016 award year, the medal will be announced annually.