The purpose of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award is to recognize an author or illustrator whose books, published in the United States, have over a period of years made a substantial and lasting contribution to literature for children. The recipient is presented with a medal, designed by Garth Williams.
The Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal shall be awarded every year to an author or illustrator whose books, published in the United States, have over a period of years made a substantial contribution to literature for children.
The term "author or illustrator" means co-authors or co-illustrators, and persons who both write and illustrate. The person may be nominated posthumously. Some portion of the nominee's active career in books for children must have occurred in the twenty-five years prior to nomination. Citizenship or residence of the potential nominee is not to be considered.
- "Books" means more than one book.
- "Published in the United States" does not indicate that first publication had to be in the United States. It means that children's books written and/or illustrated by the nominee have been published in the United States, and it is those books which are to be considered in the nomination process.
- "Over a period of years" means that at least some of the books by the potential nominee have been available to children for at least ten years.
- "A substantial and lasting contribution" means that the books, by their nature (and/or number), occupy an important place in literature for American children and that over the years children have read the books and that the books continue to be requested and read by children.
- The term "literature for children" indicates that the committee is to direct its attention only to the part of the potential nominee's total work which is books for children (up to and including age fourteen). It further indicates that the committee is to select on the basis of the literary or artistic merit of the books for children.
- In addition to the criteria implicit in the terms and definitions, the committee may wish to consider whether:
- Some or all of the books are exceptionally notable and leading examples of the genre to which they belong.
- Some or all of the books have established a new type or kind of book or new trends in books available to children.
- The committee, in making its selection of nominees, ought to be aware of the entire body of work for children of the potential nominee and may base its decision for nomination on the total body of work for children or on those portions of the total body of work which are of a substantial and lasting nature.
Adopted by the ALSC Board January 1978, Revised July 1998