Laura Ingalls Wilder Award

About the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award
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.

Administered by:

Association for Library Service to Children logo

1989 Winner(s)

Elizabeth George Speare

"With vitality and energy, grace of writing, historical accuracy, and tremendous feeling for place and character, Elizabeth George Speare has brought historical fiction for children in the United States to an art form," said Anita Silvey, chair of the 1989 Laura Ingalls Wilder Award Committee.  "Her books are truly the best that can be offered to children, for they maintain incredibly high literary standards, and yet they are ones that children love to read again and again--and remember with great enthusiasm.  She makes history vivid and alive; in the great tradition of Laura Ingalls Wilder, Elizabeth George Speare, a two-time Newbery Medal winner, has made American history accessible to and enjoyable for children."


Born in 1908 in Melrose, Massachusetts, Speare studied at Smith College and Boston University and received both her bachelor's and master of arts degrees.  After teaching in high schools for a few years, she married Alden Speare in 1936.  In 1957, her first children's book, Calico Captive (Houghton), was published, and her next two books, The Witch of Blackbird Pond (Houghton) and The Bronze Bow (Houghton), both received the Newbery Medal.  Her last book, The Sign of the Beaver (Houghton), a Newbery Honor was published in 1982 and won the Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction.  She has also written an adult novel, The Proserping (Houghton).