Milton Meltzer wins Laura Ingalls Wilder Award

Contact: Larra Clark


ALA News Release

For Immediate Release

January 2001

Milton Meltzer wins Laura Ingalls Wilder Award

Milton Meltzer, best-known for his works of historical non-fiction, is the 2001 Laura Ingalls Wilder Award winner. Meltzer is the author of "Brother, Can you Spare a Dime?: The Great Depression 1929-1933;" "Ten Queens: Portraits of Women in Power;" and "In Their Own Words: A History of the American Negro 1865-1916."

"Milton Meltzer's substantial and lasting contribution to American literature for children spans five decades and continues to be a model for informational writing today," said Wilder Award committee chair Pat Scales, who also is the director of library services at South Carolina Governor's School for the Arts and Humanities in Greenville. "Over the years, children have read his books and expanded their knowledge of social issues and historical events."

The Wilder Award 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.

The award was announced January 15 during the American Library Association (ALA) Midwinter Meeting in Washington, D.C. The award is administered by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the ALA, and is named for its first recipient in 1954.

Meltzer was born May 8, 1915, in Worcester, Mass., and he now lives in New York City. He was an American Book Award finalist in 1981 for "All Times, All Peoples: A World History of Slavery." Meltzer also won the 1976 Boston Globe-Horn Book Nonfiction Honor Book for "Never to Forget: The Jews of the Holocaust," and again in 1983 for "The Jewish Americans: A History in Their Own Words, 1650-1950."

"I try to make readers understand that history isn't only what happens to us," Meltzer said. "History is what we make happen. Each of us. All of us."

The author's work covers a wide range of subjects, each of which is meticulously researched and presented in a lively style that makes his books stand out in the genre of nonfiction.

"Meltzer's commitment to his art form, and his respect for his readers empowers young people to think creatively and critically and take an active role in a socially challenging world," Scales said.

Other members of the committee are: Jane Botham, Milwaukee, Wis.; Marlene Lee, Broward County Library, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; and, Susan Veltfort, King County Library System, Issaquah, Wash.

More information about the
Wilder Award can be found online.