The Laura Ingalls Wilder Award is given to 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.”
During the 2014 ALA Annual Meeting in Las Vegas, the ALSC board voted to change the frequency of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award from every other year to every year.
There is such richness and depth among the field of children’s literature creators. Making the Wilder Award an annual honor gives ALSC increased opportunity to honor the significant contributions individual authors and illustrators have made over the course of their careers. It will also decrease confusion among ALSC members and others regarding when the award is given. No longer will the question, “Is this a Wilder year?” need to be asked or answered. Every year will be a Wilder year!
The Wilder Award was first given in 1954 to its namesake, Laura Ingalls Wilder. It was awarded every five years through 1980. The frequency was then changed to every three years, which began with the 1983 award and continued through 2001. It became a biannual award starting in 2003 and this schedule will continue through the upcoming 2015 award.
The transition to the Wilder becoming an annual award will begin with a 2016 Wilder Committee. The 2017 committee that was just elected by the ALSC membership in May will be renamed the 2016 Wilder Award Committee. They will begin their work at the close of the 2015 ALA Midwinter Meeting just as all the other 2016 ALSC award committees, and they will work within the newly established Wilder Award one-year timeframe to name a 2016 Laura Ingalls Wilder Award recipient. (Under the biannual schedule, which the current 2015 Wilder committee is following, Wilder Award committees have done their work over two years.)
The Wilder Award will continue to be announced at the ALA Midwinter Meeting award press conference, and to be given at the ALSC Sunday night award banquet at the ALA Annual Meeting, which will be known from now on as the Newbery/Caldecott/Wilder Banquet.
For more information on the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award, including a list of past recipients, go to: http://www.ala.org/alsc/awardsgrants/bookmedia/wildermedal
The board decision was in response to the report of the board-appointed Wilder Award Frequency Task Force chaired by JoAnn Jonas and including members Amy Kellman, Martha Parravano and myself.
As always, the board welcomes your thoughts.
Megan Schliesman for the ALSC Board