Katherine Paterson E.B. White
Donald Crews Jean Fritz
Virginia Hamilton Jerry Pinkney
What do all these talented people have in common?
They are just a few recipients of the Laura Ingalls Wilder award, presented 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.” First given in 1954 to Laura Ingalls Wilder, the award was originally presented every five years and has evolved; it is now given annually.
What author or illustrator do you think has made their mark on American children’s literature? The 2017 Wilder Committee is seeking your suggestions of authors and illustrators to be considered for next year’s award. Has your favorite author been recognized already? Check out the entire list of previous Wilder medal recipients. If not, let us know who you are thinking of and why!
So what exactly does “substantial and lasting contribution” mean? According to the criteria, these books “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.” If you are detail-oriented or historically minded, you might enjoy exploring the definitions and criteria behind the awards. In reviewing these specifications, I can see the well-thought out process behind the awards, and it makes me appreciate the procedures that have been developed. Interestingly, the Wilder Award can be awarded posthumously, and regardless of a person’s place of residence.
Please submit your suggestions via the form at http://www.ala.org/alsc/wilder-medal-suggestion-form. Note: The page can only be accessed by ALSC members—so you must be logged into the ALA website to view the form.
Please share your ideas with us!
Robin L. Gibson, 2017 Wilder Award Committee member, Westerville Public Library, Westerville, Ohio