The Point

The Point: Slamming the Door on ‘Little House’


John Stonestreet

“Little House on the Prairie” is too offensive?

Last month, the American Library Association removed Laura Ingalls Wilder’s name from a prominent children’s literature award. The reason was the allegedly anti-Native and anti-Black content of Wilder’s “Little House” books.

When you consider these portions of her books in the context of her time, the charges don’t even hold a half-pint of water. Like Mark Twain, Ingalls Wilder often critiques racism, shows respect and gratitude toward both Native Americans and Black characters.

But there’s a deeper point to be made. Reading historical works that depict historical attitudes is how we learn from the past. Throwing away “Huckleberry Finn” because it uses racist language of the time ignores not only Mark Twain’s talent, but his subtle criticism of  racism. The same is true of Laura Ingalls Wilder, whose stories could teach us something.

As Megan Basham with WORLD News Group put it, “we instill only arrogance” if we think we have nothing to learn from Laura.



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