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Children's Literature Legacy Award facts for kids

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Children's Literature Legacy Award
Presented by Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association
Country United States
First awarded 1954

The Children's Literature Legacy Award (known as the Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal until 2018) is a prize awarded by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), to writers or illustrators of children's books published in the United States who have, over a period of years, made substantial and lasting contributions to children's literature. The bronze medal prize was named after its first winner, twentieth-century American author Laura Ingalls Wilder.

Originally, the Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal was awarded every five years, awarding six prizes between 1955 and 1980. From 1980 to 2001 it was awarded every three years, awarding seven prizes. From 2001 to 2015 it was awarded every two years. The most recent author to receive the award was Mildred D. Taylor in 2021. It is now awarded annually.


  • The medal may be awarded to an author or illustrator including co-authors or co-illustrators, and persons who both write and illustrate. The person may be nominated posthumously.
  • Some portion of the nominee's active career in books for children must have occurred in the twenty-five years prior to nomination.
  • Citizenship or residence of the potential nominee is not to be considered.
  • The nominee's work must be published in the United States but this does not mean that the first publication had to be in the United States. It means that books by the nominee have been published in the United States, and it is those books which are to be considered in the nomination process.
  • At least some of the books by the potential nominee must have been available to children for at least ten years.
  • The books, by their nature or number, occupy an important place in literature for American children, and children have read the books, and the books continue to be requested and read by children.
  • The committee is to direct its attention only to the part of the nominee's total work that is books for children (up to and including age fourteen).


In February 2018, the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), the division of ALA that administers the award, announced a taskforce which re-examined the naming of the award and included representation from the American Indian Library Association (AILA). The task force was convened because of criticism of Wilder's depictions of Native and African Americans. A recommendation to rename the award was made on June 23, 2018. The ALSC board found Wilder's body of work "includes expressions of stereotypical attitudes inconsistent with ALSC's core values of inclusiveness, integrity and respect, and responsiveness." The ALSC considered Wilder's depictions of minorities to be racist, in particular Native Americans. The award's name was officially changed to the "Children's Literature Legacy Award."


Laura Ingalls Wilder Award winners
Year Author
2021 Mildred D. Taylor
2020 Kevin Henkes
2019 Walter Dean Myers
2018 Woodson, JacquelineJacqueline Woodson
2017 Grimes, NikkiNikki Grimes
2016 Pinkney, JerryJerry Pinkney
2015 Crews, DonaldDonald Crews
2013 Paterson, KatherineKatherine Paterson
2011 dePaola, TomieTomie dePaola
2009 Bryan, AshleyAshley Bryan
2007 Marshall, JamesJames Marshall
2005 Yep, LaurenceLaurence Yep
2003 Carle, EricEric Carle
 2001 Meltzer, MiltonMilton Meltzer
1998 Freedman, RussellRussell Freedman
1995 Hamilton, VirginiaVirginia Hamilton
1992 Brown, MarciaMarcia Brown
1989 Speare, Elizabeth GeorgeElizabeth George Speare
1986 Fritz, JeanJean Fritz
1983 Sendak, MauriceMaurice Sendak
1980 Geisel, Theodor S.Theodor S. Geisel (Dr. Seuss)
1975 Cleary, BeverlyBeverly Cleary
1970 White, E. B.E. B. White
1965 Sawyer, RuthRuth Sawyer
1960 Judson, Clara IngramClara Ingram Judson
1954 Wilder, Laura IngallsLaura Ingalls Wilder
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