Laura Ingalls Wilder Award, best kidlit, children's literature

Lifetime Achievement Award for Children’s Book Authors

Best Children’s Book Authors Ever!

Administered by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award was first given to its namesake in 1954. The award, a bronze medal, 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.

Between 1960 and 1980, the Wilder Award was given every five years. From 1980 to 2001, it was awarded every three years. Beginning in 2001, it has been awarded every two years.

p.s. I selected three of each winner’s books as a representative sample.


2011: Tomie dePaola

2009: Ashley Bryan

2007: James Marshall

2005: Laurence Yep 

2003: Eric Carle

2001: Milton Meltzer

1998: Russell Freedman

1995: Virginia Hamilton

1992: Marcia Brown

1989: Elizabeth George Speare

1986: Jean Fritz

1983: Maurice Sendak

1980: Theodor S. Geisel (Dr. Seuss)

1975: Beverly Cleary

1970: E. B. White

1965: Ruth Sawyer

1960: Clara Ingram Judson

1954: Laura Ingalls Wilder

Laura Ingalls Wilder

Laura Ingalls Wilder was born in 1867 in Wisconsin. She became an elementary school teacher, married, and moved to Mansfield, MO, in 1894, where she lived until her death at age 90.

Wilder’s first book, The Little House in the Big Woods (1932), was published when she was 65. It began the story of five-year-old Laura and her family in the Wisconsin woods. Her other publications include Farmer Boy (1933), Little House on the Prairie (1935), On the Banks of Plum Creek (1937), and By the Shores of Silver Lake (1939).

Wilder wrote about home and the family primarily to entertain. She was interested in providing her young readers with information on how life was lived by their ancestors. Wilder’s books were not about the country’s leaders; they were about the country’s people.

To view any book more closely at Amazon, please click on image of book.

By Mia Wenjen, PragmaticMom


  1. Connie Fischer

    I enjoyed reading this article so very much. My daughter is a kindergarten teacher with two early elementary school children of her own. We love to discuss books for children and we want to get her daughters reading Laura Ingalls Wilder’s books soon. I have personally read many of these author’s books and love them. Thank you so much for sharing this with your readers.

  2. I reposted this wonderful list of books on my blog, with full credits to your blog. Posts such as this are a true treasure for us all. Thank you for posting!

  3. Cool! I had forgotten about this award. Do you know who won for 2011?

  4. Oh- found it! It’s Tomie dePaola.

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