The most comprehensive account of the women who, as librarians, editors, and founders of the Horn Book, shaped the modern children's book industry between 1919 and 1939. The lives of Anne Carroll Moore, Alice Jordan, Louise Seaman Bechtel, May Massee, Bertha Mahony Miller, and Elinor Whitney Field open up for readers the world of female professionalization. What emerges is a vivid illustration of some of the cultural debates of the time, including concerns about "good reading" for children and about women's negotiations between domesticity and participation in the paid labor force and the costs and payoffs of professional life.
Published in collaboration among the University of Wisconsin Press, the Center for the History of Print Culture in Modern America (a joint program of the University of Wisconsin–Madison and the Wisconsin Historical Society), and the University of Wisconsin–Madison General Library System Office of Scholarly Communication.
The attraction of scary stories begins very early in childhood, but the fortitude to be truly scared comes later. So where are the scary stories for young children? Educators and storytellers, Ford and Norfolk deliver a silly and gently spooky collection of jumps, laughs, interactive moments, and mostly happy endings to satisfy the curious-for-creepy Pre-K through Grade 4 set. Their weirdly funny and gently scary collection of adapted folktales, original stories, and verses will delight those who enjoy being surprised more than being scared.
This book is for:
Parents, grandparents, and other mentors who work with children developmentally aged 4 to 9
Educators, librarians and others serving young listeners, who like silly and creepy stories, but may not like very scary material
Audiences ages 4-9, who like creepy but not-too-scary stories.
Twelve pen-and-ink drawings based on folktale motifs complement the fanciful tone of the book.
Ever since children have learned to read, there has been children’s literature. Children’s Literature charts the makings of the Western literary imagination from Aesop’s fables to Mother Goose, from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland to Peter Pan, from Where the Wild Things Are to Harry Potter.
The only single-volume work to capture the rich and diverse history of children’s literature in its full panorama, this extraordinary book reveals why J. R. R. Tolkien, Dr. Seuss, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Beatrix Potter, and many others, despite their divergent styles and subject matter, have all resonated with generations of readers. Children’s Literature is an exhilarating quest across centuries, continents, and genres to discover how, and why, we first fall in love with the written word.
“Lerer has accomplished something magical. Unlike the many handbooks to children’s literature that synopsize, evaluate, or otherwise guide adults in the selection of materials for children, this work presents a true critical history of the genre. . . . Scholarly, erudite, and all but exhaustive, it is also entertaining and accessible. Lerer takes his subject seriously without making it dull.”—Library Journal (starred review)
“Lerer’s history reminds us of the wealth of literature written during the past 2,600 years. . . . With his vast and multidimensional knowledge of literature, he underscores the vital role it plays in forming a child’s imagination. We are made, he suggests, by the books we read.”—San Francisco Chronicle
“There are dazzling chapters on John Locke and Empire, and nonsense, and Darwin, but Lerer’s most interesting chapter focuses on girls’ fiction. . . . A brilliant series of readings.”—Diane Purkiss, Times Literary Supplement
Is this transformation of children into "little adults" an invention of Hollywood or a product of changing cultural definitions more broadly? In Coining for Capital, Jyostna Kapur explores the evolution of the concept of childhood from its portrayal in the eighteenth century as a pure, innocent, and idyllic state—the opposite of adulthood—to its expression today as a mere variation of adulthood, complete with characteristics of sophistication, temptation, and corruption. Kapur argues that this change in definition is not a media effect, but rather a structural feature of a deeply consumer-driven society.
Providing a new and timely perspective on the current widespread alarm over the loss of childhood, Coining for Capital concludes that our present moment is in fact one of hope and despair. As children are fortunately shedding false definitions of proscribed innocence both in film and in life, they must now also learn to navigate a deeply inequitable, antagonistic, and consumer-driven society of which they are both a part and a target.
What made the United States what it is began long before a shot was fired at a redcoat in Lexington, Massachusetts in 1775. It began quietly in homes and schoolrooms across the colonies in the reading lessons women gave to children. Just as the Protestant revolt originated in a practice of individual reading of the Bible, so the theories of reading developed by John Locke were the means by which a revolutionary attitude toward authority was disseminated throughout the British colonies in North America that would come to form in the United States. Gillian Brown takes us back to the basics to understand why Americans value the right to individual self-determination above all other values. It all begins with children.Locke crucially linked consent with childhood, and it is his formulation of the child's natural right to consent that eighteenth-century Americans learned as they learned to read through Lockean-style pedagogies and textbooks. Tracing the Lockean legacy through the New England Primer and popular readers, fables, and fairy tales, Brown demonstrates how Locke's emphasis on the liberty--and difficulty--of individual judgment became a received notion in the American colonies.After the revolution, American consent discourse features a different prototype of individuality; instead of wronged children, images of seduced or misguided women predominate postrevolutionary culture. The plights of these women display the difficulties of consent that Locke from the start realized. Individuals continually confront standards and prejudices at odds with their own experiences and judgments. Thus, the Lockean legacy to the United States is the reminder of the continual work to be done to endow every individual with consent and to make consent matter.What emerged in America was a new and different attitude toward authority in which authority does not belong to the elders but to the upcoming generations and groups. To effect this dramatic a change in the values of humankind took a grassroots revolution. That's what this book is about.
The Young Adult novel is ordinarily characterized as a coming-of-age story, in which the narrative revolves around the individual growth and maturation of a character, but Roberta Trites expands this notion by chronicling the dynamics of power and repression that weave their way through YA books. Characters in these novels must learn to negotiate the levels of power that exist in the myriad social institutions within which they function, including family, church, government, and school.
Trites argues that the development of the genre over the past thirty years is an outgrowth of postmodernism, since YA novels are, by definition, texts that interrogate the social construction of individuals. Drawing on such nineteenth-century precursors as Little Women and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Disturbing the Universe demonstrates how important it is to employ poststructuralist methodologies in analyzing adolescent literature, both in critical studies and in the classroom. Among the twentieth-century authors discussed are Blume, Hamilton, Hinton, Le Guin, L'Engle, and Zindel.
Trites' work has applications for a broad range of readers, including scholars of children's literature and theorists of post-modernity as well as librarians and secondary-school teachers.
Disturbing the Universe: Power and Repression in Adolescent Literature by Roberta Seelinger Trites is the winner of the 2002 Children's Literature Association's Book Award. The award is given annually in order to promote and recognize outstanding contributions to children's literature, history, scholarship, and criticisim; it is one of the highest academic honors that can accrue to an author of children's literary criticism.
Roger Sale invites us to discover anew some of the great works of children's literature, works that have been read and loved but seldom given the benefit of serious literary assessment. It takes a critic of special gifts—receptiveness, discrimination, clarity of perception, independence of judgment—to discuss these books as illuminatingly as Sale does.This is not a survey but a very personal book: Sale writes about stories and books with which he feels an imaginative sympathy. As it happens, they include a great many of the classic children's texts, works as disparate as “Beauty and the Beast” and Alice, The Wind in the Willows and Babar, “The Snow Queen” and Peter Rabbit, the Jungle Book and the Oz books. He conveys a fresh sense of what is special and memorable about each of them.While avoiding conventional literary history, he sketches the circumstances of the author's life when they provide insight into the works. Unlike Bettelheim and others, Sale is not concerned with the “uses” of children's literature. He writes for adults, with the conviction that adults can find delight in these books. Many already do, and perhaps with his stimulus, many more will.
Finalist of the 2023 SHARP History of the Book Prize
Between 1932 and 1958, thousands of children read volumes in the book series Childhood of Famous Americans. With colorful cover art and compelling—and often highly fictionalized—narrative storylines, these biographies celebrated the national virtues and achievements of famous women like Betsy Ross, Louisa May Alcott, and Amelia Earhart. Employing deep archival research, Gregory M. Pfitzer examines the editorial and production choices of the publisher and considers the influence of the series on readers and American culture more broadly.
In telling the story of how female subjects were chosen and what went into writing these histories for young female readers of the time, Pfitzer illustrates how these books shaped children’s thinking and historical imaginations around girlhood using tales from the past. Utilizing documented conversations and disagreements among authors, editors, readers, reviewers, and sales agents at Bobbs-Merrill, “Fame Is Not Just for the Fellas” places the series in the context of national debates around fame, gender, historical memory, and portrayals of children and childhood for a young reading public—charged debates that continue to this day.
Children’s literature has spent decades on the psychiatrist’s couch, submitting to psychoanalysis by scores of scholars and popular writers alike. Freud in Oz turns the tables, suggesting that psychoanalysts owe a significant and largely unacknowledged debt to books ostensibly written for children. In fact, Kenneth B. Kidd argues, children’s literature and psychoanalysis have influenced and interacted with each other since Freud published his first case studies.
In Freud in Oz, Kidd shows how psychoanalysis developed in part through its engagement with children’s literature, which it used to articulate and dramatize its themes and methods, turning first to folklore and fairy tales, then to materials from psychoanalysis of children, and thence to children’s literary texts, especially such classic fantasies as Peter Pan and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. He traces how children’s literature, and critical response to it, aided the popularization of psychoanalytic theory. With increasing acceptance of psychoanalysis came two new genres of children’s literature—known today as picture books and young adult novels—that were frequently fashioned as psychological in their forms and functions.
Freud in Oz offers a history of reigning theories in the study of children’s literature and psychoanalysis, providing fresh insights on a diversity of topics, including the view that Maurice Sendak and Bruno Bettelheim can be thought of as rivals, that Sendak’s makeover of monstrosity helped lead to the likes of the Muppets, and that “Poohology” is its own kind of literary criticism—serving up Winnie the Pooh as the poster bear for theorists of widely varying stripes.
HandiLand looks at young adult novels, fantasy series, graphic memoirs, and picture books of the last 25 years in which characters with disabilities take center stage for the first time. These books take what others regard as weaknesses—for instance, Harry Potter’s headaches or Hazel Lancaster’s oxygen tank—and redefine them as part of the hero’s journey. HandiLand places this movement from sidekick to hero in the political contexts of disability rights movements in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Ghana.
Elizabeth A. Wheeler invokes the fantasy of HandiLand, an ideal society ready for young people with disabilities before they get there, as a yardstick to measure how far we’ve come and how far we still need to go toward the goal of total inclusion. The book moves through the public spaces young people with disabilities have entered, including schools, nature, and online communities. As a disabled person and parent of children with disabilities, Wheeler offers an inside look into families who collude with their kids in shaping a better world. Moving, funny, and beautifully written, HandiLand: The Crippest Place on Earth is the definitive study of disability in contemporary literature for young readers.
“Inventing Edward Lear is an exceptional, valuable, original study, presenting new materials on aspects of Lear’s life and work.”—Jenny Uglow, author of Mr. Lear and The Lunar MenEdward Lear wrote some of the best-loved poems in English, including “The Owl and the Pussycat,” but the father of nonsense was far more than a poet. He was a naturalist, a brilliant landscape painter, an experimental travel writer, and an accomplished composer. Sara Lodge presents the fullest account yet of Lear’s passionate engagement in the intellectual, social, and cultural life of his times.Lear had a difficult start in life. He was epileptic, asthmatic, and depressive, but even as a child a consummate performer who projected himself into others’ affections. He became, by John James Audubon’s estimate, one of the greatest ornithological artists of the age. Queen Victoria—an admirer—chose him to be her painting teacher. He popularized the limerick, set Tennyson’s verse to music, and opened fresh doors for children and adults to share fantasies of magical escape. Lodge draws on diaries, letters, and new archival sources to paint a vivid picture of Lear that explores his musical influences, his religious nonconformity, his relationship with the Pre-Raphaelite movement, and the connections between his scientific and artistic work. He invented himself as a character: awkward but funny, absurdly sympathetic. In Lodge’s hands, Lear emerges as a dynamic and irreverent polymath whose conversation continues to draw us in.Inventing Edward Lear is an original and moving account of one of the most intriguing and creative of all Victorians.
Nonfiction books for children—from biographies and historical accounts of communities and events to works on science and social justice—have traditionally been most highly valued by educators and parents for their factual accuracy. This approach, however, misses an opportunity for young readers to participate in the generation and testing of information.
In A Literature of Questions, Joe Sutliff Sanders offers an innovative theoretical approach to children’s nonfiction that goes beyond an assessment of a work’s veracity to develop a book’s equivocation as a basis for interpretation. Addressing how such works are either vulnerable or resistant to critical engagement, Sanders pays special attention to the attributes that nonfiction shares with other forms of literature, including voice and character, and those that play a special role in the genre, such as peritexts and photography.
The first book-length work to theorize children’s nonfiction as nonfiction from a literary perspective, A Literature of Questions carefully explains how the genre speaks in unique ways to its young readers and how it invites them to the project of understanding. At the same time, it clearly lays out a series of techniques for analysis, which it then applies and nuances through extensive close readings and case studies of books published over the past half century, including recent award-winning books such as Tanya Lee Stone’s Almost Astronauts: Thirteen Women Who Dared to Dream and We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball by Kadir Nelson. By looking at a text’s willingness or reluctance to let children interrogate its information and ideological context, Sanders reveals how nonfiction can make young readers part of the project of learning rather than passive recipients of information.
Beyond their status as classic children’s stories, Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House books play a significant role in American culture that most people cannot begin to appreciate. Millions of children have sampled the books in school; played out the roles of Laura and Mary; or visited Wilder homesites with their parents, who may be fans themselves. Yet, as Anita Clair Fellman shows, there is even more to this magical series with its clear emotional appeal: a covert political message that made many readers comfortable with the resurgence of conservatism in the Reagan years and beyond.
In Little House, Long Shadow, a leading Wilder scholar offers a fresh interpretation of the Little House books that examines how this beloved body of children’s literature found its way into many facets of our culture and consciousness—even influencing the responsiveness of Americans to particular political views. Because both Wilder and her daughter, Rose Wilder Lane, opposed the New Deal programs being implemented during the period in which they wrote, their books reflect their use of family history as an argument against the state’s protection of individuals from economic uncertainty. Their writing emphasized the isolation of the Ingalls family and the family’s resilience in the face of crises and consistently equated self-sufficiency with family acceptance, security, and warmth.
Fellman argues that the popularity of these books—abetted by Lane’s overtly libertarian views—helped lay the groundwork for a negative response to big government and a positive view of political individualism, contributing to the acceptance of contemporary conservatism while perpetuating a mythic West. Beyond tracing the emergence of this influence in the relationship between Wilder and her daughter, Fellman explores the continuing presence of the books—and their message—in modern cultural institutions from classrooms to tourism, newspaper editorials to Internet message boards.
Little House, Long Shadow shows how ostensibly apolitical artifacts of popular culture can help explain shifts in political assumptions. It is a pioneering look at the dissemination of books in our culture that expands the discussion of recent political transformations—and suggests that sources other than political rhetoric have contributed to Americans’ renewed appreciation of individualist ideals.
In praise of diversity, Jessie Grearson and Lauren Smith offer Love in a Global Village: A Celebration of Intercultural Families in the Midwest, an account of the triumphs of fifteen intercultural families and the perseverance of their relationships in midwestern America. The couples recount their courtships, their adventures and difficulties, and their individual choices to create families and build lives together despite differences of race, language, religion, and culture.
Welcomed into homes in towns like Kalona, Iowa, and Springfield, Missouri, Grearson and Smith introduce readers to unexpected fusions of culture in middle America. By focusing on small communities where intercultural relationships are exceptions rather than the norm, Smith and Grearson offer affirmation that multicultural households can endure and flourish almost anywhere.
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass are two of the most famous, translated, and quoted books in the world. What began as a simple tale told by eccentric Oxford mathematician Charles Dodgson (better known as Lewis Carroll) to Alice Liddell, daughter of the Dean of Christ Church, become a worldwide phenomenon. Fostering film adaptations and retellings, and influencing countless other works, the Alice books have a deeply cherished place in popular culture. Known for their oddities and absurdities, the books have been endlessly interpreted and analyzed for symbolism and hidden messages.
Peter Hunt cuts away the psychological speculation that has grown up around the Alice books, and instead traces the historical sources of their multilayered in-jokes and political, literary, and philosophical satire. He situates the books in the history of children’s literature and explores the local and personal references that the real Alice would have understood. Equally fascinating are the rich fragments about everything from the “sensation” novel to Darwinian theory—not to mention Dodgson’s personal feelings—that he wove into the books as they developed.
Illustrated with manuscripts, portraits, Sir John Tenniel’s original line drawings for the first editions, and contemporary photographs, this is an innovative look at two remarkable stories. The Making of Lewis Carroll’s Alice and the Invention of Wonderland takes us on a guided tour from the treacle wells of Victorian Oxford through an astonishing world of politics, philosophy, humor, and nightmare.
"Over the Rainbow is lively, engaging, and thoughtful. More to the point, the field of children's literature needs such a collection."
---Katherine Capshaw Smith, University of Connecticut
In spite of the growing critical interest concerning gender and sexual nonnormativity in and around narratives written for young readers, no book-length volume on the subject has yet appeared. Over the Rainbow: Queer Children's and Young Adult Literature is the first collection of essays dedicated to LGBTQ issues in children's literature. Bringing together significant essays and introducing new work, Over the Rainbow is intended to serve both as a scholarly reference and as a textbook for students of children's studies; gender/queer studies; and related disciplines such as English, history, sociology, and education. Editors Michelle Ann Abate and Kenneth Kidd showcase important essays on the subject of LGBTQ children's and young adult literature ---including Harriet the Spy, Rainbow Boys, Little Women, the Harry Potter series, and A Separate Peace---while providing a provisional history of both the literature and the scholarship and examining the field's origins, current status, and possible future orientations.
Over the Rainbow collects essays by Jes Battis, Robin Bernstein, Thomas Crisp, June Cummins, Elizabeth A. Ford, Sherrie A. Inness, Christine A. Jenkins, Vanessa Wayne Lee, Biddy Martin, Robert McRuer, Claudia Nelson, Jody Norton, Tison Pugh, Catherine Tosenberger, Eric L. Tribunella, Roberta Seelinger Trites, and Andrea Wood. These pieces will be of interest to scholars and students in the fields of children's literature, American Studies, LGBTQ and queer studies, cultural studies, and literary criticism.
Cover art: Original title page of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, by Frank L. Baum, illustrated by W. W. Denslow. New York: George M. Hill, 1900.
Why are so many people drawn to fantasy set in medieval, British-looking lands? This question has immediate significance for millions around the world: from fans of Lord of the Rings, Narnia, Harry Potter, and Game of Thrones to those who avoid fantasy because of the racist, sexist, and escapist tendencies they have found there. Drawing on the history and power of children’s fantasy literature, Re-Enchanted argues that magic, medievalism, and childhood hold the paradoxical ability to re-enchant modern life.
Focusing on works by authors such as J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, Susan Cooper, Philip Pullman, J. K. Rowling, and Nnedi Okorafor, Re-Enchanted uncovers a new genealogy for medievalist fantasy—one that reveals the genre to be as important to the history of English studies and literary modernism as it is to shaping beliefs across geographies and generations. Maria Sachiko Cecire follows children’s fantasy as it transforms over the twentieth and twenty-first centuries—including the rise of diverse counternarratives and fantasy’s move into “high-brow” literary fiction. Grounded in a combination of archival scholarship and literary and cultural analysis, Re-Enchanted argues that medievalist fantasy has become a psychologized landscape for contemporary explorations of what it means to grow up, live well, and belong. The influential “Oxford School” of children’s fantasy connects to key issues throughout this book, from the legacies of empire and racial exclusion in children’s literature to what Christmas magic tells us about the roles of childhood and enchantment in Anglo-American culture.
Re-Enchanted engages with critical debates around what constitutes high and low culture during moments of crisis in the humanities, political and affective uses of childhood and the mythological past, the anxieties of modernity, and the social impact of racially charged origin stories.
The Sleeping Beauty in Roberta Seelinger Trites' intriguing text is no silent snoozer passively waiting for Prince Charming to energize her life. Instead she wakes up all by herself and sets out to redefine the meaning of “happily ever after.” Trites investigates the many ways that Sleeping Beauty's newfound voice has joined other strong female voices in feminist children's novels to generate equal potentials for all children.
Waking Sleeping Beauty explores issues of voice in a wide range of children's novels, including books by Virginia Hamilton, Patricia MacLachlan, and Cynthia Voight as well as many multicultural and international books. Far from being a limiting genre that praises females at the expense of males, the feminist children's novel seeks to communicate an inclusive vision of politics, gender, age, race, and class. By revising former stereotypes of children's literature and replacing them with more complete images of females in children's books, Trites encourages those involved with children's literature—teachers, students, writers, publishers, critics, librarian, booksellers, and parents—to be aware of the myriad possibilities of feminist expression.
Roberta Trites focuses on the positive aspects of feminism: on the ways females interact through family and community relationships, on the ways females have revised patriarchal images, and on the ways female writers use fictional constructs to transmit their ideologies to readers. She thus provides a framework that allows everyone who enters a classroom with a children's book in hand to recognize and communicate—with an optimistic, reality-based sense of “happily ever after”—the politics and the potential of that book.
When Russel B. Nye and Martin Gardner teamed up to bring out a new edition of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, theirs was the first critical analysis of L. Frank Baum American classic. The book opens with an essay by Nye, entitled "An Appreciation," which is an overview of Baum's creative and imaginative genius. Nye explores the reasons why earlier critics virtually ignored the Oz stories. Gardner, in his essay, "The Royal Historian of Oz," presents a brief biographical sketch, revealing little-known facts about this prolific writer. The volume also contains the complete, original text of the Wonderful Wizard of Oz, along with many original illustrations by artist W. W. Denslow.
During the nineteenth century, geography primers shaped the worldviews of Britain’s ruling classes and laid the foundation for an increasingly globalized world. Written by middle-class women who mapped the world that they had neither funds nor freedom to traverse, the primers employed rhetorical tropes such as the Family of Man or discussions of food and customs in order to plot other cultures along an imperial hierarchy.
Cross-disciplinary in nature, X Marks the Spot is an analysis of previously unknown material that examines the interplay between gender, imperial duty, and pedagogy.
Megan A. Norcia offers an alternative map for traversing the landscape of nineteenth-century female history by reintroducing the primers into the dominant historical record. This is the first full-length study of the genre as a distinct tradition of writing produced on the fringes of professional geographic discourse before the high imperial period.
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