Learning from the Left Children's Literature, the Cold War, and Radical Politics in the United StatesBy Austin) University of Texas Julia L. (Associate Professor of American Studies Mickenberg
The ways in which the Cold War and McCarthyism circumscribed dissent are well known; less documented are the opportunities they inadvertently created. This book shows how pervasive and influential Left politics were in children's book writing, illustrating, publishing, and dissemination during the middle third of the twentieth century - precisely the time when Americans were most concerned about protecting their children against Communist influences. Many critically acclaimed and best-selling children's books were written and/or illustrated by Communists, former Communists, or "fellow travellers," the same groups of people who were fired from teaching jobs and blacklisted. Children's literature written by those on the Left embraced pan-ethnic, anti-racist, pro-labor, and internationalist values, injecting books for children with real-world concerns, and leaving lasting changes on books for youth.