Countering the Cold War

Julia L. Mickenberg

in Learning from the Left

Published in print November 2005 | ISBN: 9780195152807
Published online September 2007 | e-ISBN: 9780199788903 | DOI:
 Countering the Cold War

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This chapter examines challenges to McCarthyism that benefited leftists in the field of children's literature. Beginning with the establishment in the mid-1940s of Young World Books, a division of (the Communist) International Publishers devoted to publishing children's literature, this chapter argues that leftists made some of their most important inroads into the children's literature field at exactly the same moment that American culture became most constricted under the pressures of McCarthyism. Following the discussion of Young World, the chapter examines the politics surrounding Franklin Watts' publication of Langston Hughes' First Book of Negroes as well as the Kathy Martin nursing series for girls, written by Emma Gelders Sterne and Barbara Lindsay (under the name Josephine James), and published by Golden Books. It also looks at outlets for distributing children's books that were controlled by people sympathetic to the Left, including the Arrow Book Club and the Children's Book and Music Center in Los Angeles. Finally, it examines alliances that formed between writers and other influential people in the field, from the Writers' League to the more informal “Loose Enders”, who resisted the pressures of McCarthyism and pressed for “socially significant” children's literature.

Keywords: Young World Books; International Publishers; Langston Hughes; Emma Gelders Sterne; Loose Enders; McCarthyism; Golden Books; Author's League

Chapter.  12545 words. 

Subjects: Social and Cultural History

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