Tales for Little Rebels

Tales for Little Rebels : A Collection of Radical Children's Literature

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In 1912, a revolutionary chick cries, "Strike down the wall!" and liberates itself from the "egg state". In 1940, ostriches pull their heads out of the sand and unite to fight fascism. In 1972, Baby X grows up without a gender and is happy about it. Rather than teaching children to obey authority, to conform, or to seek redemption through prayer, twentieth-century leftists encouraged children to question the authority of those in power. Tales for Little Rebels collects forty-three mostly out-of-print stories, poems, comic strips, primers, and other texts for children that embody this radical tradition. These pieces reflect the concerns of twentieth-century leftist movements, like peace, civil rights, gender equality, environmental responsibility, and the dignity of labor. They also address the means of achieving these ideals, including taking collective action, developing critical thinking skills, and harnessing the liberating power of the imagination.Some of the authors and illustrators are familiar, including Lucille Clifton, Syd Hoff, Langston Hughes, Walt Kelly, Norma Klein, Munro Leaf, Julius Lester, Eve Merriam, Charlotte Pomerantz, Carl Sandburg, and Dr. Seuss. Others are relatively unknown today, but their work deserves to be remembered. (Each of the pieces includes an introduction and a biographical sketch of the author.) From the anti-advertising message of Johnny Get Your Money's Worth (and Jane Too)! (1938) to the entertaining lessons in ecology provided by The Day They Parachuted Cats on Borneo (1971), and Sandburg's mockery of war in Rootabaga Pigeons (1923), these pieces will thrill readers intrigued by politics and history - and anyone with a love of children's literature, no matter what age.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 313 pages
  • 205.74 x 279.4 x 25.4mm | 1,020.58g
  • New York University Press
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0814757200
  • 9780814757208
  • 1,139,220

Review quote

"A rarely discussed aspect of children's literature - the politics behind, or part, of a book's creation - has been thoroughly explored in this intelligent, enlightening, and fascinating account.... Every academic and public library should own a copy; every children's literature professor needs to read it; all children's book enthusiasts will want to share it with their colleagues." ANITA SILVEY, author of 100 Best Books for Children "Sure, this is an important work. But it ain't stuffy. Mickenberg and Nel have created a book that fascinates and entertains. A must for any student of history or children's books." LANE SMITH, author of John, Paul, George & Ben and illustrator of The Stinky Cheese Man"show more

About Jack David Zipes

JULIA L. MICKENBERG is Associate Professor of American Studies at the University of Texas, Austin. She is the author of Learning from the Left: Children's Literature, the Cold War, and Radical Politics in the United States. PHILIP NEL is Professor of English and Director of the Program in Children's Literature, Kansas State University. He is the author of The Annotated Cat: Under the Hats of Seuss and His Cats, Dr. Seuss: American Icon, and J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter Novels: A Reader's Guide.show more