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Presents a collection of twentieth-century American leftist children's literature, including contributions from such well-known writers as Dr. Seuss and Julius Lester, and many from less familiar figures.
The study of children's literature and culture has been experiencing a renaissance, with vital new work proliferating across many areas of interest. Mapping this vibrant scholarship, this work presents 49 original essays on the essential terms and concepts of the field with scope, clarity, and interdisciplinary play between concepts. From Aesthetics to Young Adult, a multidisciplinary cast of scholars explores the vocabulary central to the study of children's literature. Following the growth of his or her word, each author traces its branching uses and meanings, often into unfamiliar disciplinary territories. Award-winning novelist Philip Pullman writes about Intentionality, Education expert Margaret Meek Spencer addresses Reading, literary scholar Peter Hunt historicizes Children's Literature, Psychologist Hugh Crago examines Story, librarian and founder of the influential Child Lit litserv Michael Joseph investigates Liminality. In the spirit of Raymond Williams' seminal Keywords, this book is a snapshot of a vocabulary of children's literature that is changing, expanding, and ever unfinished.
Remarkably well researched, the essays consider a wide range of texts - from the U.S., Britain and Canada - and take a variety fo theoretical approaches, including formalism and Marxism and those related to psychology, postcolonialism, reception, feminism, queer studies, and performance studies ... This collection pushes boundaries of genre, notions of childhood ... Choice. Back cover of book.
If you were an independent, adventurous, liberated American woman in the 1920s or 1930s where might you have sought escape from the constraints and compromises of bourgeois living? Paris and the Left Bank quickly come to mind. But would you have ever thought of Russia and the wilds of Siberia? This choice was not as unusual as it seems now. As Julia L. Mickenberg uncovers in American Girls in Red Russia, there is a forgotten counterpoint to the story of the Lost Generation: beginning in the late nineteenth century, Russian revolutionary ideology attracted many women, including suffragists, reformers, educators, journalists, and artists, as well as curious travelers. Some were famous, like Isadora Duncan or Lillian Hellman; some were committed radicals, though more were just intrigued by the “Soviet experiment.” But all came to Russia in search of social arrangements that would be more equitable, just, and satisfying. And most in the end were disillusioned, some by the mundane realities, others by horrifying truths. Mickenberg reveals the complex motives that drew American women to Russia as they sought models for a revolutionary new era in which women would be not merely independent of men, but also equal builders of a new society. Soviet women, after all, earned the right to vote in 1917, and they also had abortion rights, property rights, the right to divorce, maternity benefits, and state-supported childcare. Even women from Soviet national minorities—many recently unveiled—became public figures, as African American and Jewish women noted. Yet as Mickenberg’s collective biography shows, Russia turned out to be as much a grim commune as a utopia of freedom, replete with economic, social, and sexual inequities. American Girls in Red Russia recounts the experiences of women who saved starving children from the Russian famine, worked on rural communes in Siberia, wrote for Moscow or New York newspapers, or performed on Soviet stages. Mickenberg finally tells these forgotten stories, full of hope and grave disappointments.
Racism is resilient, duplicitous, and endlessly adaptable, so it is no surprise that America is again in a period of civil rights activism. A significant reason racism endures is because it is structural: it's embedded in culture and in institutions. One of the places that racism hides-and thus perhaps the best place to oppose it-is books for young people. Was the Cat in the Hat Black? presents five serious critiques of the history and current state of children's literature tempestuous relationship with both implicit and explicit forms of racism. The book fearlessly examines topics both vivid-such as The Cat in the Hat's roots in blackface minstrelsy-and more opaque, like how the children's book industry can perpetuate structural racism via whitewashed covers even while making efforts to increase diversity. Rooted in research yet written with a lively, crackling touch, Nel delves into years of literary criticism and recent sociological data in order to show a better way forward. Though much of what is proposed here could be endlessly argued, the knowledge that what we learn in childhood imparts both subtle and explicit lessons about whose lives matter is not debatable. The text concludes with a short and stark proposal of actions everyone-reader, author, publisher, scholar, citizen- can take to fight the biases and prejudices that infect children's literature. While Was the Cat in the Hat Black? does not assume it has all the answers to such a deeply systemic problem, its audacity should stimulate discussion and activism.
Examines the lives and careers of the husband and wife children's book authors who embraced their leftist beliefs in the era of McCarthyism and in the midst of the Cold War and who were the targets of FBI surveillance for years.

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