Financial behemoths have been nationalized. There are even rumors of universal health care. Socialism is on the march! As we leave capitalism behind, the traditionalists among you may be wondering: Will they come for our children? Too late. As Mickenberg and Nel document in Tales for Little Rebels, Marxist principles have been dripping steadily into the minds of American youth for more than a century... As America backs cautiously away from its laissez-faire disasters and reluctantly into an unfamiliar, communal style of politics, some of us may find ourselves wishing we had been scared with such rhymes in kindergarten instead of having had to live through them as adults. The New York Times Book Review Tales for Little Rebels anthologizes years of radical childrens literature. Its a rousing, relevant chronicle of teaching kids about social and environmental justice, civil rights, and their power to challenge the status quo. Julie Hanus, The Utne Reader A remarkable book... The prose excerpts are fascinating; the illustrations are perfectly fabulous and, very often, really funny... There is so much here, and something unique for everyone except sourpuss defenders of the status quo. Paul Buhle, Monthly Review By introducing kids (and their parents) to a wide range of forgotten and overlooked texts addressing progressive themes, and by provoking a closer look at what the books we already own imply, Mickenberg and Nel have done parents and kids alike a truly important service. The Texas Observer Readers looking for the animals, sprites, and other characters common to childrens literature will find them, with a twist. The Chronicle Review Consistently fascinating... Boast[s] authors as skilled as Carl Sandburg, Munro (Ferdinand the Bull) Leaf, Dr. Seuss, Eve Merriam and Langston Hughes. Toronto Globe and Mail Mickenberg and Nel have done a real service in reclaiming these selections of childrens literature, some by such well known childrens book authors as Julius Lester and Dr. Seuss but many from writers whose reputations were made and works published on the barricades of the Left. The Horn Book Inc. Tales for Little Rebels is indeed a timely collection and one that serves as an excellent touchstone for future research into a usable past for contemporary academics. Childrens Literature Association Quarterly Mickenberg and Nel fill a gap in scholarship on childrens literature. ChoiceVom Verlag:
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 labour. 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.
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