Can Censoring a Children’s Book Remove Its Prejudices?

When I posted news of my “Censoring Children’s Literature” course last month, several people (well, OK, one person …maybe two) expressed an interest in hearing more about the course.  So, given that Banned Books Week is coming up next week, here’s an update. Having lately been examining two versions of Hugh Lofting’s Doctor Dolittle (1920,

The Purple Crayon’s Legacy, Part I: Comics & Cartoons

One side effect of writing The Purple Crayon and A Hole to Dig: Crockett Johnson and Ruth Krauss (forthcoming, 2012) is that I could write pages on how Johnson’s Harold and the Purple Crayon (1955) has influenced subsequent artists and writers – and, for that matter, on Harold’s antecedents.  (The list of works discussed in the

Kadir Nelson Is the Best; or, When the Caldecott Committee Strikes Out

What makes an award-winner?  One of the best picture books of 2008, Kadir Nelson’s We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball (2008) won neither the Caldecott Medal nor a Caldecott Honor.  The following year, Jerry Pinkney became the first African American to win the Caldecott Medal – “given to the artist of the

More Metafiction for Children

Since “Metafiction for Children: A User’s Guide” went up yesterday (as the final entry on In Media Res’ “Children’s Culture” week), I’ve been pleased by people’s kind response to my amateur video.  Thanks, everyone! There are far more books than I could include in the film, and there were several I had not thought of.

Crockett Johnson: Ford’s Out Front!

With a nod to the survival of the U.S. auto industry, here’s an ad campaign from when American automakers were thriving.  Created for Ford in 1947-1948, Crockett Johnson based these ads on his untitled cartoon, popularly known as The Little Man with the Eyes, which ran in Collier’s from 1940 to 1943.  In each cartoon,

A Is for Art: Stephen T. Johnson’s Abstract Alphabet

Part children’s book and part lesson in twentieth-century artistic movements, Stephen T. Johnson’s A is for Art: An Abstract Alphabet is at the avant-garde of alphabet expressionism. Cubism is here, but the work explores the influence of dada and its children–surrealism, pop art, and conceptual art–and other styles such as abstract expressionism and color field

The Trauma Games

War is hell.  If General Sherman (and, I expect, many others) hadn’t said it first, I suspect Suzanne Collins might have chosen those three words as a subtitle for her Hunger Games trilogy.  As its predecessors did, Mockingjay dramatizes the physical and emotional consequences of war.  It’s especially adept at displaying the scars invisible to those of