Shapers of American Childhood

Essays on Visionaries from L. Frank Baum to Dr. Spock to J.K. Rowling

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About the Book

The experience of growing up in the U.S. is shaped by many forces. Relationships with parents and teachers are deeply personal and definitive. Social and economic contexts are broader and harder to quantify.
Key individuals in public life have also had a marked impact on American childhood. These 18 new essays examine the influence of pivotal figures in the culture of 20th and 21st century childhood and child-rearing, from Benjamin Spock and Walt Disney to Ruth Handler, Barbie’s inventor, and Ernest Thompson Seton, founder of the Boy Scouts of America.

About the Author(s)

Kathy Merlock Jackson, a professor of media and communication at Virginia Wesleyan University, teaches courses in media studies and children’s culture. She is the author or editor of thirteen books and former editor of The Journal of American Culture. She has served as past president of both the American Culture Association and the Popular Culture Association.

Mark I. West is the former chair of the English department at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He has written or edited nineteen books on children’s literature and culture and is a former president of the Children’s Literature Association.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Kathy Merlock Jackson and Mark I. West
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 286
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliographies, index
Copyright Date: 2018
pISBN: 978-1-4766-6455-2
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3406-7
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vi
Preface (Kathy Merlock Jackson and Mark I. West) 1
L. Frank Baum (1856–1919): Brains, Heart and Courage (Dina Schiff Massachi) 3
Ernest Thompson Seton (1860–1946): Founder of the Boy Scouts of America (Martin Woodside) 16
A.A. Milne (1882–1956): Influencing American Childhood After World War II  (Sarah Minslow) 28
Walt Disney (1901–1966): When You Wish Upon a Star (James Plath) 44
Benjamin Spock (1903–1998): Dr. Spock and THE BOOK (Lucy Rollin) 63
Theodor Seuss Geisel (1904–1991): Dr. Seuss—The Power and Potential (and Joy!) of Children’s Literature (Carl F. Miller) 76
Augusta Braxton Baker (1911–1988): The Art of Storytelling and a Gateway to Children’s Literacy and Literature (Michelle H. Martin) 91
Jonas Salk (1914–1995) and Albert Sabin (1906–1993): Conquering Polio (Kathy Shepherd Stolley) 103
Ruth Handler (1916–2002): Toys, Barbie and Girls’ Choices (Kathy Merlock Jackson) 122
Stan Lee (1922–): Making Misfits Heroes (Gabriel ­Sealey-Morris) 136
Fred Rogers (1928–2003): Everyone’s Neighbor (Richard Bilsker) 153
Jim Henson (1936–1993): The Lovers, the Dreamers and Him (Andrew Grunzke) 161
Bill Cosby (1937–): Recoding Bill Cosby’s Legacy (Gary R. Edgerton) 181
Judy Blume (1938–): Shaping Subjects (Susan Larkin) 194
Steve Jobs (1955–2011): Technology for a Beginner’s Mind (Lisa Lyon Payne) 208
LeVar Burton (1957–): Promoting Children’s Literature and Literacy (Mark I. West) 225
Joanne Kathleen Rowling (1965–): More Magic for the Young at Heart (Sue Matheson) 233
Daniel Handler (1970–): Lemony Snicket’s Noir Narrative and the Shaping of the Millennial Generation’s Advocacy as Opposition to Generations X’s Apathy (Lisa Arter) 250
Bibliography: Sources on Childhood in America in the 20th and 21st Centuries (Camille McCutcheon) 267
About the Contributors 271
Index 275