When Marxism is Kids' Stuff
Little Red Readings: Historical Materialist Approaches to Children's Literature

Mickenberg, Julia L.
Date Written:  2015-11-01
Publisher:  Against the Current
Year Published:  2015
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX21300

Book review of Angela Huber's Little Red Readings: Historical Materialist Approaches to Children's Literature.



Hubler introduces concepts like alienation, reification, ideology and commodity fetishism, especially as these terms have been employed by Western Marxists such as David Harvey, Fredric Jameson, Raymond Williams and Louis Althusser, then surveys Marxist critics who have engaged children's literature, among them Jack Zipes, Ariel Dorfman and Herb Kohl.

She emphasizes the importance of feminist historical approaches to children's literature, citing scholars such as Lynne Vallone and J.S. Bratton. And she practices the analysis she preaches, not just pointing to the fact that many works for children have the effect of naturalizing poverty and the class system, but also citing statistics on the number of children living in poverty in the United States - a society in which the myth of classlessness still has tenacious staying power - and pointing to "neoliberal economic policies that have shredded the social safety net at the same time that real wages have eroded."
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