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  • Editors' Note
  • Louisa Smith and Jack Zipes

Beginning with this issue of The Lion and the Unicorn, the editorship of the journal will change hands. Geraldine DeLuca and Roni Natov, who founded The Lion and the Unicorn, will continue to work with the journal as associate editors. Given the achievements of the journal, scholars of children's literature owe them a great debt, and we shall make every effort to carry on the tradition established by Geri and Roni.

In this regard, we have chosen the theme of "Political Correctness and Cultural Literacy" for our first issue to respond to two of the more significant debates in the area of children's culture today. A great deal of confusion about political correctness and cultural literacy exists, and we believe that the contributors to this issue of The Lion and the Unicorn will provide the basis for understanding what is at stake in the debates about what is to be read and who is to prescribe what is to be read, or indeed, if anyone should prescribe anything in the first place. We hear continually that American education is in a state of crisis, and critics from the left and the right of the political spectrum are offering advice about reforming or preserving the standards and values necessary to make our children more literate. Yet, while there is a great deal of talk of what needs to be done, these critics, as some of our contributors point out, have not paid attention to some of the major accomplishments in children's literature and multicultural developments in the educational system. On the other hand, it is true that the gains that were made toward reforming the educational system and providing alternatives in the 1970s have suffered a setback during the 1980s. The national and state governments talk with twisted tongues and have not provided the financial funding or the leadership for schools, libraries, and universities to perform their jobs in an adequate manner. Consequently, educators, librarians, and teachers have been placed at a disadvantage in their attempts to be politically responsive to their communities and to teach our children to be more critical and imaginative readers and thinkers. With this issue of The Lion and the Unicorn, we hope to respond and will continue to respond to the most urgent questions and problems in our field. [End Page vii]



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