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Raising Your Kids Right

Children's Literature and American Political Conservatism

Michelle Ann Abate

Publication Year: 2010

Highlighting the works of William Bennett, Lynne Cheney, Bill O'Reilly, and others on the American political right, Michelle Ann Abate brings together such diverse fields as cultural studies, literary criticism, political science, childhood studies, brand marketing, and the cult of celebrity. Raising Your Kids Right dispels lingering societal attitudes that narratives for young readers are unworthy of serious political study by examining a variety of texts that offer information, ideology, and even instructions on how to raise kids right, not just figuratively but politically.

Published by: Rutgers University Press

Series: Series in Childhood Studies


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pp. vii-ix

Abraham Lincoln asserted, “Public sentiment is everything. With public sentiment nothing can fail; without it nothing can succeed. He who molds public sentiment goes deeper than he who enacts statutes or decisions possible or impossible to execute” (128)....

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Introduction. "In Adam's Fall, We Sinned All": The Conservative Tradition in U.s. Children's Literature, Culture, and Politics

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pp. 1-27

In May 2008, the University of Colorado at Boulder made headlines when it announced its intention to hire a professor of Conservative Studies. The news came via the university’s launch of a one-year capital campaign to raise the nine million dollars necessary to endow the position. According to Chancellor ...

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1. “Give Me Some of That Old-Time Reading”: William Bennett's The Book of Virtues and The Rise of Right-Leaning Literature for Young Readers

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pp. 28-52

Arguably, no single American political figure has been more responsible for bringing the foundational conservative issue of values into the national public debate than William J. Bennett. Joshua Green offers his assessment: “For more than 20 years, as a writer, speaker, government official, and political operative, ...

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2. “I Speak for the National Oak Flooring Manufacturers Association”: Truax, the Anti-Green Movement, and the Corporate Production of Children's Literature

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pp. 53-78

In 1971, Dr. Seuss published the book that biographers Judith and Neil Morgan indicate was not only his self-acknowledged favorite (211), but also his most overtly political: The Lorax. After penning narratives for young readers that addressed serious social issues like racial discrimination in The Sneetches (1961), ...

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3. Not Just Christianity, But the Christian Right: The Battle over Public Education and the American Sunday School Movement in the Left Behind Series for Kids

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pp. 79-101

In 1998, U.S. evangelical minister Tim LaHaye and prolific Christian writer Jerry B. Jenkins released the first novel in the Left Behind series for kids. Called The Vanishings, it was modeled after their tremendously successful Christian themed narratives for adults. Briefly, The Vanishings follows the experiences ...

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4. Patriot Acts: Fighting the War on Terror via the Canon Wars in Lynne Cheney's Picture Books

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pp. 102-125

While evangelical figures such as Tim LaHaye and movements such as the Christian Right, discussed in chapter 3, played an important role in the expansion of conservative thought and right-wing politics since the 1970s, another less publicly visible but equally powerful influence was also instrumental: the proliferation of think tanks....

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5. Pundit Knows Best: The Self-Help Boom, Brand Marketing, and The O'Reilly Factor for Kids

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pp. 126-151

Few other media personalities have enjoyed more success during the past decade than Bill O’Reilly. His nightly current events and political talk program The O’Reilly Factor, which first aired in 1996, is the most popular cable news show in the United States, routinely attracting more than two million viewers (Crupi)....

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6. “One State, Two State, Red State, Blue State”: Bringing Partisan Politics to Picture Books in Katharine DeBrecht's Help! Mom! Series

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pp. 152-173

In 2005, after one of the most divisive presidential elections in U.S. history, a small California-based publishing company called World Ahead released the first title in its new line of children’s books: Help! Mom! There Are Liberals under My Bed! Written by Katharine DeBrecht and illustrated by Jim Hummel, the story follows...

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7. “The Gosh-Darnit, Doggone It, You-Betcha Wink Heard ’Round the World”: The 2008 Presidential Election, the State of the Conservative Movement, and the Future of Rightist Books for Young Readers

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pp. 174-188

After enjoying a reign spanning several decades, the conservative social movement and rightist political clout showed noticeable signs of weakening by late 2008. Perhaps the most obvious indicator of this shift was the dramatic drop in public support for President George W. Bush. By mid-October, only 7 percent...


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pp. 189-202

Works Cited

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pp. 203-226


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pp. 227-239

About the Author

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pp. 240-240

E-ISBN-13: 9780813549958
E-ISBN-10: 0813549957
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813547985
Print-ISBN-10: 0813547989

Page Count: 260
Illustrations: 16 photographs,
Publication Year: 2010

Series Title: Series in Childhood Studies
Series Editor Byline: Edited by Myra Bluebond-Langner, Ph.D., Founder of Rutgers University Center for Children and Childhood Studies See more Books in this Series

OCLC Number: 769927201
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Raising Your Kids Right

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Johnson, Crockett, -- 1906-1975.
  • Politics and literature -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
  • Politics and literature -- United States -- History -- 21st century.
  • Conservatism and literature -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
  • Conservatism and literature -- United States -- History -- 21st century.
  • Right and left (Political science) in literature.
  • Conservatism -- United States.
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