- Book Reviews
Click for larger view
View full resolution
[End Page 156]
Once upon a time, when I first taught the history of children and youth, a student, in what I assumed was the spirit of why-can't-we-have-class-outside, asked yearningly why there were no kids' books on our reading list. There are some good ones; she sighed, surely there must be something scholarly to say about them . . .
Upon reflection, I realized that I should have taken her request seriously. Our colleagues in children's literature have demonstrated that there are many, many interesting and insightful things to say about kids' books. Moreover, I always included novels in my History of Grown-Ups courses. So why not enrich my syllabus on the history of youth with a kids' book or two? These days, I regularly include both young adult fiction—from Ragged Dick to The Outsiders—and children's books on historical topics in my history of youth courses. They are a big hit, and sometimes we even read them while sitting outside.
And so in an effort to keep pedagogy in conversation with scholarship, we would like to offer readers of JHCY a new, occasional feature. We'll pair a text under review with a kids' book on the same topic—and ask the author whose scholarship is being reviewed to weigh in on the children's book. For this inaugural set, we've combined a review of Rebecca de Schweinitz's If We Could Change The World, a history of young people's involvement in the civil rights movement, with her critique of Elizabeth Partridge's Marching for Freedom: Walk Together, Children, and Don't You Grow Weary. We hope this feature will encourage reflection on how history is being presented to kids, even as we reflect on how to teach young people about the history of children and youth. [End Page 157]