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Shaping the children's literature canon : an analysis of editorials from The Horn Book Magazine, 1924… Weisman, Kathryn Jean 2012

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SHAPING THE CHILDREN’S LITERATURE CANON: AN ANALYSIS OF EDITORIALS FROM THE HORN BOOK MAGAZINE, 1924-2009 by Kathryn Jean Weisman  B.A., The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1972 M. L. S. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1974  A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF  MASTER OF ARTS in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (Children’s Literature)  THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA (Vancouver)  March 2012  © Kathryn Jean Weisman, 2012  Abstract This study analyzes The Horn Book Magazine editorials, published between 1924 and 2009, to ascertain the editors’ promotion of the library canon of children’s literature. The editorials concerned with Horn Book’s communities of readers are considered using Benedict Anderson’s critical lens of imagined communities; the review- and critically-themed editorials are examined using the theories of K. T. Horning, Deborah Stevenson, and Lillian H. Smith; the editorials related to the image of childhood are investigated utilizing the frameworks of childhood outlined by Andrew Stables; and the editorials involving social and political themes are explored using the critical assumptions of Gail Schmunk Murray. The analysis concludes, overall, that the Horn Book editors celebrate creators and promoters of canonical children’s literature; esteem high literary quality over popularity or pedagogical utility; view the image of childhood from a mostly Romantic perspective; and have shifted perspectives over time regarding comments about social and political events from a mostly neutral, non-committal stance to one of increasingly open views, especially with regard to censorship, multiculturalism, and current events.  ii  Table of Contents  Abstract .................................................................................................................................... ii  Table of Contents ................................................................................................................... iii  List of Figures ........................................................................................................................ vii  Glossary ................................................................................................................................ viii  Acknowledgements ................................................................................................................. x  Chapter 1: Introduction ........................................................................................................ 1  1.1  Origins of Interest ........................................................................................................ 1  1.2  A Brief History of The Horn Book Magazine.............................................................. 2  1.3  Children’s Literature Canons in the United States ...................................................... 7  1.4  Rationale for Primary Works ..................................................................................... 13  1.5  Statement of the Problem and Research Questions ................................................... 13  1.6  Outline of Chapters .................................................................................................... 14  Chapter 2: Existing Literature ........................................................................................... 16  2.1  The Horn Book Magazine History ............................................................................. 16  2.2  Women, Publishing and Professional Networks ........................................................ 20  2.3  Theories of Imagined Communities and Readers ...................................................... 26  2.4  Theories of Reviewing, Literary Criticism and the Children’s Literature Canon ..... 28  2.5  Theories of Childhood ............................................................................................... 34  2.6  Socio-Political Theories and Children’s Literature ................................................... 40  2.7  Conclusion ................................................................................................................. 43  Chapter 3: Methodology...................................................................................................... 44   iii  3.1  Primary Text Selection and Analysis ......................................................................... 45  3.1.1  Phase One............................................................................................................ 46  3.1.2  Phase Two ........................................................................................................... 48  3.1.3  Phase Three ......................................................................................................... 52  3.1.4  Phase Four ........................................................................................................... 56  3.1.5  Phase Five ........................................................................................................... 59  3.2  Critical Lenses ........................................................................................................... 60  3.2.1  Imagined Communities of Readers in Horn Book Editorials ............................. 60  3.2.2  Reviewing and Literary Criticism in Horn Book Editorials ............................... 61  3.2.3  The Changing Image of Childhood in Horn Book Editorials ............................. 63  3.2.4  Reflections of Socio-Political Events in Horn Book Editorials .......................... 64  3.3  Conclusion ................................................................................................................. 65  Chapter 4: Imagined Communities of Readers in Horn Book Editorials ....................... 67  4.1  Introduction ................................................................................................................ 67  4.2  Individual Tributes ..................................................................................................... 68  4.2.1  Tributes—1924-1967 .......................................................................................... 69  4.2.2  Tributes—1968-2009 .......................................................................................... 76  4.3  Obituaries ................................................................................................................... 81  4.4  Horn Book Celebrations ............................................................................................. 86  4.5  Tributes to Groups Connected With Children’s and Young Adult Literature ........... 95  4.6  Conclusion ............................................................................................................... 100  Chapter 5: Reviewing- and Critically-Themed Horn Book Editorials ......................... 106  5.1  Introduction .............................................................................................................. 106   iv  5.2  Reviewing ................................................................................................................ 108  5.2.1  Editorial Reviews .............................................................................................. 109  5.2.2  Editorials About the Reviewing Process........................................................... 119  5.3  Critical Themes ........................................................................................................ 123  5.3.1  Editorials About Criticism ................................................................................ 124  5.3.2  Editorials About Trends in Publishing .............................................................. 130  5.3.3  Editorials About Book Awards and Canon ....................................................... 137  5.3.4  Editorials About Literary Criteria ..................................................................... 141  5.4  Conclusion ............................................................................................................... 145  Chapter 6: The Changing Image of Childhood in Horn Book Editorials ..................... 150  6.1  Introduction .............................................................................................................. 150  6.2  Aristotelian Images of Childhood in Horn Book Editorials..................................... 151  6.3  Puritanical Images of Childhood in Horn Book Editorials ...................................... 154  6.4  Liberal/Enlightenment Images of Childhood in Horn Book Editorials ................... 156  6.5  Romantic Images of Childhood in Horn Book Editorials ........................................ 159  6.6  Postmodern Images of Childhood in Horn Book Editorials .................................... 166  6.7  Conclusions .............................................................................................................. 170  Chapter 7: Socio-Political Themes in Horn Book Editorials ......................................... 174  7.1  Introduction .............................................................................................................. 174  7.2  Editorials About Citizenship and Patriotism............................................................ 176  7.3  Editorials About Censorship .................................................................................... 178  7.4  Editorials About International Books for Children .................................................. 183  7.5  Editorials About Education ...................................................................................... 187   v  7.6  Editorials About Technology ................................................................................... 191  7.7  Editorials About Current Events .............................................................................. 194  7.8  Editorials About Multiculturalism ........................................................................... 198  7.9  Editorials About Gender .......................................................................................... 203  7.10  Editorials About Children’s Literature Publishing ................................................ 205  7.11  Conclusions ............................................................................................................ 208  Chapter 8: Conclusions and Discussion ........................................................................... 215  8.1  Conclusions .............................................................................................................. 215  8.1.1  Communities of Readers ................................................................................... 215  8.1.2  Reviewing and Literary Criticism..................................................................... 217  8.1.3  The Image of Childhood ................................................................................... 218  8.1.4  Socio-Political Events ....................................................................................... 220  8.1.5  Further Conclusions .......................................................................................... 222  8.2  Limitations of Study ................................................................................................ 225  8.3  Recommendations for Further Research .................................................................. 226  Bibliography ........................................................................................................................ 228  Appendix .............................................................................................................................. 265  A.1 Horn Book Editorials, Themes and Keywords .......................................................... 265   vi  List of Figures  Figure 5.1 Untitled Editorial, February 1933..................................................................... 125   vii  Glossary  This section defines a variety of important terms and explains the context in which they will be employed in this thesis. Canon: a sanctioned or accepted group of literary works considered the most important of a particular place or time period. In this study I will refer to three canons: the library canon, the academic canon, and the special interest canon. Children’s Librarian or Youth Services Librarian: a librarian who works with children, most often up to the age of twelve and usually in a public library setting. Children’s Literature or Juvenile Literature: books and other materials intended for use by children up to and including the age of twelve. Editorial: an article in a newspaper or other periodical presenting the opinion of the publisher, editor, or editors. Professional Review Journal or Library Review Journal: a periodical intended for library professionals which reviews newly published books and other media. These journals are intended to help librarians select appropriate materials for their library collections. The “Big Four” professional review journals for librarians working with children in the United States are Booklist, Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, Horn Book, and School Library Journal. Recommended-Only Journal: a professional library review journal whose policy is to review only books that are recommended for purchase. Booklist and Horn Book are recommended-only journals.  viii  Review: a short critique, evaluation, or report, printed in a periodical or on a web site, and relating to a book, play, recital, non-book literary creation, or the like. Teacher-Librarian or School Librarian: a librarian who works with students in a K-12 school setting. The term teacher-librarian is used in Canada; school librarian (formerly school media specialist) is the preferred term in the United States. Touchstone: a term coined by author Matthew Arnold meaning a literary work that serves as a benchmark for evaluating other titles. In the 1980’s the Children’s Literature Association gave this name to a list of children’s literature titles that they created, believing that they would serve as touchstones. Young Adult Librarian: a librarian who works with teens, usually in a public library setting. Young Adult Literature: books and other materials intended for teens and young people over the age of twelve.  ix  Acknowledgements  I wish to thank my supervisor, Judith Saltman for her encouragement, her always-timely and insightful feedback, and the amazing depth of knowledge she brings to any children’s literature topic. I am in awe. I would also like to thank Dr. Gail Edwards for helping me to see the historical perspective in my research, and Dr. Theresa Rogers for reminding me of the educational point of view. At times it was difficult to reconcile all three of these perspectives, but the project is stronger for their advice. I would also like to thank Horn Book editor-in-chief Roger Sutton, for allowing me access to the Horn Book archives, and the Simmons College Archival staff who facilitated my exploration of this treasure trove. Finally, I would like to offer special thanks to my husband and children for their encouragement and support, and to my sister Carol and Karen Taylor for their formatting expertise extraordinaire!  x  Chapter 1: Introduction  This chapter traces the origins of my interest in the editorials of The Horn Book Magazine [Horn Book], offers a brief history of the journal, provides a discussion of children’s literature canons in the United States, states the problem my research will address, affords a rationale for my primary works, asserts my research questions, and presents an outline of my forthcoming chapters. 1.1  Origins of Interest In 1989 I received a call from Barbara Elleman, Children’s Editor for Booklist  magazine. Would I like to try reviewing for the journal? Absolutely! The offer was a surprise, for I had met Elleman only once when I toured Booklist offices. Unknown to me, she had followed my reviews for rival School Library Journal; when an opening came up at Booklist she decided to offer me a trial. In the months of mentoring that followed, Elleman graciously shared her philosophy, which could be described as “it’s fine to point out a weakness, but be nice!” as well as the nuts and bolts of reviewing, Booklist style. On several occasions she shared her edits of my work, explaining how word substitutions, streamlining, and changes in phrasing add to the clarity of a review. When, some months later, I finally saw a published review that was exactly as I had submitted it, I felt a great sense of satisfaction. In the years since Elleman left Booklist I have been privileged to work with several other editors: Sally Estes, Ilene Cooper, Stephanie Zvirin, Laura Tillotson, and Gillian Engberg. Each has employed a distinct working style and philosophy, but I have always felt that even though I am an outside reviewer, I could contact them for an opinion about a book.  1  Although I am very aware of each editor’s point of view, the practicing librarians who make up the majority of the general readership of the magazine may not share the same awareness, since Booklist does not publish a formal editorial in each issue. The ways in which editors shape the content and focus of a library review journal— and thus, what schools and libraries purchase—intrigue me. As a current employee of Booklist, it would be difficult for me to analyze its editorial perspective from an unbiased stance. However, another highly respected library review journal, Horn Book, is also a recommended-only journal of books for children and young adults. The following section provides a brief history of Horn Book during the years 1924 – 2009. 1.2  A Brief History of The Horn Book Magazine The establishment of Horn Book in Boston was not a chance occurrence. In the years  following the end of the United States Civil War (1865), Boston became a hub of several movements of progressive thought and these groups affected the full range of Boston’s society—from the upper class to the newly emerging middle class to the working class. The domestic science movement saw the establishment of the Boston Cooking School where immigrant women and servants were trained in “scientific cookery,” and encouraged to prepare “dainty” foods that would help them to rise in social class (Shapiro 47-9). John Dewey’s ideas on progressive education (which emphasized education as a means toward upward mobility) were well received in Boston, home of the New England Journal of Education (Stables 62-5, Darling 206). The city was also the publishing home of several highly regarded literary magazines—including Atlantic Monthly, for adults, and St. Nicholas, for children—as well as numerous trade book publishers (Darling 126-38, 214-7). Finally,  2  Boston was home to the Women’s Educational and Industrial Union, founded in 1877 to respond to social ills, particularly the exploitation of women and children (Ross 35). Among its many projects, the WEIU funded Bertha Mahony Miller’s Bookshop for Boys and Girls (1916), one of the first children’s bookstores in the United States (56). Thus, a magazine such as Horn Book that promoted quality books for children was geographically well situated in Boston. Although Horn Book’s web site insists it was “the first magazine anywhere to concern itself exclusively with children’s books and reading” (Jameyson), that claim can be challenged if one considers a longer view of children’s publishing and reviewing. From 1802 to 1806 British author Sarah Trimmer published the Guardian of Education, an annual periodical that systematically reviewed and criticized children’s books for educators of children from the higher ranks of society. Mrs. Trimmer’s evaluative criteria, however, were not literary or even educational, but focused on whether or not a book offered a favorable view of religion and virtue (Heath “Review”). Several magazines, although not entirely focused on children’s publishing and reviewing, did regularly publish children’s book reviews in the nineteenth century. In 1866 British author Margaret Gatty began publishing Aunt Judy’s Magazine, a monthly for children featuring short fiction, poetry, music, correspondence, and children’s book reviews. According to Richard Darling’s The Rise of Children’s Book Reviewing in America: 18651881 (1968), several American children’s magazines also reviewed children’s books, including Our Young Folks, The Riverside Magazine for Young People, St. Nicholas, and Youth’s Companion (209). Horn Book’s stated audience, according to Miller, was somewhat more ambitious and diverse than these family-oriented monthlies, however, encompassing  3  “boys and girls . . . parents . . . librarians . . . and . . . teachers” (“Untitled Editorial” 1.1(1924): 1). Founded in 1924 by Bertha Mahony Miller and Elinor Whitney Field, Horn Book was the first American professional library review journal devoted exclusively to children’s books and reading. Its purpose, noted by Miller in her first editorial, was to “blow the horn for fine books for boys and girls” (1). Although the notion of “fine books” is somewhat nebulous, the journal’s web site states that Horn Book “reviews books very selectively, approximately seventy titles an issue, and generally considers titles notable for high standards in plot, theme, characterization, and style” (“Submissions”). The magazine’s emphasis on promoting the “very best” in children’s literature has made it a trusted resource for any adult who brings children and books together. Seven editors have led Horn Book: Bertha Mahony Miller (1924 – 1950), Jennie D. Lindquist (1951 – 1957), Ruth Hill Viguers (1958 – 1967), Paul Heins (1967 – 1974), Ethel Heins (1974 – 1984), Anita Silvey (1985 – 1995), and Roger Sutton (1996 – Present). Each of the succeeding editors has continued Miller’s tradition of promoting what they considered the best in children’s literature while at the same time adding their own personal identifying features to the journal. Bertha Mahony Miller led Horn Book from its inception in the fall of 1924 through the end of 1950. The magazine began as an extended newsletter for her Bookshop for Boys and Girls, but Miller’s enlistment of influential contributors from the field of children’s literature (including Macmillan children’s editor Louise Seaman Bechtel, Boston Public Library’s Alice Jordan, Viking children’s editor May Massee, and New York Public Library’s Anne Carroll Moore) soon made the journal a well respected voice in the world of  4  children’s literature (Jameyson). Unlike St. Nicholas and Youth’s Companion and other family oriented periodicals of the time, Horn Book was aimed at teachers and librarians as well as parents. Horn Book also distinguished itself from Booklist (1905 – Present), the other major professional review journal of this time, in its exclusive focus on children’s literature, and in the inclusion of editorials and articles. With the 1916 opening of the Bookshop for Boys and Girls, Miller had correctly intuited that Boston’s burgeoning middle class would have money to spend on books for their children. The growing number of juvenile titles in 1924 likewise convinced her that those parents were looking for and needed guidance in selecting children’s books. What better way (especially for her out of town customers) than a quarterly newsletter devoted to fine books and reading? As a (then) single woman, few socially acceptable occupations were open to Miller, but bookseller and journal editor were among her options (Eddy 5). A thoroughly competent businesswoman, Miller led Horn Book skillfully through the Great Depression, expanding from four to six issues per year in 1933, devising a three to one ratio of text to advertising. In 1934, she resigned from responsibilities at the Bookshop so that she could devote all her energies to Horn Book (Eddy 146, 152). Miller’s handpicked replacement, Jennie D. Lindquist, became editor in 1951. A librarian and storyteller from New Hampshire, Lindquist began contributing to Horn Book in 1941 as the first Editor of the Hunter’s Fare column, and was recruited full time to the magazine in 1948 to apprentice as Managing Editor until Miller’s retirement (Miller “The Horn Book’s New” 445). While researchers including Joan Blodgett Peterson Olson have viewed Lindquist’s tenure as weak (18-21), in some ways she was the perfect successor. Miller remained devoted to Horn Book and its day-to-day decisions, despite spending winters  5  in Florida (Ross 227); and Lindquist, if the extant Horn Book correspondence between these two women is to be believed, was happy to follow Miller’s every suggestion (Lindquist, “Letter” 24 Jan. 1949). Ruth Hill Viguers assumed the editorship of Horn Book in 1958. A children’s librarian who began reviewing for Horn Book after moving to Boston in 1949, Viguers added new columns to the magazine, surveyed readers about their preferences, published a number of articles dealing with controversial subjects, and tripled subscriptions (Olson 22-3, 290). Harvard-educated English teacher Paul Heins became editor in 1967. A neighbor of Viguers, he began reviewing for Horn Book during her tenure and is widely credited with improving the quality of the magazine’s reviewing, introducing negative appraisals, and welcoming controversial opinions (Bader, “Preach” 393). Ethel Yaskin Heins succeeded her husband as editor in 1974. Mrs. Heins was an experienced children’s librarian (at the New York and Boston Public libraries), a school librarian in the Boston area, and a reviewer for Horn Book (Saxon). Bader notes, “Both the Heinses were people of the Word,” (“Preach” 392) but for Ethel “the editor’s chair was a bully pulpit” (393). In strongly expressed prose Ethel Heins criticized prescriptive guides to children’s fiction aimed at classroom teachers (especially those that turned Charlotte’s Web into an arithmetic lesson), vilified those who approved of Nancy Drew, and maligned those schools of library and information studies which held philosophies of educating generalists rather than children’s specialists (393). In 1985 Anita Silvey became editor of Horn Book, bringing with her a background in children’s publishing and experience as Paul and Ethel Heins’ assistant from 1971-1975 (Del Negro 417). Silvey presided over introducing the Horn Book Guide in 1989, and bringing  6  Horn Book into the digital age—no small feat as her editorials regarding a new circulation database (“Prayers” 133-4), desktop publishing (“Gutenberg” 388), and the Internet (“Old Dogs” 260-1) attest. A librarian by training, Roger Sutton reviewed for School Library Journal, contributed frequently to other journals, and edited the Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books before joining Horn Book in 1996 (Del Negro 451). Sometimes intentionally provocative, Sutton’s sense of humor and direct style have helped to bring new readers to the magazine, and his comfort with online media (blogs, Twitter, and a digital presence for selected Horn Book articles) helps to keep the journal relevant for twenty-first century subscribers (Jameyson). Horn Book’s coverage of books for children and young people has always been highly selective. By design, the magazine concerns itself primarily with titles already within the canon of children’s literature and those the editors feel should enter the canon. The following section provides an introduction to the concept of canon and a short history of children’s literature canons in the United States. 1.3  Children’s Literature Canons in the United States Merriam-Webster defines canon as “a sanctioned or accepted group or body of related  works <the canon of great literature>” (def 3c). Anne Lundin, in Constructing the Canon of Children’s Literature: Beyond Library Walls and Ivory Towers (2004), is more specific and pointed in her comments about the children’s literature canon: The canon’s main function is to position texts in relation to one another—and to exclude more than include. As a classificatory construct, the canon is a collection, much like a library collection. Despite its investment in perpetuity, a classic depends  7  on changing standards of perceived needs for educating the next generation. The canon is a political proving ground where its uses shift according to the rhetorical and reading audience. Our sense of what is “literature” is a product of ideological struggles for a selective tradition at work. (xvii) American parents have always had concerns about the books their children read. According to Leonard Marcus’s Minders of Make-Believe: Idealists, Entrepreneurs, and the Shaping of American Children’s Literature (2008), the seventeenth century New England Puritans reverenced reading, especially if it led to a good Christian life and/or a pious death (2-4). New attitudes to children and their reading were shaped by the ideas of the influential philosopher John Locke and the English bookshop owner and publisher John Newbery, who encouraged eighteenth and early nineteenth century American parents to value a new type of book, in which amusement and instruction took their place beside illustrations (5). The majority of children’s books that circulated in the United States in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century were first issued in England and reprinted for the American market. Following the U. S. Civil War (1865) increased numbers of American authors began writing books for children—notably Louisa May Alcott, Mary Mapes Dodge, Samuel Clemens [Mark Twain], and Harriet Beecher Stowe (Darling 215). As Darling notes, “Children’s books reflected the exuberance and freedom of the period,” although inferior children’s titles also proliferated which, “in order to entertain, were ever more wild and extravagant in incident, arousing complaints that they demoralized children” (7, 45). He concludes that “it was natural that critics and commentators should come forth to attempt to set standards for literature for children” (45).  8  Although children’s librarians have a reputation as America’s earliest arbiters of literary taste in children’s books (indeed they have often been called gatekeepers because of the books they welcomed into the library and those they excluded, therefore limiting children’s access to certain titles) at least one other group preceded them in this task. Beginning in 1867, the Boston-based Unitarian Ladies’ Commission on Sunday-school books began publishing an annual listing of approved children’s books for Unitarian Sundayschools that won widespread approval from the periodical press (Darling 52) and may be regarded as an early attempt at creating a canon of approved children’s books. The Commission’s standards were largely negative—emphasizing elements that resulted in exclusion from the list rather than positive qualities that merited inclusion—but Darling notes they were very influential and widely copied by other denominations (54-5). In the 1870’s public libraries began to be established in the United States, although children were not immediately seen as patrons of these institutions. However, Lundin notes that by 1880 Hartford, Connecticut librarian Caroline Hewins was advocating for children and their books (22). In 1882, Books for the Young: A Guide for Parents and Children was issued, followed in 1915 by a selection guide, Books for Boys and Girls. Both titles were widely used as public library collection-building tools. Bertha Mahony Miller consulted the 1915 list in choosing stock for her Bookshop for Boys and Girls (Ross 50). Hewins championed the idea that children’s books should be evaluated on literary merit—as adult books were—and she passed this view along to the generations of librarians who followed her (Lundin 23). Lundin observes that, in the early part of the twentieth century, librarians were given the responsibility of determining canon and that the “genteel values transmitted through the  9  foremothers of the children’s library movement, whose Anglophilia and Romanticism preserved a sense of culture that was rather than is” (32) resulted in a mostly British, conservative canon that prized the classics of children’s literature. One of the most powerful librarians to follow Hewins was Anne Carroll Moore, who directed the New York Public Library’s Department of Work with Children from 1906 to 1941. Not only was Moore an influential member of the American Library Association, and instrumental in establishing Children’s Book Week (1919), the John Newbery Medal (1922), and the Randolph Caldecott Medal (1938), she was also a prolific writer, whose reviews and criticism were published in The Bookman (1918-26), The New York Herald Tribune (192430), and Horn Book (1930 – 1960) (Lundin 23-9, Eddy 156). Moore’s reviews were both respected and feared by the publishing industry, for her approval or disapproval of a book was often accepted as the final word in library acquisitions. Ever confident of her ability to judge a book’s worth, she reportedly kept a stamp in her desk: “Not Recommended for Purchase by Expert” (Lepore 67). Although Moore’s tactics may have been considered too heavy-handed for some members of the children’s literature and library community, her zeal in promoting only the highest caliber of literature for young people was taken up by many of her successors, including the Head of the Toronto Public Library’s Boys’ and Girls’ Division Lillian H. Smith, the first trained children’s librarian in Canada and the British Empire, whose influential book The Unreluctant Years (1953) spelled out her own views about the children’s literature canon, articulating standards of children’s book evaluation which were followed by a generation of children’s librarians, just as she in turn had been influenced by  10  the work of Hewins and Moore. Smith wrote, “The importance of the selective function in finding and making known the best in children’s literature is the theme of this book” (8). Leonard Marcus notes, “By the 1920s, librarians had installed themselves as the nation’s authorities in the children’s book field” (100), and for the most part, Americans were willing to accept the literary judgments of children’s librarians until the 1960s when social unrest in the United States led many to question the credibility of the classics that dominated the children’s literature canon and library collections in America. In the 1970s university researchers began to study children’s literature, although the discipline at first lacked status, partly because many of its scholars were female, but also because it was associated with children and often based in disciplines such as library and information studies and education that were considered professional but not scholarly. Lundin notes the establishment of an alternative canon, the Touchstones, created as a series of publications in the 1980s by members of the Children’s Literature Association (drawn from academics primarily in departments of English, but also in departments and faculties of Education and Library and Information Studies rather than from library professionals). Guided by editor Perry Nodelman and drawing upon Matthew Arnold’s term “touchstones” (meaning a literary work that serves as a benchmark for evaluating other titles), the Association named sixty-three works of fiction, fairy tales, fables, myths, legends, poetry and picture books as “touchstones” and justified these choices in essays written by noted scholars (66-7). Although some would argue that the entire concept of a children’s literature canon is passé, today multiple children’s literature canons actually coexist in the United States. Many American children’s librarians (the primary audience for Horn Book) still hold traditional canonical values based on literary judgments, tempered by their own experience of what  11  children like to read. Academics, on the other hand, may subscribe to a canon like the Touchstones that values literary standards or may incorporate evaluative criteria drawn from cultural studies and other contemporary literary theories without regard to a work’s popularity with its intended audience. Additionally, several special interest canons exist. Socially conservative web sites (including Commonsense Media) encourage their own canons by providing evaluations of children’s books rated for “violence and scariness, sexy stuff, language, consumerism, and drinking, drugs and smoking”(; while other special interest sites (including American Indians in Children’s Literature) promote their own canons by critiquing children’s books based on perceptions of racism (Reese), sexism, ageism, or other sociopolitical perspectives. Lundin, concluding that canonization is fraught with privileging class, race, gender, and age, argues that readers (especially those “who plan to converse through criticism in the public sphere with our theoretical tools of the trade”) construct their own personal canons—“touchstones that touch us” (148). For the purposes of this study, I will refer to three children’s literature canons: the library canon, supported by American children’s librarians who make judgments based on a work’s literary qualities and child appeal; the academic canon, promoted by scholars of children’s literature who critique books based on literary standards and other theoretical criteria (feminist theory or post-colonialism, for example); and special interest canons whose devotees evaluate literature in terms of its social and political content. As the oldest and foundational children’s literature canon, the library canon was the only one in existence when Horn Book was begun in 1924; because Horn Book’s main audience throughout the years has been practicing children’s librarians, it seems logical to assume that this canon is the one Horn Book ascribes to—at least in its early years.  12  The following section explains my rationale for choosing the Horn Book editorials as my primary works. 1.4  Rationale for Primary Works Since its inception, Horn Book has maintained a highly selective stance on the books  and materials it endorses. Of the “Big Four” journals marketed to youth services- and teacher-librarians in the United States (Booklist, Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, Horn Book, and School Library Journal), Horn Book is by far the most selective in the titles it reviews and is widely considered to be an authority on the canon of children’s literature (Del Negro 8, 74). Additionally, Horn Book publishes articles that critique as well as promote children’s literature. Although its articles are not generally scholarly, they do appeal to thoughtful practitioners who view children’s literature as a discipline worthy of serious study. Because Horn Book limits itself to coverage of “fine books for boys and girls” (Jameyson), it makes an ideal source for a study of the development of, and issues surrounding, twentieth century canons (particularly the library canon) of children’s literature in the United States. Horn Book editorials, which appear in nearly every issue, serve as a purposeful sampling of the journal’s content, the issues facing the children’s literature community, and the points of view of the individual editors. The following section articulates the problem that I will address in my study—an analysis of Horn Book editorials as they relate to the children’s literature canon—and my research questions. 1.5  Statement of the Problem and Research Questions Horn Book’s coverage of books for children and young people is highly selective. By  design, the magazine concerns itself primarily with titles already within the library canon of  13  children’s literature and those the editors feel should enter canon. I propose to analyze relevant Horn Book editorials published between 1924 and 2009 to determine what statements the editorials make concerning the canons of children’s literature. Specifically, I will investigate the following areas: 1. What communities of readers are addressed (or assumed to exist) by the editorials? 2. What do the editorials articulate about the role of reviewing and children’s literature criticism? 3. What do the editorials reveal about the changing image of childhood in the United States as reflected in children’s literature? 4. What do the editorials reveal about socio-political events between 1924 and 2009 as reflected in children’s literature? The findings will be assessed in the conclusion to consider what light they cast on the relationship between Horn Book and children’s literature canon formation. 1.6  Outline of Chapters The following chapters detail the specifics of my research. Chapter Two reviews the  scholarly literature relevant to my study. I discuss research concerning Horn Book history and practices as well as sources that reflect on the history of women in publishing and professional networks. As well, I discuss works that highlight theories of imagined communities and readers; theories of reviewing, literary criticism and children’s literature canons; theories of childhood; and socio-political theories as they relate to children’s literature. Chapter Three addresses my methodology. I begin by describing my analysis of the editorials: phase one includes locating, photocopying, assembling, and creating a database  14  for all editorials; phase two involves a first level analysis of the editorials leading to the discovery of a predominating theme (canon) and several sub-themes; phase three describes my investigation of the Horn Book archives; phase four identifies a purposeful selection of relevant editorials for closer examination; and phase five describes how I apply close reading, through several critical lenses, to the selected editorials. The final section of my methodology describes these critical lenses each relating to a research question. Chapters Four through Seven present my findings. Chapter Four looks at the various communities of readers addressed (or assumed to exist) by Horn Book editorials in order to determine how these communities are reflected in the editorials. Chapter Five considers what the editorials articulate about the role of reviewing and children’s literature criticism. Chapter Six reflects on how the editorials view the changing image of childhood in America as it is reflected in children’s literature. Chapter Seven contemplates the impact of socio-political events between 1924 and 2009 on the Horn Book editorials to see how these events are reflected by the editorials. Finally, Chapter Eight discusses the conclusions that may be drawn from this investigation, the limitations of my research, and implications for future study. .  15  Chapter 2: Existing Literature  This chapter examines the critical literature related to my research of Horn Book editorials. The sources include scholarly works, monographs, theses and dissertations, academic journal articles, websites, and selected articles from Horn Book. The review of this critical literature is arranged thematically: sources related to the history of Horn Book; resources pertaining to the role of women in publishing and other professional networks; works of theory related to imagined communities and readers; literature concerned with reviewing, literary criticism, and the canon of children’s literature; critical works dealing with the history of childhood in Britain and the United States; and sources that consider socio-political theories as they relate to children’s literature. 2.1  The Horn Book Magazine History Although no studies to date have systematically investigated Horn Book editorials,  several researchers have considered Horn Book within broader studies that focus on book reviewing resources and their use as selection and readers’ advisory tools. Some researchers have investigated the journal’s history; others have noted the high literary quality of Horn Book’s selective reviews; and at least two have commented on selected editorials, although no researcher has considered the entire corpus of these columns. Janice M. Del Negro, in her 2007 dissertation “A Trail of Stones and Breadcrumbs: Evaluating Folktales Published for Youth in the 20th Century, 1905-2000,” uses document analysis with an historical and feminist perspective to consider oral histories (face-to-face interviews with two editors of Horn Book) in her research. Del Negro’s understanding of the history of children’s library services and book reviewing, especially as it applies to folklore  16  (the focus of her dissertation), is remarkable, and the transcripts of her in-depth interviews with Horn Book editors Anita Silvey and Roger Sutton are astonishing, both for their candor and the insights they provide to the editorial process. Another researcher who considers Horn Book history is Elizabeth Anna Matson, whose 2008 master’s thesis “The Birth of Children’s Book Reviews, 1918-1929,” examines the beginnings of regularly published children’s book reviews in Horn Book and other periodicals. Matson, who considers only Horn Book reviews published in 1924, explains that in the early years the journal was intended for a general audience rather than professional readership. Matson notes of the professional climate of this time period, “Librarians, already concerned about discerning quality in children’s books for their own collections, embraced their role as advisors of quality” (26). She further observes that in its first year the journal was mostly a promotional publication of Boston’s Bookshop for Boys and Girls and that its reviews were descriptive and overwhelmingly positive, since editor Bertha Mahony and her staff pre-selected what they considered to be the best books for presentation to their readers. Perhaps the most exhaustive individual study of Horn Book history is the 1976 dissertation of Joan Blodgett Peterson Olson, “An Interpretive History of Horn Book Magazine, 1924-1973.” Olson’s work, which is cited heavily by others, provides an interpretive history of the journal during its first fifty years of publication (3). Olson considers the entire scope of Horn Book (including reviews, articles, and editorials) from 1924-1973, and quotes frequently from primary sources. Of particular note are her comments about the four editors who steered the magazine during these years. She praises Bertha Mahony Miller for establishing Horn Book’s traditions, criticizes Jennie D. Lindquist for allowing the journal to stagnate, admires Ruth Hill Viguers for her organizational  17  innovations and resolute opinions, and notes Paul Heins’ emphasis on children’s literature as a literary genre (248-9). Several researchers have noted the literary quality of Horn Book’s highly selective reviews. Del Negro focuses on reviews of folkloric literature, but her understanding of the review process and her comments about “insiders and outsiders” as well as “what opinions count” (180) speak to the authority that Horn Book reviews command in the library profession and lead her to conclude, “The close-knit community of children’s librarians produces the book reviewers—and likely future book review editors. . .” (244). Matson notes the variety in book reviewing styles employed during Horn Book’s first year, which ranged from one- or two-sentence annotations to paragraph-long descriptions in longer themed articles to multi-page critical reviews. She concludes, “Early reviewers sought to be promoters and arbitrators of quality in children’s book writing, illustrating and constructions. The reviewers wished to encourage the creators and producers of children’s books as much as they wished to provide expert guidance to the buyers and readers of the books” (76). Matson acknowledges that Horn Book’s approach to reviewing is much different in the twenty-first century and that her narrow sampling range—reviews from the year 1924—is not representative of Horn Book’s overall approach to children’s literature. Mary Ellen Meacham’s 1989 dissertation, “The Development of Children’s Book Reviewing in Selected Journals from 1924-1984,” also addresses Horn Book reviews. Meacham emphasizes that Horn Book is a selection tool, necessary for librarians buying for school and public library collections who are unable to take the time to read every book before purchase. Specifically, Meacham considers how children’s book reviewing developed, what styles of reviews were typically published, and what types of books were reviewed. She  18  analyzes reviews from Horn Book with respect to the general state of the country (United States), developments in children’s publishing, children’s librarianship, and education. She points out that Horn Book editors in the years she studied came from liberal arts backgrounds rather than the field of library science, and that the early Horn Book was aimed at educated, upper-middle class parents who had money to spend on children’s books. Reviews emphasized the aesthetic and eschewed the didactic and are described as “charming but longwinded” (90). During the editorship of Paul Heins, Meacham notes, greater emphasis was placed on literary criticism. Finally, Olson writes that the greatest strengths of Horn Book’s reviews lie in their currency and consistency. She notes that while Horn Book itself is aimed at “anyone who finds pleasure in children’s books,” the reviews are “a very practical service to those many people who are now concerned professionally with books for boys and girls” (249-51). She observes that Horn Book reviewers frequently praise “books that delight and cultivate imagination,” and that they reject books they find didactic, purposeful, or lacking in beauty (251). Both Del Negro and Olson discuss Horn Book editorials, although neither systematically considers the entire body of those columns. Del Negro selects editorials for their commentaries on folklore rather than as representations of the views of a particular editor. She concludes: An examination of . . . [Horn Book] through the twentieth century reveals that the history of the profession, both its nuts and bolts and its philosophical direction can be derived from an examination of articles, reviews, and editorials. The commitment to  19  open discussion is apparent from letters to the editor taking issue with the editorial stance or other opinions published . . .” (244) Olson comments about the four editors who steered the magazine during the years she studied (Miller, Lindquist, Viguers, and Paul Heins) and quotes from some editorials, but she does not systematically analyze them. Her selections include editorials relevant to her areas of investigation—attitudes toward racial and ethnic minorities and Horn Book’s attitude toward education. Taken together, these studies offer an informative glimpse into the history of Horn Book, the quality of its reviews, and a small selection of its editorials. Of equal importance, and directly related to the study of the early years of Horn Book, is an understanding of the professional women working in publishing, libraries, and bookselling who contributed to this journal’s success. 2.2  Women, Publishing and Professional Networks Most of the early contributors to Horn Book were female. As Jacalyn Eddy argues in  Bookwomen: Creating an Empire in Children’s Book Publishing, 1919-1939 (2007), early twentieth century children’s book publishing (and by extension the related fields of librarianship and bookselling) became a mostly female industry because they were among the few professions available to educated women. The prevailing social belief that “women possessed special nurturing qualities and an innate knowledge of children” (Eddy 6) led these childless, upper middle class, (mostly) New England-born women to share their vision of the necessity for “good” books (many of them British) with parents and children (11). Eddy profiles six female leaders in the field of publishing—Anne Carroll Moore, Alice Jordan, Louise Seaman Bechtel, May Massee, Bertha Mahony Miller, and Elinor Whitney Field—  20  each of whom shares a connection with Horn Book. She emphasizes that all the bookwomen worked across professions (Moore and Jordan as librarians, Bechtel and Massee as publishers, and Miller and Field as booksellers) to promote quality literature for children, and insists that Horn Book . . . united individually influential bookwomen, whose opinions were not always consensual, around its “masthead,” forcing them to expand their relationships to each other and the book world. The Horn Book became an important part of that collective professional stage from which bookwomen spoke, vital both for affirming their beliefs and for keeping their agenda before the public. (122) Although Eddy acknowledges that the bookwomen “complicated their definition of expertise by accepting the notion that children were the proper jurisdiction of women,” she maintains that their alliance building (cultivating relationships with authors and illustrators as well as mentoring young women in the field) and their development of space (both literally, in public library children’s rooms, and figuratively through Horn Book) mark them as powerful, even as their use of language (vague and romantic) and their unwillingness to take risks (a nostalgic view of a “simpler” America) kept them from gaining parity with men in the publishing industry (161-5). The concept of alliance building as well as mentoring younger women in the field (building horizontal and vertical networks) is an idea that is echoed by others who have written about women in the publishing profession. Barbara Bader, in her 1999 Horn Book article “Realms of Gold and Granite,” recounts the early history of Bertha Mahony Miller’s Bookshop for Boys and Girls, her growing friendships with librarian/reviewer Anne Carroll Moore, librarian Alice Jordan, and publisher Louise Seaman Bechtel, and the early years of  21  Horn Book under Miller’s leadership. Bader has also written about Anne Carroll Moore in “Only the Best: The Hits and Misses of Anne Carroll Moore” (1997), offering a balanced look at this polarizing woman who strongly influenced both Miller and Horn Book in the early years. She acknowledges that Moore, who believed that a review was guidance for the editor, the author, and the whole community of interest, did much to elevate the status of children’s book reviewing. Still, Bader insists, Moore was not really the “yea or nay of children’s books in America” (520). Moore effusively praised some books that have gone on to what some would consider well-deserved oblivion and, despite her intense dislike of the Little House books (1932-1943), Stuart Little (1945), Charlotte’s Web (1952), and Goodnight Moon (1947), these titles have gone on to achieve canon status. In another article, “Practice and Preach” (1999), Bader offers valuable insight into the styles of two later Horn Book editors, Paul Heins and Ethel Heins, particularly in her comments about how these two differed from earlier editors Miller, Lindquist, and Viguers. Calling the Horn Book that Paul Heins inherited when he became editor in 1967 a “well bred anachronism,” Bader notes he improved the caliber of reviewing, introduced more critical commentary, and welcomed controversial opinions (393). Of Ethel Heins, who succeeded her husband as editor in 1974, Bader observes that she used the editorship as a bully pulpit: blasting teaching guides to books, decrying the displacement of children’s librarian specialists in public libraries with generalists, and criticizing the selection of books based on popular demand (392). Other researchers, including Betsy Hearne and Christine Jenkins, have also written Horn Book articles about early twentieth century children’s literature professionals in the United States, whom they term “foremothers.” Their 1999 article, “Sacred Texts: What Our  22  Foremothers Left Us in the Way of Psalms, Proverbs, Precepts and Practices,” examines the body of work written by these women (who include Anne Carroll Moore, Bertha Mahony Miller, Horn Book co-founder Elinor Whitney Field, and third Horn Book editor Ruth Hill Viguers) to see what it reveals to today’s practitioners. Hearne notes that these women saw their roles in terms of faith and their quests as visionary. They felt that good books could shape a lifetime and that “children’s literature could save not only childhood but also the world” (538). Hearne also argues that these women found literature to be a spiritual rather than intellectual experience and considered their careers “callings” (545). She concludes, “Upon our foremothers’ belief that the word in its most visionary sense belonged to children was founded a new institution, a humanistic church of sorts, to carry out the mission inspired by their apostolic faith in reading” (547). Christine Jenkins further notes that children’s librarianship became established during the American Progressive Era and was influenced by the Social Gospel movement. She sees the 1924 launch of Horn Book not only as “the birth of a respected and long-lived professional journal but also as a final affirmation that, yes, children’s books were literature and could properly be evaluated using literary standards developed by children’s librarians” (548). Jenkins also articulates seven articles of faith espoused by the foremothers in their writings: a belief in the uniqueness of each child; a confidence that young people can and should choose their own reading; a conviction that young people are strong and resilient; a trust that the children’s room can be an egalitarian republic of readers; a certainty that literature is a positive force for understanding; an idea that children’s librarians could adopt a friendly older-sister attitude toward children; and a faith that children’s librarians will eventually prevail over adversity in their professional work (552-7).  23  Horizontal and vertical networking among librarians, publishers, and booksellers extended beyond the borders of the United States, at least as far as Canada. Gail Edwards and Judith Saltman’s Picturing Canada: A History of Canadian Children’s Illustrated Books and Publishing (2010) considers the history of children’s publishing and librarianship in Canada with an emphasis on Canadian picture books. While they focus on Canadian titles and individuals rather than those of the United States publishing industry, they do offer insight into the accomplishments of Lillian Smith, the head of Toronto Public Library’s Boys’ and Girls’ Division, who trained under Anne Carroll Moore at New York Public Library, contributed frequently to Horn Book, and authored The Unreluctant Years (1953), a touchstone title on the critical evaluation of children’s literature for members of the library profession. Another researcher to touch upon the networks of women involved in children’s literature is Leonard Marcus, whose Minders of Make-Believe: Idealists, Entrepreneurs, and the Shaping of American Children’s Literature (2008) offers a comprehensive history of children’s publishing in the United States from 1650 to the present. In addition to detailing the chronology of publishing, Marcus discusses trends in children’s literature, the communities of child readers addressed during various periods, children’s library history, the rise of popular culture and the commodification of children’s books, and the schism between librarians and educators concerning how best to present materials for children. Marcus’s work is wide-ranging, well documented, and essential background reading for the study of the history of children’s literature in the United States, and his many “insider” anecdotes concerning the foremothers and their mentees help these bookwomen to come alive for contemporary readers.  24  One other researcher to address the large number of women in the world of children’s literature is Lissa Paul in The Children’s Book Business: Lessons from the Long Eighteenth Century (2011). Although Paul focuses on British publishers, booksellers, and writers during the period of Enlightenment (roughly 1780 – 1820), her profiles of several prominent female children’s authors, whom Paul refers to as “teaching and writing women of the late Enlightenment” (2), point to many of the same networking characteristics modeled by Horn Book editor Bertha Mahony Miller and her contemporaries. Paul comments of Anne and Jane Taylor: . . . like all the women in this chapter, they shared a common faith in maternal pedagogies, . . . a desire to speak to real children, a desire to work and to communicate faith in the possibilities of pedagogical practices. As teaching and writing women they were . . . committed to the “preservation, growth, and acceptability” of children. And they were linked through the publishing houses in Ben’s neighborhood: Joseph Johnson, Benjamin Tabart, Richard Phillips, and Harvey and Darton. (136) Additionally, Paul’s comments about Benjamin Tabart’s Juvenile Library—a children’s bookshop located at 157 New Bond Street in London of 1805—demonstrate that Tabart’s shop and Bertha Mahony Miller’s Bookshop for Boys and Girls shared many of the same cultural assumptions and concerns, including an upper middle class clientele, providing the “best” books, and marketing strategies (8). Each of these works is illuminating in terms of the insights offered about the bookwomen and their use of networking to further their own careers and their agenda of  25  promoting good books for children. The following section reviews literature concerned with the various communities of readers in Horn Book’s sphere of influence. 2.3  Theories of Imagined Communities and Readers Although the authors cited above do not directly discuss Horn Book’s communities of  readers, Eddy alludes to them in her discussions of how the bookwomen worked together across their various professions as booksellers, publishers, and librarians. Benedict Anderson coined the term “imagined communities” in his 1983 book Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism. Although written for an audience of historians, Anderson’s ideas have been extended to include imagined cultural communities (Edwards and Saltman 191), and thus may also be applied to Horn Book’s communities of readers. Anderson posits that a nation is an imagined political community in which members don’t all know each other personally but share particular views. Members of this community have the illusion of horizontal comradeship even if some members actually have more power than others. The invention of the printing press and increased levels of literacy allowed most people some access to books and newspapers, making it easier for governments to transmit nationalistic ideas around which citizens could coalesce to form national communities. Horn Book is obviously not a political nation, but, much like Anderson’s “museum,” Horn Book is an institution of power that shapes “the legitimacy of its ancestry” (164), one that is widely recognized in the field of children’s literature as an authority on children’s books. Its imagined communities of readers also share some characteristics with Anderson’s nations. Most subscribers of this journal do not know one another personally but they do share similar views about children’s literature, which in turn are reinforced by the journal’s  26  editorial and reviewing practices. Horn Book engenders a sense of comradeship in all its readers, even though the opinions of the editors, staff, and frequent contributors obviously have more influence on journal content than do ordinary subscribers, whose opinions are represented only by published letters to the editor. Although Anderson’s ideas predate the ubiquity of online groups (an important audience for today’s Horn Book), they can be applied to these communities as well. Finally, as Eddy and others have pointed out, the establishment of Horn Book gave the bookwomen a figurative space and a well-situated medium for circulating their ideas about the importance of good books for children to the children’s literature community. Several other researchers have looked at the history of the book and, indirectly, at the imagined communities that surround the book trade. Robert Darnton’s 1989 article “What is the History of Books?” proposes a communications circuit that includes authors, publishers, printers, shippers, booksellers, and readers. Thomas Adams and Nicolas Barker (1993) rework Darnton’s circuit in their “A New Model for the Study of the Book,” suggesting that bibliographic documents undergo five main events (publishing, manufacturing, distribution, reception, and survival) and that four zones (intellectual; political, legal and religious; social behavior and taste; and commercial pressures) surround these events. Cathy Davidson, in her 1989 essay “Toward a History of Books and Readers,” sees the book trade as a triad of writer, reader, and publisher. Each acts upon, interprets, and reacts with the other. Davidson also introduces the idea of a reading revolution, suggesting that, “As basic literacy and even book ownership became more commonplace, it became necessary to enhance one’s status by differentiating a proclaimed elite from lower and less worthy mass forms of culture” (14).  27  Horn Book fits the definition of “book” or “bibliographic document” described by these researchers and can be said to occupy several niches within the various communications circuits. The journal began as a promotion vehicle for a bookseller—Bertha Mahony’s Bookshop for Boys and Girls; it has published several books related to children’s literature; it functions as a professional reader (reviewer) of books; it nurtures relationships among authors, illustrators, publishers, booksellers, critics, and readers; and it promotes elite children’s books over popular titles. Horn Book and its imagined communities have always been concerned with providing children with the finest quality (rather than the most popular) literature. The following section discusses Horn Book’s role in reviewing and critiquing children’s books as well as in promoting a canon of elite literature for children. 2.4  Theories of Reviewing, Literary Criticism and the Children’s Literature Canon As mentioned earlier, despite the popular notion that children’s book reviewing in the  United States began in the early twentieth century with Booklist (1905) and Horn Book (1924), Richard Darling’s 1968 study, The Rise of Children’s Book Reviewing in America, 1865-1881, suggests otherwise. Darling reports that despite economic ups and downs in the years following the U. S. Civil War (1865), an average of about 300 new children’s books per year were published during this period, and they were regularly reviewed across the United States (8, 13). He surveys thirty-six journals (including literary monthlies, periodicals of literary criticism, scholarly reviews, religious and pedagogical periodicals, children’s magazines, and book trade journals) finding over 4,000 reviews representing more than 2,500 children’s books published during these years. Darling finds that children’s books were  28  regularly reviewed, and that their reviewers demonstrated both a good grasp of the books they were considering and the children for whom they were intended (249-51). Further, Darling emphasizes the geography of publishing in the United States during the years he studied. He notes that while New York may have been the largest publishing center, Boston was also a hub, and home to many influential periodicals including Atlantic Monthly, Literary World, The Unitarian Review, and The New England Journal of Education, as well as children’s book publishers such as Lee & Shepard, Roberts, Lothrop, and Osgood. While Horn Book was not the first publication to review children’s books in the United States, it was the first American professional reviewing journal to devote itself exclusively to children’s books and reading. Several researchers have studied children’s book reviewing in Horn Book, including Del Negro, Matson, Meacham, and Olson, cited earlier. Ellen Wilcox Mahoney’s 1979 dissertation, “A Content Analysis of Children’s Book Reviews from ‘Horn Book Magazine,’ 1975,” is a quantitative study of one year of Horn Book reviews. Mahoney grounds her study with a history of reviewing, commentary on reviewers and critics, and a history of children’s book reviewing. She applies content analysis, using criteria from The Elements of Writing about a Literary Work: A Study of Response to Literature by Purves and Rippere (1968). For each of the 221 fiction reviews considered, she scores the content for Engagement-Involvement, Perception, Interpretation, Evaluation, and Illustration, and offers an example of a dissected review demonstrating her coding system (41-2). Mahoney’s findings include a predominance of perceptual statements (including plot, character and setting identification), reviewers who are more book-centered than child-centered, and a majority of evaluative statements in the reviews. She concludes  29  that Horn Book is a “. . . literary reviewing journal rather than a practical, classroom guide to the use of children’s books” (47). Mahoney’s study is commendable for its rigorous methodology and its clear analysis of the considered reviews. Conventional wisdom in the field of children’s literature has always maintained that Horn Book is a literary reviewing journal that applies critically evaluative standards to its consideration of children’s books, and Mahoney has demonstrated that for fiction books published in the year 1975 that perception holds true. Others have written about reviewing from a more general perspective, including K. T. Horning, whose From Cover to Cover: Evaluating and Reviewing Children’s Books (2010), considers several categories of children’s books (including information, traditional literature, poetry, picture books, easy readers and fiction), offering inexperienced reviewers succinct advice about crafting cogent and effective reviews. Horning’s work cites reviews of many recent children’s books as examples, making it a worthy successor to earlier general discussions of book reviewing, including Sylvia Kamerman’s Book Reviewing (1978). Betsy Hearne and Roger Sutton’s Evaluating Children’s Books: A Critical Look (1993) includes several presentations from the 1992 Allerton Park Institute. These papers discuss reviews and collection development, reviewing nonfiction books, visual criticism, and include the transcript of a panel moderated by Sutton, featuring reviewers from Booklist, Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, School Library Journal, Kirkus, and Horn Book. The discussion is wide-ranging—from censorship to negative criticism to the growing output of publishers—and touches on the importance of “the practical, political, and aesthetic” (150) in reviewing books for children.  30  Reviewing and criticism are not the same activity, of course, as noted by Horning (167) and others, including Horn Book editor Paul Heins: Reviewing . . . is only concerned with what is imminent in publishing, with what is being produced at the present time; and does its job well by selecting, classifying, and evaluating—evaluating for the time being. Criticism deals with literature in perspective and places a book in a larger context—be it historical, aesthetic, psychological, or what you will. (269) Heins acknowledges that the task of selecting books to review is a form of criticism, but claims “actual . . . criticism will occur only when judgments are being made in a context of literary knowledge and of literary standards” (268). Heins’ assessments of reviewing and criticism and his methods of evaluation are valid, but from a purely practical standpoint librarians cannot build collections by waiting for criticism. Many children’s titles go out of print very quickly—before true criticism is possible—thus, selectors must depend on reviews that emphasize the aesthetic qualities of a book and do their best to predict what the eventual critical response to a title will be. Darling finds evidence of literary criticism during the nineteenth century as well. He argues that the publication of so many books led to a call for criticism and standards (45) and cites Samuel Osgood’s article, “Books for Our Children,” from the December 1865 Atlantic Monthly, as a good example of that criticism. Osgood regards children as “adults in ‘nature’ . . . but not in ‘development’ (726) and feels their intelligence should be taken into account in writing for them. Additionally, he considers play to be the key to good children’s literature (727). Darling concludes:  31  Osgood had thought carefully and well on children’s books, stating a philosophy for them little different from that of the twentieth century. In fact, his emphasis on play is almost identical with the emphasis insisted upon by Paul Hazard, who has written with such wit on children’s literature in our own time. (50) In the early years, Horn Book was sometimes criticized for not providing serious literary criticism. Illustrator James Daugherty, writing to Bertha Mahony Miller in 1946, complained about the “rosy school of criticisms” he found in Horn Book (qtd. in Eddy 9). Referring to Miller and her colleagues’ tendency to rely on “genteel” language that emphasized vague romantic concepts such as joy, beauty and happiness, he suggests: . . . a more analytical note might be sounded occasionally, without spoiling the atmosphere of rosy enthusiasm appropriate to this particular field. . . . I wonder if we haven’t come to the point when [literary criticism] can be given more serious attention. (qtd. in Eddy 170) Miller’s reaction to Daugherty’s letter is unknown, as is any written response she may have drafted, but in the years that followed subsequent editors, particularly Paul Heins, worked diligently to elevate the critical content of the journal. In October 1972 British author and critic Aidan Chambers began a Horn Book column, “Letter from England.” The column, which ran through 1984, introduced Horn Book readers to postmodern criticism (that is, criticism that rejects traditional authority and sometimes ironically mocks itself) and was among the first examples of academic criticism to appear in the magazine. In 1975 Ethel Heins launched “A Second Look,” a column “designed to reintroduce, reassess, or reinterpret a children’s book.” Her goal was that the articles provide an unhurried and contemplative reflection on older titles (“Second” 431). In addition to “A Second Look,” current critical  32  columns include “Borderlands” (dedicated to young adult literature), “Foreign Correspondence” (covering books published outside the United States), and “What Makes a Good . . .?” (discussions of outstanding books in various genres). One of the by-products of literary criticism is the creation of a canon of children’s literature. In 1947 Horn Book proposed its own canonical list, “Children’s Classics,” created by librarian and Horn Book editor Alice Jordan. Anne Lundin’s Constructing the Canon of Children’s Literature: Beyond Library Walls and Ivory Towers (2004), discussed earlier, describes the library canon, the academic or Touchstones canon, and argues for a personal reader’s canon, “touchstones that touch us” (148). Deborah Stevenson also addresses the concept of canon in her 1999 dissertation, “‘For All Our Children’s Fate:’ Children’s Literature and Contemporary Culture.” For Stevenson, a book becomes canon when it passes from one generation to the next (55). Noting that the children’s literature canon often excludes everyday life stories such as Beverly Cleary’s Ramona the Pest (1968), Stevenson argues that children’s literature scholars often trivialize the genre’s strongest texts because they are less stimulating to adult readers and, therefore, devalued. Distinguishing between an academic canon of significance (books which experts say everyone should read) and a sentimental canon (books people continue to read because they love them), she suggests that sentimental canonical works follow certain rules and that once canon status is lost, it cannot be regained (215). English poet and children’s author Walter de la Mare, a friend of Bertha Mahony Miller, Anne Carroll Moore, and other early bookwomen, once stated “I know well that only the rarest kind of best in anything can be good enough for the young” (qtd. in Smith Unreluctant 14). As alluded to by other researchers (Del Negro 180, Olson 252, Mahoney 47,  33  Bader 393, Hearne 538), Horn Book—through its highly selective reviews, perceptive literary criticism, and promotion of an elite canon of books for children—has made this “rarest kind of best” its goal. Despite de la Mare’s triumphal canonical declaration and Horn Book following in its path, notions of reviewing, literary criticism, and canon constantly change over time. This happens in part because opinions about children’s books reflect not only shifting adult assessments of “literary” and “popular” texts, but also because of the prevailing image of childhood at that particular moment in history. The following section considers sources that discuss assumptions about childhood prevalent in the twentieth century. 2.5  Theories of Childhood As Eddy (2006) and others have noted, the bookwomen involved in the early years of  Horn Book came to their professions as librarians, publishers and booksellers in part because these jobs were among the few choices available to educated women of the early twentieth century. Social beliefs of the time held that women “possessed special nurturing qualities and an innate knowledge of children” (6), thus making the children’s book industry an acceptable career choice for them. The early bookwomen viewed childhood as “a distinct time of life with unique social and cultural requirements” and believed children—and by extension children’s books—to be in “need of protection” (Eddy 4). Certainly children and childhood are central to Horn Book (indeed from 1924 - 1932 children were part of the magazine’s acknowledged audience), and it is important to understand what assumptions about childhood were prevalent in twentieth century America in order to discern what views about childhood may be expressed in Horn Book editorials. Joan Blodgett Peterson Olson’s 1976 dissertation concludes that Horn Book’s values are  34  “dominated by their Anglo-American heritage” (248), so it seems fair to consider both British and American views of childhood during the last century. Hugh Cunningham’s The Invention of Childhood (2006) offers a chronological history of childhood in Britain spanning the last thousand years. After describing the relatively humane treatment of children during the Middle Ages, he traces the development of changing attitudes about children and childrearing, from parental anxiety during the sixteenth century, especially among Puritans (68), to a focus on caring for poor children during the seventeenth century (99), to the growth of child rearing guides during the eighteenth century (119), to the contrasting treatment of rich and poor children during the Victorian era (140). Cunningham’s discussion of twentieth century child rearing practices is particularly thorough. Of the period 1900 – 1950, Cunningham remarks “Empire and children were linked like mother and child” (179). He observes that poor and inner city children were often relocated to foster homes in the country (185) or in British colonies—particularly in Canada or Australia—with the promise of a new start and a better life, promises that were rarely fulfilled (183). Following World War II, legislation helped to codify the latest scientific pronouncements on child and maternal health, and parenting manuals encouraged mothers to view childrearing scientifically, rather than sentimentally, warning them to “never hug and kiss . . . [children], never let them sit in your lap” (198). Additionally, he notes that societal anxiety about the “storm and stress” of adolescence [G. Stanley Hall, Adolescence (1904), first popularized the idea of adolescence as a distinct phase of life, characterized by the “storm and stress” of parental conflict, disturbances of mood, and risk-taking behaviors]  35  (now that children remained in school throughout the teen years), resulted in the development of leisure time activities such as organized sports and clubs (206-8). Of post 1950s Britain, Cunningham notes strains on the traditional nuclear family (including divorce, working mothers, and an increase in out-of-wedlock births), a decrease in the average number of children per household, and the rise of the child-centered family (2124). He explains that once children were no longer expected to help support their families, parents began providing them with spending money, leading to increased child consumerism (214-5). Of late twentieth century childhood in Britain, Cunningham observes a prolongation of childhood, increased contributions of children to the family (particularly in single parent families or in homes where both parents work), and an increased awareness of children’s rights (220). Cunningham further observes that while childhood is now a safer time (fewer children die before reaching adulthood), this security comes at the expense of restricting the child’s mobility in the world (240). Finally, he sees evidence that Britons are still “hooked on the main tenets of the romantic view of childhood” (244) in which childhood happiness is seen as essential for a good adulthood; he also finds indications of the severe parental anxiety that characterized the Puritan era (244). Lissa Paul’s The Children’s Book Business: Lessons from the Long Eighteenth Century (2011) also discusses concepts of childhood, particularly as they align with British pedagogical practices. She argues that children of late Enlightenment (roughly 1780 – 1820) were encouraged to be “thinking, knowing, and engage[d] with the world,” while children of the Romantic era (after Enlightenment and extending into the twentieth century) were “venerated for their innocence and for their ignorance of adult concerns” (3). Claiming that children of the Romantic period were encouraged to behave as “mindless performing  36  monkeys,” she endorses a term coined by Jack Zipes for the Romantic period— “endumbment” (4). Steven Mintz’s Huck’s Raft: A History of American Childhood (2004) also provides a chronological account of attitudes toward childhood, but covers only the period since European contact. Mintz’s observations match Cunningham’s in many respects. He finds childhood to be a social and cultural construct that has changed greatly over time, and social class to be the most significant determinant of children’s lives (viii – ix). Like Cunningham he observes a “pattern of recurrent moral panics over children’s well-being.” Mintz suggests, however, that these panics are often more about adult fears than any real crisis among children (ix). He also notes a stark contrast between the autonomy of today’s children (who know more about sex, drugs and adulthood than ever before) and the emotional and psychological dependence that society encourages in them (x). Mintz also addresses what he considers to be myths about childhood, including the myth of carefree childhood, the myth of family stability, the myth of equal opportunity for all children, the myth of the U. S. as a child-friendly society, and the myth of progress throughout history in the care of children (23). Mintz devotes over half his text to an exploration of twentieth century attitudes towards childhood in the United States. He notes several important issues that dominated the first half of the twentieth century including the movement to outlaw child labor at the turnof-the-century (184), a Rousseauian Romantic period (in which children were lavished with maternal attention, excused from labor, and given time to play, pursue higher education, and take part in activities such as the Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts) which benefitted the middle class (199), the Progressive Era’s preoccupation with child welfare (200), and the  37  introduction of the concept of the teenager during the 1930s (253). Of the post-World War II era, Mintz observes that the 1950s were spent “in pursuit of the perfect childhood” (275) which led to much social unrest in the 1960s and social reforms in the 1970s (334). He sees the 1980s and 1990s as marked by parental panics stemming from a variety of ills, which have encouraged “hyper-parenting” (343). Mintz concludes that while the twentieth century saw many improvements in the lives of American children, the era ended literally with a bang with the Columbine Massacre of 1999 (372-3). He sees a contradiction between romanticized views of childhood as a carefree time and the realities of childhood as a segregated and tightly regulated path to adulthood (383). Cunningham, Paul, and Mintz offer valuable insights into child culture during the years of Horn Book’s publication. Still, they are single voices and not necessarily representative of the entire range of scholarship on this topic. Andrew Stables, in his book Childhood and the Philosophy of Education: An Anti-Aristotelian Perspective, surveys several major theories and assumptions about childhood prevalent in the English-speaking world. He notes three aspects of childhood: Child 1 is the offspring of parents. We are all children in this sense, particularly while our parents remain alive. Child 2 is the person of limited years: the infant and the youth. . . . Child 3 is the person as novice, as yet not ready to take full part in society, or live a fulfilled adult life. (177) Stables sees the ideas associated with Child 2 and Child 3 as shaping the dominant assumptions about childhood in the UK and North America. He also identifies four major theories or frameworks of childhood that have influenced western society—Aristotelian, extreme Protestant or Puritan, Liberal, and Romantic—and he argues that at any given time  38  each framework has its adherents. To these, he also adds the Postmodern framework, which has influenced attitudes about childhood since the 1980s. According to Aristotle, children are potential adults in need of nurturing and protection in order to achieve their potential. While this viewpoint is the oldest, Stables argues that it still influences all the other frameworks, especially with regard to the idea that children should be raised in a parented family rather than by the state (34-5). The extreme Protestant or Puritan tradition sees children as sinners, in need of proper upbringing in order to ensure their salvation (51-2). The Liberal tradition, as espoused by John Locke, sees the child as a blank slate, capable of training. John Dewey built on Locke’s ideas and Darwinism, positing that children are a part of their social environment, that they learn by doing, and that education is the best means for producing worthy citizens (64). To the Romantics, children are inherently good while adults are unworthy and mean, and children must be protected from the adult world for as long as possible (178). Finally, the Postmodern framework confuses the traditional concepts of childhood and adulthood, resulting in “a cult of youth, a sophistication of childhood, and increased anxiety concerning the safety and wellbeing of children” (178). Stables’ frameworks complement the ideas put forth in greater detail by Cunningham and Mintz, but Paul sees the Postmodern image of childhood as a return to the values of Enlightenment (the Liberal tradition in Stables’ discussion). She maintains: Though both the technological and business models at the turn of the twenty-first century are obviously different from those at the turn of the nineteenth century, I argue there are relevant connections in the constructions of children and childhood and in attitudes toward pedagogical practices. Technological or postmodern children  39  are increasingly configured in terms of their ability to connect with and participate in the world. That provides them with a family resemblance to Enlightenment children, who were encouraged in that time of emerging democratic states, to see themselves as citizens, as participants in the world. (3) Paul’s comments regarding postmodern children are valid but she does not acknowledge heightened parental anxiety and hyper-parenting noted by Cunningham and Mintz. While many researchers have proposed theories concerning the image of childhood, Stables’ frameworks (Aristotelian, Puritan, Liberal/Enlightenment, Romantic, and Postmodern) are comprehensive, well defined, geographically appropriate to the editorial writings of Horn Book, and provide an expedient means of categorizing the editors’ views of the image of childhood. Furthermore, Stables’ contention that all of these frameworks can coexist, make them ideal critical lenses for this study of twentieth century Horn Book. Mintz (and to a lesser degree Cunningham and Paul) offer a more detailed analysis of twentieth century American childhood culture, but their comments are varied, sometimes contradictory, and are seen to exist only in distinct time periods. The image of childhood, of course, is only a subset of a larger framework—that of the social and political beliefs that define a culture. The next section addresses American sociopolitical theories and their impact on children’s literature. 2.6  Socio-Political Theories and Children’s Literature It is impossible to reflect on the social and political implications of Horn Book  editorials without some grounding in theories that consider the social culture and political history of the United States during the past nearly ninety years. A great number of concepts  40  have been proposed; this study will consider some that relate to print culture and children’s literature. Anne Lundin, in the introduction to Defining Print Culture for Youth: The Cultural Work of Children’s Literature (2003), suggests that print culture should be approached in an interdisciplinary fashion, including literacy studies, reader-response theory, ethnographies of reading, and a social history of books (xii). Literacy studies include the effects of oral traditions, technology, and class structures; reader-response theories look at meanings created by readers and their interpretive communities; ethnographies explore the conditions of reading; and social histories look at the social contexts in which texts are read. She emphasizes that print culture history looks at a wide range of reading materials, not just the high culture texts promoted by Horn Book. Huck’s Raft: A History of American Childhood (2004), described more fully above, takes a socio-political approach to the discussion of childhood, and Mintz refers to numerous historical events and cultural movements in his arguments. Additionally, he cites specific examples of children’s and youth culture (including books, music, television programs, and movies) for each era under discussion. He concludes that contemporary American childhood is more segregated than at any time in history, and that children are more knowledgeable about consumerism and adult realities than ever before (383). Gail Schmunk Murray’s American Children’s Literature and the Construction of Childhood (1998) also takes an historical approach to this topic. In chronological chapters that highlight distinct eras of American history from 1690 to the present, Murray argues that books written for children “reveal . . . [the] dominant culture, reflect its behavioral standards, and reinforce its gender-role expectations” (xv). She details major political and cultural  41  movements, provides lists of children’s publishing related events, and notes children’s literature trends for each period. She also describes several important titles, clarifying the themes they express, their reception, and the issues that surrounded them. For the decade of the 1930s, for example, Murray identifies the Great Depression (a wide social/economic/political factor) and the inauguration of the Caldecott Medal (a professional influence); describes the idealization of the nuclear family; explains that children’s literature now included titles with more realistic situations and settings; and provides as example the publication and reception of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House in the Big Woods (1932). Murray notes that the book “sought to return readers to earlier—and by implication, simpler and happier—times” (147) and finds that Wilder skewed her presentation to conform to the frontier myth of Frederick Jackson Turner. She also cites critics of Wilder, notes the controversy surrounding Wilder and daughter Rose Wilder Lane’s libertarian politics, and concurs with other researchers that Wilder and Lane probably wrote the series jointly (148). It is important to note that few if any Horn Book articles are strictly political. Instead, articles are far more likely to be overtly concerned with childhood, literary criticism, or censorship—presented with a decidedly political slant. In 1948 Bertha Mahony Miller urges readers to contribute to the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) using the argument that children (particularly those suffering after World War II in Europe) are in need of protection by caring adults (“World’s” 93); Paul Heins, reacting to the murders of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy in 1968, criticizes the cult of violence he sees in popular children’s literature (“Indifference” 381); and in 2005 Roger Sutton challenges “First Librarian” Laura Bush to confront America’s religious right—who deny the validity of Charles Darwin’s ideas and too often prevent children from learning  42  about them (“Another” 131-2). These are all politically themed articles, but each is couched in a view of childhood, literary criticism, and/or censorship. Socio-political events impact views of childhood, literary criticism, and to some extent Horn Book’s communities of readers. Lundin’s ideas about literacy studies, readerresponse, and social history, represent important considerations for analyzing a wide range of print culture, but not the elite canon of children’s literature most often referenced in Horn Book. Murray and Mintz both offer valuable historical and cultural background for the study of Horn Book editorials, but Murray’s ideas are more comprehensive (especially concerning publishing related events and children’s literature trends) and provide a suitable critical lens for considering how social and political events have impacted the journal. 2.7  Conclusion This Literature Review provides a context for the consideration of my primary texts,  the Horn Book editorials. Each section highlights areas of this field that have been explored by others; my research connects these areas and offers new insight into the ways in which the Horn Book editors have used their editorials to connect with the journal’s communities of readers, provide reviews and criticism of children’s literature, reflect on the various images of childhood present in twentieth century America, and respond to socio-political events as they relate to childhood and children’s literature. It is important to note that while other researchers have examined a few selected editorials, no one has considered the entire body of Horn Book editorials. It is hoped that my analysis of these editorials will lead to some conclusions about the role these editorials have played in influencing America’s library canon. The following chapter discusses my methodology for this study.  43  Chapter 3: Methodology  Chapter Three addresses my methodology. In the first section I explain the phases of my research that resulted in the selection and analysis of my primary texts—the editorials from Horn Book. I describe locating, photocopying, and creating a spread sheet of Horn Book editorials; I explicate my preliminary analysis of the texts which led me to identify one predominate theme (canon) and four sub-themes (community, criticism, childhood, and socio-political issues); I give details of my visit to the Horn Book archives, noting which items I examined and why; I clarify my purposeful selection of specific editorials to examine in detail; and I elucidate the close reading technique I apply to the selected editorials. In the second section I consider the critical lenses I apply to my research questions. Because each question considers a different aspect of how Horn Book editorials address the various children’s literature canons, each analysis requires a different critical lens. For question one, “What communities of readers are addressed (or assumed to exist) by the editorials?” I consider Benedict Anderson’s theories of imagined communities. Examining Horn Book as an institution of power, I note members/subscribers who share similar views of children’s literature and an illusion of horizontal comradeship, as well as the use of the journal as a figurative space for bookwomen to present their views. Additionally, I take into account communication circuit theories, as described by Robert Darnton, Thomas Adams, Nicolas Barker, and Cathy Davidson, in order to note the various roles Horn Book plays in this circuit. For question two, “What do the editorials articulate about the role of reviewers and children’s literature criticism?” I employ the critical lenses proposed by Stevenson and  44  Horning, as well as comments by the individual Horn Book editors in order to demonstrate an editorial stance that values highly selective reviews (based on aesthetic and literary criteria rather than pedagogical usefulness), perceptive literary criticism, and the promotion of an elite canon of children’s books. For my third question, “What do the editorials reveal about the changing image of childhood in the United States as reflected in children’s literature?” I make use of the frameworks of childhood identified by Andrew Stables: Aristotelian, Puritan, Liberal/Enlightenment, Romantic, and Postmodern. These frameworks are comprehensive, well defined, geographically appropriate to the editorial writings of Horn Book, and provide a suitable means of categorizing the editors’ views of childhood. Furthermore, Stables’ contention that all of these frameworks coexist, makes them ideal critical lenses for a study of twentieth century Horn Book. Finally, for my last question, “What do the editorials reveal about socio-political events between 1924 and 2009 as reflected in children’s literature?” I utilize the ideas of Gail Schmunk Murray, who highlights distinct eras of American history in order to identify dominant cultural views and behavioural standards as well as gender role expectations. Additionally, she details major political and cultural movements, lists children’s publishing related events, and notes children’s literature trends for each period. In describing significant children’s literature titles, she clarifies themes, reception, and other surrounding issues. 3.1  Primary Text Selection and Analysis The following section describes my processes in assembling and analyzing my  primary texts.  45  3.1.1  Phase One As a researcher, my first task was to assemble a complete set of my primary texts, the  Horn Book editorials published between 1924 and 2009. Academic Search Complete contains only the most recent issues of the journal (those published since July 1990); Koerner Library at the University of British Columbia owns bound volumes of issues published between 1924 and 1992, although their run is not complete; and the Education Library at UBC owns bound volumes (also incomplete) published between 1966 and the present. Among the three sources listed above, I was able to view a complete set of issues except for 1944. Acquisition records at Koerner indicated that UBC received only two 1944 issues—January/February and March/April—and then nothing further until January/February 1945. No explanation for this disruption was noted. A call to the main branch of the Vancouver Public Library indicated they possessed the missing issues—but a site visit only confirmed that VPL lacked the same issues as UBC. I wondered if perhaps Horn Book ceased publication briefly in 1944? Was there a distribution problem during these months? Further inquiries at Simon Fraser University (and a later site visit) revealed that Horn Book did indeed publish a full six issues in 1944 and I was able to photocopy the editorials, thus completing my set. Although I still do not know the reasons that UBC and VPL did not receive four issues in 1944, I am grateful to have had access to the full run of Horn Book. One further point to make about the bound volumes used in compiling copies of my primary sources is that most of the UBC volumes (1940 – present) were bound from original magazines while the SFU editions were purchased pre-bound from Horn Book. The prebound editions (intended for universities and other research facilities that were not original Horn Book subscribers) have the advantage of being complete—without missing issues—but  46  they omit some of the journal’s content (mostly publisher advertising) which can be useful for researchers. After locating copies of all Horn Book issues, I began paging through each in search of the editorial. One problem encountered was that at its inception Horn Book was not a fully developed professional library review journal. It was instead a publication designed to promote Bertha Mahony Miller’s Bookshop for Boys and Girls, especially for customers who lived too far away to patronize the shop on a regular basis (Miller “Untitled Editorial” 1.1 (1924): 1). The inaugural issue contained an editorial, but it was not identified as such, although it is signed “B. E. M.” for Bertha Everett Mahony, Miller’s name until her marriage in 1932 (Ross 148). The second issue contained an abridgment of the original editorial, again untitled but this time unsigned. The next editorial did not appear until nearly a year later. Editorials remained sporadic until the 1930s, possibly because Miller was still running the Bookshop until 1934 (Ross 100). However, even in the years when no editorial appeared there was an understood placement for an editorial at the front of the magazine directly in front of the opening article. Miller often filled this spot with a poem or short excerpt from a book. From the early-1930s onward, the Horn Book editorial appeared on a mostly regular basis, almost always at the front of the magazine. Once or twice a year, when no editorial appeared, a poem or book excerpt was substituted, as Miller had done earlier. Generally editorials were authored by the current editor, although occasionally guest authors wrote editorials for Horn Book, and on several occasions a former editor contributed editorials for a successor (mostly Miller for Jennie D. Lindquist and once for Ruth Hill Viguers, but also  47  Paul Heins for Ethel Heins). More recently, Horn Book Executive Editor Martha V. Parravano authored editorials on her own as well as with Roger Sutton. Once the editorials were identified, I photocopied and bound them into volumes representing the years of each editor’s tenure. At this point I read each editorial to develop a sense of each editor’s style. I noted Miller’s and Lindquist’s emphasis on imagination, wonder, and creativity as positive qualities in books for children; Viguers’ and Ethel Heins’ strongly-held and frequently-shared opinions; Paul Heins’ concern with literary criticism; Silvey’s interest in production processes, especially from a publisher’s perspective; and Sutton’s use of humour and irony. I next created a spread sheet for the editorials, noting volume, publication year, issue, page numbers, authoring editor, guest editorials, and content descriptors. My purpose was to create a searchable document that would enable me to easily locate a particular editorial by content, editor, or date. At this stage the information was intended for my own research use, and so no effort was made to standardize the descriptors.  3.1.2  Phase Two In the second phase of research, my task was to determine which editorials would be  eliminated and to further analyze those still under consideration. Of the 492 issues published between 1924 and 2009 (four issues per year during the first nine years of publication; six issues per year from volume ten forward), all except 29 have an editorial, leaving 463 editorials for examination. Additionally, 40 editorials were penned by writers from outside Horn Book—a range of authors, illustrators, and others knowledgeable in the field of children’s literature. Because these guest editorials were not necessarily representative of the  48  views of the Horn Book editors, they were not considered for analysis. Of the 423 remaining editorials, seven were penned by Horn Book staff members who were not editors-in-chief. While the observations of these individuals may represent a Horn Book viewpoint, they are not necessarily characteristic of the views of the current editor-in-chief, so these editorials were also eliminated. Of the 416 remaining editorials, three published during the early years of Bertha Mahony Miller’s editorship were unsigned, but they appear to be the work of Miller and so were included in my analysis. The first, published in volume one, issue two (1924) is a shortened version of the first editorial, signed by B. E. M. (“Untitled Editorial” np); the second, published in volume two, issue three (1926) contains a justification for raising the subscription price of the magazine, and the use of words such as “delight,” “joy,” and “charm” (terms that appear frequently in Miller’s signed writings) strongly suggest Miller authorship (“The Horn Book’s Future” 53); the last, published in volume seven, issue two (1931) also contains Miller’s distinctive Romantic phrasing: “a volume of rarest distinction,” “shining qualities—beauty, truth and goodness,” and “a dynamically beautiful book written with the power of genius” (“Editorial” 177). One further note about these early editorials is that two—“The Horn Book’s Future” (1926) and “‘Why Do They Like It?’” (1927)—may not have been intended by Miller as editorials. They were the only editorial-like pieces to appear between November 1924 and August 1931 but both appeared at the back of their respective issues rather than in the usual front-of-issue position. However, both appear to have been written by Miller (the second is signed B. E. M.), present her views, and the end-of-issue placement was sometimes used by Miller for editorials. As such these articles fit into the general style and tone of the Miller  49  editorials and have been included in my analysis. Miller made changes to Horn Book’s formatting throughout her tenure (she often experimented with fonts and introduced continuous pagination for volumes after 1929, for example) and it seems reasonable that Miller might also experiment with editorials. Miller also penned eleven editorials after her resignation as editor-in-chief. Ten were written during the years that Jennie D. Lindquist served as editor and one during Ruth Hill Viguers’ tenure. Because Miller, as the founding editor of Horn Book, was so influential to the magazine, these eleven were included among the analyzed editorials. Interestingly, all Miller’s editorials, with the exception of the last seven (six for Lindquist and one for Viguers), are signed BEM; the last seven (appearing from 1955 onward) were signed BMM, for Bertha Mahony Miller. This was a surprising change, considering Miller’s marriage occurred much earlier, in 1932. Additionally, Paul Heins penned one editorial in 1978 (volume 54 issue five) during his wife’s tenure as editor-in-chief, and Roger Sutton co-wrote two editorials with Horn Book Executive Editor Martha V. Parravano: volume 79 issue one (2003) and volume 80 issue three (2004). Because these three editorials were written at least in part by an editor-in-chief, they were also included in my analysis. In summary, of the 416 editorials by Horn Book editors-in-chief, Bertha Mahony Miller wrote an astonishing 95 editorials during her 27 year tenure as editor and eleven more before her death for a total of 106 editorials. Jennie D. Lindquist penned 27; Ruth Hill Viguers, 47; and Paul Heins, 35 during his tenure, plus one for his wife, for a total of 36. Ethel Heins composed 56 editorials; Anita Silvey, 65; and Roger Sutton, during the period of  50  this study, 79. Sutton, of course, is still writing and may yet overtake Miller’s total if he continues as editor beyond 2013. The next task of phase two was to more carefully consider the themes of the editorials. I began by looking for references to canonicity in the editorials, but it quickly became apparent that almost every editorial addressed the concept of canon in some way. Further examination of the editorials for sub-themes revealed that most focused on one or more of the following topics: the community of readers addressed (or assumed to exist) by Horn Book; the role of reviewers and children’s literature criticism; the changing image of childhood in America, as reflected in children’s literature; and the manner in which sociopolitical events between 1924 and 2009 were reflected in children’s literature. Although my research questions already focussed on community, criticism, childhood, and socio-political issues, it was reassuring to note that so many editorials addressed these issues. Not all editorials fit neatly into these four categories. One large group of outliers were the Christmas editorials, published annually from the mid-1930s through the mid-1970s. These December editorials frequently touched upon peace, gift giving, and the suitability of books for children, but they did not particularly speak to the sub-themes identified here. Additionally, many editorials seemed to take up multiple themes. In a 1982 editorial, Ethel Heins touched on literary criticism and the image of childhood in “The Fifties Revisited.” Heins criticized teen romance novels of the 1980s for being as “insubstantial as pretty plaster cakes in a baker’s window,” yet she also understood that the appeal of these passionate narratives had much to do with adults trying to “manufacture for ourselves a new Age of Innocence” with regard to childhood and adolescence in America (615).  51  The majority of the editorials tackling socio-political issues also dealt with additional themes. This was not surprising since Horn Book has always been primarily a professional review journal of children’s literature. Over the years, most of the Horn Book editors have at some point expressed socio-political opinions, but they were usually careful to connect those views in some way with children’s literature. Roger Sutton’s 2002 editorial, “Not Just a Walk in the Park,” touched on politics and literary criticism in commenting about books published to commemorate the first anniversary of September 11, 2001. Slamming Lynne Cheney’s America: A Patriotic Primer (2002) as “a classic slugfest of form and content, serving neither the alphabet or the point,” and praising Maria Kalman’s Fireboat: The Heroic Adventures of the John J. Harvey (2002) for offering a story (“rather than empty platitudes”) “about honor earned,” Sutton concluded, “Books that feel compelled to tell us to buck up don’t do nearly as effective a job as ones that let us tell it to ourselves” (499-500). Following my intermediate analysis of the selected editorials, I decided that my spreadsheet, originally intended solely for my own use, should be included in the research findings. (The final version of this spreadsheet appears in the Appendix.) I revised it to include the titles of all editorials and the newly identified themes. I also compressed the descriptor fields into one keyword field, and standardized the terms used. Finally, I reformatted the entire document so that it fit on a landscaped page, for easier viewing. 3.1.3  Phase Three The third phase of research involved a January 2010 trip to Boston, Massachusetts, to  view portions of the Horn Book archives, housed at Simmons College. In the process of doing my literature review I had encountered repeated references to the documents in this collection. Additionally, I was curious about the relationship between Bertha Mahony Miller  52  and Jennie D. Lindquist, categorized so disparagingly by Joan Blodgett Peterson Olson (38). I queried both Horn Book and Simmons College about the possibility of viewing these documents. Horn Book Editor-in-chief Roger Sutton gave permission and directed me to the Simmons archivist, who sent me a copy of the collection’s finding aid, a detailed description of these extensive holdings. The archive includes records from both the Horn Book magazine (begun in 1924 and owned by the Women’s Educational and Industrial Union) and Horn Book, Inc. (the name given to Horn Book after Bertha Mahony Miller, Elinor Whitney Field, and their husbands purchased the magazine from the WEIU in 1936), as well as records from The Bookshop for Boys and Girls (owned by WEIU from its opening in 1916 until its sale in 1936). The Horn Book finding aid describes the six parts (to date) of this manuscript collection. Part I, comprising 31 linear feet, contains a brief history of the journal and its editors, a timeline of events in Bertha Everett Mahony Miller’s life, and a scope and content note for the series within this part. Series I includes the records of Bertha Mahony Miller, Jennie D. Lindquist, and Ruth Hill Viguers; Series II holds administrative records from 1930 – 1981; Series III consists of the business records of Horn Book, Inc. from 1956 – 1963; Series IV takes in the records of librarian Caroline Hewins; Series V comprises scrapbooks from 1921 – 1967; and Series VI includes copies of Horn Book and related publications issued between 1919 and 1990. Part II, comprising an additional 27.7 linear feet of records, includes an updated organizational history that includes Paul Heins, Ethel Heins, and Anita Silvey; a scope and content note; and brief descriptions of all contents. This section includes editors’ records from 1955 – 1986, and the editors’ files pertaining to contributors between 1987 and 1993.  53  Part III, consisting of an additional 13.95 linear feet of records, contains the administrative records and editor’s files from 1964 – 1986. This portion includes primarily administrative records with a small collection of editors’ correspondence. Part IV, comprising eight linear feet, includes administrative records and editors’ files from 1923, and 1942-97. It includes the files of Anita Silvey (primarily correspondence), administrative records, submitted articles, faxes and permissions, and some publications. Part V, nine linear feet, includes administrative records of the marketing manager from 1974 and 1979-1990. Part VI, 3 linear feet of editorial office files from 1997 – 2004, includes correspondence and original submissions from all articles published during these years. Since this collection is so large (and stored at an off campus location), I was asked to choose carefully, requesting only those boxes that I could realistically investigate during my three-day visit. I chose to concentrate on the correspondences of the editors-in-chief as well as the communication relating to one widely chronicled disagreement between Eleanor Cameron and Roald Dahl set off by Cameron’s comments in an October1972 Horn Book article in which she criticized Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (1964) for being “one of the most tasteless books ever written for children” (“McLuhan” 438). In the end, I photocopied 135 pages, mostly editorial correspondence, much of it from the early years of Horn Book. Although this archival material did not impact directly on my research, it did provide valuable background information about the early years of Horn Book and shed some light on relationships among some of the editors. Of particular note are the exchanges between Bertha Mahony Miller and her successor, Jennie D. Lindquist. Some researchers, especially Joan Blodgett Peterson Olson, considered Lindquist a weak editor, insisting that she “held no coherent point of view toward literature or toward magazine  54  editing . . .The result was stagnation” (38). In reading through the correspondence between Miller and Lindquist, it became clear that Lindquist wanted very much to please Miller. In 1949, Lindquist wrote to Miller: I have felt a little troubled about your thinking I was taking too much time for story hour and I do want you to know that I always “make up” the three hours I take out, either over the week end or at another time. I know you didn’t ask me to but I felt that I should unless we proved that the story hour paid dividends. (“Letter.” 24 January 1949) Yet Lindquist’s other letters to Miller, while showing deference to Miller’s opinions, also indicate that Lindquist was a fully capable editor. In November 1952, she wrote to Miller about an article Garth Williams had submitted: Garth Williams’ article about getting material for illustrating the Wilder books has come in and I must admit that I am much disappointed in it. I know that we can get a fine article out of it eventually, but at the moment it is too episodic. Miss Nordstrom tells me that he has grown to love the Wilder books very, very much, but that does not show through in his article. (“Letter.” 25 November 1952) Another find among the archives I perused was an original transcript of Leonard Marcus’s “An Interview with Ethel Heins,” published in 1996. The document is interesting both for the personal information divulged about both Ethel and Paul Heins, but also for the editing process revealed—suggested changes penciled onto the page, and the final published article reflecting further editorial revision (“Interview” TS; “Interview” 694-706). Overall, my limited viewing of the Horn Book archives proved a worthwhile effort that provided me with valuable insight into the behind-the-scenes operation of this journal.  55  Although the documents I viewed did not directly relate to my research questions, they were very useful to my understanding of the editors and their editorials. 3.1.4  Phase Four The fourth phase of research involved a deeper analysis of the data (the considered  editorials) in order to note the frequency of each of the subthemes and observe which topics recur within those themes. A brief overview of examples follows below; formal research examination of these themes will be discussed through the research questions and critical lenses in chapters four through seven. The most frequently appearing subtheme in the Horn Book editorials was reviewing and literary criticism—not surprising for a journal dedicated to promoting the best in children’s literature. More than 120 editorials addressed criticism exclusively; more than 30 dealt with criticism/socio-political issues; and a dozen each concerned themselves with criticism/the image of childhood and criticism/community. Among this group of editorials at least forty were extended book reviews. Throughout their tenures, all the editors-in-chief (but most prominently Bertha Mahony Miller) used editorial space to promote and/or review new titles. Most reviews were positive, with notable exceptions including Ethel Heins’ 1977 critiques of Masha Rudman’s Children’s Literature: An Issues Approach (“ Ghost” 18-9; “Da Capo” 502-3). Other frequently addressed critical topics included literary standards, trends in children’s literature, didacticism (especially in nonfiction), popular versus quality literature, and the commercialization of children’s literature. Editorials focusing on Horn Book’s community of readers were also numerous, appearing almost as frequently as editorials on criticism. Editors penned more than 115  56  community-themed editorials, and those straddling community/criticism and community/politics added another dozen each. Community/childhood editorials were less frequent. For the most part the community editorials fell into two categories: obituaries and tributes for those (authors, illustrators, publishers, storytellers, and the occasional librarian) who were deemed worthy of notice by the editor of that period. Editors Bertha Mahony Miller, Ruth Hill Viguers, and Ethel Heins were themselves eulogized in editorials, including one for Viguers, written by Frances Clarke Sayers and curiously titled, “Well Done, Old Squirrel” (“Well” 127). Other recurring community-themed topics included those opining “we know best (how to select good books)” and editorials aimed at celebrating Horn Book and its staff. Editorials concerning the image of childhood were less frequent, but still appeared regularly. More than 40 editorials addressed childhood directly and roughly the same number tackled political issues from the point of view of their effect on childhood. Additionally, a dozen editorials spoke to the impact of literary criticism on childhood and a handful focused on childhood/community. The view of the image of childhood varied from editor to editor. Bertha Mahony Miller, Jennie D. Lindquist, and, to some extent Ruth Hill Viguers, saw childhood through the eyes of the Romantics—an idyllic period in which creativity and imagination should be encouraged and heroes celebrated. Miller also showed great concern for the plight of child refugees in Europe during and following World War II (“The World’s” 93); Viguers worried that children’s books (and by extension children themselves) were deemed inconsequential (“The Case” 139); Ethel Heins counseled parents to read aloud to their children (“Parents” 263-4); and Roger Sutton posed hard questions regarding the suitability of some picture  57  books (“Why” 390-1), what boys read (“Where the Boys” 628), and what constitutes a modern family (“Family” 116-7). Editorials focusing on socio-political issues constituted the least frequent theme— again not surprising for a journal focused mainly on children’s literature. Only fifteen editorials tackled socio-political issues head-on, without direct reference to children’s literature. The majority (40+) focused on the impact of socio-political events on childhood, and additional 30+ concentrated on socio-political events as they related to literary criticism. Ten addressed socio-political events in terms of the Horn Book’s community of readers. Miller’s socio-politically themed editorials tended to reflect wishes for peace during World War II, and frequently appeared in the December issue (“On” 443). Paul Heins devoted one editorial to the 1974 energy crisis (“Spiritual” 15); both Ruth Hill Viguers and Ethel Heins decried modern technology (Viguers “Life” 343; Heins “Present” 158-9); Anita Silvey applauded the California Reading Initiative (“California” 549); and Roger Sutton criticized Laura Bush’s handling of the ill-fated White House Poetry Conference (“Truth’s” 136-7) and indicted both censorship in children’s textbooks and educational critics who pass judgment on children’s literature without actually reading it (“Book ‘em” 387-8). Other socio-politically themed topics that appeared in Horn Book editorials included international books and the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY), censorship, multiculturalism and cultural authenticity, cuts to governmental funding for libraries, and the misuse of literature. Finally, nearly fifty editorials seem to not easily fit into any of the above themes. These included many of the Christmas editorials as well as several articles related to the inner workings of the magazine itself. Ethel Heins promoted the Boston Globe/Horn Book  58  Award winners for 1976 (“Awards” 591) while Anita Silvey pointed out numerous technological advances and design changes to the magazine that transpired during her tenure. 3.1.5  Phase Five During this phase of research, the data (selected Horn Book editorials) were analyzed  qualitatively using a close reading method. According to Patricia Kain of the Writing Center at Harvard University, close reading involves observing facts and details about a text— including “rhetorical features, structural elements, [and] cultural references”—and interpreting those observations (“How”). Dr. Sophia McClennan, of Pennsylvania State University, goes further in her explication of this technique. She argues “Doing a close reading involves a thought process that moves from small details to larger issues. Writing a close reading begins with these larger issues and uses the relevant details as evidence” (“How”). During this phase of research, each editorial was read and reread, with key words and phrases highlighted and notes marked in the margins. Careful attention was paid to word choices, writing style, the use of language and syntax, context, tone and voice, and overall theme. The goal of this stage of research was to move from observing small bits of information to understanding the larger themes expressed in the editorials. Close reading was used in conjunction with several critical lenses—each geared to a particular research question. The following section describes these critical lenses in greater detail.  59  3.2  Critical Lenses This section describes the critical lenses applied to each of my research questions.  3.2.1  Imagined Communities of Readers in Horn Book Editorials For research question one, “What communities of readers are addressed (or assumed  to exist) by the editorials?” I employed Benedict Anderson’s theories of imagined communities (Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism), especially as Anderson’s theories reflect on institutions of power such as Horn Book. I also made note of the communication circuit theories, as described by Robert Darnton (“What is the History of Books?”), Thomas Adams and Nicolas Barker (“A New Model for the Study of the Book.”), and Cathy Davidson (“Towards a History of Books and Readers.”), in order to describe the various roles Horn Book played in this circuit. As noted earlier, Andersen wrote for an audience of historians and intended his ideas to apply to imagined political communities, but his concepts also apply to imagined cultural communities and institutions of power such as Horn Book and its communities of readers. In her first editorial, Bertha Mahony Miller clearly identified the groups she hoped Horn Book would address—“boys and girls . . . parents, . . . librarians, and . . . teachers.” She also made clear that she hoped to interest Bookshop “friends [who] live far away from Boston and come to see us only once a year” (“Untitled Editorial” 1.1 (1924): 1). All of these groups, as well as those who later joined the Horn Book’s community of readers (publishers, book sellers, authors, and illustrators), shared similar views about children’s literature despite the fact that most did not know each other personally. Additionally, Miller made a point of soliciting input from other likeminded bookwomen in the fields of librarianship, publishing, and bookselling; her use of Horn Book’s figurative space enabled these women to keep their  60  ideas about the importance of good books for children circulating in the children’s literature community. The definition of a book, as proposed by Darnton, updated by Adams and Barker, and expanded upon by Davidson, fits Horn Book, which can be said to occupy several niches within the various communications circuits. The journal began as a promotion vehicle for a bookseller—Bertha Mahony’s Bookshop for Boys and Girls; it published several books related to children’s literature; it functions as a professional reader (reviewer) of books; it nurtures relationships among authors, illustrators, publishers, booksellers, critics, and readers; and it promotes elite children’s books over popular titles While close reading afforded me with details about Horn Book’s communities of readers, the theories of Anderson, Darnton, Adams, Barker, and Davidson provided the framework for interpreting this data. 3.2.2  Reviewing and Literary Criticism in Horn Book Editorials For question two, “What do the editorials articulate about the role of reviewers and  children’s literature criticism?” I employed the critical lenses expressed by several Horn Book editors, as well as the ideas of K. T. Horning (From Cover to Cover: Evaluating and Reviewing Children’s Books) and Deborah Stevenson (“‘For All Our Children’s Fate:’ Children’s Literature and Contemporary Culture.”) in order to determine editorial stance with regard to reviewing and criticism. At one time or another, each of the Horn Book editors articulated opinions about reviewing and literary criticism. Bertha Mahony Miller posited humbly, “The basis of criticism is an understanding and an appreciation of real creative ability and a recognition of the fact that the critic is less important than the artist” (“Untitled Editorial” 9:1 (1933): 1).  61  Ruth Hill Viguers clarified that Horn Book valued “literary quality first and practical value second” (“On Reviewing” 23). Paul Heins distinguished between reviewing and criticism: Reviews are criticism in only an accidental sort of way. Reviews inform the reader of the existence of current books and almost always include comments, commendatory or derogatory. Criticism per se is a more leisurely business, requiring reflection and the perspectives of time and mature consideration. (“Subject” 9) Anita Silvey, an erudite critic in her own right, took the time to explain to readers the Horn Book review process in her 1985 editorial, “The Mysterious Book Review Process” (142-3). And Roger Sutton’s tongue-in-cheek “Fans of Editorials May Enjoy This One,” poked fun at the “third-person conventions of our reviewing rules” that lead reviewers to make claims about audiences that may enjoy a particular book. He concluded, “‘kids will like it’ is one criterion for book selection; for the reviewer it must ultimately be beside the point” (243-4). K. T. Horning’s writings on book reviewing provided an excellent (as well as independent of Horn Book) view of the qualities of a good book review. Although her substantive ideas didn’t clash with those of the Horn Book editors, Horning’s straightforward, analytical style does differ significantly from Bertha Mahony Miller’s vague, romantic prose and Sutton’s contemporary ironic commentary. Deborah Stevenson’s rules for canonicity (especially what gets in, what doesn’t, and how canon status can be lost) also served as an important critical lens for filtering the ideas presented in the Horn Book editorials. Although Stevenson has worked closely with Roger Sutton in the past, she has never worked for Horn Book, making hers another independent voice.  62  Again, close reading provided the data concerning the viewpoints of the Horn Book editors toward reviewing and literary criticism, but the critical lenses of Horning, Stevenson, and the Horn Book editors served as a framework for interpreting this data. Remarkably, although the editorials spanned some 85 years and seven editors and their tone and rhetorical style varied, Horn Book’s tradition of highly selective reviews, perceptive literary criticism, and promotion of an elite canon of books for children remained consistent throughout the journal’s history. 3.2.3  The Changing Image of Childhood in Horn Book Editorials For my third question, “What do the editorials reveal about the changing image of  childhood in the United States as reflected in children’s literature?” I made use of the frameworks of childhood identified by Andrew Stables in Childhood and the Philosophy of Education: An Anti-Aristotelian Perspective: Aristotelian, Puritan, Liberal/Enlightenment, Romantic, and Postmodern. I also noted specifics cited by Steven Mintz (Huck’s Raft: A History of American Childhood), Hugh Cunningham (The Invention of Childhood), and Lissa Paul (The Children’s Book Business: Lessons from the Long Eighteenth Century). Stables proposed that multiple images of childhood co-exist in any given time period. He identified the Aristotelian view (in which children are seen as being in need of nurturing and protection by adults); the extreme Protestant or Puritan view (in which children are seen as sinners in need of salvation); the Liberal view (in which children are seen as requiring education to become worthy citizens); the Romantic view (in which inherently good children need to be protected from the adult world as long as possible); and the Postmodern view (in which traditional views of childhood and adulthood are confused and there is increased anxiety about the safety of children).  63  Stables’ framework complemented the ideas of Hugh Cunningham and Steven Mintz, who offered more detailed discussions of the images of childhood in Great Britain and the United States respectively. Lissa Paul’s theory that postmodern childhood is really the same as Enlightened childhood (Liberal in Stables’ nomenclature) was considered but ultimately rejected since she didn’t account for the extreme parental anxiety noted by Stables, Cunningham, Mintz and others. As noted earlier, Stables’ frameworks provided a comprehensive, well defined, geographically appropriate, and expedient way to categorize the editorial stances on the image of childhood. Again, close reading of the Horn Book editorials provided the data, but Stables’ descriptions of five views of childhood served as the framework for interpreting this data. 3.2.4  Reflections of Socio-Political Events in Horn Book Editorials For my last question, “What do the editorials reveal about socio-political events  between 1924 and 2009 as reflected in children’s literature?” I utilized the ideas of Gail Schmunk Murray (American Children’s Literature and the Construction of Childhood, 1998). Murray’s overview of American history, as it is reflected in the children’s literature published in each era, provided a succinct recounting of major political occurrences and the cultural movements that surrounded them. Additionally, her discussions of children’s publishing events and prominent literary trends for various time periods were extremely helpful in situating the data from the editorials within the context of the socio-political incidents that surrounded them. Steven Mintz’s (Huck’s Raft: A History of American Childhood, 2004) discussions centered less on children’s literature than on American history and childhood; his ideas about socio-political events in the United States were detailed, but his limited coverage of  64  children’s publishing events and literary trends made his work less applicable to the Horn Book editorials. Because so many socio-politically-themed editorials dealt with additional themes, they were sometimes analyzed in their other categories. For example, Ethel Heins’ 1977 editorial, “Librarianship—a Business or a Profession,” argued that children’s librarians should look at their jobs as callings to be “a reader of books and a servant of those in need of help” rather than serving as middle managers in charge of acquiring materials (398-9). Although this piece brims with social and political content, its theme of community was more prominent, and so this editorial was considered with the other community-themed pieces. Likewise, Ethel Heins’ 1975 editorial, “The Misuse of Literature” (239), also addressed socio-political issues, but its ideas about literary criticism dominated; thus this editorial was analyzed with the others about reviewing and criticism. As with the other sections, close reading provided the data about socio-political issues and Murray’s ideas served as a framework for analysis. 3.3  Conclusion This Methodology chapter describes the phases of my research and the critical lenses  applied to the analysis of my primary works, the Horn Book editorials published between 1924 and 2009. Phase one involved the identification, location, and photocopying of the primary texts, followed by the creation of a spreadsheet of all editorials. Phase two included a preliminary analysis of the texts which led me to identify one predominate theme (canon) and four sub-themes (community, criticism, childhood, and socio-political issues). Phase three detailed my visit to the Horn Book archives, where I reviewed the correspondence of several editors-in-chief and examined documents concerning a public disagreement between  65  Eleanor Cameron and Roald Dahl. Phase four involved the purposeful selection of specific editorials for further analysis. And phase five explicated the close reading technique I applied to the selected editorials. Several critical lenses were used to analyze the data collected from a close reading of the selected editorials. Community-themed editorials were examined through the lens of Benedict Anderson’s imagined communities and theories about communication circuits described by Robert Darnton, Thomas Adams, Nicolas Barker, and Cathy Davidson. Reviewing/criticism-themed editorials were examined using the ideas of the individual Horn Book editors and the lenses proposed by Deborah Stevenson and K. T. Horning. Childhoodthemed editorials were considered in light of the frameworks of childhood identified by Andrew Stables, supplemented by specifics cited by Steven Mintz. Finally, socio-politicallythemed editorials were analyzed using the lenses proposed by Gail Schmunk Murray. The following chapter describes my research results for the community-themed Horn Book editorials.  66  Chapter 4: Imagined Communities of Readers in Horn Book Editorials  4.1  Introduction In defining imagined communities, Benedict Anderson explains that a nation is  “imagined because members . . . will never know most of their fellow-members,” (6); “limited because . . . [it] has finite, if elastic boundaries” (7); and “a community, because . . . [it] is always conceived as a deep, horizontal comradeship” (7). Imagined communities depend on institutions of power to convey legitimacy and a sense of shared history (163). Although the Horn Book community is not a political nation, it is certainly an imagined cultural community. It is large enough that most members do not know each other personally—circulation has ranged from 1,450 in 1927 to 27,448 in 1973 to 10,755 in 2010 (Olson 268, “Statement” 130); it is limited to those with an interest in children’s and young adult literature; and its members share a sense of horizontal comradeship despite the fact that some members (Horn Book editors, staff members, and frequent contributors) clearly have more say than others in magazine content. Additionally, Horn Book can be thought of as an institution of power, providing the community with a public platform and an archive for its shared views. The Horn Book editorials offer a purposeful selection of the journal’s content and provide a window into the views of its seven editors. Until this research study, these editorials have not been systematically analyzed. This chapter describes the findings of my examination of the community-themed Horn Book editorials, published between 1924 and 2009, to determine what communities of readers are addressed (or assumed to exist).  67  In 1924 in her first editorial, Bertha Mahony Miller defines Horn Book’s audience as authors, illustrators, publishers, boys and girls, parents, librarians, and teachers (“Untitled Editorial” 1), and, with the exception of boys and girls Horn Book attracts these same communities of readers today. As described in the previous chapter, my analysis of the community-themed editorials reveals four subthemes: individual tributes, obituaries, Horn Book celebrations, and acknowledgment of groups connected with children’s and young adult literature. The individual tributes include accolades to authors, illustrators, librarians, booksellers, publishers, and others involved in the field of children’s literature, and I note who is praised and for what accomplishments. Likewise, the obituaries (tributes composed on the occasion of a death) are similarly varied, and I observe who is cited as well as their achievements. Horn Book celebrations are still another form of tribute—special acknowledgment of Horn Book employees, features, and activities. Finally, the editorials acknowledge groups that the editors deem worthy: librarians, publishers, booksellers, storytellers, and the online children’s literature community. While the tone of the community-themed editorials is overwhelmingly positive, it’s worth noting that sometimes that praise is faint and on occasion it is more accurately described as criticism. 4.2  Individual Tributes Tributes to individual authors, illustrators, publishers, librarians, booksellers,  children’s literature critics, and storytellers appear in Horn Book with great frequency, particularly during the tenures of founding editor Bertha Mahony Miller and her successors Jennie D. Lindquist and Ruth Hill Viguers. Miller composes 22 individual tributes (of her total output of 106 editorials), while Jennie D. Lindquist pens seven (of 27), Ruth Hill  68  Viguers eight (of 47), Paul Heins two (of 36), Ethel Heins four (of 56), Anita Silvey six (of 65), and Roger Sutton six (of 79). A close examination of the tributes published before 1968 shows that most acknowledge bookwomen (and their mentees and mentors) and British canonical authors and illustrators. Tributes written after 1967 are less frequent but still canonically focused, although the recipients tend to be almost exclusively American. 4.2.1  Tributes—1924-1967 As noted earlier, Bertha Mahony Miller was a bookwoman—a member of the  informal American network of women working in the fields of publishing, bookselling, and children’s librarianship who worked together to promote titles that they considered the “best” in children’s literature. Jaclyn Eddy notes that the Horn Book was particularly useful to the bookwomen because it served to “. . . [keep] their agenda before the public” (122). Part of that agenda involved highlighting notable individuals in the field of children’s literature for Horn Book’s imagined community of readers and Miller, as the founding editor of Horn Book as well as a bookwoman, did her best to comply. Miller honors her fellow bookwomen on numerous occasions. She cites Anne Carroll Moore three times—in 1931, for bringing an “appreciative criticism . . . into a high and important place in the general field of literature,” and for the publication of The Third Book of “The Three Owls” (“Editorial” 269); in 1941, upon her retirement from New York Public Library (“St. Nicholas” 429); and in 1950, in an issue dedicated to Moore and fellow Horn Book contributor Alice Jordan (“Salute to Alice” 243). Jennie D. Lindquist also praises Moore in a 1957 editorial that recounts Lindquist’s experiences with Moore at New York Public Library, especially “Christmas story hours and parties that took place ‘behind the Library lions’ or anywhere else where Miss Moore happened to be” (“For Anne” 463).  69  Miller also commends Macmillan children’s book editor Louise Seaman Bechtel (another bookwoman, personal friend, and Horn Book contributor) in 1934 for her contributions to children’s publishing for titles: “. . . permanent in their beauty and distinction . . . the publishing standards for children’s books in America will always be more brilliant and demanding because of Louise Seaman’s work” (“Editorial” 71). Miller’s tribute to Doubleday (and later Viking) children’s book editor May Massee, another bookwoman and Horn Book contributor, is much less effusive than the one praising Bechtel, however. Following an August 1928 Horn Book issue devoted solely to Bechtel and Macmillan, Miller was criticized for nepotism; in the July 1936 editorial dedicated to Massee, Miller is careful to point out: Neither in the case of the issue on Macmillan’s Children (sic) Department, nor in this number, have the publishers concerned had anything to do with the planning, making of or paying for the issues. Their only connection has been to supply the material and cuts for which The Horn Book Editors have asked. (“Praise” 197) Ruth Hill Viguers also admires Massee in 1959 for becoming the first children’s book editor to receive the American Institute of Graphics Arts medal “for distinguished service in the Graphic Arts” (“Standard-Bearers” 263). Other bookwomen acknowledged in editorials by Miller include Caroline M. Hewins, Frederic Melcher, Frances Clarke Sayers, and Lillian Smith. Hewins, one of the first children’s librarians in the United States and a mentor for Miller, Anne Carroll Moore, Alice Jordan, and others, worked in Hartford, Connecticut for over fifty years and authored Books for Boys and Girls, A Selected List, a title used by Miller to stock her Bookshop for Boys and Girls in 1916. Miller’s editorial (written in January 1953 during Lindquist’s tenure) notes  70  Hewins “did much for children’s books in New England and throughout the country” and praises her “zest for life and living” (“Caroline M. Hewins” 11). Frederic Melcher, while not a book “woman,” was certainly a bookman of the highest order. A bookseller (Miller consulted him when planning her Bookshop for Boys and Girls), editor of The Publisher’s Weekly, and president of publishing company R. R. Bowker, he is best remembered as the founder (and funder) of the Newbery and Caldecott Medals and the creator of Children’s Book Week. In July 1945, Miller applauds Melcher for completing fifty years in the book profession, citing his “vision, . . . [his] enjoyment in his work, his generosity and his freedom from self-seeking” (“Salute to Frederic” 231). In March 1954, Jennie D. Lindquist compliments Frances Clarke Sayers, Anne Carroll Moore’s successor as the head of children’s services at New York Public Library, for her enthusiasm and for “keeping alive the love of good books” (“Importance” 81), while Ruth Hill Viguers’ May 1965 editorial notes with regret Sayers’ retirement from the University of California at Los Angeles, where she taught after leaving New York Public Library. Viguers also calls attention to a recently published collection of Sayers’ essays, Summoned by Books (“Summoned” 244-5). Lillian H. Smith, who headed Toronto Public Library’s Boys and Girls House, was a protégée of Anne Carroll Moore; in January 1949, Miller admires Smith’s programming skills, arguing that “in Toronto was fused the best of England and America” (“Well-Spring” 7). Lindquist is more direct in her September 1953 comments, calling Smith’s book, The Unreluctant Years: A Critical Approach to Children’s Literature, “a perceptive and inspiring book, not to be missed by anyone interested in children and their reading” (“To Our” 333).  71  The pre-1968 community-themed tributes also highlight the accomplishments of notable authors and illustrators of books for children, with creators of canonical British titles predominating. L. Leslie Brooke, Walter de la Mare, and Eleanor Farjeon are each cited multiple times; Laura E. Richards, Randolph Caldecott, Kate Greenaway, E. Nesbit, and C. S. Lewis are each honored once. In September 1935, Miller praises L. Leslie Brooke’s Johnny Crow’s New Garden, stating, “How cheap, soft, dull and filled with the noisy clatter of machinery his books make most other books seem!” and concluding, “Thank God for Leslie Brooke and for Johnny Crow’s spacious garden” (“Editorial” 263). A year after his death, Horn Book honored Brooke with his own issue in July 1941, in which Miller extols, “His books . . . should serve to make us realize anew the slow, never-ending power of the beautiful, the true and the good” (“To Honor L.” 151). British poet and author Walter de la Mare is also much heralded in Horn Book’s editorial pages. Miller rhapsodizes over his work in May 1942, citing its “ever fresh, ever self-renewing, eternally undefeated world of imagination and fancy, of spring, of youth” (“To Honor Walter” 139) and in May 1957 praises “the rich imaginative quality of his work” (“This Thing” 195). Another British author, Eleanor Farjeon, receives a tribute from Miller in September 1956, on the occasion of her winning England’s Carnegie Medal and the international Hans Christian Andersen Award (“Honour” 333). It is interesting to note that here Miller uses the British spelling of “honour,” perhaps out of deference to Farjeon’s nationality. In March 1959, Viguers commends Farjeon for being awarded the first Regina Medal by the Catholic  72  Library Association and for expressing “such an abandon of nonsense and such heights of imagination” (“Their ” 103). Miller also recognizes other British authors and illustrators in her tributes: author Laura E. Richards, illustrators Kate Greenaway and Randolph Caldecott, and storyteller Marie Shedlock. In July 1941, Miller cites Richards on her 70th wedding anniversary, and quotes Richards as having said, “I plead with all the voice that is left me for beauty in the nursery . . . not (to coin a needed word) hideosity” (qtd. in “Salute to Laura” 245). Greenaway and Caldecott, illustrators for whom picture book awards in Britain and the United States respectively are named, are honored posthumously in March 1946 on their 100th birthdays (“Kate” 95); and storyteller Shedlock is cited in May 1934, as a “genuine artist in voice, diction, perception and dramatic power” (“Editorial” 135). Ruth Hill Viguers also honors British writers, including E. Nesbit and C. S. Lewis. Nesbit is cited in September 1958 as a fantasy writer whose work “touched off the imaginations” of readers and other writers, and because she did not begin publishing until she was in her forties (“Out” 341). In July 1962,Viguers honors C. S. Lewis, but for an adult work, An Experiment in Criticism, rather than his children’s novels (“Good Reading” 335). Although the early Horn Book editors favored the British in their tributes, they did not completely ignore authors and illustrators residing and publishing in the United States. Miller cites the Anglo-American Newbery author Hugh Lofting, Caldecott illustrators Maud and Miska Petersham, and Newbery author Lois Lenski; Lindquist honors author Laura Ingalls Wilder; and Viguers praises Newbery author Ruth Sawyer. Miller’s praise of Lofting seems to have been prompted by the author’s 1940 visit to the Boston Public Library. Miller notes the good behavior of the boys who attended his  73  speech and hopes that Story of Dr. Doolittle (1920), “in these bewildering and sad days will afford some lightening of strain to those so fortunate as to read it aloud with children” (“Bait” 315). Miller’s July 1946 editorial, “Eyes for Seeing,” mentions Maud and Miska Petersham, winners of the 1946 Caldecott Medal for The Rooster Crows (1945), and Lois Lenski, winner of the 1946 Newbery Medal for Strawberry Girl (1945), but the real purpose of her editorial seems to be celebrating the creative process: “Artists are constantly giving us new eyes with which to see the wonder and beauties of nature. With authors, they give us new eyes with which to look at people. For understanding, the eyes of the imagination are most important of all . . .” (237). Lindquist’s “A Tribute to Laura Ingalls Wilder” (November 1953) coincided with the release of Garth Williams’ new illustrations for the Little House series. Although her editorial is written in the same frothy, romantic style that characterizes Miller, Lindquist, and Viguers, Lindquist at least appears to have enjoyed the books herself, and her comments connect the ideals demonstrated by the Ingalls family with the “responsibilities . . . America must now take in a wider world” (411). Viguers extols Ruth Sawyer on several occasions. Sawyer’s Newbery acceptance speech is quoted in “With Thanks”(July 1961) (309), and in November 1961 Sawyer’s book The Long Christmas (1941) is cited as inspiration for Viguers as she composes her annual Horn Book Christmas editorial in late summer (“For Ruth” 521). Viguers also pays tribute to Sawyer and Laura Ingalls Wilder in a September 1965 editorial, “From Deep Springs,” in which both authors are praised for the “resources of creative imagination, of faith, wisdom, and love . . .they have given to children out of their plenty” (465).  74  Three characteristics emerge from these pre-1968 community-themed tributes. First, Miller, and to some extent Lindquist and Viguers, assume that their community of readers possesses a working knowledge of the individuals they honor because their readers are also members of the group. Very little background information is presented in these editorials; they assume that readers will know the name of Maud and Miska Petersham’s book that won the Caldecott Medal and which titles Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote. Although the individuals cited were well known in children’s literature circles of their time, contemporary audiences may well be left wondering just who Louise Seaman Bechtel or Alice Jordan were. Second, many of these tributes—particularly those written for other bookwomen—are accolades composed for close personal friends. Miller writes of the difficulty in keeping the news of her July 1950 tribute from Anne Carroll Moore, who was a houseguest of Miller’s for ten days while the issue was being prepared (“Salute to Alice” 243). Just as members of Anderson’s imagined communities envision a deep horizontal comradeship with other members, readers of Horn Book are encouraged to feel that they, too, are personal friends of Jordan and Moore. Finally, the vague, somewhat amorphous and romantic language employed by these editors conveys little actual content about the honorees and their achievements, relying instead on flowery prose to set a tone. Perhaps readers of July 1941 enjoyed Miller’s speculations about the quality of Laura E. Richards’ home life (“a dynamic home which has influenced the character of a town and gone ringing down through the years to hundreds and thousands of homes” (“Salute to Laura” 245)), but twenty-first century readers are likely to ask what Richards wrote. Likewise, Viguers’ vague September 1958 comment about E. Nesbit’s marriage (“which challenged all her courage and gallantry but gave her deep love as  75  well” (“Out” 341) does not quite convey that Nesbit was part of a ménage a trois (Moore 97, 130, 184-5). 4.2.2  Tributes—1968-2009 As noted before, tributes written after 1967 are less frequent but still canonically  focused, although the recipients tend to be almost exclusively American and bookwomen are less often mentioned. Paul Heins pens only two individual tributes (of his 36 editorials); his wife, Ethel Heins only four (of 56); Anita Silvey and Roger Sutton compose six each (of 65 and 79 editorials, respectively). These tributes exhibit slightly more variety, as well. While the early tributes focus on bookwomen and British authors and illustrators, later tributes also include school librarians, the Librarian of Congress, and a handful of American authors and illustrators. Of all the bookwomen, Bertha Mahony Miller is the most frequently tributed by subsequent editors. In July 1974, Paul Heins notes the opening of the Bertha Mahony Miller Seminar Room at the University of Southern California and, citing a quote from Miller, assures readers that Horn Book still “welcomes diversity of opinion and judgment not only in its book reviews but in its articles” (“Diverging” 343). Ethel Heins, in her first editorial of December 1974, invokes all of her predecessors (but only Miller by name) noting that each has “preserved a continuity of purpose and of zeal” in editing Horn Book (“An Expectancy” 663). Anita Silvey’s opening editorial in January 1985, “A Few Words of Gratitude and Direction,” thanks a myriad of people she calls “pioneers and practitioners”—including Grace Hogarth, Walter Lorraine, May Massee, Bertha Mahony Miller, Jennie Lindquist, and Paul and Ethel Heins (for whom she had earlier worked at Horn Book)—for bringing her to this point in her career (14-5). Roger Sutton has never penned an entire tribute to Miller, but  76  he invokes her spirit regularly. In his January 1999 “Unpacking History,” Sutton alludes to Miller’s spindle-backed chair sitting in his office—“I will not presume to sit in it—for reasons having as much to do with hubris as with weight” (7); a special issue, “Boys and Girls” (September 2007), is named as a tribute to Miller’s Bookshop for Boys and Girls (“Girls” 438); and in announcing Horn Book’s acquisition by Media Source, Inc. (March 2009), Sutton assures readers Horn Book will remain “always in line with founder Bertha Mahony Miller’s directive to ‘blow the horn for fine books for boys and girls.’” He concludes, “I never get tired of that motto, and neither should you” (“Why Ohio?” 132). Other cited bookwomen include Sheila Egoff, Grace Hogarth, Mildred Batchelder, Eliza Dresang, and Zena Sutherland as well as two bookmen—Librarian of Congress Daniel Boorstein and school librarian Michael Printz. In February 1984 Ethel Heins salutes Canadian Sheila Egoff as an “inspiring and influential librarian, teacher, writer and lecturer” and “a living force” to children’s books (“Salute” 14-5). In May 1987, Anita Silvey recognizes Grace Hogarth, a British publisher who in the 1930s began the children’s book department at Boston’s Houghton Mifflin (where Silvey worked prior to becoming Editor in Chief at Horn Book). Hogarth’s article about Anne Carroll Moore appears in the same issue and Silvey commends the piece for recording “the history of the people who shaped the profession” (“If” 299). In September 1991 Silvey also honors Mildred L. Batchelder on her 90th birthday, applauding her work “representing those who care about vital library services and fine books for children” (“Two” 516). Roger Sutton hails the achievements of two contemporary bookwomen: Eliza Dresang and Zena Sutherland. In November 1999 Sutton provides readers with a succinct overview of the theoretical standpoint of Dresang, author of Radical Change: Books for  77  Youth in a Digital Age, 1998, and applies the theory to the corporate takeovers of several children’s publishing houses (resulting in fewer diverse titles for children), before concluding that “allowing a book to wait for the right reader is perhaps one of the most radical tasks of librarianship” (“Millennial” 663-4). Sutton also honors his mentor, Zena Sutherland, in a September 2003 tribute, “The Little Old Lady from Chicago.” Recounting a joke that Sutherland once told about the Horn Book being run by “a little old lady from Boston” (Ethel Heins), Sutton applauds “[Sutherland’s] decades of editorship of the Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, her authorship of Children and Books, and the careers and scholarship of her students,” concluding “everyone with a stake in children’s books is better off for her work” (515). Two notable bookmen are also praised. In September 1980, Ethel Heins commends the Librarian of Congress, Dr. Daniel Boorstin, for distinguishing between knowledge and information. Quoting Boorstin she writes, “Information, like entertainment, is something someone else provides us. . . . We expect to be entertained, and also to be informed. But we cannot be knowledged! We must acquire knowledge ourselves” (qtd. in “Gresham’s” 495). Although Heins’ comments might be construed as patronizing of Boorstin, seen in the light of her other editorials, it seems likely that Heins was simply delighted to have found a kindred spirit. And in March 1999, Roger Sutton pays tribute to Michael Printz, former librarian at Topeka West High School and Grolier Foundation Award winner, in whose honor the Young Adult Library Services Association’s Printz Award for young adult literature is named. Although clearly in favor of a Newbery for young adults, Sutton cautions against making popularity equal to literary quality in selection and against ruling out titles published for adults (“Honoring” 117-8).  78  Tributes to individual authors and illustrators are comparatively rare during this period. Paula Fox, Helen Stratemeyer Adams, Randolph Caldecott, Arnold Lobel, and Maurice Sendak are all honored, and one combined tribute for Natalie Babbitt, David McCord, Elizabeth George Speare and William Steig also appears—a relatively sparse number for a period of 41 years. In a September 1978 tribute to Paula Fox (upon the occasion of her receiving the Hans Christian Andersen Medal), Paul Heins notes the far-reaching range of her subject matter and form, her use of a theme of “non-communication and lack of understanding between young and old,” her dramatic presentations of character, and her exploration of words and images (“Paula” 486-7). Ethel Heins’ May 1982 editorial on Harriet Stratemeyer Adams is a rare uncomplimentary tribute, however. Seemingly annoyed by the positive press Adams received at the time of her death, Heins reminds Horn Book readers just how terrible Adams’ series books (including Nancy Drew) really are. Taking aim at journalists who praise Adams, Heins retorts, I have no quarrel with the industrious Harriet Adams and other assembly-line workers in fiction factories. I do raise my voice against the literate editorial writers, the intelligent columnists, and the smooth sophisticates of national television who apparently neither know or (sic) care about the function or the power of literature. (“Brand-Name” 254-5) Anita Silvey pays homage to Randolph Caldecott in November 1985, in explaining why Caldecott’s illustration of three jovial huntsmen will no longer grace the covers of Horn Book. Noting that Maurice Sendak will create covers for the next year, she explains that Caldecott (whose death centennial was 1986) inspires Sendak’s drawings for the new covers  79  (“Homage” 683). Two years later (November 1985), Silvey again heralds her choice for the following year’s covers—Arnold Lobel. Remarking on Lobel’s brilliant career, she observes that his books are “ones of the highest literary and artistic quality and ones that children love and return to again and again” (“Caldecott’s” 693). In March 1989 Silvey also recognizes the four finalists for the Association for Library Service to Children’s Laura Ingalls Wilder Award. She summarizes the accomplishments of Natalie Babbit, David McCord, Elizabeth George Speare, and William Steig, regretting that the committee (which she chaired) could choose only one (“Rare” 133-4). Roger Sutton honors Maurice Sendak in November 2003, on the occasion of his 75th birthday, by devoting the entire November/December issue to the artist. Sutton praises Sendak’s “feast of images, dreams, recurring questions, and meditations, each one inflected differently but all born of the same restless yet disciplined imagination” and one title— Higglety Pigglety Pop!: Or, There Must Be More to Life (1967). Claiming that he didn’t realize until much later that this was a story about death, Sutton asserts, “But that’s the thing about Sendak and the thing about great art: whether you know a little or a lot, it still works” (“Happy” 660-1). In contrast to the accolades of the early editors, the 1968-2009 Horn Book tributes are much less frequent, although overall still very positive (excepting Ethel Heins’ assessment of Helen Stratemeyer Adams). Horn Book’s founding editor, Bertha Mahony Miller, is the single bookwoman of the earlier generation honored by each of her successors in some way. The later editors also assume less prior knowledge on the part of their readers. Paul Heins’ tribute to Paula Fox, for example, provides the reader with information about the Hans Christian Anderson Medal, its host organization (the International Board on Books for  80  Young People), and the location of the award presentation. Heins cites previous American winners, and offers specific critical commentary about Fox’s writing--characteristics that he feels qualify her for the award. Authors and illustrators continue to be praised, but most are American rather than the British honorees of earlier years. And, although the older bookwomen continue to be quoted, a new generation’s accomplishments are also celebrated. The previous focus on women’s accomplishments shifts, and for the first time, some of the compliments are paid to men in the field of children’s literature. Finally, the writing of the later editors shows very little sign of the vague, romantic prose favored by Miller, Lindquist, and Viguers. Instead, these editorials are clear, direct, and well argued with attention to details. Paul Heins’ editorials especially are often closer to academic prose than the popular journalistic style favored by other library/review journals. Heins, a former English teacher, is widely credited with raising the literary standards at Horn Book (Del Negro 431; Meacham 116; Olson 39), and these editorials indicate that those who followed him have strived to meet the benchmark he set. 4.3  Obituaries Horn Book obituaries are less frequent than individual tributes but they are still  common, especially during the tenures of Miller and Lindquist. Miller pens nine (of 106 editorials); Lindquist six (of 27); Viguers three (of 47); Paul Heins one (of 36); Ethel Heins none (of 56); Anita Silvey five (of 65); and Roger Sutton none (of 79). Ethel Heins usually mentions recent deaths in another Horn Book feature, “The Hunt Breakfast,” while Sutton often marks a passing with an appended paragraph at the end of an otherwise unrelated editorial or mention in a current feature, “Impromptu.” As with the individual tributes, those eulogized are usually bookwomen (or bookmen), authors, or illustrators.  81  Miller composes only one bookwoman obituary, for Alice M. Jordan in May 1960. Her comments are personal, for the two had been friends for more than 45 years. Miller notes Jordan’s “pleasant home,” her strength of character, her love of nature, and how much her friendship meant to Miller over the years (“Tribute to Alice” 189). In July 1956, Lindquist marks the passing of Thomas Todd, Horn Book’s long-time printer, calling him “a valued friend” and referring readers to Miller’s 1950 tribute (Lindquist “Thomas” 239; Miller “Testament” 89). Ruth Hill Viguers announces the deaths of Anne Carroll Moore and Frederic Melcher. Noting Moore’s passing in “The Three Owls’ Last Flight” (March 1961), Viguers recounts personal memories of Moore at New York Public Library, observes that she “met children on their own terms yet never condescended,” and thanks Moore “for showing me the road to childhood” (125). In May 1963, Viguers observes Melcher’s passing, describing the most recent announcement of the Newbery and Caldecott medals—for the first time without Melcher’s presence. Viguers provides background details about Melcher for “people new to the children’s book field,” and concludes, “Children, their books, and their libraries are richer because his interest focused on them so many times” (“To Frederic” 251). Paul Heins’ July 1969 eulogy of Bertha Mahony Miller acknowledges Miller’s greatest achievement: “she brought the author, the illustrator, the publisher, and the printer together to engender books worthy of children, and then made it her business to celebrate the results with great fanfare” (“Bertha” 371). Quoting from four of Miller’s editorials, he concludes her “words are still powerful touchstones in the appraisal and appreciation of children’s literature” (371).  82  While Miller is editorially eulogized by the (then) current editor and continues to be cited by later editors, her successors are not. Horn Book reviewer Virginia Haviland acknowledges Jennie Lindquist’s 1977 death at the end of the June issue (“Jennie D. Lindquist” 374) and Gregory Maguire remembers Paul Heins in May 1996, also at the end of the issue (“Paul Heins” 500-2). Ruth Hill Viguers’ passing is noted twice in editorials: in March 1971 by Frances Clarke Sayers (“Well” 127) and in May 1971 by author Erik Christian Haugaard (“Ruth” 255); and Ethel Heins’ 1997 death is editorialized in July 1997 by Horn Book Managing Editor Martha V. Parravano (“Ethel” 390-1), perhaps because she had worked with Heins while Sutton had not. The other Horn Book editors, Silvey and Sutton, are still alive. Horn Book editors mark the passing of some respected authors and illustrators as well. Miller notes the deaths of Elizabeth Cleveland Miller, Lucy Fitch Perkins, and Dhan Gopal Mukerji in 1937, but these obituaries are short on specifics about these individuals. Of Elizabeth Miller and Lucy Perkins, Bertha Mahony Miller writes in May 1937 that their books “stand for the triumph of the imagination, the triumph of art, the triumph of that spirit that would create and preserve rather than destroy” (“Flourish” 133); Miller does note (July 1937) that Mukerji won the “1927” (in fact it was 1928) Newbery for Gay Neck (1927), and comments that “it is out of this wisdom of his race and his experience, and in the power of his own genius that he wrote all his books” (“Dhan” 197). By “race” Miller refers to the fact that Mukerji was born in India. Miller’s obituaries are often difficult to identify as such because she cites so little specific information about the individuals or their deaths. Since many of her tributes are for personal friends Miller may have been too upset to include details, or perhaps, like others of  83  her generation, she was simply disinclined to speak directly of death. Whatever her reasons, her May 1935 obituary for storyteller Marie Shedlock only mentions that Shedlock’s “birthday was May 5” (“Editorial” 133); similarly Arthur Rackham and Selma Lagerlof are honored in May 1940 without any mention of their passing (“Arthur” 145). Miller’s July 1942 editorial is titled “A Memorial Horn Book for Rachel Field,” but there is no mention of Field’s death or achievements in the rest of the text (207). Likewise N. C. Wyeth and Wanda Gag are honored in September 1946, again without mention of their passing (“Two” 331). In September 1952 she marks the passing of “Marguerite Mitchell of Sunny Fields,” whom she labels a “faithful associate” of Horn Book (identified by Joan Blodgett Peterson Olson as an owner of Horn Book Inc.) (Miller “Marguerite” 299; Olson “Appendix B” 284). However, in March 1956, Miller is informative about the death and accomplishments of Caroline Snedeker (“Caroline Dale” 85). Lindquist, too, made the unspoken assumption that her readers were insiders, familiar with the individuals being discussed; as a result, some of her memorials remain obscure for contemporary readers. Her May 1956 memorial for “Two Great Storytellers” does explain the accomplishments of Gudrun Thorne-Thomsen and Mary Gould Davis, but these raconteurs are all but unknown today (161). Her July 1957 tribute to Robert Lawson, “The Master of Rabbit Hill,” notes that Lawson was the only individual (to date) to win both a Newbery and a Caldecott award and predicts that his books “will live for generations” (273), but her tribute to Helen Sewell (September 1957) focuses on a quotation from George Stewart and only mentions Sewell in the final paragraph, observing that Horn Book pays tribute to “the rich companionship of [her] ordered thought” without mention of Sewell’s death (“Rich” 367).  84  The later editors compose fewer editorial obituaries for authors and illustrators. Ruth Hill Viguers’ memorial for Eleanor Farjeon in July 1965 notes “her zest for life, her genius for friendship, her gaiety, her fun and her quicksilver intelligence” without mentioning her death (“Continuing” 141). Anita Silvey pens five editorial obituaries honoring E. B. White, Margot Zemach, James Marshall, Frances Temple, John Steptoe, and Scott O’Dell. Her January 1986 tribute to E. B. White acknowledges his “respect for his audience,” his great imagination, and concludes (echoing White’s own words from Charlotte’s Web, 1952) he was “a true friend and a good writer . . . and in a class by himself” (“In a Class” 17). Her January 1990 editorial, “Are You Still Alive?” laments the recent deaths of John Steptoe, Margot Zemach, Scott O’Dell, Sylvia Cassedy, Norma Klein, Donald Carrick, Peggy Parish, and Dayal Kaur Khalsa, but her focus is on the collective loss to the children’s literature community rather than on the books of these authors (5). Zemach is given a fuller eulogy in January 1991, when her cover illustration for Horn Book is published. Silvey praises Zemach’s “characters in constant motion, the beautiful use of the book page, the liveliness and spiritedness of the drawing and the wonderful comic spirit that informed all her books” (“I Live” 4). Silvey also notes the passing of James Marshall in January 1993, calling Marshall “ a comic genius” whose work “always looked so simple, but he could do wonders with a simple line and two dots for eyes” (“James” 4-5). And, in September 1995 Silvey eulogizes Frances Temple, author of The Ramsay Scallop (1994) and A Taste of Salt (1992). Calling Temple among “the finest in new voices in the children’s book field,” and her books “literary gems,” she mourns “it is truly unfortunate when we lose these authors and illustrators before they can create the greatest portion of their work” (“Intelligent” 518).  85  The Horn Book obituaries share many characteristics with the individual tributes. Those written by Miller and Lindquist presume their community of readers is familiar with their subjects and already aware of their deaths. Perhaps because the New England contingent of the Horn Book community of readers was a small, close-knit group who did know each other personally they felt comfortable with language that praised the honoree’s spirit and imagination with little mention of the deceased’s life or accomplishments. Most of the later editors, including Viguers, Paul and Ethel Heins, and Roger Sutton, compose few editorial obituaries. Anita Silvey is the exception to this trend, dedicating five editorials to obituaries, equaling the total number of such editorials composed by Viguers, the Heinses, and Sutton. In the years after Lindquist, individuals are still cited, but deaths are more often addressed in other parts of the magazine such as “The Hunt Breakfast,” a now-defunct feature that included letters, announcements, and classified advertisements and in the current column, “Impromptu.” In contrast with earlier obituaries, the later ones are precisely written and include specifics about the deceased and their accomplishments. Those selected for editorial obituaries in all years were generally bookwomen (or bookmen) and canonical authors and illustrators. 4.4  Horn Book Celebrations Horn Book editorials often celebrate Horn Book staff, journal features and processes,  and significant anniversaries. And unlike the tributes cited earlier in this chapter, editorials celebrating Horn Book have become more frequent in recent years. Excluding obituaries for staff members, Miller composes nine tributes to Horn Book (of 104 editorials); Lindquist three (of 27); Viguers one (of 47); Paul Heins none (of 36); Ethel Heins two (of 56); Silvey 14 (of 65); and Sutton nine (of 79).  86  In general Miller is modest in her praise of Horn Book personnel, perhaps because she herself is so inextricably linked to the magazine and its staff. In 1939, Miller announces several staff changes at Horn Book including Beulah Folmsbee’s promotion to Managing Editor, Alice Jordan’s appointment as Book List Editor, Anne Carroll Moore’s continuing contributions to “The Three Owl’s Notebook,” and Louise Seaman Bechtel’s promotion to Associate Editor. Miller acknowledges, “. . . change is necessary to secure renewed strength and vitality” and assures readers that “The Horn Book starts a new chapter in its history and reiterates its faith in ‘the enchanted radiance of language’ in the field of children’s books” (“New” 277). In 1947 Miller again praises Folmsbee on the occasion of her retirement, informing readers of her efforts in maintaining subscriptions, formatting the magazine, running the ALA conference booth, and publishing books through Horn Book (“A Tribute to Beulah” 237). In 1950 Miller acknowledges the contributions of Thomas Todd, Horn Book’s long time printer (“Testament” 89) and introduces readers to her handpicked successor, Jennie D. Lindquist, assuring readers that “Horn Book now starts upon a new chapter in its history with confidence and faith” (“Horn Book’s New” 445). Later Miller, who continued contributing editorials during Lindquist’s tenure, also pens Lindquist’s farewell in 1958, thanking her “for her fine accomplishment and for her unfailing understanding of the spirit and faith of our Magazine. We shall miss her sadly and we shall cherish her friendship” (“Salute to Jennie” 171). In 1951 Lindquist’s opening editorial is a salute to her mentor, Bertha Mahony Miller, “To B. E. M.” She mentions how much she appreciated Horn Book as a librarian and that since knowing Miller “my admiration for her and her editorship has steadily increased.”  87  Promising to carry on her work, she professes her gratitude that Miller will “be here to share her ideas, and to give counsel and advice to help a new editor along the Horn Book path” (11). Lindquist cites one other Horn Book employee in her editorials—Margaret C. Scoggin, an associate editor and reviewer honored in 1952 with the Constance Lindsay Skinner Award (“A Tribute to Margaret” 85). Likewise, Ruth Hill Viguers praises Bertha Mahony Miller’s selection as recipient of the Catholic Library Association’s 1967 Regina Medal, noting her vision and imagination in founding “a completely new kind of magazine” (“Medals” 24-5). Ethel Heins congratulates Horn Book reviewer Virginia Haviland upon her 1981 retirement from the Library of Congress and Horn Book. Citing Haviland’s many accomplishments in the field of children’s literature, Heins assures readers that Haviland will still contribute as a reviewer emeritus (“Ave” 383). In 1989 Anita Silvey introduces readers to all the Boston Horn Book employees, calling them “some of the finest people I’ve ever known,” and explaining, “what it feels like here—a sprawling, extended family that works hard together, laughs together, and enjoys that work” (“From” 692). Roger Sutton, too, uses the editorial page to celebrate Horn Book contributors. In 1997 he announces the recruitment of Barbara Bader as critic at large, Brian Alderson as the author of a new column “View from the Island,” and Petra Mathers as the creator of that year’s Horn Book cover paintings (“New Spins” 5). Three years later he states reviewers Nancy Vasilakis, Elizabeth S. Watson, and Hanna B. Zeiger are leaving Horn Book while Betty Carter, Danille J. Ford, Christine M. Heppermann, Kathleen T. Horning, and Peter D. Sieruta are joining the staff, although working remotely (“Out” 5). And in 2008, Sutton announces the retirements of Margaret Bush, Susan Bloom, and Vicky Smith as well as new assignments for Sarah Ellis (“News from the North”) and Robin Smith. As well, he cites  88  Horn Book webmaster Lolly Robinson for her contributions to the magazine’s online presence (“News and e-Ventures” 132-3). Finally, Sutton recognizes new staffer Jonathan Hunt, a reviewer and contributor to the Borderlands column (“Altogether” 244). Horn Book editors also use the editorial pages to promote the magazine’s features and ancillary publications as well as educating readers about how the magazine is produced. Miller’s editorials on these topics reflect the financial difficulties she faced in growing a new business. In 1925, she reminds readers that Horn Book is “the only magazine of its kind,” noting that already “Horn Book subscribers are located in all parts of this country, with nine foreign countries also represented” and that “At least one-fourth of the subscribers are too far away to use The Bookshop.” Her case made, she announces a price increase for subscribers up to $1.00 for four issues (“The Horn Book’s Future” 53). Several years later, in 1933, she proposes the idea of a Horn Book Guild, contending “By forming subscribers into a membership alliance, we make the bond or Guild of common interest focus that interest dynamically upon the field of children’s books” (“Editorial” 173). Although subscriptions improved—from 2,000 in 1934 to 2,438 in 1937 (Olson “Appendix A” 268)—the idea of the Guild never really caught on, possibly because Miller’s offer of a ten percent Guild discount at The Bookshop for Boys and Girls was withdrawn almost immediately. Miller also uses the editorial pages to promote new Horn Book publications; in 1956 (during Lindquist’s tenure) she announces the publication of The Horn Book Papers, Volume I, a compilation of Newbery acceptance speeches and biographical material (“Horn Book Papers” 11). In 1977, Ethel Heins alerts readers to subtle but important “Changes, Changes” in Horn Book’s typography and appearance. She notes rubric changes to “The Hunt Breakfast” and two other columns, the addition of a semiannual booklist “For Spanish Readers,” a  89  revision of the cover legend (“About Books for Children and Young Adults”), and the inclusion of International Standard Book Numbers (ISBNs) in all reviews (279). Anita Silvey, however, devotes the greatest number of editorials (12) to processes and procedures at Horn Book. Perhaps this is a result of her years spent working for trade publisher Houghton Mifflin, or perhaps it is because she presided over Horn Book during its years of great technological transition. In her third editorial (1985) she signals a return to Horn Book’s origins by announcing two new columns, by bookseller Bob Hale and publisher Connie Epstein (“Editor’s” 267). Later that same year she describes Horn Book’s foray into public radio, which she hopes will “blow the horn” for books all year long rather than only at Christmas (“Taking” 525). The following year Silvey announces a new column—Bernice Cullinan’s “Books in the Classroom” (“Moments” 159)—and the Horn Book Graphic Gallery, a showcase of the best designed books of the year, which she hopes will reinforce Walter de la Mare’s statement that “‘only the best is good enough for children’” (“The Horn Book Gallery” 681). In 1988 she describes typographical and design changes (for example, running heads become running feet), quotes de la Mare again, and reassures readers that the “fundamental nature of the Horn Book Magazine simply has not altered in sixty-four years” (“Old Wine” 303). In 1989 Silvey introduces the second Horn Book Graphic Gallery (“The Horn Book Graphic” 276) and promotes the Horn Book Guide, an ancillary publication of Horn Book which attempts to review all books for children and young adults, published within a six-month period (“Horn Book Guide” 421). The Guide was an important philosophical departure for Horn Book—since it attempted to evaluate everything published rather than “only the best”—and Silvey is careful to justify this new publication’s “value in collection building,  90  lesson planning, selecting books for bookstores, and finding books for children” by quoting from Miller herself: “But the artist wants and needs the resistance of the intelligent, appreciative, but honest and salty judge of his work” (qtd. in Horn Book Guide 421). Technological changes at Horn Book also provide Silvey with fodder for her editorials. In 1991 she humorously describes the magazine’s “quaint circulation system” and how things went awry during the attempt to modernize (“Prayers” 133-4). The following year she announces that Thomas Todd Company, Horn Book’s printer for 68 years, has ceased printing operations (“In Gratitude” 132) and two issues later she describes the difficulties encountered during Horn Book’s change to desktop publishing: If you are accustomed to a classic printer, desktop publishing makes you feel, at first, a bit as if you are a one-armed paperhanger. There’s no one to save you from yourself. When the proofreader part of your brain starts talking to the typesetting part of your brain, you begin to hope for a long vacation in a mental hospital. (“Gutenberg” 388) Technology even vexes Silvey during a 1994 move to new office space, in which she is expected to answer such questions as “How many dedicated circuits do you want?” Although clearly uncomfortable with architectural (and technological) decisions, she assures readers, “we are, as always, dedicated to our subscribers” (“Dedicated” 4). Two issues later Silvey addresses technology in the online world. Claiming to be a “technopeasant” who missed a Newbery and Caldecott debate on PUBYAC (an online listserv for those working in Public Library Young Adult and Children’s services) because she was unable to figure out how to get on the Internet before the conversation had come and gone, she nevertheless offers a cogent explanation of four children’s literature related list services, describes how to  91  subscribe, and conveys to readers a sense of what they can expect from these Internet neighborhoods (“Old Dogs” 260-1). It should be noted that any technological shortcomings that Silvey may have experienced have disappeared; currently she maintains an active social media presence on Facebook and Twitter, and creates the “Children’s Book A Day Almanac,” a part of her personal web site. While Roger Sutton comments about Horn Book processes and technology less frequently than Silvey, he has used editorial space for this purpose. In 2006 he promotes his Horn Book blog, “Read Roger,” informing readers that it “allows us to get out information about events and awards promptly. It is also a good spot from which to comment upon and link to internet-based children’s book news . . .” Recognizing his own talent for sometimes putting his foot into his mouth—and citing his 1999 editorial about the seductiveness of the American Girls catalog (“Dolls” 390) as example—Sutton adds, “the blog gives me a spot from which to spout opinions that might acquire an unmerited gravitas if committed to print” (“Smoking” 4). More recently, in 2009, Sutton announces the purchase of Horn Book by Media Source, Inc. (“Why Ohio?” 132-3), and previews the first full-color Horn Book, which debuted in 2010 (“Where We” 596). This last editorial also touts the advantages of an online presence for Horn Book, which allowed the journal to publish online a response to a September/October 2009 print article even though it arrived too late to be included in the print version. He concludes, “we . . . need our print subscribers to participate in the Horn Book digital community. Please join us” (596). Finally, the Horn Book editors use the editorial page to promote significant Horn Book anniversaries. Bertha Mahony Miller does not mention Horn Book’s tenth anniversary in her editorials but her co-founder, Elinor Whitney Field, marks “Our Twenty Years” with  92  an editorial praising Miller for developing “a mature magazine with the depth of understanding, the breadth of vision, and the height of the spirit” (133). Jennie D. Lindquist marks Horn Book’s thirtieth anniversary in 1954 with “A Horn Book Birthday,” noting: The Horn Book huntsmen have continued to ride—in good times and in hard, even through two world wars. Their magazine has increased in size and so also has their hunting ground. To Asia, Africa, North America, South America, Europe and Australia they go to carry their news of children’s books and to bring back to the Horn Book office letters, articles, even visitors from many parts of the world. (305) In 1964, on Horn Book’s fortieth anniversary, Ruth Hill Viguers credits the wisdom of Miller and Whitney in bringing about the magazine’s longevity: Had their aim been to promote the cheap or the commonplace, the magazine would surely have been one more casualty in the years of depression, war, and tension. But they recognized that the child’s right to the best in all things is fundamental in the progression of humanity toward the light. Because the magazine was dedicated to the best in books . . . it could survive even in a period that encompassed more widespread destruction and tragedy and more rapid scientific advancement than any other forty years in history. (“Anniversary” 457) Paul Heins remained as editor long enough to see Horn Book’s fiftieth anniversary celebration completed. His 1974 “The First Fifty Years” pays homage to the magazine and its high standards, maintaining “the fundamental purposes of the Horn Book—as stated or suggested by Bertha M. Miller—have continued to inform all the issues of the magazine since its inception in 1924” (30). He concludes, quoting Miller, “The existence of a  93  considerable, appreciative, informed, critical interest in children’s books enriches the reader and enriches the field by stimulating the artist to greater heights” (31). Ethel Heins presided over Horn Book’s sixtieth anniversary. In “Plus Ca Change . . . The Horn Book at Sixty,” she praises Miller’s standards “both idealistic and workable— which have nurtured The Horn Book under five editors” and notes “the magazine has responded to the winds of change; there has been stability in evolution, permanence in transience” (549). Declaring the issue a testament to “the power and significance of the Word,” she pleads for “the solace and the strength of good books” for children (549). Finally, Roger Sutton heralds Horn Book’s seventy-fifth anniversary in two editorials. In January 1999, recounting a recent office move, he describes “Unpacking History” in the form of artifacts and bound volumes of the journal. Announcing a year-long celebration of “this sheet to blow the horn for fine books for boys and girls” he slyly encourages subscribers to contribute reminiscences: “Where were you when Anne Carroll Moore took aim at Charlotte?” a reference to Moore’s negative review of E. B. White’s Charlotte’s Web (1952) (7). In the September 1999 anniversary issue, Sutton writes about the omnipresence of the past editors who seem “Still Here,” despite the fact that all except Silvey are now “Up There.” Wishing he could ask all the editors about Harry Potter (1997-2007), Sutton admits he felt “suckered” into praising a series he considers “critically insignificant,” and wonders, “Why, for heaven’s sake, did the British Library Association feel it needed to publish a prepared statement explaining why Harry had not figured into this year’s Carnegie Medal? Mr. and Mrs. Heins are appalled (they told me)” (“Potter’s” 500-1).  94  Thus, the editorials focusing on Horn Book staff, journal features and processes, and significant anniversaries are not numerous (although more recent editors, Anita Silvey in particular, use this type of editorial frequently), but they serve to make the community of readers feel a kinship with the Horn Book. Past Horn Book editors, especially Bertha Mahony Miller, are frequently cited—often with great reverence, although sometimes (as in the case of Roger Sutton’s editorials) with respectful humor. Anita Silvey devotes more time than the other editors to explaining Horn Book processes and procedures to the community of readers. Although she sometimes expresses frustration at the technological changes surrounding Horn Book, she ultimately embraces them because they help her to do her job more efficiently. Finally, all the editors except Miller and Silvey write editorials celebrating significant Horn Book anniversaries. 4.5  Tributes to Groups Connected With Children’s and Young Adult Literature Finally, Horn Book editorials sometimes celebrate the good work of groups working  in the field of children’s and young adult literature, including librarians, publishers and booksellers, storytellers, parents, and the online community. As with the other categories of Horn Book tributes, these editorials are used more frequently by some editors than others. Bertha Mahony Miller acknowledges groups in seven (of 106 editorials); Lindquist two (of 27); Viguers two (of 47); Paul Heins none (of 36); Ethel Heins ten (of 56); Silvey three (of 65); and Sutton four (of 79). And, as is the case with earlier categories, Ethel Heins’ tributes are not always positive. Librarians are the most frequently honored group. In September 1947, Miller cites the employees of the Linda Vista Library of San Diego, California, for their efforts in providing service to a new community of 20,000 who relocated to work in aircraft shops during World  95  War II (“Where” 321), and in January 1948 she highlights the children’s librarians at the Charleston (South Carolina) Free Library for their programming activities and their “constant efforts for the Negroes” (“Charleston” 9). In January 1952 Jennie Lindquist acknowledges librarians from the Denver Public Library for their Book Week Festival (“Forty” 7), and Ruth Hill Viguers honors all children’s librarians in March 1960, although she urges them to “make time for reading aloud informally,” to schedule “real story hours” (oral storytelling as opposed to reading aloud), and to spread the “excitement of good books” (“Libraries” 107). Ethel Heins, who worked as both a school librarian and a public library children’s librarian before coming to Horn Book, addresses both groups in her editorials, although not always with praise. In May 1976 Heins pays tribute to librarian bookwomen (“Old Strengths and New Weaknesses”) calling them “passionate pioneers of children’s library service— women who held influential supervisory positions—[who] provided a driving force, an energizing element sadly missing in our own time of technological self-assurance” (250). Heins’ July 1977 editorial, “Librarianship—A Business or a Profession?” praises children’s librarians of the past for stimulating the minds and kindling the imaginations of the young and criticizes the speakers at an American Library Association preconference who suggested that managerial skills were more important for children’s librarians than knowledge of quality materials (398-9). In January 1980 she disapproves of the National Council of Teachers of English’s list of significant developments in the teaching of reading because it does not mention books (“Reading” 14-5). In the same year, in “Absit Omen” (November 1980), she denounces children’s and school librarians for banning Mary Poppins (1934) because of its treatment of minority peoples (606-7), and in September 1981 she rebukes the Baltimore County (Maryland) Public Library for its decision to convert staff specialists  96  (including children’s librarians) into generalists and for its “‘demand-oriented’ supermarket view of book selection” (“Children’s Librarians” 502-3). In March 1988, Anita Silvey bemoans the fact that children’s book specialists are “not given the recognition and attention their adult counterparts” enjoy, but advises, “we cannot afford to talk to only those who believe as we do. We must share our enthusiasm and love of what is fine in books for children with the general public as well” (“Children’s” 161). In May 1998 Roger Sutton also addresses the condescension frequently applied to children’s librarians. Quoting American Libraries’ Will Manley—“Children’s librarians are the only librarians who are equated with their clientele”(128)—Sutton argues, “maybe we need to think about what that says about children before we start to think about what it says about us” (“This” 279). The Horn Book editors also recognize publishers and booksellers in their editorials. Miller, possibly with a twinge of regret since she had recently sold her own bookstore, sings the praises of booksellers in September 1934, stating, “It does not seem possible that there can be any profession with greater satisfactions, a higher daily excitement or a more vital sense of the surging tides of life than that of a bookman in a bookshop” (“Editorial” 275). In March 1947 she commends publisher Charles Scribner’s Sons on their one hundredth anniversary and pays special tribute to their children’s magazine, St. Nicholas, calling it “that unexcelled magazine for children” and arguing it “not only presented the best in prose, poetry and pictures for children but it also stimulated able writers and illustrators in every field . . .” (“Salute to a Famous” 87). In July 1951 Jennie D. Lindquist pays tribute to children’s book editors, with a special nod to Louise Seaman Bechtel, America’s first children’s book editor (“A Salute”  97  217), and in March 1967 Ruth Hill Viguers honors the early publishing bookwomen with “Books, Children, and Women.” Citing May Massee (editor at Doubleday and Viking), Virginia Kirkus (editor at Harper and Kirkus), and Mary Mapes Dodge (editor of St. Nicholas magazine), Viguers notes, “Many of the reasons for the preponderance of women are economic, many may be attributed to temperament, and many to women’s age-old inheritance of responsibility for the nurture and care of the young” (152-3). In March 1977 Ethel Heins celebrates the resurgence of children’s bookselling in “A Joyful Noise.” Advocating “a two-lane roadway” that includes libraries and bookshops, Heins urges parents to lead children to reading, and cites the close ties between Bertha Mahony Miller (bookseller and Horn Book editor) and Alice Jordan (Supervisor of Children’s Work at Boston Public Library) as an example of a beneficial partnership for children (118-9). And in January 1995 Anita Silvey praises the Children’s Book Guild of Washington, D. C. for its “vision of cooperation” and for including members who are authors, illustrators, photographers, booksellers, school librarians, public librarians, book reviewers, and children’s literature specialists (“In Unity” 4). In citing the Guild’s membership, Silvey also recognizes Horn Book’s own parallel community of readers. Horn Book editorials single out storytellers for special appreciation on several occasions. In September 1937 Miller encourages the funding of “A Shedlock Fund for StoryTellers.” Saying, “Words lie at the very core of life. And story-telling of a noble order is the source of that wonder which stirs our imagination, makes us sensitive, makes us strong, and makes us creative,” Miller suggests that the monies raised be used to establish a “special story-telling [radio] station” (265). In July 1963 Ruth Hill Viguers cites the New York Public Library’s annual Storytelling Symposium as a delight, cautioning readers that, in the midst of  98  “rushing ahead,” they should remember to celebrate the “Sunshine in the Memory” that stories provide (349). Ethel Heins, too, celebrates storytellers, by devoting an entire issue (June 1983) to “A Timely Tradition.” Heins cites several contemporary storytellers by name and quotes storyteller Ruth Sawyer on the value of this ancient art in her closing: “How many story-hours have started boys and girls to explore good books, to become familiar with the best writers and the best writing? This heritage of storytelling is one of our oldest. Lost, it might be hard to regain. Let us not lose it” (263). Horn Book editorials also honor and encourage certain parenting practices. In September 1944 Bertha Mahony Miller responds “Contrariwise” to an article that maintains American children can’t read, by urging parents to read to their children. She argues: There is to my mind a missing link in the learning to read process of most children, which is those years of preparation at home or in nursery school when, from one year to six, Mother Goose, poetry, picture books and storytelling are a part of everyday life, thus creating an eager desire to read. (345) Ethel Heins’ May 1984 “Pitching to Parents,” acknowledges the good that comes from adults sharing good literature with their children, but criticizes the myriad of self-help books marketed to parents that promise “At last! A fun and easy approach to reading improvement” and stories “condensed and edited so that . . . [they] can be read by a busy parent in only one minute” (295). Finally, the two most recent Horn Book editors embrace the online community of children’s books and encourage their community of readers to do so as well. Anita Silvey calls herself a “technopeasant” but her May 1994 editorial “Old Dogs Learning New Tricks” demonstrates an enviable grasp of the connectivity issues and social norms involved in  99  PUBYAC and other online list services. She concludes by inviting readers to email her at the magazine (260-1). Roger Sutton articulates his reasons for following online children’s literature list services in May 200l (“We Get Mail”), but he also worries that online conversations might lead to a decline in Horn Book subscribers. He concludes, “There are still times when looking something up means you actually have to get out of your chair” (261-2). Thus, the Horn Book editorial tributes to groups celebrate librarians, publishers and booksellers, storytellers, parents, and online communities of readers. Bertha Mahony Miller and Ethel Heins make most frequent use of this kind of editorial, although Heins’ tributes are not always positive. Ethel Heins, by her own admission, is very opinionated (“I usually wrote about something I was angry at or felt deeply about. . . . I’m sorry, I don’t have mild opinions” (Marcus “An Interview” 706)) and her editorials reflect these strong, often critical views. Unlike some of the other categories of acknowledgments, the group tributes use clear and direct language (not vague, romantic prose) and do not presume extensive prior knowledge from their community of readers. 4.6  Conclusion The community-themed editorials represent a substantial and purposeful selection of  the Horn Book editorials published between 1924 and 2009. Benedict Anderson describes an imagined community as one that is “imagined” because members do not all know each other; “limited” because its boundaries are finite; and a “community” because members are viewed as having horizontal comradeship (6-7). Imagined communities depend on institutions of power to convey legitimacy and a sense of shared history (163). The Horn Book community of readers is large—over 10,000 members in 2010—(“Statement” 130); limited to those with an interest in children’s and young adult literature; and members share a sense of horizontal 100  comradeship even though some members have more influence than others. Additionally, as an institution of power Horn Book provides the community with a public platform and an archive for its shared views. In October 1924 in her very first editorial, Bertha Mahony Miller clearly articulates her imagined community of readers as authors, illustrators, publishers, boys and girls, parents, librarians, and teachers (“Untitled Editorial” 1), and while children are no longer a targeted audience the editors who have followed her have remained cognizant of their audience in addressing readers. The community-themed editorials fall into four major groups: tributes to individuals, obituaries, Horn Book celebrations, and acknowledgement of groups connected with children’s and young adult literature. Tributes to individuals are the most frequent (55) followed by Horn Book celebrations (38), group acknowledgments (28), and obituaries (25). Horn Book’s founding editor, Bertha Mahony Miller (1924 – 1950), is a frequent composer of community-themed editorials (44 of 106), particularly tributes to individuals who were often personal friends. Three strong traits appear in her tributes: an assumption that her imagined community of readers shares her level of knowledge about a particular person or topic, a vague, romantic style of rhetoric that emphasizes emotions over specific facts, and preference for British canonical authors and illustrators. Miller’s assumption that her readers share her body of knowledge reaffirms Anderson’s notion of a horizontal community, and while it is possible that Miller’s contemporaries usually understood what she was talking about, her lack of specifics often obscures her meaning for contemporary audiences. Miller’s romantic rhetorical style is one that she shared with many of her bookwomen contemporaries. She values “the poetic record of the strange, noble, brave and beautiful” over  101  “a reiteration of the familiar and the commonplace” (“A Shedlock Fund” 265), and while readers understand her general meaning they may be hard pressed to rephrase her words for others. Finally, her preference for British canonical writers and illustrators is perhaps reflective of the fact that American children’s literature was still in its infancy during her tenure, while the British already had a strong tradition of producing quality literature for children. Jennie D. Lindquist (1951 – 1958), Miller’s handpicked successor, also creates a high proportion of community-themed editorials (13 of 27), mostly individual tributes. Lindquist’s community-themed tributes share characteristics with Miller’s (assumption of knowledge, romantic rhetoric, and preference for British literature)—not surprising since archival correspondence between the two suggests that Miller usually edited Lindquist’s writing (Miller “Letter to Jennie D. Lindquist” 2 July 1951). However, Lindquist offers more specifics, something that contemporary readers will find helpful. She is more likely to provide background information about the person she is honoring, her use of romantic language usually offers concrete evidence to back up her points, and she highlights both British and American authors and illustrators in her tributes. Ruth Hill Viguers (1958 – 1967), who succeeded Lindquist, writes proportionately fewer community-themed editorials (14 of 47) than her predecessors, but as with Miller and Lindquist, individual tributes predominate. Archival evidence suggests that Viguers made an effort to politely distance herself from Miller’s ever-present editorial hand (Miller “Letter to Ruth Hill Viguers” 21 February 1959, Miller “Letter to Ruth Hill Viguers” 18 September 1959, Bechtel “Letter to Ruth Hill Viguers” 15 October 1960), so it is not surprising that her editorials show some variance from Miller’s. Viguers’ editorials (like Lindquist’s) assume  102  readers possess a basic knowledge of the cited individuals, but they also offer specific details that provide contemporary readers with useful background information. Viguers’ language is usually less vague and romantic than her predecessors; while she occasionally lets her romanticism run wild—as she did in describing storytelling as “Sunshine in the Memory” (107)—more often she offers clearly written and carefully argued tributes. Viguers cites Americans more frequently than British individuals, perhaps because by her tenure American children’s and young adult literature had come into its own. Paul Heins (1967 – 1974) pens very few community-themed editorials (only three of 36), possibly because he came to Horn Book with a background as an English teacher rather than as a member of the library, publishing, or bookselling fields. His tributes, although positive in tone, read more like literary criticism than personal accolades. His 1978 nod to Paula Fox is a critique of her oeuvre, and his two tributes to Bertha Mahony Miller quote heavily from her editorials. Ethel Heins (1974 – 1984) composes more community-themed editorials than her husband but still proportionately fewer than Miller, Lindquist, and Viguers (16 of 56). Unlike her predecessors, Ethel Heins’ tributes frequently target groups rather than individuals and her praise is often mixed with criticism. In general she admires bookwomen, storytellers, and booksellers, but she often finds fault with school and children’s librarians (especially if they succumb to censorship) and parents who allow themselves to be seduced by self-help books that promise to make reading quick and easy. Anita Silvey (1985 – 1996) also authors a great number of community-themed editorials (28 of 65), and while she creates tributes in all areas, most fall into the category of Horn Book celebrations. Two characteristics mark the Silvey tributes: her clean, readable  103  style (a stark contrast with the erudite, high literary prose favored by the Heinses) and her attention to the processes involved in putting a magazine together. Silvey became Horn Book editor after working for publisher Houghton-Mifflin, so these characteristics are probably not surprising. Still, her transparency about Horn Book procedures (whether she is explaining how books are reviewed or the difficulties the magazine encounters when updating their subscriber database) keep readers informed and help them to feel a part of the Horn Book community of readers. Current Horn Book editor Roger Sutton (1996 – present) writes proportionately fewer community-themed editorials (18 of 79) than any of his predecessors except Paul Heins. He composes tributes in all categories except obituaries (now covered in the “Impromptu” feature and formerly in “The Hunt Breakfast”), and writes most frequently in the Horn Book celebrations category. Sutton’s tributes are characterized by a clean, readable style that often includes humor and a willingness to argue for traditional points of view in unorthodox ways. Whether he is eschewing the chance (both literally and figuratively) to sit in Bertha Mahony Miller’s chair or reminding online researchers that their public library is often more reliable than the web, Sutton’s contemporary style can never be called genteel—a criticism sometimes leveled at the early Horn Book editors. Beyond these rather obvious conclusions it would also seem that the Horn Book editors have used the community-themed editorials to “play to their base;” that is, the editors tell their community of readers what they want to hear. In the same way that politicians often craft speeches and position papers that reflect what their supporters already believe, these editorials reinforce ideas held by many Horn Book subscribers. The early community-themed editorials salute British canonical authors, illustrators, and bookwomen—the same  104  individuals that American children’s librarians were already promoting. Later, as New Yorkand Boston-based publishers of children’s literature began to dominate the U. S. marketplace, tributes to American canonical authors, illustrators, and bookwomen (many of them New Englanders) increased. While it would be difficult to prove that these tributes increased book sales, nods from an institution of power such as Horn Book surely did not hurt sales and they certainly helped to highlight these individuals and their accomplishments. For Bertha Mahony Miller, these tributes were a way of honoring the achievements of her friends and acquaintances, and her genteel prose helped to make the Horn Book’s communities of readers feel a kinship with these individuals as well. And, while editorial tributes have decreased over the years, honoring noted individuals and groups continues today in the Horn Book feature, “Impromptu.” The following chapter describes my research results for the reviewing- and criticallythemed Horn Book editorials.  105  Chapter 5: Reviewing- and Critically-Themed Horn Book Editorials  5.1  Introduction Bertha Mahony Miller’s opening editorial for Horn Book declares her purpose—“to  blow the horn for fine books for boys and girls” (“Untitled Editorial” 1.1 (1924): 1)—so it is not surprising that nearly one third of all Horn Book editorials (120 of 416) concern themselves with reviewing and critical themes. For the most part these editorials do not articulate specific requirements for “fine books,” assuming instead that readers will accept the opinions of Horn Book editors and reviewers whose “judgment grows out of a point of view developed gradually from following the books with lively interest from season to season” (Miller “Editorial” 9.4 (1933): 173). These editorials fall into two categories: reviews (and review commentary) and critically themed discussions. Although the early editors (especially Miller and Lindquist) seem to regard reviewing and criticism as interchangeable, later editors (notably Paul Heins) distinguish between these two functions. Heins wrote: Reviewing, however, is concerned with what is imminent in publishing, with what is being produced at the present time; and does its job well by selecting, classifying, and evaluating—for the time being. Criticism deals with literature in perspective and places a book in a larger context—be it historical, aesthetic, psychological, or what you will. (“Out” 269) Children’s literature expert Kathleen T. Horning defines reviewing as “a formal written expression of the critical assessment, generally printed soon after the book under consideration has been published,” but she, too, hedges on “what makes a good children’s  106  book,” maintaining “there are no quick, easy answers to this question because there are so many different kinds of children’s books that can be outstanding for different reasons” (2). Horning does provide a list of elements found in fictional books that she deems important in reviewing: “plot, characterization, point of view, setting, style, and theme” (145). Lillian H. Smith, renowned head of Toronto Public Library’s Boys’ and Girls’ division, is slightly more definitive in her approach to criticism, recommending in her 1953 title The Unreluctant Years, “the development and use of a personal yardstick gained from and based on the classics of children’s literature” (34). Smith’s yardstick (which evidences a romantic approach) privileges originality, literary style, imagination, a naturally developed theme, compelling action, memorable characters, and a profound sense of morality (35-43). Contemporary critic and current Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books’ editorin-chief Deborah Stevenson has also written about children’s literature critics and criticism. She insists that contemporary children’s literature criticism tends to be conservative and doesn’t challenge the early bookwomen’s idea that literary value lies in originality (121-2). For Stevenson, conservative means traditional or conventional rather than implying a rightwing political point of view. She further claims adult critics of children’s literature are most impressed by postmodern picture books and young adult novels that interest an adult reading audience, and overlook middle grade fiction, which often concerns itself with domestic issues (123). Additionally, she argues since children’s literature struggles to justify its legitimacy, adult-judged awards often go to “books of a more traditionally ‘weighty’ nature” (136) and praise is frequently meted out according to how close a book comes to adult literary ideals (137).  107  This chapter describes the findings of my examination of the reviewing- and critically-themed Horn Book editorials, published between 1924 and 2009, as viewed through the critical lenses of Heins, Horning, Smith, and Stevenson. The editorials concerned with reviewing are categorized as either editorial reviews or editorials about the review process. Among the critically themed editorials, four categories emerge: general discussions of criticism, trends in publishing, book awards and canon, and literary criteria. 5.2  Reviewing Each of the Horn Book editors has used the editorial page for book reviewing on at  least one occasion. In most cases, the selected titles are children’s books that have unusual appeal or that are controversial, but important professional titles are also highlighted. Bertha Mahony Miller is the most frequent editorial reviewer (17 of 106), followed by Roger Sutton (8 of 79), Anita Silvey (6 of 65), Jenny Lindquist (3 of 27), Ruth Hill Viguers (2 of 47), Ethel Heins (2 of 56), and Paul Heins (1 of 36). Some editors review books for youth and professional titles; others review professional titles only. Additionally, most of the Horn Book editors (excepting Miller and Lindquist) editorialize about the review process. Viguers and Ethel Heins contribute one each; Anita Silvey two; Paul Heins three; and Roger Sutton five editorials. Each editor exhibits a distinctive writing style, but all express a remarkably cohesive perspective on reviewing, considering the many decades their writings span, the differences in the way each editor approaches reviewing and criticism, and the differences in subject, tone, and technique of youth literature during these years. The following sections discuss the editorial reviews and editorials about the review process in Horn Book.  108  5.2.1  Editorial Reviews The books selected by Bertha Mahony Miller for review are overwhelmingly  children’s titles that made a particular impression on her. Sometimes that impression is negative, as in her March 1926 critique of E. L. Black’s Why Do They Like It? (1926). Condemning it for being “simply and naively written, with no effort for literary effects,” she predicts “boys and girls will not enjoy it because it is full of unhappiness,” although she concedes that it supplies “food for thought for teachers, parents, and psychologists” (“Why” 57). Miller’s early editorial reviews generally consider children’s books through the lens of romanticism, praising titles for their imagination, originality, and natural beauty, while often ignoring details such as plot and publication information. In March 1931, she praises the Newbery committee for selecting Elizabeth Coatsworth’s The Cat Who Went to Heaven (1930) as a “volume of rarest distinction” and a “dynamically beautiful book written with the power of genius and capable of passing on its power of beauty, truth and goodness—and their heavenly compound, kindness—to readers of this year and many years to come” (“Editorial” 177). In 1932 she also praises Herbert Best’s Garram the Chief (1932) for its imagination and vision and Garram’s leadership qualities (“Editorial” 145), and Cornelia Meigs’ Swift Rivers (1932) as a book “dynamic of forests, winds and rivers and the still more powerful dynamic of vision and loyalty, united with strength and integrity” (“Editorial” 213). One other children’s book reviewed through this romantic lens is Eiluned Lewis’s Dew on the Grass (1934). In November 1934, Miller enthuses: For some of us the fall of 1934 will be memorable as the time when we first had the chance to know Lucy Gwyn and Pengarth. Pengarth with its rambling farmhouse built  109  six hundred years ago; its stone outhouses so purposefully and pleasantly arranged; the sycamores, beeches and oaks; the rhododendrons, laurustinus, hollies and all the tangle of trees and shrubs about the house and along the river; the hayfields, orchards and meadows—Pengarth was the home of the four Gwyn children—Delia eleven, Lucy nine, Maurice six and Miriam three and a half. (“Editorial” 339) Clearly Miller is impressed by this book’s romantic qualities and believes her readers will agree; she also assumes they will be familiar with the book, for she only mentions the book’s author and title midway through her review, and in passing. By contrast, Miller’s later editorial reviews rely heavily on plot descriptions while paying scant attention to a book’s merits or problems. Miller’s March 1936 review of Laura Runsten Fitinghoff’s The Children of the Moor (1927) recounts the story of seven Swedish orphans who survive and prosper in the face of great difficulties. She laments that so few Americans know this story and praises her friend, librarian/translator Siri Andrews, for bringing the story to America (“Wandering” 69). In May 1936, Miller celebrates Lucy Fitch Perkins’ twins series (The Chinese Twins 1935, The Norwegian Twins 1933, etc., all Houghton Mifflin), describing several plot lines in order to show that each story is different although they all demonstrate the “variety and richness of cultures . . . [that make up] the unique character and possibilities of America” (“Spring” 133). Other titles summarized editorially include J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit (1937) (“Wayfarers” 141); James Baldwin’s The Sampo, A Wonder Tale of the Old North (1917) (“Finlandia” 5); and Sudhin Ghose’s And Gazelles Leaping (1949) (“And Gazelles” 159). Miller also considers professional titles in her editorial reviews. In May 1932, she recommends Bertha Stevens’s Child and Universe (1931) to teachers of “imagination and  110  vision” and parents “for their own refreshment and delight” (“Editorial” 73). She offers few specifics about the book’s contents, but assures readers they will experience “crystal-clear joy” upon reading it. In September 1934, she recommends Fjeril Hess’ Sandra’s Cellar (1934), a bookshop owner’s memoir. No doubt this book had appeal for Miller as a bookshop owner herself (“Editorial” 275). In May 1943, Miller reviews Paul Hazard’s forthcoming Books, Children and Men (1944), explaining how the book was acquired, translated, and published by Horn Book. Declaring it to be “faithful to the very essence of art” she assures readers it will “influence future writing for children in America” (“Books” 140). Miller also uses editorials to review three professional titles published during Jennie Lindquist’s tenure: Gwen Raverat’s Period Piece, A Cambridge Childhood (1953); Leslie Linder’s The Art of Beatrix Potter (1955); and Miller’s own Newbery Medal Books (1955). Of Raverat’s book, Miller praises “what is revealed of the thoughts, feelings and experiences of a child born to be an artist” (“Heart” 247); she admires Linder for his “creative mind and the intensity of interest out of which excellence in art springs” (“Beatrix” 329). Both of these reviews convey Miller’s preoccupation with romantic ideals and contain very little in the way of specifics about the content of these books. The last review is particularly interesting because Miller reviews her own book—a practice frowned upon by contemporary professional review journals. Miller does give readers an indication of her book’s scope and content but she offers her own romantic assessment of the compilation as well: “It was good to see how well represented the imaginative story had been. Best of all it was good to find those values, life roots, which do not change, so deeply and dynamically represented” (“Horn Book Papers” 11). An appended note points readers to a formal Horn Book review, printed elsewhere in the issue.  111  Anita Silvey and Roger Sutton have also used the editorial pages to review books for youth and professional titles. Silvey singles out four young adult titles for editorial review: Brock Cole’s The Goats (1987); Gary Soto’s Baseball in April (1990); Lois Lowry’s The Giver (1993); and Lutz Van Dijk’s Damned Strong Love: The True Story of Willi G. and Stefan K (1995). Calling The Goats a “powerful” book, Silvey concedes it will “repel some readers and attract others,” but she argues that its publication “signifies that we are still creating children’s books that affirm the human spirit and the ability of the individual to rise above adversity” (“Goats” 23). Silvey applauds Baseball in April for presenting “Hispanic culture in a way that we have rarely encountered in children’s books,” and urges schools and libraries to purchase it because “the responsibility to give books to all our children is ours” (“Baseball” 390). Noting that The Giver is “entirely driven by plot and philosophy—not by character and dialogue, as is the rest of the Lowry canon,” Silvey commends Lowry for being a “risk taker,” saying books like The Giver “are vital to our literature for children and young adults” (“Giver” 392). And, praising Damned Strong Love for being “a book that will change the way you look at the world” she praises its publisher, Henry Holt Books, for being courageous enough to publish a book dealing with the fate of homosexuals in concentration camps (“Shadow” 391). Each of Silvey’s positive reviews foregoes a plot summary (readers are directed to Horn Book reviews elsewhere in the issue), concentrates on discussions of literary style and social and political themes, and contains a hint of romanticism. By contrast, Roger Sutton’s editorial reviews purport to challenge the status quo while actually reaffirming traditional beliefs about literature for young people.  112  Sutton selects seven children’s/young adult titles for editorial review: Judie Mills’s Robert Kennedy (1998); Francisco Jimenez’s The Circuit: Stories from the Life of a Migrant Child (1999); Carolivia Herron’s Nappy Hair (1997); J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series (1997-2007); Natalie Babbit’s Tuck Everlasting (1975); Madonna’s The English Roses (2003); and a joint review of Laura Amy Schlitz’s Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! (2007) and Francine Pascal’s Double Love (1984). Sutton’s July 1998 review of Robert Kennedy notes that Horn Book at first declined to review it because of its length—546 pages. Although he understands that teens desiring a book of this length will more likely go to the adult department, he makes the case for its inclusion in YA collections as well because “we fought a long battle to allow the young the run of the library; let’s let them roam where they will, and fly when they can” (“Nudging” 407-8). His September 1998 editorial makes a similar point. Noting that Jimenez’s book The Circuit won the 1998 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award yet was not reviewed by Horn Book (because it was published as an adult title), he concludes, “Both audiences will be enriched by it” (“On” 532). In May 1999, Sutton weighs in on the controversy surrounding Carolivia Herrnon’s picture book, Nappy Hair, a book that caused a New York City teacher to be removed from her classroom after parents complained that she read the book aloud in class. Although Sutton agrees with the importance of promoting multicultural books, he admits that Horn Book reviewers felt “white and in no position to evaluate” the book. Acknowledging parental rights and that diversity encourages conflict—“this is how we got Protestants”—Sutton seems to give credence to the notion “you need to be (fill in the blank) to write about (same blank)” (“Now” 260-1).  113  In September 1999, Sutton also argues contrary to popular opinion when he declares J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series “likeable but critically insignificant.” His arguments, however, fall mostly into the popularity-does-not-equal-quality-literature vein rather than specific criticisms of Rowling’s work (“Potter’s” 500-1). In January 2004, he criticizes Madonna’s The English Roses, proclaiming it “bad storytelling” and “moralistic,” urging the entertainer to “pick up a copy of The Hundred Dresses to see what a real writer does with your chosen theme” (“Madonna” 5-6). Sutton revisits the popularity versus quality argument in July 2008, when he compares Laura Amy Schlitz’s Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! and Francine Pascal’s Double Love. Declaring these two books “sisters, in a cantankerous, glorious family,” Sutton asserts: . . . the history of U. S. children’s book publishing is one magnificent tug of war, not just between idealists and entrepreneurs and not just between Anne Carroll Moore and Lucy Sprague Mitchell, whose opposing views regarding the suitability of fairy tales did not disguise their shared idealism. (“There” 372-3) Taking a slightly different tack, Sutton’s March 2000 editorial, “The Mystery in the Yellow Suit,” contemplates the meaning of the unnamed character in a yellow suit from Natalie Babbit’s Tuck Everlasting, which unnerves the students in his children’s literature classes. He speculates about what the character may represent, scoffs at Babbit’s response to the question (she chose yellow because she “needed two syllables”), and concludes that in an era of “apparent innovation” in books, Tuck—“so conventional in form, so gentle in diction, is a reminder that some of the most unsettling, lasting radical books are those that sneak up on you” (135-6). In each case, Sutton provokes readers with a seemingly outlandish claim  114  (which no doubt encourages them to read the rest of his editorial) and then cleverly brings them around to a very traditional point of view. Silvey and Sutton’s reviews of professional titles also argue for the status quo. In May 1992, Silvey feted Leonard Marcus’s biography of Margaret Wise Brown, Awakened by the Moon (1992). Calling Marcus’s scholarship “painstaking,” his interviewing skills “superb,” and his attention to original documents “noteworthy,” she is grateful that children’s book creators are now being memorialized for adults (“Awakened” 260). Her November 1993 editorial of William Holtz’s biography of Rose Wilder Lane, The Ghost in the Little House (1993) is not as flattering, however. Silvey maintains she is not convinced by Holtz’s claim that Lane should be viewed as co-author (along with her mother, Laura Ingalls Wilder) of the Little House books, yet she goes on to point out numerous other creative partnerships in the field of children’s literature, concluding romantically, “A great book for children is a miracle—however many hands caused its being” (“Ghost” 660-1). Finally, Sutton’s July 2009 editorial on Daniel Pennac’s The Rights of the Reader (2008), focusing on Pennac’s commandment—“the right not to read”—enables Sutton once again to draw readers in with a provocative statement and then reassure them with his traditional message. Pointing out the “pitfalls of turning reading into a ‘moral obligation,’” Sutton quotes Pennac’s cautionary defense of intellectual freedom: “. . . in no time this slippery slope has you judging the ‘morality’ of the books themselves according to criteria that violate another inalienable right: the freedom to create. At this point, ‘readers’ though we may be, we become the monsters.” (qtd. in “Monsters” 228)  115  In contrast with Miller, Silvey, and Sutton, the other Horn Book editors rarely use editorial space to review books, and then only for professional titles. Jennie Lindquist appraises three works: Flora J. Arnstein’s Adventures into Poetry (1951); Lillian H. Smith’s The Unreluctant Years (1953); and Annis Duff’s Longer Flight (1955). She applauds San Francisco educator Arnstein for her insights into encouraging children to write poetry (“Adventures” 147); she extols Smith for sharing “the standards by which children’s books can and should be judged (“Unreluctant” 219); and she commends Duff for giving her children the Bible as well as the stories within it (“Christmas” 431). As in the editorials cited in Chapter 4, Lindquist’s writing here exhibits markers of romanticism (with frequent references to creativity, imagination, beauty, and lasting truths), but it also contains a degree of specificity that allows contemporary readers to follow the logic of her reasoning even if they are unfamiliar with the titles she cites. Ruth Hill Viguers’ editorial reviews, on the other hand, focus on children and childhood. In September 1966, after previewing a film, The Pleasure is Mutual, she writes glowingly of the evident pleasure she noted in both the children and storytellers portrayed. Viguers is particularly impressed that the filmmaker did not ask the children for their reactions to the stories, instead allowing their natural receptions to show in their faces and laughter (“To Be” 521). In July 1967, she critiques another specialized title: Small Voices (1966), an anthology of children’s writings compiled by Josef and Dorothy Berger. In characterizing the excerpts, she notes commonalities: “delight in nature,” “need for companionship,” “an emotional response to parents,” “strong idealism,” and a “desire to live up to what is expected” (“Small” 303, 398).  116  Paul Heins’ sole editorial review is a scathing, August 1971 critique of Selma Lanes’ Down the Rabbit Hole: Adventures and Misadventures in the Realm of Children’s Literature (1971). In a rare (for him) multi-page editorial, Heins chastises Lanes for implying that “no sizeable body of literary criticism dealing with children’s literature” exists, going on to list nine works he deems significant (“With” 343). He also criticizes Lanes for failing to “isolate the units of measurement that distinguish the true literature of early childhood from the quantities of dross annually published,” saying that she fails to distinguish between quality series writers such as Alcott, Nesbit, Wilder, and Lewis and “the perpetrators of Tom Swift, The Rover Boys, and Elsie Dinsmore” (344). But his real disagreement seems to be with Lanes’ assessment of Horn Book: “. . . its genteel prose and self-congratulatory tone often smack more of class notes in an alumni quarterly than the astringent and measured judgments that characterize critical writings” (qtd. in “With” 345). In caustic tones, Heins concludes, “Could she have been exploring the wrong rabbit hole—where she could not make up her mind whether she was Alice or the Queen of Hearts?” (345). Ethel Heins adopts a similarly acerbic tone in her February 1977 assessment of Masha Rudman’s Children’s Literature: An Issues Approach (1976), a title that offers bibliographies of contemporary social problems along with suggestions for using the books with children. Heins labels Rudman’s book didactic and accuses her of making “literature subservient” to the “aims of education.” Calling the term bibliotherapy “sanctimonious, pseudo-scientific jargon,” Heins goes on to ask: One wonders why she has ignored so many noteworthy books of the past twenty years and has included so few titles from abroad. And why is so much great fantasy  117  neglected, since it deals imaginatively with one of the most basic of all human problems—the conflict between good and evil? (“Ghost” 18-9) In October 1977, Heins follows up with a second editorial castigating Rudman and her book. Although Heins acknowledges not everyone agrees with her assessment (Horn Book published four rebuttals to the February editorial), this second editorial is even more forceful in denouncing Rudman. She refutes the idea that a book’s theme can be called a “message,” argues that an issues approach is not literary criticism, and contends that educators are in no position to judge Rudman’s recommendations because “many teachers never read extensively nor, as a result, can they deal appreciatively with literature in the classroom” (“Da Capo” 502-3). Although Ethel Heins’ perspective may strike contemporary readers as inflexible, it should be noted that she was voicing a point of view espoused by many of the early bookwomen and librarians of her time: that only the very best literary titles are good enough for children. Rudman, who approaches children’s literature from the perspective of an academic in the field of education, was suggesting that books could be useful even if they were imperfect from a literary standpoint—clearly anathema to Heins and many members of her generation. Thus, each of the seven Horn Book editors has used the editorial page to review and comment on titles related to children’s literature. And while these editorials rarely contain all the elements of a formal review, as defined by Horning and Smith, they do highlight titles deemed important by the editors. Bertha Mahony Miller, Anita Silvey, and Roger Sutton review mostly books for children and young adults, while Jennie Lindquist, Ruth Hill Viguers, Paul Heins, and Ethel Heins consider professional titles only. Miller and Lindquist’s  118  review styles (and to a lesser extent Silvey’s) demonstrate the influence of romanticism and frequently mention creativity, imagination, beauty, and lasting truths. Viguers’ reviews emphasize the needs of children, while the Heinses use the editorial page to disparage professional titles that they find lacking. Silvey’s reviews often concern social or political ideals and Roger Sutton, who often makes provocative comments to draw readers into his writing, almost always ends up arguing for a traditional point of view. The following section discusses editorials that comment on the review process. 5.2.2  Editorials About the Reviewing Process The five most recent Horn Book editors have used the editorial page to comment on  the review process. In January 1965, Ruth Hill Viguers clarifies Horn Book’s views “On Reviewing Children’s Books,” stating that since the function of literature is to develop a cultured mind, Horn Book emphasizes “literary quality first and practical value second,” focusing on “books that will nourish the seeds of culture in childhood, when taste in art must have its beginnings or never exist at all.” Acknowledging diverse opinions among critics, she suggests that “books serving no practical purpose” often become part of the “body of living literature” and “impoverish the child who misses them” (23). Although stated more genteelly, Viguers expresses here the same views voiced by Ethel Heins in her criticisms of Masha Rudman. Paul Heins contributes three editorials about reviewing, beginning in January 1970, with “Subject to Qualifications.” Stating, “Reviews are criticism in only an accidental sort of way,” he adds, “Criticism per se is a more leisurely business, requiring reflection and the perspectives of time and mature consideration.” Reminding readers that Horn Book “was founded to publicize ‘fine books for boys and girls,’” he goes on to say that Horn Book  119  reviews are not always “completely commendatory,” but rather “subject to qualifications in the notes” (9). Two years later in January 1972, Heins reiterates his earlier statements, reminding readers that “all books are subject to the qualifications in the notes” (that is, comments within each review) and, “Horn Book accepts the responsibility of the literary criticism of children’s books while it allocates the final responsibility of book selection to the book selector” (“Recapitulation” 15). Finally in August 1973, responding to subscriber requests, Heins updates the age group designations used in the Booklist section, from Younger Reader, Middle Reader, and Older Readers to the more definitive “Stories for Younger Children (ages 6 through 8); Stories for Middle Years (ages 8 through 11 or 12); and Stories for Older Boys and Girls (ages 11 or 12 through 14 or 15).” Emphasizing that these are “suggestions” only, he quotes his predecessor, Ruth Hill Viguers: “every child is different” (“Booklist” 335). Ethel Heins composed one editorial about reviewing in September 1975. In introducing “A Second Look,” a feature designed to “reintroduce, reassess or reinterpret a children’s book,” Heins offers her own distinctions between reviewing and criticism: If the function of a reviewer is essentially to provide readers or purchasers with a description of a book and an opinion about its quality, then reviewing must be seen as a form of journalism—timely and even utilitarian . . . But criticism may interest those who have read a book as well as those who have not. It is less limited; it is unhurried, retrospective, and contemplative. (431) Anita Silvey also penned two editorials detailing Horn Book’s reviewing procedures—at least under her leadership. In March 1985, Silvey offers readers an inside look into “The Mysterious Book Review Process,” explaining how books are initially  120  screened, sent to someone on the review staff, and later talked about at bimonthly book discussion meetings. Once reviews are written, they are fact checked, edited, and finally printed. Although conceding reviewing is “subject to imperfection,” and, “what always haunts us are the books we miss and our lack of insight into the books we review,” she concludes the process is “a labor of love and devotion” (142-3). In January 1987, Silvey clarifies the criteria for starring books. Noting that Bertha Mahony Miller marked books “worthy of attention or those deserving highest honors” with horns, Silvey describes the modern system of assigning stars. Reviewers recommend titles for starring at book discussion meetings, but the final decision is reached through a secret ballot. “The Fanfare,” appearing in each November/December issue, further refines these starred titles into one annual list (“Courage” 19). It should be noted that Silvey’s editorials here, like the ones cited in Chapter 4, are more practical than philosophical, conveying Horn Book procedures as much as Horn Book ideals. Roger Sutton writes frequently about reviewing—sometimes to convey Horn Book philosophy but more often to offer insights gleaned from his own years as a reviewer. In his May 1996 debut editorial, he reacts to a January 1996 guest editorial by Horn Book senior editors Martha Parravano and Lauren Adams, in which they suggested that too many Newbery winners were middle grade novels written by white authors and featuring white protagonists (“Wider” 4-5). While Sutton admits he doesn’t entirely agree with his new colleagues, he not only defends their journalistic right “to inform, . . . convince and provoke; otherwise you could just subscribe to publishers’ catalogs and call it a day,” but also previews for readers his own somewhat combative approach to criticism (“News and the Newbery” 260-1).  121  In May 2000, Sutton voices concerns about reviewers predicting audience response to a book. Distinguishing between reviewing and book selection, he argues: We can’t know which books might bring Concerned Citizens howling to your gates in protest . . . we really can’t know which books are going to swamp your reserve lists . . . A review worth its ink should give you enough information so that you will know if a book is going to have them standing in line in your library, home, school, or bookstore. (“Fans” 243-4) His September 2000 editorial delves more deeply into the nuances of reviewing, cautioning appraisers to review the book that was written, not “the book that was desired to be read,” and offering readers his personal mantra on the topic: A book review has responsibilities in three directions: to the book in hand (not the author’s last book, nor his or her next one, nor to the book the reviewer wanted to read), to the audience for the review (not to the author/illustrator, nor to the publisher), and to the literature to which both reviewer and author are hoping to make a contribution. (“Writers” 501-2) In January 2001, Sutton wonders if the acceptance of Harry Potter (1997) and the resurgence of The Wizard of Oz (1900) is evidence of “a welcome unbuttoning of critical standards that were too tight to begin with” or an example of being “so desperately happy to see children reading enthusiastically that questions of series-itis or bad writing are both impolitic . . . and impolite . . .” He cautions that if “the children like it” becomes reviewing criteria, “then we don’t need critics” (“When” 5). Finally, in January 2005 (“Nevertheless”), Sutton responds to library school students’ emails asking about Horn Book reviewing criteria with the dismissive answer, “we have  122  none.” Insisting that each book “makes its own rules,” he also corrects the misapprehension that “best” lists are composed of “only flawless books.” Citing Diane McWorter’s A Dream of Freedom (2004) as an example of a book written with “passion, intelligence, and respect for young readers,” he nevertheless regrets it contains no source notes (7-8). In each editorial, Sutton’s devil’s advocate responses lead to reasoned arguments and support of traditional Horn Book views. Thus, the editorials about the reviewing process allow the five most recent editors to express their philosophies of reviewing in a variety of ways. Ruth Hill Viguers, and Paul and Ethel Heins write in the style of formal literary critics of their eras; Anita Silvey offers a nuts-and-bolts look at day-to-day Horn Book procedures, and Roger Sutton teases readers with his informal, sometimes devil’s advocate style. Yet each editor presents a remarkably consistent perspective on Horn Book reviewing that includes: using aesthetic criteria to judge what is best for children; offering selectors sufficient information so that they can judge a book’s suitability for a collection; and refusing to be locked into any preselected list of criteria for all books. The following section discusses the editorials that address critical themes.  5.3  Critical Themes  Sixty-nine editorials (out of 416 total editorials) concern themselves with critical themes. Each editor contributes, although Paul Heins and Roger Sutton do so more frequently than the others. Bertha Mahony Miller penned eleven (of 106 editorials); Jennie Lindquist four (of 27); Ruth Hill Viguers six (of 47); Paul Heins twelve (of 36); Ethel Heins eight (of 56); Anita  123  Silvey twelve (of 65); and Roger Sutton 16 (of 79). The critical themes addressed can be broken down as follows: 15 direct their attention to general children’s and young adult literature criticism; 27 focus on trends in children’s and young adult publishing; 17 discuss children’s and young adult book awards and canon; and ten concentrate on criteria for judging books—including literary quality versus educational utility, and literary quality versus popularity. The following sections discuss these editorials in terms of their critical themes. 5.3.1  Editorials About Criticism All of the Horn Book editors except Jennie Lindquist have written editorials that  discuss some facet of children’s and young adult literature criticism. Some are finely crafted, thoughtful pieces that express the editor’s critical views, while others are more casual comments threaded into essays that touch on other topics. Bertha Mahony Miller composed five editorials with critical content; one is a masterpiece, both in content and design, and two others offer additional commentary. Miller’s untitled February 1933 editorial offers both her vision for Horn Book and her views on criticism. Urging readers to recognize “the three arts which meet in a book . . . the art of words, of illustration and of typography,” she adds: The book journal must have a real point of view on the nature of criticism. The basis of criticism is an understanding and an appreciation of real creative ability and a recognition of the fact that the critic is less important than the artist. It is the latter who gives the critic his reason for being. But the artist wants and needs the resistance of the intelligent, appreciative, but honest and salty judge of his work. Commendation without this resistance of critical judgment pats an author’s work softly and puts it to sleep. Genuine criticism helps to keep it alive indefinitely. (“[Editorial]” 1)  124  While Miller’s prose is flowery and romantic in tone, she shows a keen understanding of the critic’s place within the communications circuit, and her presentation of this editorial—in a typographical design suggesting the shape of an editor’s pencil (see Figure 5.1)— demonstrates her appreciation of the whole book: words, illustrations, and design. Figure 5.1 Untitled Editorial, February 1933  In May 1933, Miller presents similar sentiments in an editorial promoting The Horn Book Guild (a short-lived organization of Horn Book subscribers). Responding disapprovingly to a group that proposed assigning reading levels to all children’s books, Miller asks: “Who can say what is the right book for the right child? That, thank God, is the child’s own adventure . . . The existence of a considerable, appreciative, informed critical 125  interest in children’s books enriches the reader and enriches the field by stimulating the artist to greater heights” (“Editorial” 173). Finally, in May 1946, Miller expounds on the “Criticism of Children’s Books,” saying: Art flourishes where there is sound critical judgment to examine and appraise. The critic must . . . have a real point of view . . .[that] grows out of acquaintance with the best children’s books past and present, and . . . the world’s best literature for everyone. This point of view . . . must bear some relation to children themselves. (175) For Miller (and for Horn Book) children’s literature criticism must adhere to the same standards as adult literary criticism and it must take into account the special needs of children themselves. Ruth Hill Viguers comments indirectly about criticism. In March 1966, describing her experiences as a member of the Newbery-Caldecott Award Committee in “Beyond Prejudice,” she notes how reassuring it was that every member of the committee made the effort to “open their minds and emotions to the reception of a book,” instead of quibbling about minor flaws. Viguers points out, It is not enough for a children’s librarian to be an astute critic and a discriminating book person unless that astuteness and discrimination are based on knowledge of many different books and many different children and unless they stimulate an overflowing, infectious enthusiasm for many books—not only those that satisfy very personal and limited prejudices. (157)  126  For Viguers (as for Miller), criticism requires a wide knowledge of literature and children; additionally for Viguers, criticism (and by implication collection building) involves a wider selection of books than just those titles that personally appeal to the selector. Viguers also writes about literary criticism in her “Editorial” of July 1967. Responding to an assertion that literature must be serious in order to be significant, she writes, “The enjoyment is vital. No book can be considered literature unless it is alive . . . It may be serious, it may be nonsense; . . . but it does not leave him unmoved . . .And, thank God, literature is as various as people” (417). Again, Viguers places more credence in her own personal knowledge of children’s likes and needs than she does in the ideas of this unnamed critic who, from Viguers’ perspective, does not know children or their literature. Paul Heins’ major Horn Book piece on criticism, “Out on a Limb with the Critics: Some Random Thoughts on the Present State of the Criticism of Children’s Literature,” was published as a regular article, but he also comments briefly on criticism in three editorials. In “Reading and Rereading” (March 1968) Heins labels rereading an important skill for critics. He posits, “Perhaps the best kind of criticism . . . consists in discovering the analogies that bring the reader and the book together. What better way is there to discover these analogies than by rereading?” (145). In May 1969, writing about “Innovation and Tradition,” Heins reminds readers that Bertha Mahony Miller’s stated goal, “to blow the horn for fine books for boys and girls,” is “no longer an innovation; and by the very fact of its continuity, takes on the aura of a tradition.” Citing numerous Horn Book “missiles slung against the Goliath of vulgarity” (Walt Disney), he admits, “new subjects and attitudes have made their appearance in books written for children,” and Horn Book now must “widen its perspective.” However, he sees  127  that this “simply extends, rather than cancels the principles upon which it was founded” (269). Additionally, in January 1971, Heins addresses the idea that writing books for children “requires less of an intellectual expenditure than the writing of books for adults.” He quotes author Leon Garfield: “Literature is a continuous matter, from childhood onward . . . readers are created for all books whatever” (qtd. in “Literature” 15). In these editorials, Heins makes the case that criticism requires careful thought, must extend to new types of literature and topics, and that children’s literature is not to be disdained simply because it is written for young people. Ethel Heins’ editorial comments on literary criticism demonstrate her defensiveness in the face of those who would criticize Horn Book as much as her personal views on the topic. In her February 1978 editorial “‘Tinsel Town’ Revisited,” she criticizes John Goldthwaite for his Harper’s magazine article “Notes on the Children’s Book Trade.” Calling his writing “verbose, with syntactical obscurity and mixed metaphors . . . [with] contradictions and vague generalities,” she rebuts two specific points: Goldthwaite accuses Horn Book of publishing “roundup reviews,” and he makes unkind comments about Paul Heins’ Horn Book review of Bruno Bettelheim’s The Uses of Enchantment (1976). Undoubtedly many Horn Book readers agreed with Heins’ assessment of Goldthwaite, but she weakens her stance by making her arguments personal rather than representative of a strong critical philosophy (14-5). Anita Silvey’s November 1992 editorial “Illuminating the Darkness,” offers insights into the value she sees in discussion of children’s literature. She describes recent encounters with two groups of children’s book professionals, both of whom demonstrated well-honed  128  expertise with book discussion. Silvey states “we learn to think about books as we learn to talk about them . . . only reading, thinking, and talking about them allows us to begin to appreciate them—to see the mastery and beauty of what has been created.” She concludes, “We are attempting to hold up the torch to illuminate the darkness, first for ourselves—and then for others” (644-5). Here, as in other editorials, Silvey demonstrates an interest in the processes involved in literary criticism as well as a touch of the romantic in her critical style. Finally, in his January 2007 editorial “True Stories All,” Roger Sutton argues, “Great books change the rules and, hopefully, change our rules, lest we wind up judging the books of today by yesterday’s standards.” He cites examples of books from the 2007 “Fanfare” list that blur the distinctions between fiction and nonfiction, including Lane Smith’s John, Paul, George, & Ben (2006), which “mixes facts and lies and folklore and jokes together to make readers understand not only the truth, but also the limits of truth as far as we know it, and the questions a nation must continue to ask of its history” (5-6). Here Sutton echoes Paul Heins—critics need to be flexible and open to new writing styles—a good philosophy for a journal that wants to remain relevant. Thus, Bertha Mahony Miller set the standards for Horn Book’s critical perspective and the editors who have followed her have built on that foundation, adding their own personal imprints to the journal. Miller emphasizes selecting only the “best” books for children, judging them by aesthetic criteria—words, art, and design—and holding works of children’s literature to the same rigorous standards as adult titles. Ruth Hill Viguers adds an emphasis of the needs of children; Paul Heins argues for careful thought and openness to new topics and themes; Ethel Heins follows the examples set by her predecessors, but she sometimes allows her personal feelings to intrude on her critical perspective; Anita Silvey  129  emphasizes the processes involved in criticism; and Roger Sutton pleads for flexibility with regard to changing writing techniques and styles. While it seems fair to categorize Horn Book’s critical perspective as conservative, given that it is based on ideas set forth by Miller some eighty years ago, it should be noted that more recent editors have attempted to keep this perspective flexible and relevant to new topics, themes, and techniques. The following section addresses the editorials that discuss trends in publishing for children and young adults. 5.3.2  Editorials About Trends in Publishing All of the Horn Book editors except Jennie Lindquist discuss publishing trends in  their editorials. Some trends (including the lack of literary nonfiction and the proliferation of picture books) appear multiple times, while other developments are addressed only once. In July 1948, Bertha Mahony Miller protests against comic books because of their emphasis on “horror and murder, and brutal, criminal and abnormal behavior.” Citing the comments of “an eminent practicing psychiatrist,” Miller hopes for widespread action against the genre, claiming children “do [not] want to see their fine picture book artists ‘going comic’ or even near comic” (“At Long Last” 233). Although Miller’s ideas appear exaggerated and overwrought by today’s standards, her comments coincided with mainstream North American notions during anti-comics crusades of the late 1940s and early 1950s (Edwards and Saltman 52-3). In March 1949, Miller expresses her appreciation for fine bookmaking and decries the trend toward producing cheaper editions of established titles. “In bookmaking, as in life,” Miller writes, “it is a matter of values. Some values change with changing times; other values are ageless and must be preserved at all costs” (“Values” 95). Again, it is hard to imagine any current Horn Book editor arguing to force  130  publishers to increase production costs, but Miller’s sentiments are reflective of her contemporaries. In July 1961, Ruth Hill Viguers distinguishes between “Information and Knowledge,” claiming that information is “the acquisition of facts” and that too many children’s nonfiction titles are simply “repetitious informational material that pour into the book market” (225). Later in February 1966, Viguers tackles the thorny issue of the lack of books “for children in various racial or social groups,” in a response to Nancy Larrick’s Saturday Review article, “The All-White World of Children’s Books” (“Pinch” 18). Fearing that publishers will rush the release of poor quality books to fill this need, Viguers cautions, “contrived writing can stunt the growth of the natural reader by destroying his faith in the power of books.” She concludes hopefully: “within a generation there will, fortunately, be more Negro writers, and there will probably be more Negro heroes in children’s books” (19) Throughout her editorials, Viguers articulated conflicted opinions about picture book trends. In January 1963, she wonders if the proliferation of “overly illustrated books” means that children are afraid of words, and cautions against vocabulary limitations in books for young children (“Words” 19). Later, for Horn Book’s 40th anniversary (September 1964), Viguers notes the development of the picture book as the most spectacular change in children’s literature since Horn Book’s 1924 founding. Citing the works of Walter Crane, Randolph Caldecott, Kate Greenaway, Beatrix Potter, Leslie Brooks, and Wanda Gag, she predicts “those who work with children and books can look ahead not only to other distinguished books but to the wider recognition of the importance of the best in writing and in pictures for children” (“Anniversary” 457). In fact, these two arguments are not so contradictory. In the first editorial, Viguers is referring to easy readers with controlled  131  vocabularies—a genre abhorred by the early bookwomen; in the second she refers to traditional picture books of the sort that might be considered for the Caldecott Medal. In March 1974, Paul Heins takes issue with Natalie Babbitt’s claim, “the world as depicted in American children’s novels is sweet beyond bearing,” and that children’s fiction is “acceptable so long as it is colored Pepto Bismol pink.” He counters that contemporary books “scarcely offer a rose-hued presentation of life” and cites several outstanding works (among them Betsy Byars’ Summer of the Swans (1970) and William Armstrong’s Sounder (1969)) that do not fit Babbitt’s profile (“Worthy” 111). In the following issue (May 1974), Heins, noting the trend among contemporary libraries of purchasing films, filmstrips, recordings, cassettes, and tapes, calls for cautious evaluation: “the criteria applied . . . for judging filmstrips for children are no different from those used to judge children’s books” (“Our” 247). Ethel Heins revisits topics noted by her predecessors—nonfiction and picture books—adding two of her own: humorous books and young adult literature. In January 1976, she signals acceptance of Milton Meltzer’s “reasonable and impassioned defense of the integrity of nonfiction” as well as his “plea for allotting it more critical attention,” and seems to accept that nonfiction is worthy of critical study. She concludes by announcing an addition to the Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards for nonfiction (“Facing” 14-5). In December 1979, Heins makes a plea for more humorous children’s fiction. Observing that humorous books rarely win the Newbery award (although Sid Fleischman’s Humbug Mountain (1978) was awarded the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award in 1979) Heins urges readers to “mine our rich deposits of comic material and bestow on children their rightful gifts of laughter and of nonsense” (“Cry” 630-1).  132  Heins’ February 1983 and April 1984 editorials address children’s picture books. In “Storytelling Through Art: Pretense or Performance?” Heins criticizes modern picture books for being self-indulgent: “Technically expert, pictures often lack illustrative cohesion and narrative energy; the artist seems to be carried away by his own work, using the book as a portfolio or an art gallery” (15). In a follow-up, “Art and Text—and Context,” Heins decries “the mania for publishing modern classics of children’s literature in lush, expensive, newly illustrated editions” (158). Although conceding, “literary work does need to be viewed afresh by each generation,” she insists that seven editions of Margery Williams’ The Velveteen Rabbit (1922) are too much and suspects that readers are “too beguiled by superficial glamour” (159). Finally, in August 1984, Heins addresses what she considered to be a failure among adults to promote quality young adult literature in “A Challenge to Young—and Old— Adults.” Responding to a 1978 survey that concludes “reading among Americans under the age of twenty-one has dropped sharply,” Heins suggests, “the literature offered to young adults seems to be tinged with a curious mixture of Puritanism and permissiveness, of severity and indulgence . . . often laced with implicit violence.” Instead of offering them titles such as Arthur Miller’s The Crucible (1952), Heins suggests they be offered Alan Garner’s The Owl Service (1967) or Lloyd Alexander’s Westmark (1981). In a statement Heins echoes many times as editor, she urges that teachers read quality young adult literature, so that they can become a “caring intermediary” for young adults (426-7). Anita Silvey also touches on trends mentioned by her predecessors, including nonfiction, picture books and humorous stories. In July 1987, Silvey acknowledges the attention and care being given to the design of children’s nonfiction books, but she also  133  observes, “less care seems to be given to the texts.” Urging “information books of beauty that have a balanced, well-written text,” she concludes “form over substance” is not good enough for children (“Information” 421). Silvey also points to the enormous variety of techniques used in picture books in her March 1990 editorial, “Visual Literacy.” Observing, “technological changes in printing . . . allow publishers to place any form of art before a camera and create a book,” Silvey urges publishers to include art preparation notes with each book, enabling readers to become more visually literate (132). Later, in May 1993, Silvey complains that for too long “technique dominated picture books;” but now she sees a “reemergence of delightful picture-book texts.” What is most interesting about this editorial, however, is the classic romanticism expressed. In describing Mary Rayner’s Garth Pig Steals the Show (1993), Silvey writes, “After two minutes of reading, you will feel the beauty of the world—and the word—restored” (“Sunspots” 260). Silvey also regrets the lack of pleasurable reading (including humorous stories) for children in her May 1995 editorial “Let Us Keep Our Dreams.” Declaring that many children’s books are “mildly didactic, overtly preachy, or, at their worst, screaming at our children,” she encourages “books that permit escape from reality for a while” and urges reviewers and award givers not to ignore “humor, plotting, and storytelling” (261). Silvey also notes other trends. In January 1989, she remarks on a disturbing trend toward violence in children’s books. Although conceding that children’s books “reflect the times,” she assures Horn Book readers “we are appalled at this trend” (“Serpent” 5). Finally, she notes “The Problem with Trends” (September 1994) is that in “the last fifty years of children’s book history, inevitably, almost always, the books that changed the industry were published contrary to all trends” (516). Citing S. E. Hinton’s The Outsiders (1967), Lois  134  Lowry’s The Giver (1993), and several other titles that challenged conventional wisdom, Silvey concludes, “the greatest successes come from those who defy the trends” (517). Current Horn Book editor Roger Sutton also writes frequently about publishing trends, with topics ranging from postmodern fixations on the past to dark realistic fiction to titles that defy genre. Sutton’s September 1996 editorial, “Cozying Up to the Past,” comments on “the postmodern fixation on the past, where our cultural relics and icons are held up not for polishing but for appropriating, scavenging, and turning to new purposes.” He particularly notices the use of stories within a story, which can seem “pointlessly obfuscating”—particularly for children listening to them (516-7). Like his predecessors, Sutton sees a lack of literary nonfiction books. In “Where’s That Renaissance?” (November 1996), he responds to a letter from author Milton Meltzer complaining about the small number of nonfiction reviews in Horn Book. Sutton concedes that the magazine reviews few informational titles, but he insists that’s because publishers produce too many “eye-catching” and “intellectually barren” series titles that rearrange “facts that can be found in any reputable encyclopedia” (664-5). He also remarks on the large number of dark, realistic fiction titles published in “Lights Out?” (January 1998). Acknowledging that darkness is not new to children’s books, Sutton insists “the silver lining” is a time honored tradition in children’s literature and he firmly believes “some young readers still prefer a novel that puts the lights on in the end, even if they have to bring their own light bulbs” (6-7). Sutton also argues (July 2001) against series continuations (authorized extensions of books by now-dead authors), saying “if you really enjoyed a book, read it again” (“Bring” 387-8); in March 2004, he rails against “chick-lit-lite,” “second-person present-tense,” and  135  “free-verse novels,” calling the latter “a lazy default, aiming for spare but settling for sparse” (“:-(!?” 116). His May 2002 verdict on audio books is mixed; although he admits he doesn’t like having to rewind to listen to a section again, he finds some presentations very well done (“Do” 245-6). Finally, Sutton discusses the expanding boundaries of genres recognized by children’s literature prize juries in his March 2007 “The World in 534 Pages.” Observing that Gene Yang’s graphic novel American Born Chinese (2006) won the Printz Award, Sutton hopes that Brian Selznick’s genre-defying The Invention of Hugo Cabret (2007) “gives our prize committees a workout” and urges readers to make the stretch to the expanding boundaries of children’s literature (116). The Horn Book editors’ views on children’s literature publishing trends, as expressed in their editorials, can be summed up as promoting only the best in books for children. Their writings across the years are remarkably consistent: they express concerns about the proliferation of series nonfiction but appreciate well-researched individual titles; they dislike picture books with controlled vocabularies and lacking in story, but esteem books where fine art, text, and design come together; they accept dark themes in books for children, but have great regard for stories that contain humor and a positive outcome; and they relish finding titles that resist trends and surprise them as readers. While the views expressed in these editorials are conservative and demonstrate that the editors value originality (as Stevenson predicts), they do not demonstrate a preference for adult-like books or books dealing with weighty issues. The following section discusses editorials dealing with book awards and canon.  136  5.3.3  Editorials About Book Awards and Canon Editorials about children’s book awards and canon are less frequent, but all the  editors except Ruth Hill Viguers contribute at least one editorial on this topic. In May 1931, Bertha Mahony Miller praises the Newbery Committee for selecting Elizabeth Coatsworth’s The Cat Who Went to Heaven (1930), saying, “the 1930 Medal has been rightly placed upon a volume of rarest distinction” (“Editorial” 177). In July 1952, Jennie Lindquist comments on “The Newbery and Caldecott Awards,” for which she had recently served as chair. Stating that the chief requirement for these awards was that the book be a “living book—so sparkling with life that even if, by some strange chance it were buried for years or for centuries in a forgotten attic or bookshop cellar, it would be as alive when it came to light again as when it was first published.” She adds that it does not matter if children like it (“once introduced to children it will be loved”) and concedes, “only time will tell how often we have been right” (217). Interestingly, perhaps out of modesty, Lindquist never mentions the titles her committee selected: Eleanor Estes’ Ginger Pye (1951) for Newbery, and Nicholas Mordvinoff’s Finder’s Keepers (1951) for Caldecott. Lindquist also writes about her own personal canon in “Ten Children’s Books on a Desert Island” (March 1951), speculating which titles she might want to have for an extended sojourn. She names several classic British books (The Tale of Peter Rabbit (1902), Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865), and The Wind in the Willows (1908)) and Little House in the Big Woods (1932), with the hope that “all eight of the ‘Little House’ books be put into one volume,” not for ordinary purposes, but as a “special in-case-of-shipwreck edition so that they would only count as one book” (83). Lindquist also records her ideas about “Introducing the Special Book” (July 1955), defining special as a book of “unusual quality . . . which may  137  stand unread on library shelves unless adults share it with children.” She argues for promoting special books in order to ensure the quality of library collections for children (239). Paul Heins comments on “A Half-Century of Newbery Awards” in May 1972. Observing that the choice of winners “has not always pleased everybody” and that some teachers of children’s literature have regarded Newbery winners as “objects of veneration,” he suggests considering both the Newbery winners and the Honor Books (formerly Runnersup) when citing important works of children’s literature (239). Ethel Heins takes a more global outlook in her July 1982 editorial, “An Endless Quest.” Considering all children’s book awards she questions, “what the best actually means. Best for whom? how? when?” Acknowledging that “fashion, convention and prejudice on individual taste and opinion” affect award choices, she disagrees with unnamed critics who pronounced selecting the best “ego-feeding,” and encourages librarians to accept “our obligation and our privilege to recognize and foster excellence in books for young people” (367). Although the early editors were careful never to overtly criticize the Newbery or Caldecott Committee choices, Anita Silvey expresses reservations about “singling out only one title” for an award. In “Feeding the Lake” (July 1985), she makes the point that “various streams . . . feed the river of children’s literature” and suggests, “by choosing one book we indicate that the others are of lesser importance.” Instead she recommends a broader range of titles be honored because, “it is not a single book or a single person but only the lake that matters” (393). The following year (July 1986), she asks an even more pointed question: “Could Randolph Caldecott Win the Caldecott Medal?” Silvey’s quarrel is with the recognition of illustration in which “technique and facility may be too easily confused with  138  art,” resulting in “too little notice taken of the book as a whole.” Once again she argues from a romantic point of view: We do not laud and praise the father of the picture book for his technique, his facility, his art—but rather for his sense of liveliness, exuberance, movement, and economy . . . His works are not to be framed and enjoyed in museums; they are an integral part of a book and work in close conjunction with the text. (405) She concludes that in 1986 Caldecott could not win the award named after him. Roger Sutton has addressed book awards and canon on at least six occasions. In March 2001 (“And Baby Makes Three”), he questions why there is so little overlap among award winners, particularly with the Newbery and the Sibert Medals. Observing the criteria for both states “most distinguished,” yet Marc Aronson’s Sir Walter Raleigh (2000) is a Sibert winner but unmentioned by the Newbery Committee, he concludes, “unless we see some overlap among the honorees, the significance of each medal is diminished, particularly when the distinction made between them is akin to that between best in breed and best in show” (147-8). In July 2002, he offers his ideas on the children’s literature canon in “Classic Reckoning.” Stating, “A classic isn’t necessarily a masterpiece. It’s instead a book that won’t go away, one whose presence demands continued reckoning by readers and writers alike,” he concedes he was wrong in September 1999 when he called Harry Potter (1997) “likable but critically insignificant” (371). In January 2003 (“Ears Wide Open”), Sutton clarifies the purpose of Horn Book “Fanfare,” an annual retrospective of the year’s best titles, “those books that we believe stand out beyond their genre, or publication date, or provenance, and that we believe will and should continue to flourish in the years to come” (7). In “Awards Inside Out” (July 2006),  139  Sutton revisits some of the “flares” tossed out by earlier Horn Book editors (such as Silvey’s Caldecott editorial, mentioned above), and offers the opinion that “critics of awards are themselves an integral part of the system that gives an award its cultural value and that discontent with and scandal about an award’s choices keep that award alive” (373-4). In July 2007, he addresses the Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal in “The Stupids Live.” Pointing out that the Wilder Medal doesn’t need to be awarded to a living author—“you win it for having created books that are alive,”—he celebrates winner James Marshall’s lasting characters, including George and Martha, Viola Swamp, Fox, the Cut-Ups, and Stanley Q. Stupid (324). Finally, Sutton’s July 2009 editorial, “Who Wins?” notes the inclusion of the Coretta Scott King Awards acceptance speeches in Horn Book and asks readers to consider the blogosphere controversy surrounding this award: “Why aren’t nonblack writers and illustrators eligible for this award?” and, “Why do black writers and illustrators have to limit themselves to inspirational race-based subjects in order to win it?” Sutton offers no answers, but concludes asking is important because it means “the award matters” (340). The book award editorials also exhibit a remarkable uniformity in that all the Horn Book editors value the concept of rewarding the best in children’s books. While the early editors were careful to offer only positive comments about award winners, Anita Silvey and Roger Sutton have ventured into more controversial waters, asking questions about award criteria and practices in the hope that disagreement and debate will keep the awards healthy and significant. This group of editorials also demonstrates the conservatism of the Horn Book perspective; even when Silvey and Sutton take controversial stands about the awards, their point is to encourage readers to think about the original objectives of the medals. The next section examines the editorials concerned with literary criteria.  140  5.3.4  Editorials About Literary Criteria Most of the Horn Book editors have also written about literary criteria, extolling the  virtues of aesthetics over popularity and the importance of literary quality over pedagogical utility. Bertha Mahony Miller particularly objects to educators who re-write the classics for younger children by abridging them and simplifying the vocabulary. In July 1935 (“Editorial”), she notes a handwritten copy of a poem by Keats demonstrating his “many tries for the most perfect word.” She writes, “There is a life-long exploration in words—as thrilling to some of us as unknown seas or regions of ice, heat and height to others . . . It becomes our obligation . . . to preserve the joy of this quest and to protest vandalism in literature” (201). The following year (January 1936), she assures those looking for “something educational” that good literature is educational. Quoting André Gide, she writes: “ . . . a work is instructive by the simple fact of its being beautiful” (qtd. in Miller “What Is” 5). Jennie Lindquist also regrets the abridgment of texts for children as well as the advent of television. In May 1955 in “The Miracle of Words,” she states: They [children] know the miracle of television; but are they being deprived of the miracle of words . . . Books are cut and simplified so that young people may race through them. Even the Bible and Shakespeare have been put into Comics. It makes one wonder what the adults responsible for all this want children to get from great books. (165) She concludes by hoping that all children will have an opportunity to hear books read aloud: “It is a miracle no child should miss” (165).  141  In January 1968, Paul Heins takes great care to distinguish between “Popularity and Quality.” Describing quality literature as “creative and memorable,” “read by both children and adults,” and “books that bind one generation to another,” he labels popularity “a commercial virtue,” and best seller lists “interesting, and even amusing,” concluding “the serious business of the evaluation of children’s books does not depend upon the taking of a tally” (15). In May 1970 (“‘Book People’ and ‘Child People’”), Heins acknowledges the schism between “book people” (librarians), who are supposedly “only interested in literary quality,” and “child people” (teachers), who are supposedly “concerned with what children actually read as opposed to what books people thought they ought to read.” While acknowledging these differences, Heins urges “no gulf between book people and child people, only a symbiotic relationship” (253). In September 1970, returning from “The Exeter Conference” (a British gathering of teachers, librarians, publishers, editors, and writers), Heins again addresses these differences. Noting that teachers in England frequently read aloud to their classes, thus helping children to develop “a proper feel for language,” he urges the widespread adoption of this practice in the United States as well as making “the role of criticism a joint undertaking” between teachers and librarians (447). Two other editorials by Paul Heins address popularity and quality in more personal terms. Heins’ January 1973 editorial, “In Protest,” observes that an October 1972 Horn Book article, “McLuhan, Youth, and Literature,” by Eleanor Cameron, includes a statement that Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (1964) is “one of the most tasteless books ever written for children.” Claiming shock that an angry reader returned the article to him marked “In protest,” Heins maintains that Mrs. Cameron is entitled to her opinion and that  142  Horn Book is entitled to publish it—although in fairness he also publishes Roald Dahl’s response to the article (15). In the following issue (March 1973), Heins again focuses on the controversy, which resulted in many Letters to the Editor. Heins observes that much of the disagreement has been conducted “At Critical Cross-Purposes,” with criticism of Charlie (by librarians) on literary grounds being met by statements of popularity or utility (by teachers). While Heins is careful not to denigrate those who argue for Charlie, neither does he agree with them. He requests that they not confuse nonliterary and literary merits and asks, “Is it too much to expect that those who proffer books to children know something of the various ways of looking at the characteristics and the meaning of these books” (111)? In June 1978, Ethel Heins tries to clarify the meanings of didactic and didacticism in “A Question of Semantics.” Noting that both words are tinged with deprecation and “an implication of bald, determined morality,” she concurs that critics have good reasons for eschewing the terms. But she also quotes Aidan Chambers, whose approach to making “literary readers” embraces the term: . . . what matters is not that children should read only those books adults have decided will be ‘good for them,’ but that adults and children together should share all that children can read, do read and should read, looking for the ‘good’ in it—not only the moral ‘good’ or the didactic ‘good,’ but the ‘good’ that is entertaining and revealing, re-creative, re-enactive, and engaging. (qtd. in Heins “Question” 247) Heins clearly respects Chambers, but she is not quite ready to accept his views. She worries how to distinguish “books with implicit themes of power and significance and the many heavy-handed contemporary books—tracts which flaunt their sociological attitudes, grimly intended to influence the minds of children” (247).  143  Anita Silvey speaks out about the misuse of books by educators in her September 1989 “The Basalization of Trade Books.” Mentioning examples that include a 100-page study guide for Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar (1969), a 32-page picture book, Silvey argues that this example of “verbosity and inanity” will encourage children to hate books. She cites educator Donald Graves (who believes “we need to determine only one thing: how do we help create a lifelong love of reading?”) and concludes with Jean Little’s poem, “After English Class,” which describes a girl’s reaction to her teacher’s analysis of Robert Frost’s “Stopping By the Woods on a Snowy Evening”: It’s grown so complicated now that, Next time I drive by, I don’t think I’ll bother to stop. (qtd. in Silvey “Basalization” 549-50) Silvey also observes a disturbing trend toward “The New Didacticism” (January 1992), finding that picture books seem particularly prone to moralizing. Although she personally agrees with the virtues of storytelling expressed by Chris Van Allsburg in The Wretched Stone (1991), she worries that “invit[ing] preachers and teachers into our books for children” is a bad idea and “when we believe we must proselytize to them, we are not truly respecting children” (5). Again the Horn Book editors display a remarkable sense of unanimity in their approach to literary criteria. All view aesthetic qualities as more important than a book’s utility, dislike didacticism and abridging classics for younger readers, find quality more important than a book’s popularity, and feel that experiencing a book through worksheets and activities works against the goal of developing life-long readers. Although Ruth Hill Viguers and Roger Sutton do not address this point directly in any editorials, their comments in other  144  editorials (Viguers “Information and Knowledge” 225; Sutton “Potter’s Field” 500-1) suggest that their views are very similar to their colleagues. Finally, while the editors urge librarians and educators to work together to promote the best for children, it’s clear they view the library perspective as superior. These values are conservative, and demonstrate a partiality toward the traditional library perspective over the views of educators, perhaps not unusual for a journal whose primary readership consists of librarians and bookshop selectors. 5.4  Conclusion The editorials concerned with reviewing and critical themes represent a substantial  portion of the Horn Book editorials (120 of 416), not surprising for a journal dedicated to recommending the best books for children and young adults. Horn Book editor Paul Heins, distinguishing between reviewing and criticism, finds reviewing to be concerned with the present (what is “imminent in publishing”) while criticism takes a longer view (“literature in perspective”) (“Out” 269). Additionally, K. T. Horning suggests that reviews should contain discussions of plot, character, point of view, setting, style and theme (145), while Lillian Smith argues for a slightly different (and more romantic) list of elements: action, character, style, theme, originality and morality (“Unreluctant” 35-43). Children’s and young adult literature critic Deborah Stevenson insists that children’s literature criticism is conservative/traditional, and that critics value books that are original, adult-like, and concerned with weighty issues (121-3, 136-7). Nearly one third of these editorials (39 of 120) are book reviews and an additional 10% (12 of 120) are essays about reviewing. Miller, Silvey and Sutton compose editorial reviews most frequently; most titles are books for youth but they also review some professional titles. Lindquist, Viguers, and Paul and Ethel Heins review less frequently, and  145  always professional titles. Most of the editorial reviews do not address all the elements mentioned by Horning and Smith; rather, they tend to focus on one or two components. Miller, Lindquist, and to some degree Silvey, review from a romantic perspective, emphasizing originality, nature, imagination, vision and truth; Viguers emphasizes the needs of children; Paul and Ethel Heins often criticize professional titles with which they disagree, Silvey highlights social and political issues, and Sutton often adopts a confrontational tone while arguing for traditional points of view. The editorials about reviewing are remarkably consistent in their viewpoint. Composed by all the editors except Miller and Lindquist, they argue in favor of using aesthetic criteria for evaluating books, against a preset list of criteria, and for letting readers decide which titles are right for their own collections. Viguers and Paul and Ethel Heins write in the style of formal literary critics; Silvey emphasizes the processes involved in reviewing; and Sutton teases readers but brings them back to an established perspective. This consistency is evidence of a conservative perspective on reviewing, however these editorials show no evidence of a preference for adult-like books or books dealing with weighty issues. Over half of these editorials (69 of 120) deal with critical themes. These themes can be broken down into four groups: general criticism; publishing trends; book awards and canon; and literary criteria. Miller set the standard for Horn Book criticism by stating that children’s literature should be held to the same standards as adult literature and that it should be judged by aesthetic criteria: words, art, and design. Miller’s style is decidedly romantic, but her critical principles are clear. The later editors have all embraced Miller’s standards, while applying their own personal imprints to Horn Book criticism. Viguers emphasizes the needs of children; Paul Heins urges careful thought and openness to new topics in children’s  146  literature; Ethel Heins supports Miller’s principles, but sometimes becomes defensive of those who would criticize her or Horn Book; Silvey celebrates the processes involved in criticism; and Sutton argues for flexibility with regard to changing techniques and writing styles. These editorials, too, are remarkably consistent, reflecting a conservative, sometimes romantic perspective that adapts to stay relevant in light of new themes and topics in children’s and young adult literature. And, as with the other editorials, these show no evidence of a preference for adult-like books or titles dealing with weighty issues. The editorials concerned with literary trends in children’s and young adult literature are also consistent among all the editors. These editorials reflect concern about poorly written nonfiction series but embrace well-researched and written informational books. They reject picture books lacking in story or written with a restrictive controlled vocabulary, yet they welcome picture books where words, illustrations and book design create a unified whole. They accept that some contemporary young adult themes reflect dark subject matter, but they also welcome upbeat stories with a positive outcome. And, they look forward to a story that surprises or goes against a prevailing trend. Once again these views reflect a consistent and conservative perspective in which originality is prized and weighty issues are accepted, but they do not demonstrate Stevenson’s view that critics value adult-like books. The editorials that address book awards and canon are also consistent and conservative. The editors want awards to honor the best in children’s and young adult literature and for the most part the editors accept that award committees have done their best to select appropriate titles. Silvey and Sutton, however, sometimes question the processes and the outcomes of awards. Silvey feels that some awards have gone astray from their original purpose; Sutton feels that questioning helps to keep awards vital and relevant. Only  147  five editorials address canon; these essays point to editors who value the traditional library canon rather than an academic canon or a personal canon. Additionally, the editorials dealing with literary criteria are also almost universal in their agreement that aesthetic qualities are the most important criteria in judging children’s and young adult literature. They reject popularity with children, didacticism, and educational utility as relevant criteria because they feel selecting for these qualities will leave children with literature that is not of the best quality. Several editors acknowledge the differences in selection criteria between educators and librarians. Paul Heins urges teachers and librarians to work together to promote the best for children, but it is clear that for him (and the other editors as well), best means books selected for their literary qualities. Again, these views are conservative/traditional but they do not necessarily reflect a preference for adult-like books or books written about weighty issues. Although Horn Book reviewing has evolved over time (from brief notices resembling publishers’ catalog promotional annotations to the fully developed 250+ word critiques of today) and their tone has varied (from Miller’s frothy romantic language to Paul Heins’ formal academic prose to the current succinct, analytical evaluations), there is much about reviewing that has remained consistent from 1924 to 2009. And, despite Roger Sutton’s refusal to publish a list of Horn Book’s reviewing criteria (“Rating” 662), much of the journal’s philosophy on this topic can be gleaned from the critical- and review-themed editorials. First, it can be argued that the editors of Horn Book have always judged books based on literary quality. They view works as aesthetic entities, with text, illustration, and bookmaking comprising parts of the whole. The editors consider children’s books to be a part  148  of the entire literary spectrum, important in their own right and intended to be judged on literary merit the same as adult titles. Time has broadened the definition of “good books”— which now include titles on mature themes, conveyed in forms and styles that did not exist in 1924—but a book’s high literary quality is still the most important criteria for a Horn Book review. Furthermore, it can be argued that Horn Book does not recommend books based on their utility or assumptions of popularity, nor does it presume that any one title is suitable for all children or libraries. Reviewers make no claim that purchasing Horn Book’s recommended books will create a balanced collection (providing material on a broad range of topics at a variety of reading levels), nor that their sanctioned titles will be appropriate for all collections. Horn Book reviews decline to point out potentially controversial elements or problematic language in a title for children or young adults. Instead, Horn Book readers (whether they be parents, librarians purchasing for large library systems, or selectors buying for small parochial collections) are urged to determine for themselves whether a book is appropriate for their patrons. The next chapter comprises the results of my analysis of editorials concerned with the images of childhood.  149  Chapter 6: The Changing Image of Childhood in Horn Book Editorials  6.1  Introduction Editorials addressing the image (or concept) of childhood are less frequent than those  addressing communities of readers or critical themes. Although many editorials mention children, only 64 (of 416) speak directly about the image of childhood. The early editors composed proportionately more editorials about the image of childhood than did later editors: Bertha Mahony Miller penned 23 (of 106 editorials); Jennie Lindquist six (of 27); Ruth Hill Viguers ten (of 47); Paul Heins two (of 36); Ethel Heins six (of 56); Anita Silvey eight (of 65); and Roger Sutton nine (of 79). It should be noted that editorials dealing with censorship and fears about the role of technology are considered in the following chapter, which analyzes socio-political themes in the editorials. Andrew Stables, in his book Childhood and the Philosophy of Education: An AntiAristotelian Perspective, posits that although the major conceptions of childhood (including those promoted by Aristotle, the Puritans, Liberals of the Enlightenment tradition, Romantics, and Postmodern advocates) developed at distinct periods in history, proponents of all these views can all be found in varying degrees in contemporary society (2-3). Stables’ research focus is Britain, but he argues that his ideas also apply to the United States and the rest of the English-speaking world. Hugh Cunningham’s The Invention of Childhood also has a British focus; he describes many of the same conceptions of childhood that Stables mentions, and explains the social and political movements that have influenced those views. He concludes, “We are . . . still hooked on the main tenets of the romantic view of childhood” (244). Steven Mintz’s  150  Huck’s Raft: A History of American Childhood focuses on the United States and notes many of the same conceptions of childhood cited by Stables and Cunningham. Mintz sees a contradiction between Romanticized views of childhood as a carefree time and the realities of childhood as a segregated and tightly regulated path to adulthood (383). This chapter describes the findings of my examination of the Horn Book editorials, published between 1924 and 2009, concerned with the image of childhood, as viewed through the critical lenses of Stables, Cunningham, and Mintz. The editorials are categorized according to the view of childhood they reflect: Aristotelian, Puritan, Liberal/Enlightenment, Romantic, and Postmodern. 6.2  Aristotelian Images of Childhood in Horn Book Editorials According to Stables, Aristotle (384 BCE – 322 BCE) sees children as immature  humans and potential adults who are best cared for within a supportive, nuclear family; he also champions a liberal arts education as the best path to responsible adult citizenship (309). Stables points out that these assumptions are very much a part of modern images of childhood and are often taken for granted in contemporary childhood discourse (2). It is not surprising, then, that all the Horn Book editors except Jennie Lindquist and Paul Heins, express this view in some of their editorials. Bertha Mahony Miller penned two editorials that reflect at least some of the tenets of the Aristotelian perspective, in combination with her fundamentally Romantic understanding of the nature of childhood. In May 1935, in a tribute to storyteller Marie Shedlock, Miller asserts that having heroes is a necessity for children and their parents alike, as “in the depths of fathers and mothers, are their hopes for their children.” At the same time, through her persistent Romantic lens, she contends that imagination is most important of all (“Editorial”  151  133). In September 1944 (“Contrariwise”), Miller declares that learning to read requires an Aristotelian immersion in the liberal arts through “years of preparation at home or in nursery school when, from one year to six, Mother Goose, poetry, picture books and storytelling are a part of everyday life.” While parents play a large part in this process, she adds that, “the education of the human heart,” a Romantic idea, is the major objective of education (345). Ruth Hill Viguers sometimes writes from an Aristotelian point of view, particularly when describing children, their families, and their books. In “The Christmas Gift” (November 1959), Viguers suggests that adults looking back at their youth most often recall a present received or longed for in childhood; she encourages the creation of special family traditions in place of material gifts (457). In January 1960, she describes “The Climate of Childhood” most conducive to the development of illustrators, concluding “a childhood full of books” is just as important as natural creativity (15). Viguers reaffirms this sentiment in “Christmas Reunion” (November 1960), asserting that families remain united through “the sharing of poetry and stories—the sharing of books” (471). Finally in July 1964, she asserts that good books grow “from the fusion of skillful storytelling and intense dedication to an ideal,” and that the “young adolescent is ready to be touched by books written with passion” (“On Causes” 249). For Viguers, books and quality time spent with family are childhood necessities. Ethel Heins’ editorials on the image of childhood also express an Aristotelian point of view, but her comments emphasize the importance of good books to a child’s education. In June 1979 (“Behind the Thorn Hedge”), Heins decries the lack of media coverage devoted to children’s books and regrets the “thorn hedge” created by adults that often prevents children from accessing these books (270-1). One year later in “Parents: A Vital Link” (June 1980),  152  Heins urges teachers and parents to pay more attention to “the rich and often untapped educational resources available in children’s literature,” suggesting that reading as a family activity could reverse the downward trend in verbal Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) scores (263-4). In February 1981, Heins emphasizes these sentiments in her editorial, “Babies Need Books.” Acknowledging economic cuts to school and public libraries she proposes, “parents—and teachers, too—must shoulder more of the responsibility of kindling a love of books in the young” (14-5). Finally, in October 1982 (“The Humanities at Bay”), Heins laments the decline of liberal arts education, the “anti-intellectualism always lurking in the shadows of American society,” and an increase in the number of students who only “go to college in order to make more money.” She makes the case that education should be “a transforming experience” that “liberate[s] us into intelligent humanness—to expand awareness and to cultivate the imagination, the intellect, the emotions” (486-7). Anita Silvey also echoes some Aristotelian sentiments about children and books in her editorials about the image of childhood. In “The Love of Reading” (September 1988), Silvey voices her approval of Columbia University Professor Lucy Calkins’ method of teaching reading through the use of children’s literature texts, stressing, “one of the single most important ingredients in exciting a child about good literature is an adult committed to these books” (422). Her November 1991 “Keeping the Dream Alive,” reflects fondly on the times she spent as a child with her grandparents, who greatly influenced the way she interacts with books as an adult. She recalls that strong reactions to print were considered “normal,” and that she was always allowed to choose her own books. Silvey concludes, “If your home is the world of books and children and bringing them together, you can go home again” (660). Silvey reiterates this theme in her July 1994 editorial “A Legacy for Our Children,”  153  affirming, “When we share books with our children, we give them a gift for life . . . books remain the most important legacy we can leave for our children” (389). Roger Sutton rarely expresses Aristotelian attitudes in his editorials dealing with the image of childhood, although his July 2005 “And Your Point Is . . . ?” does comment on reading in the home. Sutton cites conflicting studies about whether or not reading aloud to children makes them smarter or more successful adults and concludes that the practice should continue—not because it might “get Junior into Harvard,” but because “reading aloud is in itself a happy activity” (391-2). Thus, the editors of Horn Book (excepting Lindquist and Paul Heins) have all written editorials expressing some tenets of the Aristotelian image of childhood, although only Ruth Hill Viguers and Ethel Heins seem to write predominantly from this viewpoint. They recognize the role of parents caring for children within a nuclear family and accept that parents serve as their child’s first teachers, particularly with regard to selecting books to share and promoting the importance of reading as a part of a child’s education. 6.3  Puritanical Images of Childhood in Horn Book Editorials In describing the Puritanical view of childhood, Stables comments that based on their  understanding and interpretation of the Bible and original sin, the Puritans saw children as “essentially corrupt—or at the very least as easily corruptible—until corrected and guided by adults qualified to lead them to salvation” (53). Labeling Puritanical childrearing practices as “strict rather than cruel,” he points out that Puritanism had its greatest influence in the seventeenth century, during a period of “religious and social uncertainty” (54-5). None of the Horn Book editors expresses this view of childhood; however, both Viguers and Silvey note Puritanism’s presence in the world around them and express their disagreement with its  154  tenets. In some ways this disagreement is not surprising, for in twentieth century America several images of childhood competed for dominance along with the Puritanical framework; on the other hand, Puritanism had a strong early influence, especially in New England, and continues to exert itself in American religious imagination even today in the discourse surrounding family values and censorship. In “The Case Against Childhood” (March 1965), Ruth Hill Viguers criticizes an American book culture that denigrates work with children, whether it is a student of “kiddylit,” library schools that “minimize the preparation of children’s librarians,” or library systems that “promote” children’s specialists to work with adults. She concludes: We are inclined to deride the seventeenth-century grownups who, considering childhood as an undesirable state, tried to turn children into miniature adults. Yet they cheated the future far less than do the grownups of today who put material values first and forget the terrible impressionability of childhood. (139) Here Viguers makes the point that while Puritanism is not desirable, commodification is worse. Some would also insist that Viguers misrepresents Puritan views in declaring childhood “an undesirable state,” rather than an imperative for parents to guide and control their children in order for them to achieve salvation. Anita Silvey’s “The New Didacticism” (January 1992), accuses the creators of contemporary picture books of proselytizing to their audience. Citing Chris Van Allsburg’s The Wretched Stone (1991) and Susan Jeffers’ Brother Eagle, Sister Sky (1991) as examples, she argues that moralizing to children fails to “respect their right and ability to form their own opinions,” concluding, “Like the tracts of our Puritan forebears, this literature will fade and grow pale when the causes that inspired it are gone” (5).  155  Thus, the editors of Horn Book do not express a Puritanical view of childhood although they sometimes react to their own understanding of Puritanism as a school of thought to be avoided. Although Viguers argues that the Puritans were not as bad as contemporary proponents of a materialist culture, her point cannot be considered as an endorsement of Puritanism; and Silvey’s rebuttal of moralizing to children demonstrates her rejection of this view as well. 6.4  Liberal/Enlightenment Images of Childhood in Horn Book Editorials Stables describes the Liberal/Enlightenment image of childhood (which first  developed in the eighteenth century) as one characterized by a relaxation in attitudes toward children, and a rejection of the Puritan understanding of childhood (56). According to philosophers such as John Locke (1632-1704), children are a blank slate (tabula rasa) and the goal of education is to produce “good, rational citizens, albeit different in their capacities” (60). Later Liberals, including John Dewey (1859-1952), stressed the need for universal (public) education as a means to self-improvement and favored both “social and active” teaching methods (64). Four of the Horn Book editors (Miller, Viguers, and Paul and Ethel Heins) express Liberal images of childhood, although it is the dominant image only for Paul Heins. Bertha Mahony Miller does not often state Liberal/Enlightenment views of childhood, but on two occasions she does support these ideas with regard to education. In “What Makes Us Strong” (January 1937), Miller describes hearing educator Maria Montessori speak about her experiential teaching methods and finds much to praise in her philosophy and approach. She describes a four-year old who studies houses and draws them, concluding his activities are not “work” because they have not been demanded of him (5). In September 1942 (“The  156  Children of God”), pondering a future after war she wonders what “kind of schools will give children hope, courage, skill, patience, and vision for all the re-building and new building?” She describes New York City’s Little Red Schoolhouse, an experimental school where “the community [is] its classroom,” and concludes that it will produce students “with knowledge, strength and vision sufficient to create . . .a . . . cooperative world” (313). Ruth Hill Viguers uses the idea of children as a tabula rasa or blank slate to argue for providing them with the best books. In “Ceiling Unlimited” (July 1958), Viguers maintains “the best books have something for many different times in any one person’s growth” and cannot be classified for any one particular age level. “The best books do not confine him to any plateau; they live with him as he roams or as he climbs” (243). In September 1959 (“Cultural Exchange”), she commends the publishing industry for providing American children with books from other countries, contending, “After the age of fifteen it is late to expect cultural exchanges to have far-reaching effect. Tolerance may be learned . . . but inner knowledge and appreciation of other peoples can only be absorbed in . . . [early childhood]” (353). In “Libraries and Children” (March 1960), Viguers also describes the qualities she finds essential in libraries. Claiming that “the public library children’s room is one of the few places where each child can be stimulated to grow in his own way,” she urges children’s librarians to eschew collecting statistics in order to offer places for quiet reading, “real” story hours (that is, those in which stories are told, not simply read from books), and create an atmosphere of excitement about good books (107). Paul Heins comments only twice about the image of childhood, but on both occasions his views suggest a Liberal/Enlightenment bent as he points to reading (and by implication, education) as a means for self improvement. In “Children and Books” (March 1970), he  157  reports on a child reader writing to the Times Literary Supplement who reports she has read and enjoyed Alan Garner’s The Owl Service (1967), a book “praised by reviewers but ignored by children.” Heins is impressed that a child of twelve reads the Times Literary Supplement and, while he feels it is “of dubious value to ask children point-blank what they think of the books they may be reading,” he values children’s spontaneous comments about them (119). In “The Exeter Conference” (September 1970), he quotes Mr. Robbins, a lecturer in English at St. Luke’s College, Exeter: “. . . the reading aloud of stories by the teacher should form a regular part of work in English for all children until they are at least thirteen,” because they will see “books as enjoyable and valuable” and will be “receptive . . . to language and the insights that language carries with it” (qtd. in Heins 447). No doubt Heins’ own experiences as an English teacher influence his views, but it seems clear that he sees reading as vital to the education of children. Ethel Heins also writes from the Liberal/Enlightenment tradition in her April 1979 editorial, “The International Year of the Child?” She chides unspecified countries for not providing a free elementary education for all children and adds to that expectation one of “a child’s inalienable right to free public library service.” As well, she makes clear that children’s librarians should aspire to being “caring, knowledgeable, [and] cultivated,” rather than spending their time on management tasks and budgets (158-9). For Heins, who previously worked as both a school and public librarian, education and libraries are vital to the success of children. Thus, the Horn Book editors cite the Liberal/Enlightenment image of childhood mostly when pointing out the value of education and libraries to children. They find reading  158  good books to be an essential part of transforming children from the blank slates of their infancy into productive citizens of adulthood. 6.5  Romantic Images of Childhood in Horn Book Editorials Stables describes Romanticism as “a cultural movement concerned with a return to  Nature as a means of both escaping and reinvigorating society” (67). This movement, which first began in the early nineteenth century, sees childhood as a time of innocence in need of protection, asserts that children are naturally creative, and that they should be encouraged to express themselves. Stables defines Romanticism as a movement mostly of “the artistic and largely privileged,” and sees it as a “response to the Industrial Revolution and the urban poverty it engendered” (74). Although the influence of Romanticism waned during the twentieth century, Hugh Cunningham insists, “at a deep level we have absorbed the view that children have a right to a childhood, and that means a time in life when we are protected and dependent and happy” (244). Additionally Steven Mintz notes of Romanticism its tendency to segregate children from the adult world in a tightly regulated path to adulthood (383). It is not surprising that many of the Horn Book editors subscribe to a Romantic image of childhood. The journal was founded to “blow the horn for fine books for boys and girls” (Miller “Untitled Editorial” 1.1(1924): 1) and its readers (as well as the patrons of Boston’s Bookshop for Boys and Girls) have always included those pledged to providing children with the very best in children’s literature. Bertha Mahony Miller, Jennie Lindquist, and Anita Silvey’s editorials convey a strong Romantic image of childhood; Ruth Hill Viguers, Ethel Heins, and Roger Sutton occasionally express this image; and Paul Heins seems not to articulate this image at all.  159  Almost all of Bertha Mahony Miller’s editorials are shaped by her Romantic understanding of childhood in which the ideas of the innocence of childhood and the idea of protecting children from harm in order to preserve their innocence predominate. In May 1939 (“Greatness Sown Broadcast”), Miller deplores the plight of refugee children, asking, “What sustains them in their pain, grief and homelessness?” She finds the answer to be the finest books and stories because they keep alive “goodness, truth, beauty and kindliness” (137). In November 1939 (“A Christmas Prayer for 1939”), she notes the suffering of the “Spanish little ones in the refugee camps,” challenging them to speak up about their suffering “so that people will not let these things happen again” (343). In “A Prayer for Children” (November 1940), she urges pity on children who “are homeless, orphaned, suffering or needy” wishing them “happiness and comfort of dreams” (395). And in March 1948 (“The World’s Children”) and again in November 1948 (“Christmas—1948”), she chastises Americans for deserting “the world’s children in their dire need.” Claiming that children all over the world are donating generously to the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), she criticizes Americans for contributing less than four cents each (“Christmas— 1948” 421). Miller also writes frequently about the importance of creativity and imagination in children. In “Life and Literature” (July 1939), she argues that fine books such as Elizabeth Enright’s Thimble Summer (1938) “kindle the imagination” of children (199). In “Time Voyages in Trust” (September 1941), she calls “the world of the imagination” childhood’s antidote to the world’s ills, adding, “It takes imagination to be a good citizen. It takes imagination to appreciate other people’s suffering. It takes imagination to understand what freedom means and why it is worth living and dying for” (341). In July 1943, Miller revisits  160  this sentiment in “The World Republic of Childhood,” declaring, “The children of today will tomorrow face great opportunities and tremendous responsibilities. The manner in which they face both will depend upon the imaginative spur received in these years of childhood” (203). In “Free and Floating” (July 1949), Miller charges parents with the responsibility of encouraging creativity, “to help a child develop his imaginative self” (257). And in “Visions of Truth” (May 1952) and “The Heart of Creative Work” (July 1953), she calls art “the breath of our imagination” (“Visions” 153) and imagination a conduit to becoming an artist (“Heart” 247). Miller also expresses other elements of Romanticism in her editorials addressing the image of childhood. In November 1934, she praises Eiluned Lewis’s Dew on the Grass (1934) for its strong images of nature (“Editorial” 339); similarly, in “The Children’s World” (September 1950), she declares, “Fine, true children’s books always seem as renewing and re-creating as the flowers of Nature” (345). In her January 1934 “Editorial,” she declares, “Wonder and reverence are rights of childhood” (7). Her September 1935 “Editorial” quotes the often repeated mantra of the bookwomen, here attributed to illustrator Arthur Rackham: “nothing less than the best that can be had, cost what it may (and it can hardly be cheap), is good enough for those early impressionable years when standards are formed for life” (qtd. in Miller 263). And finally, in “The Joy of Reading” (November 1935), Miller recounts a happy childhood Christmas in which she was allowed to read Little Women (1868) in place of performing her usual chores (327). Jennie Lindquist’s editorials on the image of childhood also reflect a strong identification with Romanticism, but she focuses on a child’s right to happiness and the importance of art and beauty in their lives. In “A Child in a Bookshop” (September 1951),  161  Lindquist describes the joy of children being allowed to choose their own books at a bookshop. She urges parents to arrange such a gift for their own children, so that they, too, can know this “lifelong joy” (307). Lindquist also recalls her own happy summers reading books of poetry (May 1954, “Children and Poetry”), and encourages parents to leave “a child alone now and then, in the long vacation, to discover his own world in books and the out-ofdoors” (157). Asked what gift she might bestow upon a child, Lindquist responds, “the gift of awareness” in her November 1952 editorial “Such Eyes as Can See God’s Glory.” She argues, a child’s eyes must be “opened to the beauty in nature and art; his ears to poetry and music; his mind to laughter and his heart to sympathetic understanding” (383). She makes a similar point in January 1954 in “A Prosperous Year,” in which she maintains that the creative art of live theater is better than “any mechanical device” (that is, movies, radio, or television) and should be shared with children (15). Lindquist also urges parents to celebrate “The Long Christmas” (November 1954) with their children so that they will be able to fully appreciate, unrushed, the “faith and beauty” of the festival (401). Finally, in “To Save Time” (January 1957), she urges the donation of only the best to Hungarian refugees coming to America, rather than “shoddy entertainment—mediocre books, comics, poor programs on radio and television and in the movies,” because “we do not want all this to be their only impression of America” (17). Although it is unclear how they would have identified themselves, both Miller and Lindquist’s editorials on the image of childhood reflect strong Romantic ideals--views they share with many of the other early bookwomen. Miller’s view is tempered by the events of her time (notably the Great Depression and World War II), while Lindquist’s view suggests the more upbeat postwar mood of her midcentury essays. However, Anita Silvey’s Romantic  162  editorial voice, expressed during a period supposedly dominated by Postmodern views (1985-1996), gives credence to Cunningham’s argument, “We are . . . still hooked on the main tenets of the romantic view of childhood” (244). While Silvey does not always express Romantic views of the image of childhood, her editorials frequently convey her desire that all children experience a happy childhood filled with good books. In November 1988 (“A Book is A Loving Gift”), Silvey encourages readers to donate children’s books to the needy because, “A book is a loving gift, and it is wonderful to see that once again a passion for fine books and an ability to cooperate with one’s community can, in fact, produce miracles—and help make the holiday season a joyous one for children” (694). In “Much to Celebrate” (May 1990), Silvey describes her work on an issue of a Soviet periodical about American children’s books; she concludes, “There exists no greater gift that we could present to any country than a sampling of our own greatest resource—the best of what we have created for children” (262). In “To Dream Together” (November 1990), Silvey describes attending an International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) congress, where she reports sessions “were literally filled with stories of people all over the world who believe in the ability of a book to change the life of a child” (660). She concludes, “I left the IBBY conference with the reassurance that all over the world there are many who believe in literature of quality and who want to make that dream a reality for all children” (661). Finally, in July 1991 (“A Love Letter to Robert McCloskey”), Silvey applauds author Robert McCloskey for refusing to sell the commercial rights to Make Way For Ducklings (1941), thus enabling her to continue sharing this “masterpiece— unsullied by Saturday morning cartoon characters, cheap imitations, or further duckling  163  sequels.” She closes, “We cannot expunge commercialism. What we can do is to be grateful for and celebrate those who are unwilling to be swept away by it” (389-90). While Miller, Lindquist, and Silvey are the Horn Book editors who most consistently express a Romantic image of childhood, other editors also state this view. Ruth Hill Viguers articulates the importance of imagination in “The Power of Flight” (July 1960), and charges adults with providing it for children: “Children can learn facts in many ways, but it is in their reading that their fancy is caught, their wonder stimulated, and their imagination strengthened.” Cautioning against the flood of didactic books, she urges good books that “will catch the child’s fancy . . .[and] help him grow in wonder and imagination” (263). In her final editorial, “How Do You Say Good-By?” (September 1967), Viguers again reminds readers of the importance of good books: “Those of us involved with children and their books must remember that the person who can read will not advance as a human being any faster than the one who cannot unless he reads books with power to stir the mind and heart” (549). Ethel Heins’s impassioned plea, “The Children Cannot Wait” (October 1979), also expresses Romantic ideals about protecting children. Deploring what she sees as a lack of permanent improvements resulting from the International Year of the Child (1979), she urges adults to remedy the problems of the Indochinese “boat people” and others, and quotes Chilean poet Gabriela Mistral: We are guilty of many errors and many faults, but our worse crime is abandoning the children, neglecting the fountain of life. Many things we need can wait. The child cannot. Right now is the time his bones are being formed, his blood is being made—  164  and his senses are being developed. To him we cannot answer ‘Tomorrow.’ His name is ‘Today.’ (qtd. in Heins 303) On the surface, Roger Sutton’s editorials concerning the image of childhood are hardly Romantic; however, his ironic style and acerbic wit sometimes disguise Romantic ideals. In “Editorial” (September 1997), Sutton criticizes publishers for marketing “attachments—a doll, a locket, a celebrity. Or offspring—a board book version, a mini-book version, a chapter book version. Or movies, or dollhouses, or slippers, or stickers, or, or, or,” instead of simply books. He worries that merchandising is overtaking children’s publishing and that “babies brought up with the Peter Rabbit breakfast set might later see the book and think it was based on a bowl” (500-1). Sutton’s style is not Romantic, but the idea that children should be protected from commercialism is. Thus, the predominant image of childhood expressed in the Horn Book editorials is Romantic. Of Bertha Mahony Miller’s 23 editorials concerning the image of childhood, all but two exhibit Romantic themes; they stress protecting children from harm, encouraging creativity and imagination, embracing nature, and providing children with the best books. Jennie Lindquist, also a staunch Romantic, communicates this image of childhood in all six of her childhood themed editorials. Lindquist’s editorials usually convey a desire for all children to lead a happy life and a hope that children can be exposed to beauty and art as well as the best in books. Anita Silvey, too, articulates predominantly Romantic images of childhood, although she also expresses Aristotelian and Liberal/Enlightenment views on occasion. Silvey’s Romantic image of childhood editorials, like Lindquist’s, stress the hope that all children will lead happy lives surrounded by good books.  165  Ruth Hill Viguers, Ethel Heins, and Roger Sutton occasionally express a Romantic image of childhood in their editorials. Viguers articulates the hope that all children will be exposed to good books that will encourage their imagination; Ethel Heins passionately urges protection for children who live endangered lives; and Sutton criticizes the commercialism he sees among contemporary publishers of books for children. 6.6  Postmodern Images of Childhood in Horn Book Editorials Stables describes Postmodern images of childhood as a blurring of adult and child  roles, in which childhood is a state to be emulated, but at the same time increasingly sexualized and commodified. Other Postmodern constructions of childhood include the belief in the impossibility of protecting children from all aspects of adult life, and, the contradictory belief that in a world that adults view as threatening, children should be segregated from adults (44). Additionally, Mintz observes a panic about childhood safety that is not supported by statistical data (380) and a “single, unitary path to adulthood” that categorizes any deviance as a “disability” (383). Because this image of childhood appeared after 1980, it is not surprising that only Roger Sutton articulates this point of view. It is also worth noting that while Sutton’s writing style seems on the surface to espouse Postmodern views, his underlying message is sometimes at odds with those beliefs. In “Why Is This a Picture Book?” (July 1996), Sutton describes several picture books in which “a young boy ponders the suicide of a neighbor,” “swans and peacocks engage in a blood-soaked allegory of war,” and a “suburban-rap . . . about two young friends, a gun, and a blood transfusion after a shooting.” Sutton rejects the Postmodern arguments in favor of these books (“this is reality,” these books “are designed for children dealing with a particular situation,” and “these books are for older readers”), insisting that any number of novels and  166  memoirs already exist that “powerfully capture th[ese] experience[s]” (390-1). Here Sutton is not contending that children should be protected from these topics, only that “hard truths” be handled in a manner that doesn’t shortchange the audience. Sutton’s March 1997 editorial, “Family Focus,” takes aim at Karen Jo Gounaud’s “Family Friendly Library” organization, which accuses public libraries of maintaining “policies that are hostile to traditional family values.” Sutton argues that libraries are already family friendly because they provide comprehensive collections that allow each family to find what it wants, but he also feels that libraries should not “rush to assure parents of their ‘rights’” because it is “not fair to kids, who need as much intellectual breathing room as the rest of us . . . [and] who will eventually have to leave home and think for themselves” (1167). In asserting his own anti-Puritanical views (“we say that we welcome them to accompany their children to the library in order to stand guard—whoops, I mean, provide guidance— over what their children select from the shelves” 116), Sutton reminds readers that children cannot (nor should they be) fully protected from the adult world. In a controversial editorial, “Dolls at a Distance” (July 1999), Sutton suggests that the American Girl catalog, with its glossy color photos, attention to minute detail, and sideways “life-sized” spreads is reminiscent of pornography. Adding that the catalog “leaves nothing to the imagination,” and that “doll stands” are available for purchase as well, Sutton wonders, “If you don’t even need to hold the doll, are you playing or watching?” While this essay offended some fans of this corporation, and Sutton concedes publishing this editorial may have been unwise (Personal interview), he make a valid point about Postmodernism: children are the intended audience for a host of commercial products and there is often a sexual component to the advertising used to promote these items.  167  Sutton teams up with executive editor Martha V. Parravano in “Guess How Much I Love You, Catcher in the Rye” (May 2004), to argue that the border between children’s and adult literature is becoming increasingly blurry. They point out, “children’s literature is written by adults, edited by adults, published by adults, evaluated by adults, and bought by adults.” But, they add, “more adults read children’s books for pleasure . . . publishers produce children’s books [mostly celebrity picture books] directly for adults . . . and marketing is now directed at consumers, rather than . . . librarians.” Despite this blurring of the borderline, Sutton and Parravano contend “someone (an editor, a librarian, a marketing department) is always on border patrol . . .[and] the border is part of what defines children’s literature” (228-9). Again, Sutton and Parravano are acknowledging Postmodern realities— the blurring of adult/child roles and childhood as a state to be emulated—without necessarily agreeing or disagreeing with them. In fact, a case can be made that they seem to be Romantically reassuring readers that the “border patrol” is hard at work protecting young readers. Sutton also addresses children and adults reading the same titles—in this case, the latest Harry Potter book—in “Parallel Play” (September 2005). Sutton surmises that children and adults are both reading Harry Potter for the same purposes: “for the story, for the reacquaintance with fictional friends, and for the cultural currency that J. K. Rowling mints.” He also suspects that both are reading for the “intrinsic pleasures” that it brings rather than the “work” many adults make of children’s reading: “Reading for fun is what readers do” (517). In this case, Sutton sees the blurry line between adults and children as a positive. In “Outside the Lines” (March 2006), Sutton takes a decidedly Postmodern position on the subject of “good” books and the “good-book police.” Declaring “Children have  168  always managed to sneak outside the lines their caregivers-in-literature set for them,” Sutton argues, “Kids need their outlaw literature, experience with media that may shock (or bore) their elders or that may simply be off adult radar entirely” (118). While the panicked parents Mintz observes would no doubt disagree with him, Sutton reasons that adults “need to allow those readers outside the garden gates to unearth their own discoveries” (118). Finally, in his May 2006 “Leave Them Alone,” Sutton quarrels with author Naomi Wolf for suggesting in the New York Times Book Review that teens should not be allowed to read “bad-girl chicklit” such as the Gossip Girl, Clique, and A-List series, unless they are also asked to “reflect on and evaluate the heroines, the message, the interactions . . .” Sutton claims girls enjoy these books because “Their parents are horrified,” saying, “One of the prime pleasures of reading is the license to ignore your parents. Neither books nor young readers should be held hostage to adult debriefing. Readers reach their own conclusions. Don’t you?” (244-5). Again, Sutton accepts the Postmodern tenet that parents are unable to protect their children from all adult content, but he disagrees with panicked parents who insist on “teachable moments,” contending, “we have to trust kids enough to leave them alone with a book” (245). Thus, Roger Sutton writes predominantly from a Postmodern perspective in his editorials about the image of childhood although he doesn’t always agree with Postmoderism’s tenets. He accepts that child-adult distinctions are often blurred and finds positives in this trend; he is unsettled by the commodification of the publishing industry and the use of sexuality in advertising for children; he acknowledges that children cannot be entirely protected from the adult world; and he discourages adults who would try to segregate young people from the adult world.  169  6.7  Conclusions The editorials concerning the image of childhood are less frequent than those  addressing communities of readers or critical themes, comprising only 64 of 416 editorials examined. The early editors, especially Bertha Mahony Miller and Jennie Lindquist, composed proportionately more editorials on this theme than did later editors and the images conveyed in these editorials offer a broad range of perspectives. Theorist Andrew Stables describes five major images of childhood—Aristotelian, Puritan, Liberal/Enlightenment, Romantic, and Postmodern—and argues that despite the appearance of these perspectives at different times in history, all coexist to some degree in contemporary society. The Aristotelian concept urges that children be cared for within a nuclear family and that they receive a liberal arts education in order to assume their future roles as citizens. The Puritan concept sees children as inherently bad and in need of salvation by adults. The Liberal/Enlightenment perspective views children as a tabula rasa (blank slate) and sees active learning as a path to personal improvement. The Romantic conception sees children as naturally good but in need of protection from the evil adult world; it also views children as inherently creative and capable of expressing themselves. The Postmodern view of childhood notes the blurring of distinctions between childhood and adulthood, an increased emphasis on commodification and sexuality, the impossibility of completely protecting children from the adult world, and increased segregation of children from the adult world. Two other theorists, Hugh Cunningham and Steven Mintz, also comment on the image of childhood. Cunningham finds that the tenets of Romanticism still hold sway in  170  contemporary society; Mintz observes a panic about childhood safety that is not supported by statistical data and a tightly regulated path to adulthood. All the Horn Book editors except Jennie Lindquist and Paul Heins convey the Aristotelian point of view at some point in their editorials. These 14 (of 64) editorials note the importance of the nuclear family, parents as a child’s first teacher, and the role of books in the family. Only two editors, Ruth Hill Viguers and Anita Silvey, mention the Puritan perspective in their editorials and in both cases (2 of 64) they disagree with its tenets, suggesting that this concept of childhood attempts to make miniature adults of children and that it proselytizes to them. All of the Horn Book editors, except Jennie Lindquist and Roger Sutton, express the Liberal/Enlightenment view of childhood (8 of 64 editorials). These editorials praise schools for experiential teaching and see that good books can help to make the right impression on the tabula rasa of childhood. More than half (33 of 64) of the image of childhood editorials express a Romantic point of view. These editorials stress protecting children from harm, encouraging creativity and imagination, embracing nature, and wishing all children a happy life. The Postmodern editorials about the image of children (7 of 64) address blurred distinctions between childhood and adulthood, increased exposure of children to commodification and sexuality, a knowledge that children cannot be completely protected from the adult world, and increased segregation of children in a prolonged childhood. Some of the Horn Book editors articulate a clear preference for one image of childhood over another, while others offer multiple views. Bertha Mahony Miller can be considered a strong Romantic, since almost all of her image of childhood editorials (21 of 23) express some Romantic elements. Jennie Lindquist composes fewer image of childhood  171  editorials, but all (6 of 64) convey Romantic views, marking her as a strong Romantic as well. Ruth Hill Viguers’s image of childhood editorials (10 of 64) range from Aristotelian to Liberal/Enlightenment to Romantic, but most are Aristotelian or Liberal/Enlightenment. Paul Heins composed only two editorials concerning the image of childhood; both communicate a Liberal/Enlightenment view, but this is such a small sample that it may not represent his views accurately. Ethel Heins’s image of childhood editorials (6 of 64) are predominantly Aristotelian, although she also conveys Liberal/Enlightenment views on occasion. Anita Silvey’s eight (of 64) editorials on the image of childhood are split almost evenly between Aristotelian and Romantic, with Romantic views predominating. Finally, Roger Sutton’s image of childhood editorials (9 of 64) predominantly express Postmodern views, although he occasionally writes from an Aristotelian or Romantic perspective. My analysis of Horn Book editorials concerning the image of childhood corroborates Andrew Stables’ thesis that all five conceptions of childhood (Aristotelian, Puritan, Liberal/Enlightenment, Romantic, and Postmodern) coexist in contemporary points of view. Although none of the Horn Book editors agrees with the Puritan image of childhood, their reactions against this perspective point to its continued existence in contemporary society. This analysis also confirms Hugh Cunningham’s contention that Romantic notions of childhood still dominate the discourse concerning the image of childhood, although that is not the case with the current editor, Roger Sutton. The most recent Postmodern editorials of Roger Sutton provide evidence to support Steven Mintz’s observation of a contradiction between Romanticized views of childhood as a carefree time and the realities of childhood as a segregated and tightly regulated path to adulthood.  172  Finally, it is interesting to note that the Horn Book editors who did not have children (Miller, Lindquist, Silvey, and Sutton) are most likely to express a Romantic image of childhood (Sutton excepted), while those who had children (Viguers, and Paul and Ethel Heins) are most likely to express an image other than Romantic or multiple viewpoints. It may be that those having daily contact with real children—such as might be experienced by parents and teachers (Paul and Ethel Heins both taught in the public schools)—are less likely to view children as innocents. Sutton’s views are at odds with this theory; it is possible that his gender (all the other childless editors are female) or his previously noted propensity for expressing things differently from his predecessors plays into his distinctive views of childhood. The following chapter addresses the results of my analysis of the socio-political themes in Horn Book editorials.  173  Chapter 7: Socio-Political Themes in Horn Book Editorials  7.1  Introduction The 90 editorials dealing with socio-political issues comprise nearly one quarter of  the total number (416) of Horn Book editorials under consideration. All seven editors address socio-political issues, although Ethel Heins and Roger Sutton compose proportionately more editorials with this focus than do the other editors. Bertha Mahony Miller penned 13 (of 106); Jennie Lindquist two (of 27); Ruth Hill Viguers nine (of 47); Paul Heins eight (of 36); Ethel Heins 21 (of 56); Anita Silvey 14 (of 65); and Roger Sutton 23 (of 79). Issues referenced include: good citizenship/patriotism; censorship; international books for children; education; technology; current events; multiculturalism; gender; and children’s literature publishing. In American Children’s Literature and the Construction of Childhood, Gail Schmunk Murray argues, “books written for children reveal [the] dominant culture, reflect its behavioral standards, and reinforce its gender-role expectations” (xv). Furthermore, she maintains, children’s literature is conservative in nature and has not historically encouraged “creativity, exploration of behaviors, or self-expression” (xvi). Although Murray’s remarks describe texts created for children and young adults, they also hold for true for texts written about children’s literature such as the Horn Book editorials. Murray also surveys American culture (including the culture of children’s publishing) from a chronological perspective, noting of the three decades following World War I (1920 – 1950) increases in legal protections for children, the development of organized clubs and activities for youth, and the proliferation of popular culture for children (145-6). Of children’s publishing, she observes heightened professional interest (new prizes, awards, and  174  celebrations) and a “cadre of editors, librarians, and teachers . . . [who served] as gatekeepers on just what constituted quality fiction” (146). She also points to American culture’s idealization of the nuclear family and a reluctance to portray “any unpleasantness in life” (146). Murray explicates the emphasis on patriotism and vigilance in American culture in the 1950s as “ideological weapons in the Cold War,” She argues that the continued discursive emphasis on the nuclear family in this period positioned the family “as the seedbed of democratic values . . . [and] the expression of woman’s proper place” (xviii). Murray also notes American culture of the 1960s and 1970s as a time of great political turmoil in the United States, when concerns about civil rights, Vietnam, and the counterculture predominated. She also observes a dramatic increase in this period in the publication of “problem novels” that openly discuss topics such as “divorce, masturbation, voyeurism, deliberate lying, menstruation, and sexual activity” (xviii). Beginning in the 1980s, Murray perceives a cultural decline in interest in “multicultural themes and diverse childhood experiences;” she also points to radical changes in the publishing industry since the 1990s, including mergers, buyouts, and downsizing as well as an increase in companies that produce children’s movies and television programs in addition to books (208). The last decades of the twentieth century are also characterized by the popularity of new series books (such as Scholastic’s Goosebump titles), increased paperback sales, a greater distribution of books to mass-market outlets than to libraries, and a growing sense of “family values,” a term that seems to stand for “school prayer, nuclear families for raising children, mothers at home with young children, anti-abortion, anti-pornography, anti-feminism, and antigovernment social programs” (209-10). Murray, quoting critic Jerry Griswold, also perceives  175  “contemporary interest in children’s literature as yet another manifestation of adult nostalgia for childhood” (qtd. in Murray 211). Murray, whose book was published in 1998, is reluctant to project trends too far into the twenty-first century, but she does foresee that white, middle class voices will not be the only ones represented in children’s literature; that children will continue spending more time with peers than parents and absorb their culture mostly from media; that adults will continue to mentor children through their writing, thus perpetuating their cultural values; and that stories for children will continue to portray children solving their own problems (211-2). She concludes: Children and childhood have become the pawns in an ideological war between those who advocate individual responsibility for families and social problems and those who would give governments and institutions broad powers over what happens to children. (212) This chapter describes the findings of my examination of the Horn Book editorials, published between 1924 and 2009, concerned with socio-political issues as viewed through the lens of Gail Schmunk Murray’s critical viewpoints. Editorials are categorized and discussed according to their themes: citizenship/patriotism; censorship; international books; education; technology; current events; multiculturalism; gender; and children’s literature publishing. 7.2  Editorials About Citizenship and Patriotism Ten of the 90 socio-political editorials, all authored by Bertha Mahony Miller,  address the theme of being a good citizen and patriot. In “Editorial,” (March 1933), Miller advises, “Try to know what life is like for everybody; try to live your own life with  176  imaginative and steady kindness; try to realize the adventure of ideas and the power of the spirit” (49). She recommends two children’s books that highlight these values, which she feels would “place common life in America on a basis of sincerity, dignity, security and joy” (49). Miller’s November 1936 “Good Will and Christmas,” reiterates this theme; she asks, “Why should not America—a country of settlers, representative of the peoples of the earth— develop a consistent national policy—a policy of good will?” (265). During World War II (1941-1945), Miller’s comments become more fervently patriotic, sometimes reflecting frustrations about the progress of the war. In “Seedbed for Heroes” (March 1942), she urges that children “be given a sense of the high significance of these days,” so that they will understand the “obligations of democracy” and not be tempted to try out “various extreme and oppressive theories of society and government” (75). In September 1943, she also advises that children develop “Integrity and Idealism,” because it will help them to shoulder their postwar responsibilities. Miller insists these values are “gained in homes like the home in the ‘Little House’ books” of Laura Ingalls Wilder (285). Miller’s January 1944 “Ultimate Goals” editorial makes the point that Americans must “consider what is best not only for Americans but for the whole world” (5); in a nod to her assumed upper middle class audience, Miller’s July 1944 “The Great Frontier” looks forward to a postwar era when young people can again vacation abroad, thereby broadening their understanding of the world (259); and in “Youth and the World Today” (March 1945), she looks forward to “literature of the coming centuries” in which the cruel and heroic experiences of the war will be described (81). Miller’s postwar editorials express hopes for peace, acknowledgment of the fear of communism, and a plea that refugee children not be neglected. In “Peacetime Resistance”  177  (January 1946), Miller defines resistance as recognition of recent sufferings, offering help to the needy, remembering those who gave their lives, and embracing world brotherhood (9). Her January 1947 editorial, “Hope is Creative,” takes an open-minded approach to the threat of communism. Reminding readers of the suffering of the Russians and that their country is in a terrible condition, she urges understanding (7). Finally, “Christmas—1948” (November 1948) takes Americans to task for “deserting the world’s children in their dire need” by not contributing to the United Nations Children’s Fund (421). As forecast by Murray’s descriptions of American culture between 1920 and 1950, Bertha Mahony Miller’s editorials concerning citizenship and patriotism (spanning the years from 1933 to 1948) demonstrate a concern for good citizenship and kindly behavior, a preference for American democracy, and a belief that the nuclear family is the best place to learn these values. Miller does not express strong anti-communist views, but she does caution against extreme and oppressive forms of government; and, in some editorials, she speaks directly to her upper middle-class audience, who will return to vacationing abroad once the war is ended. 7.3  Editorials About Censorship Eleven editorials concerning censorship of materials for children and young adults  appear throughout the history of Horn Book, most since 1997. Bertha Mahony Miller, Paul Heins, and Anita Silvey pen one each; Ethel Heins two; and Roger Sutton six. Bertha Mahony Miller’s “Light-Hearted, Not Heavy-Footed!” (September 1948) argues that Hugh Lofting’s The Story of Doctor Doolittle (1920) should not be censored despite Lofting’s stereotypical depictions of African characters. Calling these characters “fun,” she asks that  178  readers not “banish” the book because, “To enjoy fun at our own expense is real maturity, whether in an individual or a people” (337). Paul Heins’ January 1973 “In Protest” contends that just as young readers should not be censored from reading Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (1964), Horn Book should not be censored from printing Eleanor Cameron’s negative views of the book. Responding to readers who protested Cameron’s October 1972 Horn Book article, “McLuhan, Youth, and Literature,” Heins declares, “To deny freedom of expression either to an author or to a magazine—especially regarding a literary judgment—is to invite censorship and is tantamount to suggesting that totalitarian methods are superior to democratic methods” (15). Equally strident in her opposition to censorship is Ethel Heins, whose December 1980 editorial, “Absit Omen,” chides librarians at the San Francisco Public Library for banning Pamela Travers’ Mary Poppins (1934) for its treatment of minority peoples (606-7). Labeling this censorship “the kind of attack C. S. Lewis once called not literary criticism but ‘a form of social and ethical hygiene,’” Heins argues for “grown-up champions of wit, taste, common sense, and good will,” who will presumably promote books like Mary Poppins to children (607). In her final editorial, “Mining the Past—For the Future” (November 1984), Heins broadens her definition of censorship to include ignoring older classics. Claiming “the modern way of permitting vital children’s books to slip into oblivion constitutes, in effect, a kind of unwitting suppression” (723-4), she contends that letting these books slip away “jeopardiz[es] a literary tradition” (723).  179  Anita Silvey’s March 1994 editorial, “Killing Books,” takes note of the changing practice of censorship, which can no longer be considered simply an issue of “book selection vs. censorship:” . . . this new brand of censorship involves parents trying to remove any book, from a bookstore or library, that they find in any way objectionable or contrary to their own lifestyle. And when the book can’t be removed by normal procedure, it has simply been stolen from the shelves. (132) Silvey is appalled by this trend and urges librarians to “fight for the diversity of the literature that we present to children” and to “affirm that we have a responsibility to keep books from being killed” (133). Roger Sutton is equally vociferous in his opposition to censorship, often going on the offensive against those who would restrict young readers. In “Family Focus” (March 1997), Sutton introduces Horn Book’s family-themed issue by asking provocatively, “Why should James Dobson (founder of the evangelical Christian organization Focus on the Family) get to have all the fun?” (116-7). Reasoning that libraries are already family friendly because they provide “comprehensive collections, allowing each family, regardless of social or political stripe, to find what it wants,” he advises: “we say that we welcome them to accompany their children to the library in order to stand guard—whoops, I mean, provide guidance—over what their children select from the shelves” (116). In November 1998 “Rating Reading,” Sutton rejects a reader request for a “rating system” for children’s books in Horn Book reviews. Maintaining that alerting librarians to sex, profanity, and other potential controversies in a book results in “proscription,” he concludes, “what business have we presuming what’s going to give you the willies?” (662).  180  Sutton weighs in on another example of proscription in May 2007, with “Here’s Why It’s Censorship.” Citing the controversy surrounding Susan Patron’s Newbery-winning book The Higher Power of Lucky (2006), Sutton argues that librarians who exclude Patron’s book from library collections “because of the presence of the word scrotum” are practicing censorship. Although conceding, “there is no law of libraryland that says every library has to include every Newbery winner,” Sutton contends, “there is a law saying you can’t exclude a book because you don’t approve of one of the words it uses. It’s in article 2 of ALA’s Library Bill of Rights.” And he concludes, “Anyone who has a problem with scrotum or other “objectionable” words might as well put this issue of the Horn Book down now, as it is chock-full of . . . aw, nuts” (228). Sutton also speaks out about the “language police” in two different editorials—taking different sides in each case. In “Book ‘em” (July 2003) Sutton disagrees with author Diane Ravitch (The Language Police: How Pressure Groups Restrict What Students Learn, 2003). Although Sutton concedes Ravitch has a point—“guidelines for language and content enforced by market-wary educational publishers are frequently ludicrous and wrongheaded”—he labels her book “repetitive, unevenly documented, and overwrought,” and suggests Ravitch does not know enough about children’s literature to critique it (387-8). In “Easy Targets” (July 2004), Sutton responds to two letters to the editor complaining about recent Horn Book usage of expletives. Sutton references a May 2004 Horn Book article (“Tigers and Poodles and Birds, Oh My!”), in which Tim Wynne-Jones cites a vulgarism used in Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (2003), and a November 2003 interview with Maurice Sendak (“An Interview With Maurice Sendak”) in which Sendak responds to several of Sutton’s questions casually, using another expletive.  181  Despite the fact that neither article is aimed at children, Sutton is rather subdued in his response to critics. Admitting, “Questions about what’s fit for young eyes and ears never, ever go away,” Sutton claims, “the urge to censor is just a variation on the urge to bully, and the youngest and smallest are the easiest targets” (372). Finally, in “Worth the Trouble” (September 2009) Sutton introduces a themed-issue on troublemakers. Acknowledging that the various groups with an interest in children’s literature (parents, librarians, ethnic and religious minorities) have made both “better books for children and constrained the genre with shifting but ever present boundaries,” Sutton contends that “books are all about breaking rules,” and “the fact that somebody finds a book important enough to control is proof that books and reading are worth the trouble they stir up” (453-4). Thus, the editors of Horn Book, through their editorials, have confronted and resisted the efforts of censors of books for children and young adults. Bertha Mahony Miller and Ethel Heins oppose those who would ban beloved classics in the name of political correctness, while Paul Heins and Anita Silvey argue for the freedom to provide children with multiple viewpoints. Roger Sutton supports the concept of providing comprehensive library collections containing opposing viewpoints as well, but goes further than the previous editors in challenging the rights and beliefs of would-be censors. Although Miller and Ethel Heins both challenge censorship, their purposes, as envisaged by Murray, are conservative (used here to mean traditional or conventional) in that they want to preserve the status quo by keeping questioned classics within the children’s literature canon. Paul Heins and Anita Silvey argue from a middle ground that it is important to provide a wide range of materials and let parents decide what they want their children to read. Roger Sutton’s often combative  182  rhetorical style and perspective can hardly be labeled conservative or traditional, but his defense of a child’s rights to read what they want (even if their parents disagree) speaks to the ideological war cited by Murray in which parents and families spar with governments and institutions with children caught in the middle. 7.4  Editorials About International Books for Children Six Horn Book editors (excepting Ruth Hill Viguers) have composed twelve  editorials about the importance of providing children with books originating in countries other than the United States. Bertha Mahony Miller and Jennie Lindquist penned one each, Anita Silvey and Roger Sutton two each, and Paul and Ethel Heins three each. Miller’s March 1940 “Thy Kingdom Come” notes, “We live at a time when the life of the world has become as closely knit as that of a village.” Arguing that many of the world’s problems could be solved if Americans read more books about other countries, she concludes, “Children in America today through their fine books live as friends with children all over the world” (81). Jennie Lindquist makes the point that all people are basically the same in her January 1955 “‘One World’ of Children’s Books.” Observing the many letters she receives from readers outside the United States, Lindquist comments, They are from people of one world, who have the same basic sense of values, the same enthusiasm for a subject that concerns us all, a common interest that ‘crosses all frontiers’ and helps, at least in some small measure, to form one of the many bonds that are needed to keep the UN [United Nations] alive. (11) Paul Heins’ editorials on this theme speak to more than a passing interest in international children’s books. He endorses International Children’s Book Day (a celebration sponsored by the International Board on Books for Young People--IBBY); attends the  183  Loughborough International Conference on children’s literature; and praises IBBY founder Jella Lepman. In March 1972 (“In the Mainstream of Children’s Literature”), Heins reminds readers that April 2nd is International Children’s Book Day, a celebration originated by Lepman (founder of both the International Youth Library in Munich and IBBY). Contending, “children’s reading has never been limited by language or locale,” Heins urges Horn Book readers to think of children’s literature as “a branch of comparative literature” (111). In September 1972 (“Loughborough in Denmark”), Heins reports on his attendance at The International Course on Children’s Literature held in Denmark the previous summer. Although acknowledging some differences of opinion among the participants between “those who desire children’s books to play a social—and even a political—role in the community and those whose aims are more modestly humanistic,” Heins asserts that Lepman’s 1947 goals for international understanding and peace “were realities at the Loughborough Conference of 1972” (431). Finally, in November 1972 (“Good Will Toward Men”), Heins quotes from Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s undelivered Nobel Lecture, in which Solzhenitsyn asserts that literature is “a certain common body and common spirit, a living unit of the heart, which reflect[s] the growing spiritual unity of humanity” (qtd. in Heins 555). Heins concludes that Jella Lepman’s “ideals have certainly fostered good will” (555). Ethel Heins, too, writes of international conferences of children’s literature as well as the International Year of the Child, cited in the previous chapter. In “Loughborough 1978” (November 1977) and “A Fait Accompli” (November 1978), she describes the Loughborough conference as having lively and intimate discussions where “ties can be strengthened, mutual problems considered, differences aired, and ideas generated” (“Loughborough 1978” 631); the following year she describes the Loughborough conference held at Framingham State  184  College in Massachusetts (“Fait” 607). In both editorials, she displays a sincere enthusiasm for international books. Finally, in December 1983 (“Meeting of Minds”), Heins describes a conference at Sweden’s University of Umea and Loughborough ’83, convened in Wales. Calling these conferences “totally different in approach, organization, and setting yet linked by faith and purpose, [they] ultimately proclaimed the urgency and the vitality of children’s literature—for children” (670-1). Anita Silvey’s comments on this theme derive from a trip to the Soviet Union and her attendance at an IBBY conference. Her September 1990 “A Riddle Wrapped in a Mystery,” calls the Soviet Union “a country in the midst of a tremendous upheaval,” and suggests that despite having spent two weeks viewing Soviet publishing houses, she is not sure she understands Soviet publishing for children (536). Her November 1990 “To Dream Together,” recounts Silvey’s attendance at the 22nd IBBY congress, held in Williamsburg, Virginia. Silvey describes the presentation of the Hans Christian Andersen Award to Lisbeth Zwerger and Tormod Haugen; an exhibit of American picture book art; and an address by then First Lady of Egypt, Suzanne Mubarak, who spoke on the Egyptian children’s publishing industry. Silvey concludes, “all over the world there are many who believe in literature of quality and who want to make that dream a reality for all children” (660-1). Roger Sutton comments about the viability of publishing translated books for children and a visit to the International Youth Library in Munich. In “Click Here” (May 1997), Sutton explains that Dutton publisher Christopher Franceschelli couldn’t afford to publish Bjarne Reuter’s The End of the Rainbow (1996) in paper, so he published it online. Surprisingly, Sutton’s concern is not the decline in marketability of foreign fiction for children; rather, he questions whether a hypertext document is a still a book and whether people will “read” or  185  “view” it (247-8). In “Here and There and HCA” (November 2005), Sutton writes from the perspective of having recently visited the International Youth Library in Munich and the Frankfurt Book Fair. Of German publishing for children, he notes publishers located in several cities (rather than in a central hub), books sold at a price set by the publisher with no discounting, and a lack of documentation in nonfiction books (645-6). Thus, all of the Horn Book editors except Ruth Hill Viguers express the hope that American children will have access to international books for children. Bertha Mahony Miller and Jennie Lindquist assume that these books will promote peace and world understanding. Paul and Ethel Heins not only view international titles as important for children, but also enthusiastically involve themselves in international organizations that promote these books. Anita Silvey comments on international books and publishing as a result of travel, but she seems less committed to this issue than the Heinses. Finally, Roger Sutton’s two editorials address international publishing but without much enthusiasm; one is more concerned with format than the decline in publishing translated books; the other focuses on publishing practices rather than the books themselves. These findings correlate with Murray’s observation of a decline in interest in multicultural (and by extension international) literature after 1980. Although international titles such as J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series sometimes garner much attention in the popular press, books originating in countries other than the United States represent only a small percentage of the titles published in a given year. According to records kept by Madison, Wisconsin’s Cooperative Children’s Book Center the number of juveniles (books for children and young adults) published annually between 1995 and 2012 has ranged from about 2800 to 5000, depending on the year (“CCBC Choices”); the  186  number of US juveniles originating outside the United States ranges from about 200 to 400, as reported by members of USBBY’s Outstanding International Books for Children and Young Adults Committee (USBBY); and the number of translated juveniles has ranged from 41 – 78 during 1995 – 2012 (“CCBC Choices”). While these numbers do not demonstrate a decline in international books available to US children, they do indicate that this segment of juvenile publishing remains at best very small, and that contemporary American children do not in fact have wide access to books from other countries. Silvey and Sutton’s subdued responses to international publishing may perhaps be more indicative of what is currently available than of their own personal opinions on the topic. 7.5  Editorials About Education Four Horn Book editors have spoken out about education, particularly as it relates to  reading. These thirteen editorials include three by Ruth Hill Viguers, six by Ethel Heins, and two each by Anita Silvey and Roger Sutton. In “Ivan, Johnny, and Literacy” (January 1962), Viguers criticizes American schools for providing children with books containing a “limited vocabulary,” thus depriving them of “a solid knowledge of literature, foreign languages, history, and geography.” By contrast, she claims “Soviet children are reading folk tales, poetry, and selections from Tolstoy, Pushkin, Chekhov, and Gorky” (20-1). Her March 1962 “Value Received” also stresses the importance of education, as Viguers recalls a cobbler she once knew who told her he “always enjoyed paying the tuition money” for his three children. Reminding readers of Americans’ “casual acceptance of privileges,” she urges cutting back on commercial purchases so that children can “receive those values which great teaching can give them” (135). And in “Good Reading” (July 1962), Viguers encourages librarians to spend their time telling stories, reading aloud, and providing good books rather than  187  developing “star-studded certificates” for summer reading programs: “[The child] does not want ‘rewards’ nor does he need the stimulation of competition” (335). Ethel Heins, who worked as both a public library children’s librarian and a school librarian, expresses opinions about education more frequently than the other Horn Book editors. In January 1975 (“A Sense of Urgency”), Heins writes to concur with British public librarian Janet Hill’s ideas about library work in urban settings. Heins cites Hill’s missionary zeal in “minister [ing] to all of the children in a community,” and for taking her work “out into the community” where her focus is on children (14-5). In her May 1975 “The Misuse of Literature,” Heins faults “many elementary school teachers” for “never having been readers beyond classroom requirements” and for “looking upon books as teaching tools . . . rather than as sources of ecstasy which can be powerful allies in the true business of education.” Heins goes on to mention the “corruption of Charlotte’s Web” with teaching guides that include “endless questions and activities and projects” (239). Heins also criticizes teachers in “Creativity” (November 1975) for “according undiscriminating attention to the writings of untaught children.” Arguing that teachers put undue faith in “prepackaged kits and formula assignments,” Heins stresses the importance of reading fine poetry and learning something of its craft and tools (555). In “Taking Stock” (March 1976), Heins addresses the “decline in verbal proficiency among students during the last ten years” highlighted in the December 8, 1975 issue of Newsweek magazine. Heins places the onus on television, “which soaks up so much of children’s time, discourages their natural linguistic ingenuity, and makes so few intellectual demands,” although she feels school must assume some of the responsibility, too, for using audiovisual materials which “only repeat the verbal banalities of television” (114-5). Heins  188  takes aim at education as administered by the public library in “Librarianship—A Business or Profession?” (August 1977). She criticizes librarians for acquiring “managerial skills” rather than focusing on “stretching the minds and kindl[ing] the imaginations of the young,” arguing that “it is only when they [librarians] can speak directly to children with intellectual conviction and emotional fire that they have any hope of reclaiming the wilderness of boredom, apathy, and ignorance in which so many young people are hopelessly wandering” (398-9). Finally, in “‘Banzai!’” (July 1978) Heins rails against California’s Proposition 13 (which decreased property taxes, resulting in funding cuts to schools and libraries) asserting, “the greatest aim of education should be to turn children into humane human beings” (359). Anita Silvey’s comments about education reflect her opinions about reading. In “California Reading Initiative” (September 1986), she contends, quoting librarian and critic Frances Clarke Sayers, “In an effort to enliven and enrich the business of teaching reading, the mechanics of reading has encroached upon the ultimate purpose of reading, the art of reading” (qtd. in Silvey 549). Silvey applauds California’s initiative to provide students with access to “good books,” and hopes it will be successful. In “The Year of the Reader” (September 1987), Silvey is unenthusiastic that the United States federal government declared 1987 the Year of the Reader, finding that such proclamations “have little to do with the reality of children and books.” Citing her recent travels to libraries across the country, she contends, “individual enthusiasm and individual passion are the most important elements in getting good books to children” (567). Roger Sutton, too, makes the point that reading is important, although he is willing to accept more latitude than his predecessors in the definition of “reading.” In “More is More” (September 2004), Sutton debates some of the findings of the National Endowment for the  189  Arts report on reading. Although he doesn’t contest that “Americans are reading fewer books than they used to,” he does quarrel with the narrow definition of “literary reading” (restricted to books of “fiction, plays, or poetry”), contending that audio books, digital books, and magazines should be considered “reading” as well. Sutton is sure that stories will survive, but they may come in different formats than the traditional codex “book” (502). In “Real Reading” (September 2008), Sutton hopes for a convergence between “reading-for-school and reading-for-fun.” Reasoning that books can bring “school and home, children and adults, and teachers and librarians” together, he reminds readers, “the curriculum has been good for children’s books, too, widening their audience and horizons” (484). Thus, four of Horn Book’s editors have written about education, particularly as it relates to reading and libraries. Ruth Hill Viguers values education, wishes schools would use trade books instead of controlled vocabulary readers, and feels reading should be its own reward. Ethel Heins criticizes teachers for their lack of knowledge of children’s literature and for ruining the literature they do teach with endless questions and activities. She also criticizes librarians for spending too much time on managerial duties at the expense of time with children and books. Anita Silvey applauds California’s efforts to get good children’s books into the classroom, but feels the Federal government’s declaration of The Year of the Reader misses the point of reading for its intrinsic value. Finally, Roger Sutton argues for a wider definition of reading that includes non-book items, and urges librarians to appreciate the fact that education/curriculum has been good for the children’s book industry. Overall, these views represent a rather conservative, mainstream perspective that sees education and reading as important American values, as expected by Murray. Ruth Hill Viguers’ examination of American and Soviet education styles reflects the Cold War competition  190  between these two nations; Ethel Heins’ distrust of television and audiovisual materials and Roger Sutton’s acceptance of these alternative formats as “reading” result from increases in media offerings by children’s publishers as well as a growing acceptance that these non-book alternatives have value. It’s worth noting here that these Horn Book editors—excepting Sutton—seem to ascribe value in reading only when it involves “good” books which are presumably a part of the library canon of children’s literature, a rather conservative/old-fashioned point of view. Sutton does not appear to be arguing against reading from the canon, but rather for the necessity of broadening the definition of “reading” to include non-canonical and nontraditional materials as well. 7.6  Editorials About Technology Four of the Horn Book editors express opinions about technology—some of it  negative. Ruth Hill Viguers composed one editorial; Ethel Heins three; Anita Silvey five, and Roger Sutton one. In “Life and Lasers” (July 1964), Viguers laments the possible use of lasers to fell large trees in minutes and the speed with which she sees the modern world advancing. “We assume that the motto is, of course, ‘Whatever is worth doing at all is worth doing quickly,’” she asserts, adding, “the education of the human heart is a slow, neverending process” (343). Viguers’ reaction seems to be, why change if things are working well? Ethel Heins expresses similar sentiments in “Present Shock: A Push Button Culture” (April 1981). She criticizes upstate New York’s Clarkson College for replacing its library with “a sparkling new multimillion-dollar structure loaded with such contemporary trappings as computers, videotape decks, and a television studio—but no books.” The fact that the  191  college made this decision based on advice from industry rather than its own faculty makes Heins’ “head spin;” she defends traditional book libraries, concluding, “are we not in mortal danger of throwing out the baby with the bath water?” (158-9). It’s hard to argue with Heins’ point of view regarding a bookless library, but her perspective appears defensive about the idea that technology can be worthwhile. In “The Humanities at Bay” (October 1982), Heins mourns the decline of the humanities in higher education at the expense of engineering, business, law, and computer science. Quoting Rutgers University president Dr. Edward Bloustein, Heins notes “we are entering a post-industrial, information-based, ‘technetronic’ age and . . . higher education must ‘assume an increasingly critical role for the economic well-being of our nation’” (qtd. in Heins 486-7). She counters with the views of Dr. Samuel Banks, president of Dickinson College: “‘The liberal arts will not simply provide a neatly packaged product such as a guaranteed job.’ Education ‘is a transforming experience, not something that you purchase on the four-year installment plan’” (qtd. in Heins 487). Heins follows up this editorial with “Bits and Bytes—and Books?” (April 1983), speculating about the future of technology and print. Conceding that technology is here to stay, she nevertheless worries about those who are “obsessed” with it and the effect it might have on children: “Can it be that the tail is wagging the dog?” (134-5). Although she allows, “using computers intelligently demands a high degree of traditional literacy,” she urges librarians to remind children that “books are supremely ‘user-friendly’” (135). Anita Silvey’s five technology editorials sometimes express frustration when new tools don’t meet her expectations, but she is always open to the improvements that technology can bring. In “Taking to the Air” (September 1985), Silvey announces Horn Book’s new venture producing radio spots for National Public Radio. Silvey sees this format  192  as another way of ‘“blowing the horn” for good books for children and young adults (525). In “Prayers and Incantations” (March 1991), she describes the headaches involved in updating Horn Book’s “wonderfully quaint circulation system,” which involves plastic name plates for each subscriber. Although this update results in many subscribers receiving either no delivery or duplicates, Silvey thanks everyone for their patience, even finding positives in the debacle, which “allowed us to talk with many of you . . . to feel in touch with the people who have supported The Horn Book Magazine for so many years” (133-4). Horn Book’s move to desktop publishing transpired with far less consternation, it seems. Although two issues were delayed, as Silvey explains in “Gutenberg and the Scribes” (July 1992), she is amazed at the ease of the new system: “Now, as I sit at the computer and write, typeset, design, and proofread this editorial, I can’t help but wonder how technology will change publishing in the future” (388). In “Dedicated Circuits” (January 1994), Silvey describes the decisions regarding technology required by the construction of Horn Book’s new offices. While she feels at a loss in answering questions such as “How many dedicated circuits do you want?” she assures readers that the magazine is “dedicated to its subscribers” (4). Finally, in “Old Dogs Learning New Tricks” (May 1994), Silvey describes her own tentative steps into cyberspace. While she claims to be a “technopeasant” she more than adequately describes several listservs related to children’s books and urges readers to email her at Horn Book (260-1). Roger Sutton is very comfortable with technology, whether it be desktop publishing, maintaining a web site presence, writing blog posts, or composing “tweets” for his two Twitter accounts. Sutton rarely editorializes about technology—perhaps because he simply accepts it. In “Starting a New Chapter” (November 2008), he describes his experience using  193  Amazon’s Kindle as an e-book reader. He notes he is “motivated by the push-button novelty” and finds “searching much easier,” but he observes “browsing . . . is impossible” and concludes, “the Kindle is not nearly as good for reading a novel as a novel is” (629-30). Thus, the Horn Book editors offer differing views of technology. Ruth Hill Viguers and Ethel Heins are skeptical regarding the use of technology and apprehensive about the negative effects it will have, especially on children. Anita Silvey, who edited Horn Book during a time of great technological change, embraces technology for the improvements it can bring to Horn Book, even though her experiences with it are sometimes less than positive. Roger Sutton accepts technology mostly without comment, although he does admit to mixed feelings about e-books. Although Murray does not specifically address technology, these views are in keeping with her general assessment of writing for and about children—it reveals the beliefs of the dominant culture of the time. Americans of the 1960s and 1970s (like Ruth Hill Viguers and Ethel Heins) worried about the changes technology would bring to their lives; those of the 1980s and 1990s (like Anita Silvey) saw their jobs revolutionized by technology; and since the turn of the century Americans (like Roger Sutton) take technology for granted (with a few exceptions). 7.7  Editorials About Current Events Although Horn Book is not an overtly political magazine and has never made a  practice of regularly commenting on current events, all of the editors have editorialized about these occurrences. Bertha Mahony Miller, Jennie Lindquist, Ruth Hill Viguers, Ethel Heins, and Anita Silvey contribute one editorial each; Paul Heins two; and Roger Sutton four. Bertha Mahony Miller marks President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s death (“Franklin Delano Roosevelt” May 1945) with an announcement and a quote from Pericles (155), but she does  194  not include personal remarks. Jennie Lindquist addresses the plight of Hungarian refugees coming to the United States in “To Save Time” (January 1957), commenting that she hopes Americans will share the best of what they have with these new immigrants, including “good stories and pictures, the best recordings of music and the fun of nature and the out-of-doors” (17). Ruth Hill Viguers comments on the death of President John F. Kennedy. In “To the New Day” (January 1964), she compares the darkness of “that desolate Friday in November” to the death of Baldur in Norse mythology. She urges those who work with children not to give up, but to “help . . . lift the twilight. We have the obligation to try” (23). Paul Heins editorializes about the 1968 deaths of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy, as well as the energy crisis of 1974. In “Indifference and Hope” (July 1968), Heins draws attention to the problem of violence in America. Insisting these assassinations “can scarcely be considered historical accidents,” Heins calls violence “the distorted image of indifference” which can “breed the violence of the ‘have nots’ against the ‘haves’ and result in revolutions and riots.” He also claims “sensationalism and violence [have] become commonplace,” and recommends storytelling as an antidote (381). In “The Spiritual Energy Crisis” (January 1974), Heins celebrates Horn Book’s 50th Anniversary by referencing the crises cited by previous editors in 1944 (World War II), 1954 (too much emphasis on prosperity), and 1964 (the assassination of John F. Kennedy). Calling America’s problems with the high cost of energy 1974’s crisis, Heins argues that it calls “for a constant awareness that the true energy crisis is a spiritual energy crisis” (15). In a similar vein, Ethel Heins addresses the recession of 1981-2 in “A Legacy Recalled” (June 1981). Citing the probable early closing of Boston’s financially bankrupt public schools and Boston Public Library’s need to shutter 26 branches because of deep cuts  195  to their budget, she laments that “chaos and crises daily become entrenched normalities.” Calling branch libraries “equal opportunity at its simplest—a noncompulsory opening to any child, of any color, of any origin, to read as far as his mind would let him go,” Heins wishes for a return to dependable public services (270-1). Anita Silvey mentions the first Persian Gulf War (1990-1991) in “Playing our Violins” (May 1991). Declaring the war particularly difficult for children whose “family— fathers or mothers—[serve] in the military overseas,” Silvey calls on “those of us who work with children . . .[to] do what we are trained to do: to put into children’s hands today those books that may help them resolve the fears raised by the war” (262). While his predecessors comment only rarely about current events, Roger Sutton does so much more frequently. In “A Governing Faith” (November 2001), Sutton introduces a special issue on politics and religion with reference to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Although the issue was largely complete before the attacks, Sutton notes some changes were made, including changing a reference to “shooting down a suggestion.” Still, Sutton worries, “What do we tell the children?” He also wonders does providing books to “help” give “books at once too much credit and not enough?” (645-6). He follows up in September 2002 with “Not Just a Walk in the Park,” which cites books that honor the first anniversary of September 11. Sutton is candid about what he likes (Maira Kalman’s Fireboat: The Heroic Adventures of the John J. Harvey, 2002) and dislikes (Lynne Cheney’s America: A Patriotic Primer, 2002), calling the former “first and foremost a story” and the latter “a classic slugfest of form and content, serving neither the alphabet nor the point” (499-500). Sutton also addresses two editorials to First Lady Laura Bush—a trained librarian. In “The Truth’s Superb Surprise” (March 2003), Sutton criticizes Mrs. Bush for cancelling a  196  White House symposium celebrating Langston Hughes, Emily Dickinson, and Walt Whitman because some of the invitees promised to protest the Iraq War. Sutton criticizes Bush for forgetting that “poets are troublemakers,” and poet Sam Hamill for refusing the invitation outright. Sutton also regrets that writers for children “merit attention [from the White House] only when we make money or trouble” (136-7). Finally, in “Another Letter to the First Librarian” (March 2005), Sutton asks Mrs. Bush to stand up as “First Librarian” in order to explain the importance of Darwin’s theory of the origin of the species to American parents and teachers, so that “students are prepared for a life that will extend beyond any political borders, not to mention giving them an education that will allow them entrance to any college or career as good as their talent and diligence will allow” (131-2). In an impassioned defense of evolution over intelligent design, Sutton argues “to dilute science with religion only waters down both” (132). Here Sutton demonstrates a bias against individuals with special interests who determine curricula for all; this tongue-in-cheek letter derives its humor from the fact that Bush’s husband, President George W. Bush, supported the idea that intelligent design should be taught in the public schools and that evolution should be considered only a “theory.” Thus, the editors of Horn Book have all remarked upon current events. Most comments are general in nature, avoid a partisan viewpoint, and connect in some way with children’s books. Roger Sutton is the exception to this rule, commenting more frequently than his predecessors and asserting that individuals and pressure groups should not be allowed to dictate the curricula of public schools. Murray asserts that those writing about children’s literature express conservative views revealing the dominant culture and that holds true for all the editors except Sutton.  197  Although it is possible that Sutton mentions current events more often than his predecessors simply for contrarian reasons—certainly he does not often write in the same vein as the other editors—it seems more likely that Sutton is reacting to deeply divided factions operating in the United States, in which religious belief supplants scientific fact and those who question authority are viewed as unpatriotic. 7.8  Editorials About Multiculturalism Every Horn Book editor except Jennie Lindquist has expressed an appreciation for  multiple cultures and worked to promote their inclusion in books for children and young adults. Bertha Mahony Miller penned one editorial on this theme; Ruth Hill Viguers three; and Paul Heins, Ethel Heins, Anita Silvey, and Roger Sutton two each. In “The World Republic of Childhood” (July 1943), Miller laments that even as “America is now fighting a terrible war against injustice . . . at the same time within our own boundaries American citizens are persecuting helpless minorities in the evil fashion of our enemies.” Miller argues for the fair treatment of all, “of whatever race or color,” and urges using children’s books to accomplish this goal (203). In “Who Are Their Heroes?” (January 1959), Ruth Hill Viguers applauds a handful of young people from southern states “who had the conviction to resist the ‘massive resistance’ to school integration of their elders” (15). Viguers speculates on the identities of these young people’s heroes, and hopes that they find them in books. Later, in “To ‘Enlarge the Village’” (January 1961), Viguers expresses discouragement in describing a visit to New York by some young people from a small town in Indiana. She faults parents and teachers for failing to prepare these young people “for a world beyond their horizon,” reminds Horn Book subscribers “contentment with one’s small corner . . . is no longer a virtue,” and that reading  198  can “enlarge the village” (19). While Viguers does not specifically mention other cultures in this editorial, she is more explicit in “A Pinch of This and A Dash of That” (February 1966). In this editorial she responds to Nancy Larrick’s groundbreaking September 1965 Saturday Review article, “The All White World of Children’s Books.” Viguers accepts the need for “more Negro writers . . . [and] more Negro heroes in children’s books,” but she wants the books presented to children to be literature rather than contrived writing “put together like a casserole and seasoned with a pinch of this and a dash of that” (18-9). Paul Heins’ two editorials on this theme address the great demand for multicultural books and questions about their authenticity. In “That Ecstasy Which Comes from Knowing that One Is a Human Being . . .” (March 1969), Heins makes mention of the thirty books “dealing with Negro life” selected for review during 1968 by Horn Book. Calling these books “a rich harvest of writing by both black and white writers” composed to “bolster the morale of black people,” Heins says they were selected for their excellence (141). Later, in “A Need for Exploration” (July 1972), he addresses the issue of cultural authenticity: who should be allowed to write books about the black experience and who should be allowed to evaluate them? Heins is careful not to voice an opinion here; he acknowledges that authenticity of authorship is important but says it “needs the support of skill,” and although he says books about the black experience are intended for blacks, he sees no reason that these titles cannot also appeal to (and be appreciated by) whites (335). Ethel Heins also weighs in on books depicting the African-American experience and the state of those books in children’s literature. In “Irrigating Deserts” (March 1975), Heins takes issue with Interracial Books for Children author Albert V. Schwartz, who states: “White readers who empathize with the misery of the Black Experience can feel virtuous. To  199  feel virtuous is to feel superior . . . But by thus feeling compassion, whites are relieved of the need to change society” (qtd. in Heins 111). Heins counters, “indifference is a far more insidious enemy than compassion” and the role of literature is to “educate the emotions of the young” (111). In “A Random Sample” (April 1978) Heins responds to a January 8, 1978 article in The New York Times, in which a Harvard University study concludes, “Children’s Books Depicting Blacks, While Rising, Are Still Only 1 in 7.” Heins criticizes the Harvard study’s methodology (a random sampling) saying it had very little to do with “literary criticism,” and concludes, “creative literature is an art and not a social science . . . it cannot be manufactured to specifications, and . . . corseting the minds of writers will only drive the imagination into exile” (134-5). Anita Silvey also touches on the topic of “who should write books about children from various cultures” in her editorial “Varied Carols” (March 1993). Silvey makes a distinction between universals (stories that could happen to any child) and stories that are culturally specific, reflecting “the nuances of behavior, speech and patterns of life of a particular culture,” arguing that “those who come from within the culture” should be the ones creating culturally specific books (132-3). In “A Fire Bell in the Night” (March 1995), Silvey introduces a multicultural-themed issue of Horn Book by recounting a personal anecdote from 1966 in which she tried—and failed—to find culturally diverse books to use with a group of inner-city children from Fort Wayne, Indiana. Silvey is grateful that many such titles are currently available, but she worries, “are we truly providing titles that are meaningful and lasting?” (116-7). Roger Sutton’s editorials concerning multiculturalism address the difficulties in evaluating multicultural books (when the reviewer has no lived experience of the culture  200  described) and introduce a special multicultural issue of Horn Book. In ‘“Now, Why’s He Got To Come Back To That?”’ (May 1999), Sutton admits Horn Book passed up reviewing Carolivia Herron’s Nappy Hair (Knopf 1997) because “we didn’t know if we were allowed to enjoy it” (260-1). As an outsider to the culture of nappy hair Sutton is confused: Here was a book by an African-American writer speaking to African-American culture in an African-American voice, published by a mainstream New York publisher. This is what we thought we wanted. So why the protest from parents? . . . At the Horn Book, we felt, well, white, and in no position to evaluate something that so clearly had so little to do with our experience. (260) Although Sutton considers himself part of the “multicultural camp,” he concedes that to “encourage diversity of viewpoint is to admit conflict as well: this is how we got Protestants” (261). Finally, in “One by One” (November 2006), Sutton introduces a special multicultural issue of Horn Book and questions the term multiculturalism. Calling the children’s literature field “too often euphemistic or bullying,” he argues that questions about “cultural authenticity” are easy, while “the harder and more rewarding questions are those that spring from experience lived, not labeled” (647). Thus, the multicultural-themed Horn Book editorials reflect a concern for the rights of minorities within mainstream America and a wish that children of all ethnicities will be able to find reflections of themselves in good books. Bertha Mahony Miller and Ruth Hill Viguers both express a hope for fair treatment of all; Viguers also argues that the dominant culture should learn about others and that books about minorities should be of high quality. Paul and Ethel Heins both dodge the issue of authenticity—who is allowed to write books about a particular culture—and Ethel Heins criticizes the idea that reading about minorities makes  201  whites feel superior as well as the notion that there are still too few books available on multicultural themes. Anita Silvey concedes that only those from within a culture can write culturally specific books and hopes that the books currently available will be good and lasting. And Roger Sutton admits to difficulty in reviewing multicultural books from outside the culture and wishes for authentic multicultural books that spring from lived experiences. Murray’s work foresees a view of multiculturalism that is conservative and cautious, reflecting the views of the dominant (white) culture, and that expectation holds true for the early years of the Horn Book. However Silvey and Sutton’s transition toward the concept of the need for cultural authenticity for both writers and reviewers is a step beyond the commonly held views of the current dominant culture. Murray also envisions a decline in the importance of multiculturalism after 1980—something that does not seem to be the case for the two most recent editors, who have embraced this concept warmly. It should be noted here that while members of the cultural elite (affluent, educated, and mostly urban—no doubt a high percentage of Horn Book’s readers) generally support the idea of multiculturalism, many other segments of American society do not. Murray argues that most recent generation of immigrants to the United States “have not yielded as readily to the ‘melting pot’ dictum” (204). She further observes the emphasis on multicultural themes in children’s literature has been hampered by “call[s] for immigration restriction,” “attempts to make English the official language” of the United States, and budgetary cuts that prevent school districts from teaching in a child’s primary language (208). In a recent (24 January 2012) dispute concerning what versions of history may be taught, the Tucson (AZ) Public Schools cancelled a Mexican American Studies program and boxed up the books used by these classes, effectively banning their use in district classrooms (Reese). This incident also  202  speaks to another of Murray’s conclusions—that 21st century children have become pawns in the ideological war that bifurcates American society. In the matter of Horn Book’s commitment to multicultural books for children, it seems clear that the editors (particularly Silvey and Sutton) have come down firmly on the side of the cultural elite rather than the dominant culture. 7.9  Editorials About Gender Only four editorials concerning gender have been published in Horn Book, all of them  written since 2004 by Roger Sutton. These editorials reflect recent concerns about gender, particularly as it relates to reading. In “:-(!?” (March 2004), Sutton addresses the growing number of series titles aimed at girls—a genre he dubs “chick-lit-lite.” Although allowing, “the theme of female empowerment is a worthy one,” Sutton claims, “the giddy loquaciousness of these books subverts their message” (116). In “Where the Boys Aren’t” (November 2004), Sutton recommends Jon Scieszka’s Guys Read web site ( and argues that, contrary to popularly held belief, boys do read—they just “don’t read what we want them to (fiction) the way we want them to read it (quietly).” Sutton maintains that using the Internet and browsing a car manual are reading, and attests that “the literature we propose for his attention doesn’t hold it to our satisfaction is a question for us, not him” (628). “Girls and Boys” (September 2007) introduces a gender-themed special issue, named “Boys and Girls” in tribute to Bertha Mahony Miller’s Bookshop for Boys and Girls, “where the Horn Book’s great adventure began.” Sutton makes the point that “gender affects one’s reading” but “reading happens one person at a time;” he also explains that the child on the magazine’s cover has a purposely ambiguous gender, which “allows us to independently and  203  privately assume whatever (not whichever) gender we like, to see how it looks from a different side” (438). Finally, in the gender-related “Pay No Attention to the Man behind the Curtain” (January 2008), Sutton comments obliquely about sexual orientation, a first for Horn Book editorials. He quibbles with author J. K. Rowling’s decision to reveal “her beloved wizard Dumbledore is gay. Or was gay, given that he’s dead. Or could be thought of as having been gay since he’s dead, fictional, and even when fictionally alive, never expressed or overtly demonstrated an orientation one way or the other” (5-6). While Sutton accepts that Rowling can say whatever she likes, he wishes she had allowed readers to ask their own questions: “Asking ourselves if Dumbledore ever found love (or what might have happened if Stanley Yelnats had not found the sneakers, or whether Harriet M. Welsch ever found culinary pleasures beyond tomato sandwiches) is how we give a book life within our imaginations, make it our own” (5-6). Thus, Roger Sutton has penned several recent gender-themed editorials. They express disappointment that series fiction aimed at girls is often of poor quality; a hope that adults will accept a wider definition of reading than just fiction—especially for boys; a wish that readers can feel free to try on books from varying gender perspectives; and a disappointment that author J. K. Rowling chose to reveal that Dumbledore is gay, rather than allowing readers to question for themselves. Given the broad influence of the feminist movement on mainstream American culture since the 1960s and feminism’s specific influence on children’s publishing (an increase in strong female protagonists and the problematization of gender politics), it is worth noting that no editor before Sutton ever editorialized about gender. All of the previous editors (except Paul Heins) were females involved in demanding, full-time careers; it seems probable that they held opinions on these issues but, for whatever  204  reason, preferred not to share them. Although Murray would not consider Sutton’s observations conservative or reflective of the dominant culture’s behavioral standards, they are consistent with Sutton’s other open-minded views and not surprising from that perspective. 7.10 Editorials About Children’s Literature Publishing Four Horn Book editors have defended the publishing of children’s trade books against those who would label it less worthy than adult or educational literature. These editorials support the idea that creating children’s literature is a valuable endeavor, worthy of the same critical assessment as other types of literature. Ruth Hill Viguers and Anita Silvey penned one editorial each on this theme; Ethel Heins four; and Roger Sutton two. In “PussyWants-A-Corner” (September 1962), Viguers disparages publishers who assume that only educational texts will sell; she criticizes “vocabularized books and those in uniform, series format that look like textbooks, are written to pattern, and, although possibly illustrated profusely, are as dull to read as the most uninspired schoolbooks” (447). Ethel Heins is also a staunch defender of children’s trade book publishing, especially when she views its critics as uninformed. In “Children’s Books on the Rack” (April 1980), Heins condemns Margaret Gullette who, writing in the Radcliffe Quarterly, proposes cleansing children’s books of everything she disapproves of, making them “full of goodness and moral distinction . . . more sensitive, more affectionate, more just” (qtd. in Heins 142). She also disapproves of a Boston Globe article by Dr. Shari Thurer suggesting that many children’s classic “convey prejudice against the handicapped.” Heins acknowledges, “the idea of romping through the classics, hatchet in hand, is far from new,” but she fears creating texts “that will offend no one” will result in children who do not read (143). In  205  “Economics—And Literature” (August 1980), Heins criticizes Horn Book readers who wrote to complain that Alan Garner’s Stone Book Quartet (1978) was being published in single volumes rather than as one long book. Heins counters, “even in these parlous times a book for children should, and possibly can still be, a work of art” (367). In February 1982 (“A Lowly Art?”), Heins deplores “the persistent condescension with which children’s books are still viewed by a great part of the so-called literary world.” She cites as examples the Boston Globe obituary for author Nathaniel Benchley (which mentions his adult books but “shrugged off a vital and vigorous part of his work with ‘he also wrote several books for younger readers’”) and a New York Times review of Russell Hoban’s adult novel Turtle Diary (1976) which refers to his children’s books as “not traditionally identified as the precincts of ‘high art.’” Calling these remarks “scandalous,” Heins calls for a long-overdue transformation of this attitude (15). Finally, in “The Study of [Children’s] Literature” (April 1982), Heins calls reviewers to task for not respecting university graduates of English department children’s literature programs. Citing a reviewer who stated “the trouble with both [the author’s] books lay in the fact that the author held a graduate degree in children’s literature,” Heins insists the author’s degree is “tossed out for its smart, shocking sound,” and that “to ignore children’s literature is, now more than ever, to ignore children” (135). Anita Silvey is also a vigorous defender of the importance of children’s literature, as demonstrated in her “Scrooge Approaches the Holidays” (November 1994). Asserting she is annoyed by the “onslaught of articles in the general media about children’s literature” that “opine” in early December each year, despite having ignored the field for an entire year. “Too often,” she adds, “those writing the articles do not understand the language of  206  children’s and young adult books.” Although Silvey doesn’t see this situation improving, she urges Horn Book readers to share their own lists of favorite titles as widely as possible, since “you may be the only expert on children’s books in your community” (645). Roger Sutton also expresses support for children’s literature, although from less traditional perspectives. In “‘Where Is Parzival?’” (November 1997), Sutton condemns publisher Penguin Putnam for cancelling two imprints, Lodestar and Cobblehill, and firing the imprints’ staffs, leaving authors such as Katherine Paterson without an editor for her forthcoming book, Parzival: The Quest of the Grail Knight (1998). Calling “this sad story” a “cautionary tale for our publishing times,” Sutton claims, “Parzival is the perfect book for this to happen to,” and he hopes the powers that be will read it. Summarizing the story Sutton writes, “the Fisher King is afflicted with an open wound that oozes rot . . . Parzival’s task . . . is to heal the king by asking him a question . . . What is wrong?” (614-5). Finally, in “The New Math” (July 2000), Sutton explains a recent equation proposed by Tammy Deuster: “As a cost-per-hour of entertainment, books are vastly undervalued. Movies cost about $4-$5 per hour. Recorded music is about two to three times that. Most books run well under 50 cents per hour of entertainment” (371-2). Sutton plays with several absurd assumptions (he pays 25 cents per minute to listen to one song, “Mama Mia,” since he purchased the entire album, and “slower readers get more for their money than nimble readers”) before concluding “reading is personal” and “Deuster’s arithmetic makes about as much sense as an English teacher who insists that any book with fewer than one hundred pages doesn’t ‘count’” (371-2). Thus, four Horn Book editors have expressed overt support for the importance of children’s trade book publishing, even in the face of those who would try to undermine it.  207  Ruth Hill Viguers argues that well-written children’s trade books are economically viable. Ethel Heins and Anita Silvey condemn uninformed children’s literature critics; Heins also disapproves of those who think children’s books should be produced as cheaply as possible, those who feel children’s literature is less worthy than adult literature, and those who disrespect the authors of children’s books and the study of children’s literature. Roger Sutton criticizes publishers for the mergers of the 1990s that left many unemployed, and e-book publishers who concoct spurious equations that supposedly determine the value of reading. Although Murray makes no forecasts concerning views of children’s literature and publishing, the opinions offered by these four editors represent the dominant beliefs of the Horn Book’s communities of readers and are, therefore, not surprising. 7.11 Conclusions The 90 Horn Book editorials addressing socio-political issues account for nearly one quarter of the total number (416) of editorials examined. Although all of the editors contribute essays on these themes, Ethel Heins and Roger Sutton author proportionately more socio-political editorials than the other editors. The issues referenced include: citizenship/patriotism; censorship; international books for children; education; technology; current events; multiculturalism; gender; and children’s trade book publishing. Theorist Gail Schmunk Murray posits that children’s books reveal the dominant culture, reflect its behavioral standards and gender-role expectations, and are conservative in nature. Although Murray’s remarks describe texts created for children and young adults, they also hold for true for texts written about children’s literature such as the Horn Book editorials.  208  Considering American culture between 1920 and 1950, Murray notes increased legal protections for children, the development of organized clubs and activities, and the proliferation of popular culture for children. She also observes a heightened professional interest in children’s literature publishing, a cadre of gatekeepers who decide what books will be accessible to children, a focus on the nuclear family, and a reluctance to portray unpleasantness. In surveying American culture of the 1950s she detects an emphasis on patriotism and the continued prominence of the nuclear family. Murray perceives American culture of the 1960s and 1970s as an era of political turmoil and a proliferation of problem novels; she sees the 1980s as a time of declining interest in multiculturalism. She discerns radical changes to the publishing industry during the 1990s, an increase in multimedia companies that produce books, television, and movies, and a rise in the popularity of series books. Additionally, she notes a growing sense of “family values,” and a renewed interest in children’s literature reflecting adult nostalgia. Considering 21st century American culture, she forecasts children spending more time with peers than parents, adults continuing to craft literature for children, and children becoming pawns in a bifurcated society that sets those who advocate for individual responsibility for families and social problems against those who support government and institutional power over children’s futures. All of the ten editorials promoting being a good citizen and patriot are authored by Bertha Mahony Miller, not surprising given that her writing spans the years from 1924 to 1950, a time when these ideas dominated American thought. Miller emphasizes a concern for good citizenship and kindly behavior, a preference for American democracy, and a belief that the nuclear family is the best place to learn these values. Miller does not express strong anticommunist views, but she does caution against extreme and oppressive forms of government;  209  and, in some editorials she speaks directly to her upper middle-class audience, who will return to vacationing abroad once the war is over. Eleven of the 90 socio-political editorials concern censorship—over half penned by Roger Sutton. Bertha Mahony Miller and Ethel Heins both challenge censorship, but their purposes are conservative in that they want to preserve the status quo by keeping problematic classics within the children’s literature canon. Paul Heins and Anita Silvey argue from a middle ground, maintaining the importance of providing a wide range of materials in order to allow parents to decide what they want their children to read. Roger Sutton supports the concept of providing comprehensive collections containing opposing viewpoints as well, and, in some cases, he challenges the censors. His perspective can hard