Chronic Rebels


The Chronicle of Higher Education interviews Julia Mickenberg and Philip Nel, authors of Tales for Little Rebels: A Collection of Radical Children’s Literature.

The idea for the book came after Mickenberg, an associate professor of American studies at the University of Texas at Austin, finished work on an earlier study. In an interview, she recalls a “show-and-tell impulse” to place more of this unusual writing in print than the snippets she’d quoted in Learning From the Left: Children’s Literature, the Cold War, and Radical Politics in the United States. She then enlisted Nel, a professor of English at Kansas State University who also directs a program in children’s lit. The result: a collection, with commentary, that blends old left, new left, hard left, soft left, and -isms from communism and socialism to feminism, environmentalism, and antiracism. The mosaic is the message. There was “never a unified voice of the Left,” they write, “just as there was never a unified vision of the child.”