- About the Contributors
- Chapter Abstracts
- The Fundamentals of Children’s Literature Criticism: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass
- Randall Jarrell’s The Bat-Poet: Poets, Children, and Readers in an Age of Prose
- Arnold Lobel’s Frog and Toad Together as a Primer for Critical Literacy
- Blending Genres and Crossing Audiences: Harry Potter and the Future of Literary Fiction
- Wanda’s Wonderland: Wanda Gág and Her Millions of Cats
- A Cross-Written Harlem Renaissance: Langston Hughes’s The Dream Keeper
- Dumbo, Disney, and Difference: Walt Disney Productions and Film as Children’s Literature
- Redrawing the Comic-Strip Child: Charles M. Schulz’s Peanuts as Cross-Writing
- The Cat in the Hippie: Dr. Seuss, Nonsense, the Carnivalesque, and the Sixties Rebel
- Wild Things and Wolf Dreams: Maurice Sendak, Picture-Book Psychologist
- Reimagining the Monkey King in Comics: Gene Luen Yang’s American Born Chinese
- Froggy’s Little Brother: Nineteenth-Century Evangelical Writing for Children and the Politics of Poverty
- History in Fiction: Contextualization as Interpretation in Robert Louis Stevenson’s Kidnapped
- Tom Sawyer, Audience, and American Indians
- Living with the Kings: Class, Taste, and Family Formation in Five Little Peppers and How They Grew
- A Daughter of the House: Discourses of Adoption in L. M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables
- Where in America Are You, God?: Judy Blume, Margaret Simon, and American National Identity
- Let Freedom Ring: Land, Liberty, Literacy, and Lore in Mildred Taylor’s Logan Family Novels
- “What Are Young People to Think?”: The Subject of Immigration and the Immigrant Subject in Francisco Jiménez’s The Circuit
- “My Book and Heart Shall Never Part”: Reading, Printing, and Circulation in the New England Primer
- Castaways: The Swiss Family Robinson, Child Bookmakers, and the Possibilities of Literary Flotsam
- Tom Brown and the Schoolboy Crush: Boyhood Desire, Hero Worship, and the Boys’ School Story
- Peter Pan as Children’s Theatre: The Issue of Audience
- Jade and the Tomboy Tradition
- Happily Ever After: Free to Be … You and Me, Second-Wave Feminism, and 1970s American Children’s Culture
- Paradise Refigured: Innocence and Experience in His Dark Materials
Abstract and Keywords
This article argues that the example of the enormously popular Free to Be . . . You and Me (1972) points to the ways in which childhood became a utopian space of liberation in large part. It starts by setting the Free to Be series into the broader context of second-wave feminist activism. Free to Be is very much a document of liberal feminism, which was by the early 1970s the most mainstream and visible expression of the larger feminist movement. The article additionally investigates three of the specific texts featured in Free to Be: Ladies First, Atalanta, and William's Doll. These three texts showcase different thematic aspects of the Free to Be project. The politics of Free to Be is considered from the perspective of the present day. The Free to Be project's emphasis on sensitive boys and adventurous girls continues to resonate.
Leslie Paris is Associate Professor of History at the University of British Columbia. She is the author of Children’s Nature: The Rise of the American Summer Camp (2008). She has also coedited volumes on Adirondack summer camps, vulnerable children in Canada and the United States, and American girls of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Currently, she is writing a history of American childhood from 1965 to 1980.
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