Marxists Internet Archive: Subjects: Arts: Literature: Children's Literature

Children's Literature

“In the place of the old bourgeois society with its classes and its class antagonisms, there will be an association in which the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all". Karl Marx, The Communist Manifesto

“Society is, or ought to be, profoundly concerned in the nature of the environment that is to mold the character and determine the career of its children, and any remissness in such duty is rebuked by the most painful of penalties...". Eugene Debs, Childhood

“"The children's book is one of the most powerful weapons of the socialist character-education of the growing generation". Nadezhada K. Krupskaya

Revolutionary movements in Russia, Germany, United Kingdom, China, Cuba and the U.S. emphasized the importance of literacy and education for its youth. Major radical publishers had children's departments and heated debates over expectations and development of socialist character traits raged within parties and in radical newspapers.

The purpose of the Children's Literature section is to provide resources and documentation on the responsibility and challenge of socialist education and raising future generations in historical context. It is the aim of these pages to contribute to a contemporary communist theory of teaching and child-rearing.

Children's Literature will consist of four sections:

Bibliographies: Annotated bibliographies of books created for children that 1) expressly, or subtlety, have themes against capitalism's unjust laws, oppression and wars, labor and strikes, change by collective action, or 2) are written by or about radical figures. Currently there are bibliographies broken down by decade published, and fiction/non-fiction and age group.

Texts and Illustrations: Children's literature texts or illustrations available on-line listed on the above bibliographies.

Reference Works: A collection of reference material related to socialist education, youth organizations, child welfare, and family.

Images: Images by or about children in photographs, artwork and editorial cartoons.


Many thanks to the following people who have helped with these pages by answering email, offering suggestions or sharing their work. It is a privilege to work with such talented and generous souls: Julia Mickenberg, Nate Schmolze, Brian Baggins, Project Gutenberg volunteers, Mary Des Chene, Jack Zipes, Phillip Brown, Philip Nel and Roland Ferguson.
Please mail questions, suggestions, and additions to Sally Ryan

Further reading:

Marxism and Education
MIA Student's Section
Anton Makarenko Reference Archive
Lev Vygotsky Archive