Brown Gold

Milestones of African American Children's Picture Books, 1845-2002

By Michelle Martin

© 2004 – Routledge

252 pages

Purchasing Options:
Paperback: 9780415646277
pub: 2012-09-24
US Dollars$48.95
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Hardback: 9780415938570
pub: 2004-02-18
US Dollars$150.00
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e–Inspection Copy

About the Book

Brown Gold is a compelling history and analysis of African-American children's picturebooks from the mid-nineteenth century to the present. At the turn of the nineteenth century, good children's books about black life were hard to find — if, indeed, young black readers and their parents could even gain entry into the bookstores and libraries. But today, in the "Golden Age" of African-American children's picturebooks, one can find a wealth of titles ranging from Happy to be Nappy to Black is Brown is Tan. In this book, Michelle Martin explores how the genre has evolved from problematic early works such as Epaminondas that were rooted in minstrelsy and stereotype, through the civil rights movement, and onward to contemporary celebrations of blackness. She demonstrates the cultural importance of contemporary favorites through keen historical analysis — scrutinizing the longevity and proliferation of the Coontown series and Ten Little Niggers books, for example — that makes clear how few picturebooks existed in which black children could see themselves and their people positively represented even up until the 1960s. Martin also explores how children's authors and illustrators have addressed major issues in black life and history including racism, the civil rights movement, black feminism, major historical figures, religion, and slavery. Brown Gold adds new depth to the reader's understanding of African-American literature and culture, and illuminates how the round, dynamic characters in these children's novels, novellas, and picturebooks can put a face on the past, a face with which many contemporary readers can identify.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: "Hey, Who's the Kid with the Green Umbrella?": Re-evaluating the Black-a-Moor and Little Black Sambo

Chapter 2: Children's Picture Books and the Civil Rights Movement

Chapter 3: Three Decades of Strong Women: the Coretta Scott King Awards

Chapter 4: From Margin to Center: African-American Illustrators at Work

Chapter 5: Historical America through the Eyes of the Black Child

Chapter 6: "Everybody Say Amen": Signifying and Postmodern African-American Picture Books

Chapter 7: "Just Build me a Cabin in the Corner of Glory Land": Bridges to Heaven in African-American Picturebooks

Chapter 8: "They stole my Name": Historical Fiction and the Slave Narrative

About the Author

Michelle H. Martin is Assistant Professor of English at Clemson University. She is coeditor of Sexual Pedagogies: Sex Education in Britain, Australia, and America, 1879-2000.

About the Series

Children's Literature and Culture

Founded by Jack Zipes in 1994, Children's Literature and Culture is the longest-running series devoted to the study of children’s literature and culture from a national and international perspective. Dedicated to promoting original research in children’s literature and children’s culture, in 2011 the series expanded its focus to include childhood studies, and it seeks to explore the legal, historical, and philosophical conditions of different childhoods. An advocate for scholarship from around the globe, the series recognizes innovation and encourages interdisciplinarity. Children's Literature and Culture offers cutting-edge, upper-level scholarly studies and edited collections considering topics such as gender, race, picturebooks, childhood, nation, religion, technology, and many others. Titles are characterized by dynamic interventions into established subjects and innovative studies on emerging topics.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LIT009000
LITERARY CRITICISM / Children's Literature