Golden Books – Still Golden!

The “Little Golden Books” ‘Book Nook’ at National Museum of American History.

The “Little Golden Books” ‘Book Nook’ at National Museum of American History.

Wanting me to have opportunities they never had, my parents began reading to me before I turned one.  By the time I turned three, I was reading mostly by myself.  And, among the vast number of books they bought were the classic “Little Golden Books” – those child-centered texts with sturdy pages and gold-colored binding.  They first appeared in October 1942; the brainchild of New York publishing firm Simon & Schuster, the Artists and Writers Guild and the Western Printing and Lithographic Company of Racine, Wisconsin.  They were geared towards children ages 3 to 8 and revolutionized literature for the average American.  Before then, children generally could find books only in schools and libraries.  But, the “Little Golden Books” series changed that.  Their brightly-colored pages and bold text captured and held a child’s attention and their 25-cent price made them affordable.

Now, the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C., is paying homage to the series with an exhibit through January 2014.  It features a sampling of artists’ proofs from several of the first books in the series, such as “Two Little Miners,” “The Poky Little Puppy” and “The Little Red Caboose.”  At a time when education funding in the U.S. is being compromised due to partisan politics, it’s imperative to realize how crucial literacy is to a child’s welfare.

Oh, and I still have all the “Little Golden Books” my parents bought for me.  Some things are just too valuable to throw away!

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