Through July 30th Main Street Theater and from July 8 – 16th Class Act Productions are staging The Wizard of Oz, a story that was popular in my childhood home, just like, evidently, the childhood home of about every person I told of this play.
For me, my mother and I would watch Judy Garland and Bert Lahr anytime one of my numerable ear infections happened and I couldn’t sleep. For others the ’39 movie or the original book by L. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, was often played or read at holiday gatherings, childhood events, or just ‘cause. With the dramatic growth in the children’s literature and YA markets over the past twenty years though, I’m curious as to what other books geared toward youths were popular before this contemporary explosion, and where Baum’s book fits in among them.
What I’m immediately reminded of is that there were no adolescents until 1904. More accurately, society didn’t more fully delineate an individual’s development until the American Psychological Association stepped in, meaning that before Baum’s 1900 book, writers didn’t pay much attention to non-adults because society wasn’t really Continue reading