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Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover

Remember that old adage about not judging a book by its cover?  Turns out it’s true.

At a  Jewish Museum event earlier this spring, Leonard Marcus argued that some of the most innocuous children’s books have had a populist or a democratic impact on America, and his example was the beloved Little Golden Books series.

Marcus is the author of Golden Legacy: How Golden Books Won Children's Hearts, Changed Publishing Forever, and Became An American Icon Along the Way.  Marcus’s  talk was given in conjunction with the Museum’s new exhibition, “Curious George Saves the Day,” which will be on view until August 1st.


Bon Mots

On making books affordable: Richard Simon (who published The Golden Book series) had a sign on his desk in the way that Harry Truman had a sign that said ‘The buck stops here.’ Richard Simon’s sign said, ‘Give the reader a break:’ he was very interested in making books available to everyone, at an affordable price.

—Leonard Marcus

On being a maverick…or a smart ass: The publishers of The Golden Book series were known as the maverick bad boys of American publishing.  They took out ads in places like the New York Times favorably comparing Pat the Bunny to For Whom the Bell Tolls.

—Leonard Marcus

On modern children’s books: Lucy Mitchell (editor and author of many Golden Books) was the founder of Bank Street College of Education.  She wanted to get away from “once-upon-a-time” stories for children and wanted to give them modern books for modern children: stories about their everyday lives.

—Leonard Marcus