Bernstein, Robin. 2013. “Toys Are Good for Us: Why We Should Embrace the Historical Integration of Children’s Literature, Material Culture, and Play.” Children’s Literature Association Quarterly 38, no. 4: 458–463.
This manifesto argues that the field of children’s literature has, for too long, downplayed the historical relationship among children’s literature, toys, and play. If we desist from erecting arbitrary boundaries among these modes of cultural production, we stand to gain three benefits: we will better understand how children’s literature actually functions in the everyday lives of children; we will mitigate the “top, down” understanding of children’s literature that underestimates children’s agency; and we will hinge our field to disciplines and interdisciplines that already care about material culture and play—and thus we will expand our influence and power across the university.