Howell, Thomas. Soldiers of the Pen: The Writers’ War Board in World War II.

Thomas Howell’s study of the Writers’ War Board (WWB) joins the likes of Janice Radway’s A Feeling for Books on the Book-of-The-Month Club (1997) and the more recent work of Eric Bennett on American writing workshops (2015) and Sarah Brouillette in UNESCO and the Fate of the Literary (2019) in presenting the reader with a sustained study of an institution and its history, ideology, and material effects. Howell makes use of archival materials from the Library of Congress, Boston College, and elsewhere to recreate this history…

Lauren B. Hewes and Kayla Haveles Hopper, eds., Radiant with Color & Art

“What’s the use of an exhibition catalog,” Alice might well have said to herself, “if it doesn’t have beautiful pictures and brilliant essays?” This catalog of the McLoughlin Brothers’ more than sixty years of publishing children’s books, games, and toys surely would have delighted little Alice. The first third of the book consists of three well-written informative essays and the last two thirds make up the illustrated exhibition catalog itself. The items were drawn primarily from the holdings of the American Antiquarian Society with help from private collectors Linda F. and Julian L. Lapides, Richard Cheek, and the George M. Fox Collection at the San Francisco Public Library. ☛ ☞

Carol Porter Grossman, The History of the Limited Editions Club

Every publisher deserves a historian like Carol Porter Grossman. This absorbing book recounts the remarkable story of the Limited Editions Club (LEC) and its offshoots, as well as that of the Club’s indefatigable and imaginative founder, George Macy, and those who kept the LEC going after his untimely death in 1956. Drawing on extensive archives at the Harry Ransom Center, Columbia University, the Newberry Library, and the Grolier Club, as well as private archives and several important oral histories, Grossman is able to reconstruct in great and fascinating detail the eight decades of fine book production by the LEC.

Sara L. Schwebel (ed.) and Scott O’Dell, Island of the Blue Dolphins: The Complete Readers Edition

It’s surprising that one of the most important children’s books of the twentieth century has only recently started receiving the critical attention it deserves. Sara L. Schwebel’s excellent Complete Readers Edition offers a significant contribution to a growing body of book histories about classic children’s literature texts and their impacts on generations of readers. Used by countless American K-12 schools and public libraries from the 1960s onward, O’Dell’s historical fiction robinsonade about the real-life Lone Woman of San Nicolas Island, Juana Maria, has been seen as a critical multicultural, feminist young adult text despite some very real concerns about historical accuracy, vanishing Indian tropes, and racism. ☛ ☞