May 13, 2013
If you grew up or raised children during the era of mood rings and lava lamps, you probably remember “Free to Be…You and Me” – the groundbreaking children’s record, book, and television special that debuted in 1972. Conceived by actress Marlo Thomas and promoted by “Ms.” magazine, it inspired generations of girls and boys to challenge stereotypes, value cooperation, respect diversity, and reach for any dream. In this lively collection, thirty-two contributors explore the creation and legacy of this popular children’s classic. The book offers an unprecedented insiders’ account of “Free to Be’s” history by the original creators, activists, and educators who changed the landscape of childhood in schools, homes, toy stores, libraries, churches, and synagogues nationwide. Many were Jewish women at the forefront of the women’s movement, including Letty Cottin Pogrebin, Gloria Steinem, Francine Klagsbrun, and Barbara Sprung. Moreover, a large proportion of “Free to Be” kids lived in Jewish households across the country. Together, the book’s editors and contributors combine personal narrative, cultural critique, and historical analysis to address how progressive children’s media still speaks to families today.