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The cycle of story: From fireplace to marketplace or, "The Kids Keep Tearing Their Jeans"

Graduate School of Library and Information Science, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Publication Date
  • Publishing
  • Children'S Literature
  • Economics
  • Political Science


While stories are for all ages with some audiences and tellers receiving more respect than others the specific focus in this paper is the path from fireplace to marketplace as it applies to telling and publishing stories for a young audience i.e., for children. The path is a problematic one for many. Despite the fact that we know that money makes many worlds go round, there is something about story as commodity, about putting a price tag on imagination, about the juxtaposition of concerns of children and of money, that makes many people extremely uncomfortable. This is true in the advanced capitalism of contemporary American society. This was equally true a century ago in the early years of American youth services librarianship. This is a profession with a long history of hostility toward the concept of story as commodity.

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