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When We Were Free to BeLooking Back at a Children's Classic and the Difference It Made$
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Lori Rotskoff and Laura L. Lovett

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780807837238

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807837559_rotskoff

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(p.1) Introduction
When We Were Free to Be

Lori Rotskoff

Laura L. Lovett

University of North Carolina Press

This book is not merely a trip down memory lane—just like Free to Be … You and Me wasn't merely an entertaining novelty for the primary-school set. It also offered kids a fresh alternative to rigid gender and racial stereotypes that had long prevailed in American society. Featuring a melange of songs, skits, stories, and poems recorded by celebrated musicians, actors, and singers, Free to Be … You and Me dramatically changed the way in which parents and children thought about gender roles and social equality. Conceived by actress and children's welfare activist Marlo Thomas, and coproduced with Carole Hart, this unique compilation taught children to value cooperation and resist blind conformity to social expectations. Infused with positive messages endorsing freedom of expression, fairness, and respect for diversity, Free to Be … You and Me taught young people to resist prejudice and transcend prevailing norms of acceptable “boy” or “girl” behavior.

Keywords:   memory lane, primary-school set, racial stereotypes, American society, gender roles, social equality

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