The Purple Crayon and the Red Scare: More Than a Children's Story at S. Dillon Ripley Center

Washington Mall

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Crockett Johnson and Ruth Krauss shared several bonds -- both successful and respected writers of children's literature, they were also husband and wife, not to mention the target of surveillance by the FBI. Johnson is best known for his kids' classic Harold and the Purple Crayon, while Krauss, author of the much-loved books The Carrot Seed and How to Make an Earthquake, helped launch Maurice Sendak's career when he illustrated eight of her works. The duo were also resolutely left-wing during the era of McCarthyism and Cold War paranoia, leading to G-Men keeping a close eye on them. Philip Nel, a children's lit scholar and Distinguished Professor of English at Kansas State University, told their story in his book Crockett Johnson and Ruth Krauss: How an Unlikely Couple Found Love, Dodged the FBI, and Transformed Children's Literature. He'll discuss this fascinating couple during The Purple Crayon and the Red Scare: More Than a Children's Story at the Smithsonian Institution's S. Dillon Ripley Center in Washington DC.


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