According to Mickenberg, it was possible for children's literature to become the medium of transmission for 1930s radicalism partly because it was a largely feminine domain of the book world. Publications rarely bothered to review children's books, and the entire writing, production, distribution, and institutional dissemination system for children's books was inhabited almost entirely by women (most kids' books were and still are bought by school libraries; also, children's books were more expensive during the Cold War.) Cleverly, many of these women were interested in introducing students to a “progressive” worldview and helping them be antifascist, antiracist, and more than a little idealist. This interest was partly a legacy of Old Left parents and partly a reaction to 1950s repression, and these women hoped their kids would be able to change that.
Children's literature was also largely ignored because its target audience was children, who presumably wouldn't understand any particular ideological slant. Thus children's book authors foregrounded the contributions of African Americans, the working class, and other minorities in a critique of the whitewashed "American Way;" invented progressive dialogue for historical figures so that even Davey Crockett could be "an anticapitalist, antiracist, feminist friend of the Indians," and emphasized the importance of sharing scientific discoveries for the benefit of all people. Conveniently, many of these messages also served Cold War needs, particularly where they intersected with federal policies on racial equality and scientific progress, while also delivering subversive, Old Left messages.
While some of Mickenberg's close readings seem a bit too intent on locating radicalism in texts where politics are a bit of a stretch, her interdisciplinary methodology shows clear links between Old Left and New Left radicalism in and around Cold War children's literature.