For This Nostalgia Trip, 'We Don't Need Roads'

Jul 1, 2015

There's no question the Back to the Future trilogy has entrenched itself in the collective pop-culture imagination for even longer than Reagan could have imagined when he adopted the movie's catchphrase about not needing roads to appeal to The Youth. It's been a video game (twice), a theme park ride three times over, and it's common knowledge even for a generation who wasn't born until after the third installment was released.

The moment in Kate Atkinson's A God In Ruins when protagonist Teddy Todd lies to his granddaughter about an old photograph isn't a grand climax. It happens in passing, in half a sentence: She asks about the stain on an image of Teddy and his long-dead wife Nancy. It's actually the blood of one of his World War II air crew, who died in his arms after their plane was shot down. But Teddy claims it's tea, "not because she wouldn't have been interested but because it was a private thing."

The 1950s was a hinge decade for noteworthy and nation-changing civil rights events across the United States, including Brown v. Board of Education in Kansas, the bus boycott in Alabama and the National Guard-protected integration of Central High School in Arkansas.

Meanwhile, there was also a revolution brewing in bookstores and public libraries.

By design or by happenstance, a handful of children's picture books were focal points of the American movement toward integration in the '50s.

From Texas Standard:

Clay Smith of Kirkus Reviews brings us two hard-hitting books to read during April showers – both of them tackling issues swirling about in popular media and the news.

In fiction, Smith recommends God Help the Child by Toni Morrison. In the book Morrison, the only living Nobel prize winner for literature, tackles race and childhood.

Jar Jar Binks is one of the most reviled Star Wars characters. But in the hands of Ian Doescher, author of William Shakespeare's The Phantom of Menace: Star Wars Part the First, Jar Jar Binks is a savvy political operative who only plays the fool. His goal is to establish peace between his people, the Gungans and humans.