“Before the end of the 19th century,” says Gregory Maguire, “books provided for children were almost entirely for instruction, their aim was to educate.” The turn of the century brought new attitudes about children’s place in society, and L. Frank Baum was ready to write for their entertainment.
Learn more about AMERICAN OZ, including where to watch the documentary: https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/films/american-oz/
Explore the life and times of author L. Frank Baum, the creator of one of the most beloved, enduring and classic American narratives. By 1900, when The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was published, Baum was 44 years old and had spent much of his life in restless pursuit of success. With mixed results he dove into a string of jobs — chicken breeder, actor, marketer of petroleum products, shopkeeper, newspaperman and traveling salesman — Baum continued to reinvent himself, reflecting a uniquely American brand of confidence, imagination and innovation. During his travels to the Great Plains and on to Chicago during the American frontier’s final days, he witnessed a nation coming to terms with the economic uncertainty of the Gilded Age. But he never lost his childlike sense of wonder and eventually crafted his observations into a magical tale of survival, adventure and self-discovery, reinterpreted through the generations in films, books and musicals.