Notable children’s author L. Frank Baum was born on this day in 1856.
L. Frank Baum (1856-1919) wrote 69 books beloved by children, including The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, which became a classic movie.
Baum grew up to become a man of great charm and many interests, yet he had little direction. He pursued a variety of careers ranging from acting to newspaper reporting to theatrical management to writing plays. One of his plays, The Maid of Arran, was a surprise smash hit, and Frank and his company toured with it throughout the United States and Canada in the early 1880s.
Although Baum’s avowed intention was merely to entertain children with unique American creations and American values, his Oz books have been endlessly criticized and analyzed, and they sometimes have been banned from libraries as being too imaginative, too frightening, or even too dull. Nonetheless, they constitute 20th century America’s first and most enduring contribution to children’s fantasy literature.
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