In October 1942, the New York publishing firm Simon & Schuster, the Artists and Writers Guild, and the Western Printing and Lithographing Company of Racine, Wisconsin, joined forces to create a new series of children’s books especially suited to beginning readers between the ages of 3 and 8. Inexpensive, sturdy, and child-centered, Little Golden Books represented an enormous shift in thinking about how, where, and what children should read.
High-quality, lavishly illustrated children’s books of the early 20th century were too expensive for most families to own, and generally only available in libraries and schools. When Little Golden Books were introduced, they could be purchased at bookstores and department stores. After World War II, Simon & Schuster launched a new marketing plan that featured specially designed display units and began selling books in five-and-dime chains, groceries, and drugstores. Brightly colored and priced at only 25 cents, Little Golden Books were designed to be financially and intellectually accessible to all children.