Discover more from Ebla to E-Books: The Preservation and Annihilation of Memory
Little Golden Books & the CIA
Americanization of French Children?
In 1949 the war was over and newsstands around France saw the arrival of new colorful board books for children. Cheap and cheerful, the Petits Livres d’Or (Little Golden Books) series was published by a brand-new publishing house—Les Éditions Cocorico—whose very name was emblematic of the French nation, echoing as it did the cry of the Gallic rooster.1
Cécile Boulaire, associate professor at the University of Tours, has explored CIA ties to French Little Golden Books. Of Georges Duplaix, who coordinated the enterprise, Boulaire writes:
The fact that the person who was instrumental in this exporting had worked for the CIA may be anecdotal. His involvement in the dormant anticommunist networks may only have concerned the man, not his work as a publisher. But separating private and public life so neatly would be simplistic, and Georges Duplaix was a complex man—just as the Cold War was a complex period. 2
Boulaire, Cécile (2023). "The Little Golden Books in the Shadow of the CIA, or the Americanization of Children's Publishing in Cold War France." Book History 26(fall): 390-418.
Ibid., p. 409.