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Once Upon a Playground
A Celebration of Classic American Playgrounds, 1920–1975
Brenda Biondo; Susan Solomon, fwd.; Darell Hammond, afterword




ForeEdge from University Press of New England
2014 • 188 pp. 247 illus. (236 color) 8 1/2 x 11"
Historical Photography / Americana / 20th Century U.S. History


$35.00 Hardcover, 978-1-61168-512-1



A nostalgic look at a world of play almost forgotten

Before today’s safety-minded structures of wood and plastic, America’s playgrounds were full of tottering seesaws, dizzying merry-go-rounds, and towering metal slides.

Documenting the evolution of American playgrounds between 1920 and 1975, Once Upon a Playground is a visual tribute to these iconic structures, celebrating their place in our culture and the collective memories of generations. In it, contemporary photos of vintage pieces of playground equipment are juxtaposed with images of the very same pieces as they were shown in classic catalogs, postcards, and photographs. The result is a haunting time capsule showing a rapidly vanishing part of our country’s cultural heritage.

Whatever the playgrounds of your childhood looked like, the gorgeous photographs in this book will transport you back in time and remind you of just how important play can really be.

Click here for TABLE OF CONTENTS

Endorsements:

“This book is a beautiful reminder of my own 1950s childhood and of a stretch of time when children played freely, with no adults hovering, in ways that built their hearts, muscles, coordination, creativity, emotional resilience, and social competence. The playground in every village and every city neighborhood was, for decades, the magnet that drew children together and cemented friendships.  Thank you, Brenda Biondo, for these beautiful photographs, this walk down one path of American history, and this reminder that we need, now, to find modern ways of restoring children’s opportunities for exciting, self-directed, outdoor play with other children.”—Peter Gray, research professor at Boston College and author of Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life

Once Upon a Playground is a treasure hunt for the playgrounds that time forgot. The spaces and apparatuses of play have much to teach us about who we were—and what childhood meant—in the long American mid-century. Brenda Biondo’s combination of period images from postcards, archives, and catalogs with her own, often-haunting, contemporary photographs admonishes us to learn from, to not forget, to preserve what remains of these unique landscapes of play.”—Paige Johnson, founder of PlayScapes (play-scapes.com)



BRENDA BIONDO is a writer and photographer whose work has appeared in the Washington Post, the Denver Post, USA Weekend magazine, and many other publications. Her photography has been exhibited all over the country, and images from her playground series are in the permanent collection of the Library of Congress. A native New Yorker, Biondo lives in Colorado with her husband and two children.

SUSAN G. SOLOMON, a playground historian, is the author of The Science of Play: How to Build Playgrounds that Enhance Children’s Development (forthcoming, UPNE) and American Playgrounds: Revitalizing Community Space.

DARELL HAMMOND is the founder and CEO of KaBOOM! and coauthor of How One Man Built a Movement to Save Play.

A percentage of author royalties will be donated to KaBOOM! (kaboom.org), a national playground nonprofit.






Wed, 16 Apr 2014 12:21:38 -0500