Munro Leaf wrote many books in his 40 year career as a children's author, but none really topped the success of his first: The Story of Ferdinand. It concerned a little Spanish bull who preferred dreaming and smelling flowers under the cork tree to fighting with other bulls and matadors. When Ferdinand debuted in 1936, some saw the book as a commentary on the Civil War engulfing Spain, or an illustration of the passive resistance methods of the newly famous Mahatma Gandhi. Leaf always maintained the book was non-political, But there was no denying that Ferdinand's message of triumphant pacifism was welcomed by an American public anxiously watching events in Europe. Ferdinand became a classic of children's literature, a popular 1938 Disney short, and remains a staple of story time at schools around the world.
A few months after Pearl Harbor a lesser known Munro Leaf title appeared: My Book To Help America. I happen to have have a copy in my oddball reading stash, which is presented below in its entirety. You may notice that that by 1942 Leaf was no longer an advocate of Ferdinand-style dreamy pacifism.
I really don't have any further comment, other than noting that 1942 was certainly a very different time than 1936. Or 2007.
[Inside cover: American fighters taking out Jap Zeros, as drawn by a 1942 grade schooler].
[more fighter planes in the stripes of Old Glory]