This article focuses on the production of children’s literature in New Zealand. It problematizes the current practices of releasing and distributing children’s literature, and explores these practices as technologies of control through processes of censorship and classification set by government agencies such as the Office for Film and Literature. Decisions about what is and what is not acceptable for children’s development, it is argued, are not neutral and are instead driven by a neoliberal image of the ‘happy’ uncomplicated child. The article takes the example of the state-funded and distributed My Feelings series as a widely accessible text that is embedded in neoliberal ideology. As this series is distributed to all New Zealand early childhood centres and kindergartens, this article explores understandings of how politics of government influence children’s literature. The work of Václav Havel and Michel Foucault are drawn upon to demonstrate the mechanisms of ideologically driven forms of governmental power that directly impact on the constitution of certain types of childhoods. An example from a contrasting historical and political discourse in the form of communist Czechoslovakia suggests unexpected synergies between neoliberal and socialist ideological frameworks. This analysis further problematizes notions of power in the distribution of children’s literature, and illustrates the influence that political agendas have on the production of idealized political childhood subjectivities.