Routledge Taylor & Francis Group

The Figure of the Child in WWI American, British, and Canadian Children’s Literature Farmer, Tailor, Soldier, Spy


by Elizabeth A Galway

Over the past century, much attention has been paid to the literature written for adults in response to the First World War, but there has been comparatively little consideration of how the war influenced literature for young readers at the time. Based on extensive archival research, this study examines an array of wartime writing for young people and provides a new understanding of the complexities and nuances within children’s literature of the period. In its discussion of nearly 150 primary sources from Britain, Canada, and the United States, this volume considers some well-known texts but also brings to light forgotten children’s literature of the era, providing new insights into how WWI was presented to the young people whose lives were indelibly impacted by the crisis. Paying special attention to the varied ways in which child figures were depicted, it reflects on what these portrayals reveal about adult conceptualizations of youth, and it considers how these may have shaped young readers’ own views of armed conflict, citizenship, and childhood. From the helpless victim to the heroic combatant, child figures appeared in many guises, exposing a range of adult concerns about nation, empire, and children’s citizenship. Exploring everything from alphabet books for beginning readers, to recruitment materials for high school students, this book examines works from multiple genres and provides a uniquely comprehensive study of transatlantic children’s literature produced during the first global war.


6 x 0.74 x 9 inches

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