le plus loin le plus serré

le plus loin le plus serré
mourning art

in memoriam

"yet I tell you, from the sad knowledge of my older experience, that to every one of you a day will most likely come when sunshine, hope, presents and pleasure will be worth nothing to you in comparison with the unattainable gift of your mother's kiss." (Christina Rossetti, "Speaking Likenesses," 1873)

Thursday, January 11, 2007

the first world war

An absence I have only recently (as in, the last 48 hours) started thinking about: WHERE or WHAT are the children's books about or written during the first world war??? I can think of, off the top of my head, quite a number of children's texts of the holocaust/second world war, but the first world war?????

Since I'm in the middle of putting together the bibliography for my PhD Project (material culture of childhood), I've been going through my Oxford Companion to Children's Lit, page by page, looking out significant texts. I've started keeping an eye out for books of the first world war, and I haven't really come up with much. Sir Hugh Walpole wrote a series of books (Jeremy is the first) in the late teens and early 20s (I checked Jeremy out of the library today - it was published in 1917), but other than that I'm coming up empty.

There's Barrie's novelization of Peter Pan in 1911; there's Milne's Pooh books in 1926. what came in between?

a quick, superficial google search of children's literature and world war one turned about very, very little; though I found one woman's blog that suggests she is working on a Lion & the Unicorn on children's lit & WWI. i should really get a subscription to lion & the unicorn....

anyway, i've gotten extremely curious about the first world war, and I have a number of histories out from the library. but i'm even MORE curious about this absence of children's texts - it needs looking into!


schwartzbergj said...

Dear Kbryna,

You got me curious too. My solution was to check OCLC using keyword juvenile and limiting to 1914-1918, which resulted in 2,803 items.

One of the first things I found was:
Lane, Franklin K. The battle line of democracy: prose and poetry of the world war. Washington: Govt. Print. Off., 1917. 133 p., 24 cm.

Newbolt, Sir Henry John. Tales of the Great War. London, New York, etc.: Longmans, Green & Co., 1916. xii, 294 p., ill., 20 cm.

Adding the keyword war to this search gives 410 items.

Another such book is:

Atkinson, Eleanor. "Poilu", a dog of Roubaix. New York and London: Harper and Brothers, 1916. 224 p., front., 20 cm.

France of course produced its own children's books during the war, one of which is

Poulbot, Francisque. Des gosses et des bonhommes. Paris: L'auteur, 1917. [8] p., 100 l. of pls., 20 cm.

There are other children's books about boys fighting in the war and girls serving with the Red Cross, etc.

Have fun poking around OCLC and getting books through ILL!

Most of the books I myself have read were adult popular fiction of the period. Grace S. Richmond, E. Phillips Oppenheim, Grace Livingston Hill, had books set in WWI.

I do have sitting on my to-be-read pile a children's mystery.

Karr, Kathleen. In the Kaiser's Clutch. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1995. 182 p., 22 cm. Blurb: While starring in a series of cliffhangers for Pathmark Studios during the summer of 1918, fifteen-year-old twins Fitz and Nelly Dalton uncover a German saboteur.

It looks like fun.

Jenny Schwartzberg
The Newberry Library
Chicago, IL

Laz said...

I have no such insight to add, except to say I love the froggy-boots!! And sockpuppets have been known to keep me entertained, as have some of the bizarre finger puppets from IKEA!

ashwini said...

In the realm of sentimental girl-books, what about the LM Montgomery "Rilla of Ingleside"? I believe there are others in this category too, cataloged in "You're A Brick, Angela!" which is one of my favorite books about fiction for girls.

Libby said...

I don't know about children's books written during WWI, but Michael Morpurgo's Private Peaceful is an amazing novel about it. I think he may have others set then, as well.

Sylvia said...

You write very well.