Published on Brock University (http://www.brocku.ca)
Viewed in 2010, some of the early 20th century children’s books Lissa Paul is studying look a little surreal.
There’s An ABC for Baby Patriots, where B stands for battles and C stands for colonies. There’s an ad that encourages kids to dress up a male paper doll, pictured on a missile-firing battle ship, in Navy regalia.
In the years just before the First World War, the professor of Education says, children’s books and popular culture promoted proud support of the British Empire. So when war was declared in 1914, young boys were already primed to fight for their countries.
As the 100th anniversary of the First World War approaches, the UK’s Leverhulme Trust is funding three international conferences to study children’s literature and culture in the years approaching the First World War. Paul is organizing the Canadian conference.