chapter
8 Pages

First Things—Introduction

ByCHRISTOPHER (KIT) KELEN AND BJÖRN SUNDMARK

The emergence of modern nation-states towards the end of the eighteenth century and the rise of children’s literature in the same period is not coincidental. Children’s literature makes and educates future citizens. And the idea of childhood pervades the rhetoric of nation and citizenship. Etymologically, “nation” refers us to the idea of “being born” and thereby localizes and connects a prime term in identity to the personal origin of those individual subjects for whom the nation (their nation) is home. This hypostatization makes natural and fundamental a conceptual link on which the governance of modern nations relies-that national subjects will see themselves as belonging to, and as stakeholders in, the national entity they see as defi ning who they are.