chapter  14
12 Pages

Remembering the Civil Rights Movement in Photographic Texts for Children

This chapter focuses on the American edisonade set during the First World War, Scott Westerfeld's steampunk trilogy Leviathan. It interrogates what happens when children's authors engage history in their efforts to narrate war, warcraft, and national identity. In the original Tom Swift series about a boy inventor/engineer, for example, two of the books take place in the First World War years: Tom Swift and His War Tank and Tom Swift and His Air Scout. Much of the trilogy's popularity and notoriety stems from its connection to the steampunk subculture beloved by many teens. Playing with the term 'cyberpunk', 'steampunk' describes a subgenre of science fiction fantasy that combines Victorian-era technology with a 'punk' vibe. In American children's literature about the First World War youth are presented as ethical agents whose deliberations and actions are crucial in resolving the fight against the 'enemy'. Dan Todman focuses on the potent 'myths' of the Great War.