The essays in this collection address the relationship between children and cultural memory in texts both for and about young people. The collection overall is concerned with how cultural memory is shaped, contested, forgotten, recovered, and (re)circulated, sometimes in opposition to dominant national narratives, and often for the benefit of young readers who are assumed not to possess any prior cultural memory. From the innovative development of school libraries in the 1920s to the role of utopianism in fixing cultural memory for teen readers, it provides a critical look into children and ideologies of childhood as they are represented in a broad spectrum of texts, including film, poetry, literature, and architecture from Canada, the United States, Japan, Germany, Britain, India, and Spain. These cultural forms collaborate to shape ideas and values, in turn contributing to dominant discourses about national and global citizenship. The essays included in the collection imply that childhood is an oft-imagined idealist construction based in large part on participation, identity, and perception; childhood is invisible and tangible, exciting and intriguing, and at times elusive even as cultural and literary artifacts recreate it. Children and Cultural Memory in Texts of Childhood is a valuable resource for scholars of children’s literature and culture, readers interested in childhood and ideology, and those working in the fields of diaspora and postcolonial studies.

chapter |14 pages


Fixing the Past for Young People

chapter 1|17 pages

Reading Canadian *

Children and National Literature in the 1920s

chapter 2|14 pages

“A Real True Merrican Like Us”

Edith Wharton's Past, Modern Children, and American Identity

chapter 3|19 pages

Nationalism, Nostalgia, and Intergenerational Girlhood

Textual and Ideological Extensions to Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House

chapter 5|15 pages

Modern Architecture, National Traditions, and Ambivalent Internationalism

An East German Architectural Text for Young Readers

chapter 6|22 pages

“You Say You Want a Revolution” *

Cultural Memory, Black Nationalist Didacticism, and Sonia Sanchez's It's a New Day: Poems for Young Brothas and Sistuhs

chapter 7|21 pages

Ambivalent Doomsday for the Young

Nuclear Fictions for Children and Adolescents in the 1980s

chapter 8|15 pages

Constructing an Innocent German Past

Childhood and National Socialism in Dieter Forte's Der Junge mit den blutigen Schuhen and Martin Walser's Ein springender Brunnen

chapter 9|16 pages

“Infinnate Joy”

Play, Performance, and Resistance in Arundhati Roy's The God of Small Things

chapter 10|18 pages

The Seductions of Good and Evil

Competing Cultural Memories in Steven Keewatin Sanderson's Superhero Comics for Aboriginal Youth

chapter 11|14 pages

“They're Good with Good Girls”

Constructions of Childhood in Coming-of-Age Films about the Spanish Civil War

chapter 12|17 pages

“Does Not Happen”

M.T. Anderson and Terry Pratchett Imagine the Nation