Because all wars in the twenty-first century are potentially global wars, the centenary of the first global war is the occasion for reflection. This volume offers an unprecedented account of the lives, stories, letters, games, schools, institutions (such as the Boy Scouts and YMCA), and toys of children in Europe, North America, and the Global South during the First World War and surrounding years. By engaging with developments in Children’s Literature, War Studies, and Education, and mining newly available archival resources (including letters written by children), the contributors to this volume demonstrate how perceptions of childhood changed in the period. Children who had been constructed as Romantic innocents playing safely in secure gardens were transformed into socially responsible children actively committing themselves to the war effort. In order to foreground cross-cultural connections across what had been perceived as ‘enemy’ lines, perspectives on German, American, British, Australian, and Canadian children’s literature and culture are situated so that they work in conversation with each other. The multidisciplinary, multinational range of contributors to this volume make it distinctive and a particularly valuable contribution to emerging studies on the impact of war on the lives of children.

chapter |8 pages


Children's Literature and Culture of the First World War

chapter I|97 pages

Writing War

chapter 1|19 pages

Churchill's War Horse

Children's Literature and the Pleasures of War

chapter 2|18 pages

“Flying the Flag”

Arturo Rossato's Fantasy Novel, L'aeroplano di Girandolino

chapter 3|12 pages

On the Italian Front

Salvator Gotta's Piccolo Alpino (1926)

chapter 4|17 pages

A “Revolutionary” War?

Girls Writing Girls in America's St. Nicholas Magazine

chapter 5|16 pages

War, The Black Diaspora, and Anti-Colonialist Journalism

The Case of Our Boys and Girls

chapter 6|14 pages

Germanic Power and Uncle Sam's Orders

Immigrant Experience of the First World War in Swedish-American Writings for Youth

chapter 8|15 pages

“The Eastern Glow Where the Big Sons Go”

Arnold Wilson, Clifton College, and the First World War

chapter 9|23 pages

Australia and Wartime Chorography

Showing and Telling the Story of Home

chapter 10|17 pages

The Building of Boys for War

The Militarization of Boys' Work in the Canadian and American YMCAs

chapter 11|16 pages

“A Salesman Soldier for Uncle Sam”

Images of Childhood in US Food Conservation, 1914–1919

chapter 12|17 pages

Fun and Military Games

The War in German Picturebooks, 1914–1915

chapter 13|12 pages

“A Very Cruel Thing”

Canadian Children, The First World War, and the Grain Grower's Guide

chapter 14|13 pages

“How Merrily the Battle Rages”

Props for Make-Believe in the Edwardian Nursery

chapter 15|12 pages

“Playing Soldiers?”

War, Boys, and the British Toy Industry

chapter IV|67 pages


chapter 16|15 pages

Girl Volunteers

Empowerment through Stories

chapter 17|15 pages

Scouting for Rebels

Na Fianna Éireann and Preparation for the Coming War, 1909–1918

chapter 18|18 pages

A Child's Army of Millions

The American Junior Red Cross

chapter 19|18 pages

“Leagues of Love” and “Column Comrades”

Children's Responses to War in Late Victorian and Edwardian England

chapter |12 pages


Prophesying War: The Hidden Agendas of Children's Literature, 1900–1914 … and 2015