ABSTRACT

It was not until the 1980s, a full three decades after the United States bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, that nuclear war emerged as a theme of children’s literature, featuring in over twenty novels for young readers in the United States and Britain.1 In both countries, books by American children’s authors James Forman, Lynn Hall, and Jane Langton appeared on the shelves of bookstores and libraries side by side with books from British authors such as Pamela Service, Robert Swindell, and Louise Lawrence. This relative literary abundance erupted from under the blanket of silence, which, prior to the 1980s, had barred nuclear war from children’s literature. At that time the topic was deemed unacceptable for youth and was only considered to be legitimate-though not yet common-in writing for adults.2