Children’s books during WW1

At our recent session we looked at the messages children were getting about the war through the books which were available to them at that time. We looked at one book with the title:

Thrilling Deeds of Valour
Stories of the Great War

We considered the use of language in the title and the effect this, and the stories in the book, might have had upon young readers. In particular, we thought about how such books might have influenced young people to sign up.

We then looked further at some notes and quotations supplied by Sean Lang from many other children’s books published in or around 1917/18 and discussed how these portrayed both the Germans and what Britain was fighting for. We also looked specifically at the use of language in many of these books and noted that war was often compared to a game or a sport, with references to playing the ‘game’, playing by the ‘rules’, and the Germans needing to be taught to ‘play cricket’.