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WWII Children’s Literature. By: Ryan Hughson. Research Question. In my research of WWII children’s literature, my aim was to discover if and how much the war propaganda effected American children throughout means of books, cartoons, comics, etc.

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research question
Research Question
  • In my research of WWII children’s literature, my aim was to discover if and how much the war propaganda effected American children throughout means of books, cartoons, comics, etc.
  • “Many of our games involved war themes. We made hideouts and plans in the event Long Beach would be invaded or bombed. My sister and I planned for situations in which we might be like the poor, starving children of Europe we saw in the newsreels, living without parents, in rags, in bombed out buildings. We were convinced that if attacked, only children would survive and all adults would be killed”- Sheril Cunning describing part of her childhood growing up during WWII in Long Beach, California
american children during wwii
American Children during WWII
  • First generation to have to take care of themselves
  • Mothers and children working while fathers were overseas
  • Dealt with mass migrations to west coast
  • Family separation or personal loss
  • Sense of intense patriotism and American pride
the red randall series
The Red Randall Series
  • 1940s boys war adventure series
  • Author: R. Sidney Bowen
  • Red Randall- young boy, serves as military aviator
  • Pertains to WWII and more specifically the Pacific part of the war
  • Often deviates from history- created a Japanese base on the Hawaiian islands
cherry ames
Cherry Ames
  • Series of 27 mystery novels beginning in 1943
  • Authors: Helen Wells (1-7, 17-27) and Julie Tatham (8-16)
  • Charity Ames- mystery solving nurse throughout the war.
  • Lives in Hilton, Illinois
  • Trained at Spencer Hospital School of Nursing
comic books
Comic Books
  • Superman, Daredevil, Spiderman, Captain America, Batman, etc.
  • Cheap
  • Easy to read
  • Tales of good triumphing over evil
  • Many instances of anti-Nazi/Japanese/Axis power propaganda
trend in stereotypes
Trend in Stereotypes
  • Throughout most literature released during the war, characters were often depicted according to the time.
  • Women were blonde, thin, attractive, victims
  • Men/Soldiers were white, tall, chiseled features, heroes
  • Minorities had overcompensating characteristics
  • Did stereotypes cause children to develop racist tendencies?
children s poem
Children’s Poem
  • War effected games kids would play, books they would read, and movies they would watch.
  • A common wartime children’s rhyme that was developed:
  • Whistle while you work, Hitler is a jerk, Mussolini is a weenie, And Tojo is a jerk.
dr suess
Dr. Suess
  • Theodor Seuss Geisel
  • Worked as a political cartoonist for daily news paper in NYC
  • Dr. Suess goes to War
  • Created cartoons that promoted President Roosevelt, portrayed the Nazi and Japanese forces negatively, and gave criticism of the aid to the Soviet Union
findings and conclusions
Findings and Conclusions
  • Children were able to learn about the war through the many books and other literature released at the time.
  • Issues such as fascism, Nazism, Pearl Harbor, battles on the war field were addressed and softened for children’s perspectives.
  • These types of texts gave young people a chance to learn about the war and America’s sacrifice without them having to know the real seriousness.