The Juvenile Novels of World War II: An Annotated Bibliography

The Juvenile Novels of World War II: An Annotated Bibliography

The Juvenile Novels of World War II: An Annotated Bibliography

The Juvenile Novels of World War II: An Annotated Bibliography

Excerpt

Juvenile fiction has tended to be different from most other literature. This observation was particularly true of World War I juvenile stories published for many years after that war, but far less so for World War II juvenile novels beginning with the 1950s. The boys and girls series formula tales emphasizing boy scout virtues and values featured patriotic fervor, belief in God, and the traditional values of honesty, Christian morality, and integrity. World War II children's literature, however, soon saw the beginnings of a less and less parochial American world view, especially by 1960. But with 1939 and through most of the 1940s, it was still the "gee whiz" traditional tried and true formula plot that characterized our response to the Second World War.

The English juvenile series commencing with Biggles in the Baltic (1940: JOOI) and Worrals of the W.A.A.F. (1941: J017) which features a woman WAAF officer, continue the traditional approach. In the United States this genre was resuscitated with a vengeance starting with such series as A Yankee Flier ... (1941: J006 etc.), Dave Dawson at ... (1941: J008 etc.), Ann Bartlett ... (1941: J020 etc.), The Lucky Terrill Flying stories (1942: J033 etc.), Kate Russell Wartime Nurse stories (1942: J044 etc.) and so on through the 1940s and 1950s. Except for the three British children's series about Biggles, Worrals, and Gimlet (1944: J076 etc.) byWilliam Johns, the majority of these juvenile stories in the United States were cranked out by well known series formula writers such as Al Avery (Rutherford Montgomery), Robert Bowen, Ted Copp, Roy Snell, William Starret, etc. in what appropriately qualifies as "gee whiz" heroics along the lines of Tom Swift or Jack Armstrong, "the all American boy," and their female equivalents.

The first title that seems to address the use and status of women in the war, Sally Wins Her Wings (1943: J089) bySimmons, traces how a young American woman progresses from civilian pilot training to the RAF Military Ferry Command in 1940 and 1941 in spite of male prejudice. Sally is developed as a character of some depth which is an unusual development in this period. The next advance occurred . . .

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