From Nursery Rhymes to Nationhood : Children's Literature and the Construction of Canadian Identity book cover
1st Edition

From Nursery Rhymes to Nationhood
Children's Literature and the Construction of Canadian Identity

ISBN 9780415699419
Published September 14, 2011 by Routledge
216 Pages

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Book Description

As Canada came to terms with its role as an independent nation following Confederation in 1867, there was a call for a literary voice to express the needs and desires of a new country. Children’s literature was one of the means through which this new voice found expression. Seen as a tool for both entertaining and educating children, this material is often overtly propagandistic and nationalistic, and addresses some of the key political, economic, and social concerns of Canada as it struggled to maintain national unity during this time. From Nursery Rhymes to Nationhood studies a large variety of children’s literature written in English between 1867 and 1911, revealing a distinct interest in questions of national unity and identity among children’s writers of the day and exploring the influence of American and British authors on the shaping of Canadian identity. The visions of Canada expressed in this material are often in competition with one another, but together they illuminate the country’s attempts to define itself and its relation to the world outside its borders.

Table of Contents

Series Editor’s Forward


Introduction: From Nursery Rhymes to Nationhood

Chapter One: The View From Afar: British and American Perspectives

Chapter Two: Forest, Prairie, Sea, and Mountain: Canadian Regionalism

Chapter Three: A Question of Loyalties: Britain and Canada

Chapter Four: Due South: America and Canada

Chapter Five: Sleeping With the Enemy? The Figure of the French Canadian

Chapter Six: Flint and Feather: The Figure of the Indian

Chapter Seven: Fact or Fiction? The Making of Canadian History

Chapter Eight: "The True North Strong and Free": Landscape and Environment



Selected Bibliography


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Elizabeth A. Galway received her B.A. from  the University of Toronto, her M.A. from Durham University, and her Ph.D. from the University of Exeter, and is the author of articles on children’s literature, Canadian literature, and Victorian literature. She now teaches in the Department of English at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta.


"...many analyses of literature (of any country) neglect texts written for children...This book attempts to remedy this lack for Canadian children's literature...Recommended." - P.J. Kurtz, Minot State University, Choice

"Galway’s study provides an excellent starting point for thinking through how contemporary writers and illustrators of children’s literatures in Canada continue to negotiate issues of race, language, religion, and culture in relation to American, as well as Canadian, discourses about national identity." - Jeunesse: Young People, Texts, Cultures