‘The Right Thing to Read’ : A History of Australian Girl-Readers, 1910-1960 book cover
1st Edition

‘The Right Thing to Read’
A History of Australian Girl-Readers, 1910-1960

ISBN 9780367592141
Published August 14, 2020 by Routledge
200 Pages

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Book Description

‘The Right Thing to Read’: A History of Australian Girl-Readers, 1910-1960 explores the reading habits, identity, and construction of femininity of Australian girls aged between ten and fourteen from 1910 to 1960. It investigates changing notions of Australian girlhood across the period, and explores the ways that parents, teachers, educators, journalists and politicians attempted to mitigate concerns about girls’ development through the promotion of ‘healthy’ literature. The book also addresses the influence of British publishers to Australian girl-readers and the growing importance of Australian publishers throughout the period. It considers the rise of Australian literary nationalism in the global context, and the increasing prominence of Australian literature in the period after the Second World War. It also shows how access to reading material improved for girls over the first half of the last century.

Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments


1 Girlhood reading in the First World War

2 Magazine reading and access in the 1920s

3 Libraries, education and reading in the Great Depression

4 Girl-readers in the Second World War

5 1950s Australia and a new Australian children’s literature



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Bronwyn Lowe is a historian of Australian book history and girlhood, who examines attitudes towards girls’ reading habits in the past. Her most recent journal articles have appeared in History Compass and Book History. She currently works as a sessional lecturer of Australian Studies at the University of Melbourne.


"This is an important contribution to the growing field of girlhood studies, using a range of sources to assess what Australian girls were reading and how their identity as citizens was affected by those choices." -- Nancy G. Rosoff, Dean of Graduate and Undergraduate Studies, Arcadia University (USA)