Building Citizens: The Patriotic Child
In new nations and those undergoing radical transition, books for young people become unifying civic tools. In his ubiquitous spellers, Noah Webster introduced a distinctly American English language—freed from what he described as the clamor of British aristocratic affectation—to generations of the young republic's schoolchildren.
Revolutionary Russia's state-run publishers enlisted artists and writers to create picture books that embellished guideposts of good civic behavior with aesthetic delight. The long-smoldering Irish republican independence movement sparked a revival of interest in Irish fairy tales, in which the poets William Butler Yeats and James Stephens played leading roles.
Paperbacks in comic-book format proved wildly effective in familiarizing Occupation-era Japanese children with Western cultural ideals and postcolonial India's youth with their nation's labyrinthine cultural heritage. Currently, postcolonial French West Africa is in the early stages of a process that Webster would have recognized: the effort to craft authentically African children's books that, as the Cameroon-born artist Christian Épanya has said, "speak" to African children.
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Originally published 1793
Written by James Stephens
Illustrated by Arthur Rackham
Written by Il'ia Lonov
Illustrated by Mikhail Tsekhanoveskii
Written by Samuil Marshak
Illustrated by Vladimir Lebedev
Written by Esther Averill
Illustrated by Feodor Rojankovsky
Written by Anne Nolan Clark
Illustrated by Velino Herrera
Written by Kurusa
Illustrated by Monika Doppert
Series created by Anant Pai
Written and Illustrated by Allen Say
Written and Illustrated by Christian Epanya
Written and Illustrated by Feng Zikai
Written and Illustrated by Joydeb and Moyna Chitrakar