Building Citizens: The Patriotic Child

Cover of Ganesha the Remover of all Obstacles

By Anant Pai,  H. G. Mirchandani for India Book House Education Trust, 1982-1983

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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Title page of The American Spelling Book

By Noah Webster, Columbia University, facsimile 1962

The American Spelling Book

Noah Webster

Originally published 1793


Cover of Irish Fairy Tales

By James Stephens, McMillian and Co., 1968

Irish Fairy Tales

Written by James Stephens

Illustrated by Arthur Rackham


Cover of Topotun i Knizhka

By Il'ia Ionov, Gosizdat, 1926

Topotun i knizhka

Written by Il'ia Lonov

Illustrated by Mikhail Tsekhanoveskii


Cover of T'Sirk

By Samuil Marshak, Raduga, 1928


Written by Samuil Marshak

Illustrated by Vladimir Lebedev


Cover of Daniel Boone

By Esther Averill, Domino Press, 1931

Daniel Boone (French Edition)

Written by Esther Averill

Illustrated by Feodor Rojankovsky


Cover of In My Mother's House

By Anne Nolan Clark, Viking Press, 1941

In My Mother's House

Written by Anne Nolan Clark

Illustrated by Velino Herrera


Cover of La Calle es Libre

By Kurusa, Ediciones Ekare, 1981

La Calle es Libre

Written by Kurusa

Illustrated by Monika Doppert


Cover of Krishna Retold from the Bhagawat Puran

By Anant Pai, H.G. Mirchandani for India Book House Education Trust, 1982-1983

Amar chitra katha

Series created by Anant Pai


Cover of The Bicycle Man

By Allen Say, Parnassus, 1982

The Bicycle Man

Written and Illustrated by Allen Say


Cover of Le Taxi-Brousse de Papa Diop

By Christian Épanya,  Syros, 2005

Le Taxi-brousse de Papa Diop (Papa Diop's Taxi)

Written and Illustrated by Christian Epanya


Cover of Feng Zikai ji

By Feng Zikai, Dong fang chu ban she, 2008

Feng Zikai ji

Written and Illustrated by Feng Zikai


Cover of Tsunami

By Joydeb and Moyna Chitrakar, Tara Books, 2011


Written and Illustrated by Joydeb and Moyna Chitrakar


Visions of Childhood
Building Citizens: The Patriotic Child