My postdoctoral research examines representations of risk in children’s literature from the mid-nineteenth century to the present day. It explores how issues of risk and trust have been mediated through children’s narratives, and how the adventurous child has served, and continues to serve, as a conduit for adult investigations of the social and cultural capital of risk, and anxieties about the changing locus of trust and value at key historical moments. Karin Lesnik-Oberstein has observed that the child is ‘a construction, constructed and described in different, often clashing terms’ and ‘the production of systems of purpose, fuelled by need’. This project perceives the child as an adult discursive construct, used as a focal point for narrative imaginings of adventure that consider the role and function of risk in society. It will examine this constructed child, and the ways in which his or her engagement with the unknown spaces of adventure and fortune has served to map adult anxieties about the shifting loci of trust in capitalist, imperialist, post-war and digital ages.