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Anna Karlskov Skyggebjerg

War in Contemporary Danish Children's Literature

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War in Contemporary Danish Children’s Literature

In this paper, I have charted the depiction of war in contemporary Danish children’s literature. In the last decade several children’s books have been published about the war in Afghanistan and other ongoing military conflicts. These books are in various genres from novels to non-fiction picture books, and they are made with several purposes from entertainment to classroom reading. They depict war in many ways and they address child readers at different levels. What they have in common is an ambition of realism and sharing of knowledge (or education) about war. My key question is how childhood is created and constructed in these books. What and how do contemporary authors and illustrators of Danish children’s books tell about war? How is the child reader confronted with extreme situations and the crucial consequences of war? What are the ethics, and are there any limitations of the content?

The following four books will be the primary examples of the paper, Soldater græder ikke [Soldiers Don’t Cry] by Jesper Nikolaj Christiansen (2009), Operation Helmand [The Helmand Operation] by Benni Bødker and Mads Themberg (2012), Far, fare krigsmand [Dad, a Man of War] by Mette Emilieanna Bruun (2013) and Lille Soldat [Little Soldier] by R.T. Rottbøll and Gabriel Diaz (2014).
The theoretical background of this paper is research in descriptions of war in children’s literature in general (for instance Lydia Kokkola 2003, Gabriele von Glasenapp 2008), theory about the construction of childhood in children’s literature (for instance Hans-Heino Ewers 2001, Nina Christensen 2012) and genre theory focussed on the relation between fiction and non-fiction in children’s literature (Nina Goga 2008).
Original languageEnglish
Publication year9 Aug 2015
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 9 Aug 2015
EventThe 22nd biennial congress of IRSCL: Possible and Impossible Children. Children's Literature and Childhood studies - Institute of Humanities and Creative Arts, University of Worcester, Worcester, United Kingdom
Duration: 8 Aug 201512 Aug 2015


ConferenceThe 22nd biennial congress of IRSCL
LocationInstitute of Humanities and Creative Arts, University of Worcester
CountryUnited Kingdom

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