University of Toronto Press is thrilled to announce that Susan Fisher has been awarded the Canada Prize in the Humanities for her book Boys and Girls in No Man's Land awarded by The Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences.
Boys and Girls in No Man's Land examines how the First World War entered the lives and imaginations of Canadian children. Drawing on educational materials, textbooks, adventure tales, plays, and Sunday-school papers, this study explores the role of children in the nation's war effort.
Susan R. Fisher also considers how the representation of the war has changed in Canadian children's literature. During the war, the conflict was invariably presented as noble and thrilling, but recent Canadian children's books paint a very different picture. What once was regarded a morally uplifting struggle, rich in lessons of service and sacrifice, is now presented as pointless slaughter. This shift in tone and content reveals profound changes in Canadian attitudes not only towards the First World War but also towards patriotism, duty, and the shaping of the moral citizen.
'Boys and Girls in No Man's Land is the first sustained examination of how the First World War was perceived by and affected Canadian children, making it an important contribution to the social and cultural history of the war. Susan Fisher's grasp of the literature on the subject is excellent, while her accessible writing ensures that this book will appeal to a wide audience.'
Jonathan Vance, Department of History, University of Western Ontario
'Boys and Girls in No Man's Land is a solid, well-written contribution to the history of Canadian youth literature and the cultures of childhood. Susan Fisher analyses the popular literature and reading habits of children who lived through the First World War and considers how the memory of the war is used in contemporary writing for youth. Her discussion of patriotism and the different responses to war in British and American children's literature is particularly insightful.'
Gail Edwards, Department of History, Douglas College
'Readers will enjoy Boys and Girls in No Man's Land for its engaging examination of an important period in Canadian children's literary history. Susan Fisher's analysis of how the First World War was understood by a largely overlooked segment of the population is persuasive, well informed, and valuable.'
Leslie McGrath, Department Head, Osborne Collection of Early Children's Books, Toronto Public Library
Congratulations to Susan Fisher!