Lest We Forget: War in Books for Young Readers

September 15 – December 6, 2014

Exhibit

at the

Osborne Collection

In commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the First World War, please come and see our upcoming special exhibit, and consider joining us for our two memorial lectures by distinguished Canadian authors who have written for children about war:

Poster for Exhibit and Lectures

Poster for Exhibit and Lectures

(Illustration ©2013 by Brian Deines from The Road to Afghanistan by Linda Granfield, published by North Winds Press, and imprint of Scholastic Canada. Reproduced by permission of the publisher.)

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The war, 1914: a history and an explanation for boys and girls by Elizabeth O’Neill. With illustrations. London; Edinburgh: T.C. & E.C. Jack, 1914.

The year 2014 marks the hundredth anniversary of the beginning of World War I, an anniversary commemorated at the Osborne Collection of Early Children’s Books with an exhibit “Lest We Forget: War in Books for Young Readers.” The Great War is comparatively distant in the public memory, and preoccupied as the world is with more recent conflicts, it has become the task of teachers, curators and historians to remind rising generations of the struggles that came before them. Toronto Public Library’s Osborne Collection provides a different perspective in that its several diverse collections are gathered under the Osborne aegis, but they are all joined by a common theme: they are books written about and for children.

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At war! Text and drawings by Charlotte Schaller. London: Grant Richards, 1917.

Bobby can’t believe his ears … he has been told of a great war. Oh! Yes!
It must be really true, as it is written in the paper.

020_Mrs Bunnys Refugee_Page 28 and 29

Mrs. Bunny’s Refugee by Angusine MacGregor. London ; Glasgow ; Bombay : Blackie and Son, [ca. 1918?].

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Mrs. Bunny’s Refugee by Angusine MacGregor. London ; Glasgow ; Bombay : Blackie and Son, [ca. 1918?].

The Osborne Collection of Early Children’s Books began as a grouping of English children’s books collected by an English librarian, Edgar Osborne. The scope of this exhibit reflects the British and Canadian origins of the Collection, as well as the cultural diversity of Canada today shown through our modern notable books. Though exhibit space is limited, a remarkable assortment of books and book art has been included, as well as a small selection of periodicals, popular series  books and ephemera.

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Our hospital ABC [Anzac, British, Canadian]. Pictures by Joyce Dennys. Verses by Hampden Cordon & M.C. Tindall. London: John Lane, The Bodley Head; New York: John Lane Company; Toronto: S.B. Gundy, [1916].

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Alphabet de la Grande Guerre 1914-1916. Texte et dessins de André Hellé. Paris-Nancy: Berger-Levrault, 1916.

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A V.A.D. in Salonika: a tale of a girl’s work in the Great War by Marchant, Bessie. Illustrated by John E. Sutcliffe. London: Blackie & Son, Ltd. [1917].

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L’Alsace heureuse : la grande pitié du pays d’Alsace et son grand bonheur racontés aux petits enfants par l’oncle Hansi. Avec quelques images tristes et beaucoup d’images gaies. Paris: H. Floury, [1919].

Ce livre est dédié aux enfants de ceux qui ont donné leur vie pour le salut de la France
et la libération de l’Alsace et de la Lorraine.

053_Topical ABC_W is for warden

My topical ABC by Charles Tacey and Dorothy Dealtry. London: John F. Shaw, [1940].

The books prepared by the curator of this exhibit, Elizabeth Derbecker, range from tales of courage and valour that inspired and indoctrinated generations of young readers, to honest portrayals of horrific events witnessed by children. Most of the stories tell of bravery, sacrifice and loss, but convey messages of hope in their repeated wish for peace.

  Empire Day in the schools of Ontario, Friday, May twenty-second, 1942. [Toronto]: Ontario Dept. of Education, [1942] 40 pages: illustrations, portraits; 25 cm.

Empire Day in the schools of Ontario, Friday, May twenty-second, 1942. [Toronto]: Ontario Dept. of Education, [1942].

The exhibit is dedicated to the memory of Margaret and Wentworth Walker whose lives were devoted to service and to the cultivation of the arts and literature. The sponsorship of the Friends of the Osborne and Lillian H. Smith Collections in publishing this catalogue, and in many other areas of collection support, is acknowledged with deep gratitude.

Leslie McGrath
Senior Department Head
Osborne Collection of Early Children’s Books
 

Having begun this enterprise with the imperative “lest we forget”, there can be no more evocative words to use at closing than those etched on the memorial at the Hiroshima Peace Park:

This is our cry, this is our prayer: Peace in the world.

Elizabeth Derbecker

 

The 27th annual

Helen E. Stubbs Memorial Lecture

 Thursday October 23, 2014. 8 p.m.,

Community room, Lillian H. Smith branch

 Linda Granfield

Marching in Quick Time

Linda Granfeild

Linda Granfield (Photo by Studio Anka)

Linda Granfield is one of Canada’s most distinguished authors of nonfiction books for children. Her works include Cowboy (1993), Canada Votes (1990), Amazing Grace (1997) and Pier 21: Gateway of Hope (2001). Linda’s books about war have brought awareness to a new generation about the sacrifices that were made to ensure our freedom. Linda has won numerous awards and honours, including the Vicky Metcalf Award for a Body of Work and the Best Books selection of In Flanders Fields by the Internationale Jugendbibliothek.

The 8th annual

Sybille Pantazzi Memorial Lecture

 Thursday November 13, 8 p.m.,

Community room, Lillian H. Smith branch

 Kit Pearson

The Sanctuary of Story

Kit Pearson

Kit Pearson

Kit Pearson is the author of many distinguished books for young readers, including the Guests of War trilogy. Her novel Awake and Dreaming (1996) won the Governor-General’s Award for children’s fiction. Among other honours she has twice been the recipient of the Canadian Library Association’s Book of the Year Award, as well as winning the Mr. Christie’s Book Award, the Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction, and the Vicky Metcalf Award for a Body of Work.

On Friday 12 May 2012, The Osborne Collection of Early Children’s Books and the Friends of the Osborne Collection hosted a section of From the Garden to the Trenches: Childhood Culture and the First World War, a conference partly sponsored by the Social Sciences and Humanities Council of Canada (SSHRC), Brock University, Trinity College, the University of Toronto, Mirvish Productions and the Leverhulme Foundation of the UK. The Canadian conference was part of the Leverhulme-supported network  Approaching War: Childhood, Culture and the First World War, with partners in at the University of Newcastle and the University of Technology, Sydney Australia; and the co-hosts acknowledge with thanks the inclusion of the Osborne Collection of Early Children’s Books, Toronto Public Library, in this program.

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