Books for Boys Exhibition at Bateman's

Experience heroism, adventure and empire at the dawn of the First World War in our Books for Boys Exhibition curated by Durham University. It will spark imaginations and excite adventurers.

Until 28 February 2016, 11:30am - 3:30pm, normal admission applies.

The exhibition will celebrate a golden age of books for children. In the years before the First World War, children were introduced to characters such as Mowgli and Toad of Toad Hall from books that we indisputably class as classics. The likes of Conan-Doyle, Wodehouse, Wells and of course, Kipling, will keep you entertained with stories of spies, jungles, adventure and intrigue. 
Examples of some of the authors’ stories will be on display, as well as toys and games of the period. The exhibition will explore the link between the thrilling children’s literature of the time, the ideals of boyhood, and the increasing threat of war.  Exploring stories of adventure, real life heros and patriotism, the exhibition compares the reading material enjoyed by boys and young men in both Britain and Germany.

Not just for boys

While the exhibition's focus is on publications aimed at young male readers, these books were not read exclusively by boys. Many texts represented were widely enjoyed by women and men of all ages.

The rise in literacy after the 1870 Education Act led to an explosion of reading opportunities. Concentrating on the decades leading up to the War, Books for Boys explores popular trends that were articulated in books and magazines of the time, helping to form Britain and Germany’s understanding of their place in the wider world.

Great classics

The exhibition celebrates a Golden Age of books for children and many of the authors whose work is displayed remain popular today. The late Victorian and Edwardian era introduced readers to classics such as The Jungle Book, as well as new genres, such as the spy novel.

Robert Baden-Powell's Scouting for Boys: A Handbook in Good Citizenship is on display. He had a vision for an inclusive organisation that boys could join regardless of class or creed, whether they lived in the town or country. Baden-Powell, a great friend of Kipling, based the Cub Scout movement on The Jungle Book.

Fun activities

Children visiting the exhibition can have a go at activities from Scouting for Boys and tasks from historic scout badges as well as spending some time in The Wind in the Willows reading caravan.

Books for Boys promises to be exciting, nostalgic, surprising, and sometimes thought-provoking. This exhibition is a must for those who enjoy reading and exploration!