The recipient of the Grace Abbott Book Award for the best book published in the history of children and youth in 2014 is Ellen Boucher’s, Empire’s Children: Child Emigration, Welfare, and the Decline of the British World, 1869–1967 (Cambridge, 2014).
The committee was deeply impressed by Prof. Boucher’s study of how deep cultural understandings of preserving a “greater Britain” were at the center of the emigration of poor children from England to settler communities in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Rhodesia and South Africa between the late 1860s and the late 1960s. The idea that a “civilized” people would countenance the removal of children from their immediate families (even with parental consent) goes dramatically against contemporary understandings about child nurture and family well-being. Yet Boucher’s research painstakingly reconstructs why such an initiative was once considered benevolent, enlightened, and progressive. In addition to giving us a close account of how public officials and other self-appointed “child savers” implemented this vision, oral histories with the adults whose formative years were spent on the last frontiers of the British empire add nuance and complexity to our understanding of how children responded to such enterprises, undertaken without their permission and with a benevolence that had mixed within it the more obviously self-interested motives of adults in London and in the dominion lands. Finally, in accounting for why such efforts came to an end, Empire’s Children adds significantly to our understanding of twentieth century nationalisms, the decolonization process and the evolution of social policy across national borders.
The members of the selection committee were Ben Keppel (chair), Kristine Alexander, and Luke Springman. Prof. Boucher will receive $500 and a plaque.
The Society for the History of Children and Youth (SHCY) is pleased to call for nominations for the best book published in English on the history of children, childhood, or youth (broadly construed) published in 2014.
The award of a plaque and a check for $500 will be made by mid-summer 2015.
Nominations are invited from publishers, editors, scholars, and authors. Current members of the SHCY award committee, the executive committee, and officers of the society are ineligible. Nominations must be postmarked by April 15, 2015.
Send a copy of the book, physical or electronic (PDF only), for consideration to each of the book award committee members at the following addresses:
Ben Keppel (Chair)
Department of History
University of Oklahoma
455 West Lindsey Street, Suite 403A
Norman OK 73019
Department of History
The University of Lethbridge
4401 University Drive
Lethbridge, AB T1K 3M4
Office of Global Education
Room 234, Student Services Center
400 East Second Street
Bloomsburg, PA 17815-1301
The committee charged with selecting the 2014 Grace Abbott Prize for Best Book published in 2013—E. Wayne Carp (chair), Steve Mintz, and Ishita Pande—have selected the following book:
Daniel Rivers, Radical Relations: Lesbian Mothers, Gay Fathers, and Their Children in the United States since World War II.
The committee says this about the book: Daniel Winunwe Rivers’s Radical Relations demonstrates that scholarly rigor, an exhaustive research agenda, and deep historiographical engagement can be transformed into a powerful social history compelling for broad audiences. Rivers masterfully reveals the historical context for the current spotlight on the modern struggle for family and domestic rights by GLBT people. Moreover, by putting the parent-child relationship at the center of this book, Rivers tells a history, both disturbing and hopeful, that successfully challenges a long-standing assumption that same-sex orientation excludes an investment in parenting. Living under the constant threat of losing custody of their children if their own true sexuality was discovered, GLBT parents fought for parental rights through the legal system, the creation in the 1970s of a nationwide grassroots network of lesbian mothers, and the subsequent national organizations of gay fathers. In the end, Radical Relations is a model for a growing dialogue between the history of childhood, family history, the history of gender and sexuality, and GLBT history.
Rivers is an assistant professor of history at The Ohio State University. He will receive a plaque and $500.
The Grace Abbott Best Book Award Committee of the Society for the History of Children and Youth for 2013 was composed of four members: Daniel Cook (Rutgers University, Camden), Stephen Lassonde (Harvard University) Leslie Paris (University of British Columbia), Johanna Sköld (Linköping University).
The committee chose Robin Bernstein’s book Racial Innocence: Performing American Childhood from Slavery to Civil Rights (New York University Press, 2011) as the Grace Abbott Best Book Award winner.
Call for Nominations: Best Book on the History of Children and Youth
Grace Abbott Best Book Award Published in Calendar Years 2011 or 2012
The Society for the History of Children and Youth (SHCY) is pleased to call for nominations for the best book published in English on the history of children, childhood, or youth (broadly construed) published in calendar years 2011 or 2012.
The award of a plaque and a check for $500 US will be presented at the 2013 SHCY Biennial Conference (June 25-27) at Nottingham University, United Kingdom.