Glorifying War in Iraqi Children’s Short Stories 1980s

Main Article Content

Taymaa H. Kheirbek


Throughout history, literature has always played a key role in forming societies’ cultural heritage. Children Literature, in specific, is highly important since it helps the young readers to develop love and passion for reading which will eventually improve their emotional intelligence and creativity. It also nurtures significant social skills that enable the readers to have more positive attitudes about their lives. Nevertheless, children’s literature can turn into a tool to control children and brainwash them.  Studying Iraqi children’s short stories during the 1980s shows how children are enculturated and treated as rich soil to sow the seeds of violence. In this paper, a selected number of short stories that were written during Iran-Iraq war are studied. It examines how these texts are engaged in literature of propaganda. It also focuses on the tools that are used to covey certain ideologies. The normalization, historicization, and mythologization of war are proved to be highly influential methods. Propagandistic and militaristic subjects and illustrations are also employed to convey implied ideological messages. The soldiers’ suffering is hidden while their death is celebrated. Instead of portraying the ferocity of war to remind young readers of its inhumane side, violence is encouraged, and the idea of peace is trivialized and rejected.


Download data is not yet available.

Article Details

How to Cite
Kheirbek, T. H. (2021) “Glorifying War in Iraqi Children’s Short Stories 1980s”, Koya University Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences, 4(1), pp. 53-59. doi: 10.14500/kujhss.v4n1y2021.pp53-59.
Author Biography

Taymaa H. Kheirbek, English Department, College of Education and Languages, Charmo University, Kurdistan Region, Iraq

Taymaa Hussein Kheirbek is a Lecturer, joined the Department of English Language at Charmo University in 2009. She has a BA degree in English Literature, MA in English Literature (children’s Literature), and PhD. in English Literature (children’s Literature). Dr. Kheirbek has written 5 journal articles in the fields of English literature and children’s literature.


Al-Mutaliby, A. (1986), “A Suitable Rifle for Little Waleed!”, Majalaty ,vol.16, no.38,pp. 6-7.

Al-Rass, S. (1980), “What Wadhah Said in His Notebook of Happiness”, Majalaty , vol. 11, no.42, pp. 3-5.

Ardizzone, E. (1980), “Creation of a Picture Book”, Only Connect. Readings on Children’s Literature, Egoff, S. et al. Eds., Oxford University Press, Toronto.

Augesten, A. et al. (2020), “Iran-Iraq War”, [Accessed 20 Sep. 2020]

Boo, F. et al. (2020), “The People’s Army”, [Accessed 20 Nov. 2020]

Dixon, B. (1977), “Catching Them Young, Sex, Race and Class in Children’s Literature”, Pluto Press, London.

Farhan, S. (1980), “The Little Fighter”, Majalaty, vol. 11, no. 40.

Fox, C. and Hunt, P. (2004),”War”, International Companion Encyclopedia of Children’s Literature, vol. 1, Routledge, New York.

Giblin, J. (1995), “Violence, Children, and children’s books”, School Library Journal, vol. 41, no. 11, pp.30-31.

Goodenough, E. (2000),” Children’s Literature and Violence: Introduction”, The Lion & the Unicorn, vol. 24, no.3, pp. v-ix.

Harrison, B. (1987), “Howl Like the Wolves”, Children’s Literature, vol. 15, pp. 67-90.

Hussein, J. (1984), “A Mission in The Darkness”, Children’s culture House, Baghdad.

Mccllum, R. and Stephens, J. (2010), “Ideology in Children’s books”, In book: Handbook of Research on Children's and Young Adult Literature, Shelby, W. Ed., Routledge.

Rauf, A (1980), “Grandpa’s Tales”, Majalaty, vol. 11, no. 40.

Rauf, A. (1981), “Asad Albar”, Children’s Culture House, Baghdad.

Rose, J. (1984), “The Case of Peter Pan or the Impossibility of Children’s Fiction”, Macmillan, London.

Rudman, M. (1995), “Children’s Literature”, Longman Publishers, New York.

Salwi, D. (1998), “Peace Through Science Fiction?”, The 26th Congress of the International Board on Books for Young People.

Stephens, J. (1992), “Language and Ideology in Children’s Fiction”, Longman, London.

Wyile, A. (1999),”Expanding the View of First-Person Narration”, Children's Literature in Education, vol. 30, pp. 185–202.