Both Rudyard Kipling and Jean de Brunhoff are European men who are known for their adored children’s books, The Jungle Book and Babar, respectively. In My Independent Study, I ask the question, to what extent can children’s literature be used as a viable primary sources that contribute to an overall understanding of both history and the authors’ individual worlds? I began my research my studying the colonial and imperial systems of both Britain and France in order to understand the driving factors and goals of each empire. From there, I research my two authors in order to fully understand what shaped them into the authors of The Jungle Book and Babar; my decision on these two books was based off their preexisting connections with colonialism and imperialism. My final research comprised of literary critics and theorists, who specialized on each author, in order to build a strong argument. Following my analysis, I concluded that children’s books, such as The Jungle Book and Babar are not only viable primary sources, but reveal complexities that parallel both the ideas of each nation’s colonial mission as well as characteristics of the authors themselves. The Jungle Book and Babar reveal that children’s books have the potential to hold immense amount of complexities in relation to their times and to their authors, making them essential historical primary sources.


Hettinger, Madonna




Cultural History | European History


Imperialism, Colonialism, Kipling, de Brunhoff, The Jungle Book, Mowgli, Babar

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2015 Anna M. Masland