Page 145 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 16

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AMERICAN JEWI SH JUVENI LE BOOKS
1957-1958
B
y
F
a n n y
G
o ld ste in
I
T IS very gratifying to report that the 1957 crop of new Jewish
juveniles shows a marked improvement in quality, in quantity
and in depth of subject matter. The Bible and other religious
sources are still basic reservoirs of inspiration for yielding topics,
but they are projected with more expert variations. Authors
employ more effective literary techniques in writing for different
age brackets; they seem to have gained in stature as literary
craftsmen. They are integrated Americans who handle Jewish
material with a more facile English than the earlier writers to
whom the language was not indigenous. Publishers, conscious
of their responsibility to the book purchasing public, are en-
couraging the creation of more Jewish juveniles. These are char-
acterized by accuracy in content and beauty of format, and by
more color and type variations.
These gains, which are the cumulative results of concentrated
emphasis on Jewish books in the last generation, are highly
encouraging. They vindicate the vision of the pioneers of yester-
year who stressed uninterruptedly the importance of writing,
publishing, buying and reading Jewish books.
The observance this year of the Tenth Anniversary of Israel
provides a new stimulus for writers. Already available for the
young are numerous books describing the old Palestine and
depicting the vibrant life in the new Israel. The excellent bibli-
ography,
Books on Israel for Children,
compiled by the Jewish
Book Council of America, is invaluable for parents, teachers,
readers, and especially for librarians.
Several new series of attractive and inexpensive books for the
youngest readers, such as the Play-and-Learn Library issued by
Behrman, are highly commendable.
The Story of the Synagogue,
a beautiful book for teen-agers, is the first in the Jewish Heritage
series. The Covenant Books series, a planned group of inspira-
tional biographies jointly issued by the Jewish Publication So-
ciety and Farrar, Straus and Cudahy, will appeal to the young
reader. The first book,
The Silversmith of Old New York: Myer
Meyers,
is an admirable example of the wealth of topics the
American scene has to offer the writer seeking Jewish themes.
The publication by Shengold of the one volume
Junior Jewish
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