Page 216 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 25

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e w i s h
o o k
n n u a l
S tory o f the Jew fo r Y oung P eo p le .
Th is 4,000 year record of
the Jewish people was first published by Behrman in 1928 and
was attractively revised by Harry Gersh and re-issued in 1964 by
the same publisher. Sholem Asch’s
In the B e g in n in g
(New York,
Putnam, 1935), an old-fashioned, folkloristic retelling of Bible
stories was re-issued in 1966 by Schocken. Some of the authors
in this list who are still writing for children are Jane Bearman,
Sulamith Ish-Kishor and Ben Aronin.
These writers and titles mark the beginning of a modern trend
in the publication of Jewish juvenile literature. The road has
not been an easy one; progress is sporadic. Non-discriminating
grandparents, uncles, aunts and parents can still be victimized
in their eagerness to present a child with a Jewish book. The
trend to meet a specific need does not alway produce the finest
books, and publishers, with all due respect to their integrity, still
publish some books that do not meet the highest standards.
Volumes 6, 7 and 8 of the
Jew ish B ook A n n u a l
appeared with-
out any specific mention of children’s books. Articles and lists
began to appear regularly with volume 9 (1950-1951), in which
Jacob S. Golub wrote: “It is obvious that we are neglecting our
children. T h e writer would venture to guess that almost as many
books go out of print every year as are added. Thus we are
barely holding our own in a land and at a time when we are
supposed to become the cultural leaders of world Jewry. It must
become someone’s duty to see to it that new forces are drawn
in and that our children’s literature expands.” Dr. Golub listed
18 titles published for that year. Short as is that list, it contains
at least five titles that are as good today as when they were pub-
lished: N ina Brown Baker’s
N e x t Year in Jerusa lem : T h e S tory
of T h e o d o r H e r z l
(New York, Harcourt, 1950), E. L. Green-
T h e L i t t le T ra c to r W h o T ra v e l le d to Israe l
(New York,
Behrman, 1949), Elma E. Levinger’s
A lb e r t E in s te in
(New York,
Messner, 1949), Catherine O. Peare’s
A lb e r t E in s te in
(New York,
Holt, 1949), and Sadie Rose Weilerstein’s
M o l ly an d the Sab-
ba th Qu een
(New York, Behrman, 1949).
In volume 10 (1951-1952), Augusta Saretzky deplored the influ-
ence of the mechanistic age on children’s books. She found the
books “concentrated and orderly, but lacking in spaciousness and
imagination. Some are . . . stimulating and colorful . . . and
[others are] poor in form and content.”
In volume 11 (1952-1953) we note a breath of something new
beginning to stir. Cognizance of world happenings was taking
hold and among other good titles were Robert D. Abraham’s
R o om For A Son
(Philadelphia, Jewish Publication Society,
1951) which deals with the problem of a young refugee adopted
by an old Jewish couple living in a small town in Pennsylvania;