Page 88 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 35

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MARCIA POSNER
Jewish Juvenile Book Awards:
Survey and Evaluation
L
e t
u s
c o n s id e r
the Jewish juvenile book award winners on the
basis of several sets of criteria: first, the criteria used by the Jewish
Book Council judges and second, the criteria established by
authorities on children’s literature. Lastly, let us view the award
winners from the vantage point of Jewish librarians who are
in the closest contact with the Jewish juvenile reader.
The rules of the Jewish Book Council juvenile literary awards
are specific. Prayerbooks, textbooks, anthologies, collections, and
reprints or new editions of older works are ineligible for con­
sideration. T he book must have been written and published in
English. The author is to be a citizen of the United States or
Canada, although he may hold a dual Israeli citizenship. T he
award may be given posthumously only if the author has passed
away within the year his book was published. Finally, the award
is to be given to that book which combines literary merit with
an affirmative expression of Jewish values.
According to such authorities as Cullinan, Georgiou and
Huck,1 different genres of literature demand different criteria.
The criteria for picture books differ from those for realistic
fiction. Those for fantasy differ from those for folk-tales; and
they all differ from the criteria for non-fiction.
When we speak of literary qualities for realistic fiction we
are concerned first with
character d e ve lo pm en t .
Are the charac­
ters real people with whom the children can identify? Second,
p lo t d e ve lo pm en t
is essential. Are the events contrived, a series
of coincidences? Are the characters manipulated as puppets to
make the story happen, or are the occurrences a logical outgrowth
of what went on before? Th ird ,
se t tin g
—does the setting include
l Bernice E. Cullinan,
Literature for Children: Its Discipline and Content,
Dubuque, Iowa: William C. Brown Co. Publishers, 1971; Constantine
Georgiou,
Children and Their Literature
,
New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, 1969;
and Charlotte S. Huck,
Children’s Literature in the Elementary School,
third ed., New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1976.
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