Page 93 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 35

Basic HTML Version

POSNER / JEWISH JUVENILE BOOK AWARDS
83
Book Council’s own rule, Pessin’s
T h e Jew ish P eop le : B ook T h ree
is a textbook, and a very well written one at that. I t is nicely
developed, leading from the general to the specific and from
the known to the unknown. Ideas are reinforced by questions.
The transfer of concepts is encouraged and suggestions for
projects and further reading are given. All this is sound peda­
gogical theory. Unless the rules were different at the time the
Isaac Siegel awards were given, a better choice might have
been Jean Brown Wagoner’s
T h e Sheph erd L a d
—a story of a
very human David, or Mina Lewi ton’s
R a ch e l
—a lesser
All-of-a-
Kincl
Family. They were published in the same year—1953—
and both books, especially Wagoner’s, are better from a literary
standpoint. They do not have the same use as the history text,
but merit a role in familiarizing young readers with David the
person, and the American Jewish immigration experience. This
is not to say that a history book should not win the award, only
that as a text book it is ineligible and not likely to be read
voluntarily in that format.
Kubie did win an award in 1954 for her beautifully written
K in g So lom on ’s N a v y .
From the biblical account of a ship which
“set sail to mysterious Ophir for silver, gold, ivory, apes and
peacocks,” she fashioned a book full of color and adventure.
Set before the reader is a rich tapestry of the period, all made
believable by sensitive characterizations. There are many details
of life in ancient Judea and unobtrusive explanations of Hebrew
beliefs. The young hero emerges from his trying adventures
spiritually sound and enriched in his Hebraic heritage. This is
a very popular book with the children and can be used for lessons
in history and for a discussion of Jewish practices. There were
other original, creative titles on the list, such as Ish-Kishor’s
Joe l is the Youngest
and Bothwell’s
F lame in the Sky.
Two
well presented books about American Jewish history appeared
also: G rand’s
T h e Jews Se ttle in N ew Am s terdam
and Levinger’s
Jewish A d v en tu re s in Am er ica .
Sadie Rose Weilerstein’s cumulative contributions to juvenile
literature earned her the 1955 prize. Hers were rather didactic,
mediocre bu t pleasant titles, such as:
M o l ly and the Sabba th
Queen ; Jew ish H eroes ; D ick the H orse tha t K e p t Sabba th
and
T h e L i t t le s t A nge l .
Weilerstein also wrote a baby’s record-keep­
ing book with a Jewish flavor called
O u r B aby ,
which is still