Page 94 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 35

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JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
in demand. Later she would au thor
T en and a K id ,
(1961) a
fine book which will be discussed later. I t appears tha t the
judges operated in a rather free-wheeling way, almost arbitrarily
one could say, overlooking literary criteria when they did not
apply. Might it not have been better to grant a special award
to cover special cases, such as encyclopedias, textbooks, or a body
of useful work by a single author?
The year after Weilerstein won her cumulative award, Elma
E. Levinger won hers. Mrs. Levinger had authored such titles
as:
A lb e r t E in s te in ; T h ey F ough t fo r F reedom
and
O th e r S tories;
H eroes o f Jew ish H is to r y ; Jew ish A d v en tu re s in Am er ica
and
several textbooks. Mrs. Levinger certainly deserved recognition
for her furthering of Jewish children’s education, bu t not an
award based on literary merit. Perhaps her award was intended
to be just that—a separate award—as she was granted no t an
Isaac Siegel Memorial Award bu t one called the Temple B’nai
Jeshurun Juvenile Award.
The 1957 winner was an encyclopedia,
T h e J u n io r Jew ish
E ncyc loped ia ,
edited by Naomi Ben-Asher and Hayim Leaf.
Using special criteria, one can make a judgment on an encyclo­
pedia as compared to other encyclopedias. In no way, however,
should it be compared to other non-fiction and fiction published
during that year. I t is interesting to note tha t the Isaac Siegel
Award was not granted that year. Instead a separate award was
given—the Pioneer Women’s Hayim Greenberg Award.
The Isaac Siegel Award was resumed in 1958 when it was
given to Lloyd Alexander’s
B o rd e r H aw k : A ugu s t B o n d i ,
the
first of four biographies to be chosen. Children’s biographies
must struggle to present adult accomplishment to readers who
are immature themselves. While biographies are intended to
serve as role-models for children, often the subject of the
biography is operating upon a much higher moral level than
the child-reader.2This results in the child’s reading the biography
as a hero-tale, rather than as the life of a real person. Authors
have attempted to solve this problem by including much of
their subject’s childhood, which they often manipulate so as to
give the child-reader some clue to the hero or heroine’s future
achievements.
B o rd e r H aw k ,
based on Bondi’s autobiography,
2 Lawrence Kohlberg,
Stages in the Development of Moral Thought and
Action,
New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1970.