Page 99 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 35

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POSNER / JEWISH JUVENILE BOOK AWARDS
89
Kerr’s
W h en H i t l e r S to le P in k R a b b i t
and Jean L ittle’s
K a te ,
two outstanding jun io r novels.
Finally, we come to the last group of award-winning books—
those drawing their subject matter from the holocaust experi­
ence. First there is Bea Stadtler’s
T h e H o locau s t: A H is to ry o f
Courage and Resistance
(1975), an expansion of her textbook
on the Holocaust. I t is an exceptionally well done, emotionally
powerful work consisting of events and personalities of the Holo­
caust tha t are brought to life with Jewish values interwoven
into the narrative.
Three other books tha t make children feel the events of the
Holocaust were: Sonia Levitan’s
Journey to Am er ica
(1970),
Johanna Reiss’
T h e Up s ta irs R o om
(1972) and Yuri Suhl’s
Uncle M isha ’s Partisans
(1974) . Sonia Levitan spent her child­
hood as a refugee. Her experiences form the core of the book,
which tells of the trying time had by a young German-Jewish
mother and her three children. Having escaped to Switzerland,
they must manage their precarious existence un til sent for by
their father, who had already made his way to America. The
help given them by a Swiss Christian family is heartwarming.
Johanna Reiss, who was born in Holland, was also a refugee as
a child. Together with her sister she was forced to hide from
the Germans. For over two years their hiding place was with a
Gentile family. For all its horror, Mrs. Reiss’ account reflects a
remarkable spirit of optimism. Yuri Suhl’s novel of the resistance,
Uncle M ish a ’s Partisans ,
is the only one of its type in which
the Jews fight back instead of being passive victims, protected
or avenged by Christians. All three books fulfill the most strin­
gent of literary criteria. Suhl’s style of writing, in particular, is
exceptional. He even has a child-hero, a sure-fire means of getting
the young reader to identify. Would tha t all the award-winners
reached the literary level of these works.
Continuing our parallel noting of worthy books that did not
win awards, the 1970 list also contained such titles as: Burstein’s
R ifk a Bangs the T ea k e tt le ,
Lange’s
T h e Year,
Serwer’s
L e t ’s
S tea l the M oon ,
and Friedman’s resource book on the Holocaust,
entitled
O u t of the W h ir lw in d .
No prize was awarded in 1972, bu t not for a lack of good
titles, for published that year were: Banks’
One M o re R iv e r ,