Page 97 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 5 (1946-1947)

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In both religious and secular teachings in the past the child
was, in the main, treated as a miniature adult. Remembering that
children are fundamentally the same in every generation, and in
every country and that they develop in familiar patterns we must
be aware of the fact and accordingly select the type of literature
that will appeal to all children in every generation.
In stressing literature as an aid to character building, education,
and enjoyment, we must aim for the following: the development
of an appreciation for ethics; the distinction between right and
wrong, an awareness of the intrinsic value of virtue, and morals;
a perception of beauty, the development of normal emotions and
responses and finally an integration with the world at large. Books,
magazines, newspapers, radio, and television are subjecting our
young people to realism and life in a degree far in excess of any
preceding generation. Thanks to improved standards of living
and a more universally applied educational program, children of
today are healthier in mind and body. Their striking sophistica-
tion, poise, and external self-confidence is a constant source of
fascination to modern parents. The modern child is super-curious.
His, is the wide world with all its new discoveries and scientific
innovations. He yearns for knowledge and gropes for the truth
still obscure to his parents. He is preparing and equipping himself
for citizenship and responsibilities in his world of tomorrow.
Because of all the external forces affecting children, forces which
must be brought under control in order not to conflict with the
flexible pattern of child guidance and education,— parents, reli-
gious organizations, teachers, publishers, librarians, social and
civic agencies, and book sellers are endeavoring to do their part
to guide the child in selecting the best available literature of the
times. All are striving to give books the important place which we
know they must hold in the life of a child. To read and to enjoy
books is to live fully ־— to watch with alertness life’s unraveling
of future events.
In 1919, a progressive innovation was inaugurated — the first
Children’s Book Week in America. This was a striking manifes-
tation of the growing interest in child development, realization of
its needs, and the desire to give boys and girls a full, rich heritage.