Page 98 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 5 (1946-1947)

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Since then, Book Week has been observed annually, having as its
purpose the arousing of interest in reading and especially in book
ownership. The encouragement of ownership has introduced the
child to an exalted joy derived from companionship with his own
books. To stimulate authors and artists to contribute in juvenile
fields, Book Week has established prizes and awards. This stimu-
lation has already yielded rich results. Our American children
confronted with this eager literary output have benefited by a
greater variety and quality of books, style and subject matter.
When inaugurated in 1925, Jewish Book Week used the fol-
lowing slogans, “A Jewish Bookshelf in Every Jewish Home” ;
“The Jewish Child’s Heritage — Books and Learning” ; “The Jew-
ish Child’s Bookshelf” ; “Have you Jewish Books in your Home?” ;
etc. Today we are still re-echoing the same slogans with a greater
emphasis in the earnest hope that they may eventually become a
reality. The purpose of Jewish Book Week and Month is and the
measure of its success will be the expansion of every library in
every American Jewish home to include books of Jewish interest.
Books aligned in perfect order and untouched are cold and
formidable. They must be made informal to be accessible. They
should be distributed in every nook in the house because they
lend interest and charm to the surroundings, give a home a loved-
and-lived-in quality. They are more than mere decoration; they
are alive. Adequate books and comfortable reading facilities are
two indispensable ingredients of a home. No matter what social
changes America may experience when postwar plans are com-
pleted, she will require an ever increasing abundance of modern
literature covering a gamut of current topics. Basic information
on the main trends of our Jewish life stream is indispensable in
order to insure intelligent adjustment and participation of the
modern child.
I t is this Jewish child’s special home library and its development
with which we are particularly concerned. The following list has
been prepared in the hope that it may help interested adults to
choose and to direct the child’s reading. I t is taken for granted
that the modern intelligent Jewish home, living an American-
Jewish life, already has acquired the typical Jewish bookshelf,
based on the perennial selections suggested by scholars. This list
does not aim to duplicate popularized titles listed elsewhere, first,
because of the lack of shelf space in the modern home,and secondly,
because of the danger of overlapping. Some books projected into
an adult category can, should, and doubtless will be read by the
adolescent youth. The same holds true of certain books cited as
children’s literature, which also carry with them an adult interest
and appeal.