Page 99 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 5 (1946-1947)

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I t is hoped that the books selected here will help the Jewish
child to orient himself more intelligently to American life, through
a knowledge of his own dignity and the worth of his heritage. Our
criteria in the selection of these books was governed by their Jewish
authorship, content matter, literary value, timeliness, adaptability,
availability, and by their potentialities for fitting into the progres-
sive scheme of Jewish education and American integration. Classics
which are carried perennially on secular or religious lists, such as
Eliot’s “Daniel Deronda” and Scott’s “Ivanhoe” have been omit-
ted. Excellent books, such as Aguilar’s “Vale of Cedars,” Mapu’s
“The Shepherd Prince,” Church’s “The Hammer” and others have
been omitted because they are out of print. Textbooks, pure and
simple, so often stressed and included in bibliographies compiled by
Jewish scholars have been omitted because of their factual elements
since they carry little recreational appeal. This decision is based on
the theory that, in the main, the entertainment function of books
for the young is important. In the case of pioneer and prolific Jew-
ish writers, such as Elma Ehrlich Levinger, it was impractical to in-
elude too many titles although all are acceptable. Preference has,
therefore, been given to certain titles from the pen of recognized
This bibliography, therefore, makes no claim to completeness.
I t is intended only as an aid for adults to help introduce Jewish
juvenile literature into the home. A child’s reading ability and
interests are never static. If he outgrows and outwears certain
books, they can easily be dispensed with and replaced by newer
titles according to changing tastes and grade advancement.
The books listed are broken down into three categories. First
those intended for tiny toddlers who invariably lisp “Tell me a
story,” and who will receive emotional pleasure largely based on the
oral and visual elements found in picture books. These very young
ones, unable to read, follow the reader and familiarize themselves
with literature through sound. I t is a sad commentary that al-
though there has been in the last generation a marked improve-
ment in both the text and the artistry of the picture book, no
Jewish writers or illustrators have as yet produced a first-class
picture book for the wee-age Jewish child. Picture-book making
for Jewish children still remains an untapped and virgin field.
We do have a few Jewish illustrators but they are not lending
their ability and energies to this effort.
Usually a child is first introduced to Jewish literature through