Page 102 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 50

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JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
Adler (Holt, 1989) for ages 8-12; and his
The Number On My
Grandfather’s Arm
(UAHC, 1987, photos by Rose Eichenbaum),
which was the winner of the Sydney Taylor Best Younger Chil­
dren ’s Book Award, 1988) (AJL). One hundred and forty chil­
dren ’s books about the Holocaust have been published since
1970, including fiction, memoirs and histories; 80 since 1982.
There were 46 books published about Israel from 1962-1972,
including biographies, histories, text-books, and fiction. Count­
ing again, from 1970-1975, there were 28 books published about
Israel. Only 6 were published between 1975-1980; 15 between
1980-1985, and 31 between 1985-1991. The total for a 21-year
period, from 1970-1991 is 80. Chaya Burstein’s
A K id ’s Catalog
of Israel
(JPS, 1988) and
Kids Love Israel, Israel Loves Kids
by
Barbara Sofer (Kar-Ben, 1988) stand out from all the rest.
Books about Israel used to emphasize the heroic qualities of
the sabras. Now we don’t see much of that. A glimpse of the
real Israel is found in
Alina: A Russian Girl Comes to Israel
by
Mira Meir (JPS, 1982), in
Falasha No More
by Arlene Kushner
(Steimatzky, 1986) and in
The Journey
by Sonia Levitin (Athe-
neum, 1987 — books that describe another kind of heroism
and a country trying to absorb its new aliyah. Noteworthy also
are the photo-essay by Ann Morris
When Will the Fighting Stop?
(Atheneum, 1991), a wistful wish for peace, and the picture-
story book by Michelle Edwards (Morrow, 1991)
Chicken Man,
which hints at some of the infighting that goes on in
kibbutzim.
REALISTIC FICTION
Although there are Jewish children’s books on contemporary
social problems, such as Barbara Cohen’s
King of the Seventh
Grade
(Lothrop, 1982), social problems as plot elements are not
represented in the same proportion in Jewish children’s liter­
ature as in general children’s literature. Authors of Jewish chil­
d ren ’s fiction write more books about the pivotal events that
have impacted upon the Jewish People during the twentieth
century. Books on a more intimate scale are about the diffi­
culties of being a middle-of-the-road Jew in a predominantly
Christian country where the commercialism and prevalence of
Christmas is contagious, or being a Jew in a small Gentile town.
The threat to the community from anti-Semitism prods Jewish
authors to use it as a plot element. Coming-of-age stories about