Page 89 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 50

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Fifty Years of Jewish Children’s
Books in the
Jewish Book Annual
I learned about Jewish children’s books when I volunteered to
start a Jewish children’s library for my synagogue in 1958. I
had no idea whether there were enough children’s books with
Jewish content to stock such a library. In addition to publishers’
catalogs and visits to jobbers of Jewish books, I was advised
to consult the children’s bibliographies in the
Jewish Book Annual.
That was a pivotal moment in my life, and I have been “hooked”
on Jewish children’s books and the
J ewish Book Annual
ever since.
The first time that an article on English language Jewish chil­
dren’s literature appeared in the
Jewish Book Annual
was Volume
5 (5707-1946/47), when Fannie Goldstein, a children’s librarian
in the Boston Public Library, wrote “The Jewish Child in Book-
land,” which included a long bibliography, “The Jewish Child’s
Bookshelf.”1 It contained books published prior to 1946, mak­
ing it possible to gain a perspective on Jewish children’s English
language publishing up to that time. In addition to titles about
the Jewish religion, Bible, and legends, some good non-fiction
works were listed, including titles by Shulamith Ish-Kishor,
Elma Ehrlich Levinger, Howard Fast, and Solomon Simon’s ver­
sion of
The Wise Men of Chelm
(Behrman, 1945), which had but
recently been published. Among the fiction works were:
of the Emek
by Libby Braverman (Furrow Press, 1937),
The Ad­
1. Volume 1 o f the
Jewish Book Annual
(5703-1942/43) had Chaim Grant’s
Yiddish language article: “Appropriate Days for Presenting Children with Book
Gifts,” while Volume 3 (5705-1944/45) contained Yudel Mark’s “Yiddish Ju­
venile Literature,” and Volume 4 (5706-1945/46), Eliezer Friedland’s Hebrew
language article “Children’s Literature in Palestine.”