Page 90 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 50

Basic HTML Version

ventures of K ’Tonton, the Little Jewish Tom Thumb
by Sadie Rose
Weilerstein (National Women’s League, 1935), and
HilleVs Hap­
py Holidays
by Mamie Gamoran (Union of American Hebrew
Congregations [UAHC], 1939). Both
The Adventures o f K ’Tonton
HilleVs Happy Holidays
were examples of a new type of chil­
d ren ’s book that used the story to teach Judaism and Jewish
history. Later, critics and librarians would deride these stories
as “non-literary” and “didactic,” overlooking the function for
which they were intended, which is — to teach. Simon’s
Men of Chelm
presaged the popularity that Jewish folktales would
have in future years. Goldstein, aware of the wealth of books
published in general children’s literature, deplored the meager
number of books for the Jewish child, the lack of attractive
books for pre-schoolers and of imaginative books, such as fan­
tasy and fiction, for older children.
The editors of the
Jewish Book Annual
did not devote a special
bibliography to Jewish children’s books until Volume 9 (5711-
1950/51), when the listing “American Jewish Juvenile Books”
was first instituted.2 Several factors were responsible for the
increase in the publishing of children’s books of Jewish interest
in the fifties, not the least of which was the Jewish Book Coun­
cil’s first children’s book award, the Isaac Siegel Memorial
Award, established in 1951.3 It emphasized the importance of
Jewish children’s books to trade and Jewish publishers who were
invited to compete for the Award. Fortunately, the first Jewish
children’s book to win the award,
All of a Kind Family
by Sydney
Taylor (Follet, 1951), was not only published by a trade pub­
lisher, Follet, but was also the winner of its Charles W. Follet
Award. The book still has broad popular appeal and was fol­
lowed by sequels in the fifties and sixties.
In Volume 11 (1952-1953), there were several “firsts,” among
them: the first novel about anti-Semitism written on a child’s
2. The title was changed to “Jewish Juvenile Books” in Volume 25 (1967/68).
3. Children’s books that have won Jewish Book Council awards are listed in
“National Jewish Book Awards: A List o f Books That Received Awards from
1949 to 1992,” which is available from the Jewish Book Council for $5.50 (in­
cluding postage).