Page 91 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 50

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POSNER / FIFTY YEARS OF JEWISH CHILDREN’S BOOKS
83
level: Lorraine Beim’s
Carol’s Side of the Street
(Harcourt, 1951),
which “solved” the problem of anti-Semitism through Christian
“tolerance,” and the first children’s fiction set in America about
the effects of the Holocaust on a survivor: Robert D. Abraham’s
Room fo r a Son
(Jewish Publication Society [JPS], 1951). This
book, with its themes of patriotism, assimilation, and brother­
hood, is notable because almost 20 years would pass before other
Jewish authors of juvenile fiction could bring themselves to write
of the Holocaust. The publication of the first diary to come
out of the Holocaust, Anne Frank’s
The Diary of a Young Girl
(Doubleday, 1952), soon followed. Christian authors were able
to write about the Holocaust before Jewish authors were. In
1952, Claire H. Bishop’s
Twenty and Ten
(Viking) told of per­
secuted Jewish children hidden by Christian children and their
teacher. It was the first of many books on this theme.
A new literary standard was set for Jewish children’s historical
fiction when Nora Benjamin Kubie’s
King Solomon’s Navy
(Harp­
er, 1954) won the Isaac Siegel Memorial Award. That year also
saw the publication of the first book of good poetry for Jewish
children,
The First Rainbow
by Ilo Orleans (UAHC, 1954). Still,
in 1955, Goldstein was disheartened because out of a total of
1,485 children’s books published that year, a mere thirty were
of Jewish interest, and less than one/fourth of them were fiction.
She was disappointed, too, because few Jewish authors of gen­
eral children’s books wrote books with Jewish content, as well.
The picture was far from gloomy, however. Even though
many books were still stilted and dull, there were more and
more stars, and new markets for Jewish children’s books had
opened. Trade publishers suddenly discovered that in addition
to books about the Bible and archaeology, books about the Hol­
ocaust and Israel had become attractive to the general market.
At the same time, a new Jewish market opened of casual Jews
who had become aware of their Jewishness because of the Hol­
ocaust and the establishment of the State of Israel. As support
for Israel became the new secular Jewish religion, an increase
was seen in the number of books about Israel. In 1957, when
the tenth anniversary of the State was marked, there were so
many new developments in Jewish children’s book publishing
that some of them have to be attributed to this event. The Jewish
Book Council issued a bibliography entitled “Books on Israel
for Young Children.” Publicity about the anniversary stimulated