Page 93 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 50

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POSNER/ FIFTY YEARS OF JEWISH CHILDREN’S BOOKS
85
jun ior novel on inter-dating, Florence Chanock Cohen’s
Portrait
of Deborah
(Messner, 1961).
1962-1972: PIVOTAL ERA IN JEWISH CHILDREN’S BOOKS
Sophia N. Cedarbaum, the new bibliographer in 1962/63,
complained that she was able to list only 28 books with pub­
lishing dates from 1961-1962 and noted that too many of the
items were “formulaic” (Cedarbaum, 1962/63). Actually, the six­
ties were a turning point in Jewish children’s literature. The
number of Jewish children’s books published each year contin­
ued to increase — fluctuating between 30 and 40 plus books
per year — and the range of subjects broadened. While some
books were still mired in the old style, many books from this
decade were filled with a new vitality.
Books on Israel, both fiction and non-fiction, dominated the
Jewish children’s book scene for the entire decade — 46 were
published by trade and Jewish publishers during this period.
Four of the best books about Israel were: Louise Stinetorf s
The
Shepherd of Abu Kush
(John Day, 1962) and Thelma Nurenberg’s
My Cousin, the Arab
(Abelard-Schuman, 1965) — both wishful
thinking about Arab-Jewish relations in Israel; Lazio Hamori’s
Flight to the Promised Land,
about the Yemenite Jews being car­
ried to Israel (translated from Swedish); and Sally Watson’s
Oth­
er Sandals
(Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1966) about kibbutz
and city life in modern Israel.
Translations on the list were news. In addition to the Swedish
book mentioned above, there was a book translated from the
Dutch,
The Stone of Peace
by Feder-Tal (Abelard-Schuman,
1961). A second title, translated from the Hebrew,
My Holidays:
Holiday Stories fo r Children
(published in Israel by N. Tversky,
1961), was by Levin Kipnis, the father of Israeli children’s lit­
erature. There were five books of history and historical fiction.
Some titles, such as Pamela Melnikoffs
The Star and the Sword
(Valentine, Mitchell, 1965) and Josephine Kamm’s
Return to
Freedom
(Abelard-Schuman, 1962) about the Jews of England
in medieval times, accurately described a period in Jewish his­
tory for which there was little else available. Alfred Apsler’s
The Court Factor: The Story of Samson Wertheimer
(a Covenant
book, JPS/Farrar, 1964) told of a phenomenon that still plays
an important role in the welfare of Jews — the “court Jew.”