Page 128 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 54

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Men ofChelm
(Behrman, 1945), which had but recently been pub­
lished. Among the fiction works were:
Children ofthe Emek
by Lib­
by Braverman (Furrow Press, 1937),
The Adventures of K ’Tonton,
the Little Jewish Tom Thumb
by Sadie Rose Weilerstein (National
Women’s League, 1935), and
HilleVs Happy Holidays
by Mamie
Gamoran (Union of American Hebrew Congregations [UAHC],
1939). Both
The Adventures ofK ’Tonton
HilleVs Happy Holidays
were examples of a new type of children’s book that used story to
teach Judaism and Jewish history. Later, critics and librarians
would deride these stories as “non-literary” and “didactic,” over­
looking the function for which they were intended, which is—to
teach. Simon’s
Wise 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 attrac­
tive books for pre-schoolers and of imaginative books, such as fan­
tasy and fiction, for older children.
1 9 5 2 - 1 9 6 2
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 Council’s first chil­
dren’s book award, the Isaac Siegel Memorial Award, established
in 1951.3It emphasized the importance ofJewish 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
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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 of Books That Received Awards from
1949 to 1992,” which is available from the Jewish Book Council for $5.50
(including postage).