Page 129 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 54

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A ll of a Kind Family
by Sydney Taylor (Follet, 1951), was
not only published by a trade publisher, Follet, but was also the
winner of its Charles W. Follet Award. The book still has broad
popular appeal and was followed 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 level:
Lorraine Beim’s
Carol's Side of the Street
(Harcourt, 1951), which
“solved” the problem of anti-Semitism through Christian “toler­
ance,” and the first children’s fiction set in America about the ef­
fects of the Holocaust on a survivor: Robert D. Abraham’s
a Son
(Jewish Publication Society [JPS], 1951). This book, with its
themes of patriotism, assimilation, and brotherhood, is notable be­
cause almost 20 years would pass before other Jewish authors of ju­
venile fiction would 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
(Viking) told of persecuted Jewish children hidden by Chris­
tian 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'sNavy
1954) won the Isaac Siegel Memorial Award. That year also saw
the publication of the first book of good poetry forJewish children,
The First Rainbow
, by Ilo Orleans (UAHC, 1954). Still, in 1955,
Goldstein was disheartened because out of a total of 1,485 chil­
dren’s books published that year, a mere thirty were of Jewish in­
terest, and less than one/fourth of them were fiction. She was
disappointed, too, because fewjewish authors of general 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 Holocaust and Israel had
Fifty Years ofJewish Children9s Books