Page 130 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 54

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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 Holocaust 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 chil­
dren’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 anni­
versary stimulated trade publishing ofJewish children’s books, in­
cluding some about Israel, e.g., Sally Watson’s
To Build a Land
(Holt, 1957). That same year, the first co-publishing agreement
between a Jewish and trade publisher of children’s books was
signed when JPS announced that their Covenant Jewish Biography
Series would be co-published with Farrar, Straus and Cudahy.
By 1957, there began to be published more books about Jewish-
American boys and girls living normal lives, such as Mina Lewi-
ton’s
RachelandHerman
(Watts, 1957); and a Jewish children’s ref­
erence book, Shengold’s one-volume
Junior Jewish Encyclopedia
,
edited by Naomi Ben-Asher and Hayim Leaf, appeared. Goldstein
enthusiastically described the 1957 list as showing a marked im­
provement in quality, quantity and depth of subject matter. She
was pleased that more American-born authors were writing and at­
tributed the books’ more graceful language and improved literary
techniques to this. She also liked that publishers were encouraging
the creation of more Jewish juveniles, which she found were im­
proved in accuracy and format, with more color and type variations
(Goldstein, 1958/59).4
The succeeding bibliographer, Miriam Leikind, agreed that
“Americana” books dealing with everyday life in America as it af­
fected Jewish children were prominent in the list of books pub­
lished between 1958 and 1959 (Leikind, 1959/60). She was
4.
For an appreciation o f Fanny Goldstein, see Charles AngofPs article in
the
Jewish BookAnnual,
Volume 20:70-72.