Page 134 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 54

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Posner
126
Yonkela?
(Crown, 1969)—the first of her many wonderful picture-
storybooks.
Four more children’s encyclopedias were published during the
decade:
TheNewJewish Encyclopedia
, edited by David Bridger, et al.
(Behrman, 1962);
A New Concise Jewish Encyclopedia
, edited by
Abraham Burstein (Ktav, 1962); Harry Cohen’s
A BasicJewish En­
cyclopedia
(Hartmore House, 1965); and
Encyclopedia of Jews in
Sports
(Bloch, 1965), edited by Bernard Postal, et al.
1 9 7 2 - 1 9 8 2
FROM ‘MELTING POT ’ TO ‘NEW PLURAL I SM ’
During this decade, the Jewish children’s book field grew even
stronger, gaining increased respect in the general world of chil­
dren’s books. Totals for each year ranged from 33 to as high as 71,
with a median figure of 40 books and an average figure of 44 books
per year, for the period from 1972-1982. The Civil Rights move­
ment in the sixties, and the search for “roots” in the seventies were
eagerly adopted not only by American Jews and other ethnic
groups, but also by the American media and the educational estab­
lishment. The “Melting Pot” was succeeded by the “New Plural­
ism.” Books featuring ethnic and religious groups provided an even
broader marketplace for publishers. Jewish identity became a
bona
fide
subject, an essential part of the publisher’s list. Trade publish­
ers began to equal and surpass the number of Jewish publishers,
publishing Jewish children’s books on subjects that were formerly
the province solely of Jewish publishers. They also published fic­
tion with Jewish characters in central roles. This further increased
the annual production of Jewish children’s books and raised the
standards ofJewish children’s fiction.
The seventies witnessed the entrance into the publishing field of
two new types ofJewish children’s presses. The first is the alterna­
tive press, a product of the counterculture do-it-yourself move­
ment prevalent in the sixties, that led to small press publishing of
Jewish children’s books, such as Kar-Ben, founded in 1975 by
Judye Saypol Groner and Madeline Wilder. The second type is