Page 138 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 54

Basic HTML Version

they can be handled most efficiently by discussing each genre.
What is new at the turn of this decade is what was once consid­
ered dull by our early bibliographers—collections published with­
in a span of a year or two by several publishers. This most recent
trend was initiated by Howard Schwartz’s well-received
Elijah’s Vi­
olin and Other Jewish Fairy Tales
(Harper and Row, 1985). It was
followed soon after by other adult collections of Jewish folktales
published mainly by Jason Aronson. In 1990, many story collec­
tions for children were published. Jason Aronson issued a
Book ofMidrash
by Barbara Goldin Diamond, and
Eight Talesfor
Eight Nights: Storiesfor Chanukah
by Peninnah Schram and Steven
M. Rosman. JPS came out with
TheAnswered Prayer and Other Ye­
menite Folktales
by Sharlya Gold and Mishael Maswari Caspi the
same year. Bedrick Blackie published Jose Patterson’s
Rabbis andKingsfrom the Stories oftheJewish People
and Knopf issued the only original presentation of tales: Adele
My Grandmother's Stories: A Collection ofJewish Folk Tales
(1990), marvelously illustrated by Jael Jordan.
The eighties have been a peak decade for picture books, even
better than the previous decade. In addition to the better quality of
these books, there are other factors that explain the increase in
sales. In the sixties and seventies, it was the librarians at synagogue
and school libraries who guided the children into reading both
good general and Jewish books, but by the eighties, those children,
who remember their childhood favorites, have become parents. As
parents, they are highly educated and want to get their children
“hooked on reading” from a young age. The founders of Kar-Ben
were on target when they pioneered the publishing ofJewish board
baby/toddler books about Jewish holidays.
Beginning with Marilyn Hirsh’s
Benny Goes into Business
, more
and more authors and illustrators have experimented with creating
a new genre that falls somewhere in between the picture-storybook
and the child’s illustrated book. It has been used for the handling
of such serious themes as peace between Arabs and Jews (Barbara
The Secret Grove
(Lothrop, 1985) and Ann Morris’s and
Lily Rivlin’s
When Will the Fighting Stop?
(Atheneum, 1989), a