BACKGROUND READING IN
HISTORICAL JEWISH CHILDREN’S LITERATURE
Recommended by Linda R.
To weed or not to weed?
Every librarian is faced with that question, especially when it comes to older
books that may or may not have some historical value. Jewish literature for
children published in English in America is a relatively new field that began to
flourish in the years between the two World Wars. Many of the first books for
children were textbooks but story books and biographies were also published,
most of them are out-of-print by now. The reading list below is meant to be a
guide to help librarians decide if that old book with the drab cover, yellowed
pages, and uninviting format is worth hanging onto – as many probably are.
Cedarbaum, Sophia N. 1968. “American
Jewish Juvenile Literature during the Past Twenty-
Five years.” Jewish Book
Davis, Enid. A Comprehensive Guide to Children’s Literature with a
Jewish Theme. NY:
Schocken Books, 1981.
Diner, Hasia. Lower East Side Memories: A Jewish Place in America.
Princeton, NJ: Princeton
Univ. Press, 2000.
Elswit, Sharon Barcan. The Jewish Story Finder: A Guide to 363 Tales
Listing Subjects and
Sources. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2005.
Engman, Suzy and Cheryl Silberberg Grossman. Jewish Literature for
Children: A Teaching
Guide. Denver, CO: Alternatives in Religious Education,
Frischer, Rita. “Children’s Literature.” Jewish Women in America: An
Goldstein, Fanny. “The Jewish Child in Bookland.” Jewish Book
Annual, Vol. 5, 1946-1947, pp. 84-100.
Summarizes the state of Jewish children’s book
publishing in the pre-war years and in the current period with extensive lists
of recommended books in English. Publication dates go back to the late 1800’s.
Five publishers are mentioned: Behrman House, Bloch, JPS, UAHC, and Hebrew
Gamoran, Emanuel. “For Teachers and Parents,” vii –ix. Hillel’s Happy
Holidays by Mamie
Gamoran. Union of American Hebrew Congregations, 1955.
Grand, Samuel and Mamie G. Gamoran. Emanuel Gamoran: His Life and His
Gamoran Memorial Fund, 1979.
Joselit, Jenna Weissman 1990. The
Wonders of America: Reinventing Jewish Culture,
1880-1950. New York:
Hill and Wang.
Krasner, Jonathan. A Recipe for American Jewish Integration: The Adventures
of K’tonton and
Hillel’s Happy Holidays. The Lion and the Unicorn, Sept. 2003,
Letters Dipped in Honey: Jewish Children’s Literature from the Moldovan
Catalog of an Exhibit at Yeshiva University Museum, 1996.
Melamed, Deborah M. 1923-1924. Jewish
Children’s Books. The Jewish Quarterly Review:
New Series XIV:
Patz, Naomi M. and Philip E. Miller
1980. Jewish Religious Children’s Literature in
America: An Analytical Survey.
Posner, Marcia W. 1993. Fifty Years of
Jewish Children’s Books in the Jewish Book
Annual. Jewish Book Annual 50:
Sarna, Jonathan 1989. JPS: The
Americanization of Jewish Culture, 1888-1988.
Philadelphia: Jewish Publication
Sarna, Jonathan. From K’tonton to the Torah. Moment, Oct.1990,
Schine, Penny Gold. Making the Bible Modern: Children’s Bibles and
Jewish Education in
Twentieth-Century America. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University
Silver, Linda R. Best Jewish Books for Children and Teens: A JPS
The Jewish Publication Society, 2010. Release date: October 2010.
Silver, Linda R. “Jewish Children’s Literature Comes of Age.” The
Finder: A Guide to Values in Jewish Children’s Literature. NY:
Neal Schuman, 2008
Silver, Linda R. “Ktonton Started It.” Women’s League Outlook
Magazine. Fall 2005.