PJ LIBRARY DIRECTOR Marcie Greenfield Simons wrote the following letter in response to a piece entitled “Where Have all the Good Jewish Books for Kids Gone?,” which was written by Kveller.com editor Deborah Kolben:
On behalf of PJ Library, a program dedicated to giving the gift of quality Jewish children’s literature to families across North America and doing so at a rate of 95,000 books each month, I would like to respond to Deborah Kolben’s Jan. 31 article ("Where Have All the Good Jewish Books for Kids Gone?").
We who love children’s literature mourn the deaths of both Russell Hoban and Simms Taback. While their passings are sad, the world need not fear for children’s literature. To be involved with Jewish books today is to know that many fine authors and illustrators are at work writing compelling, contemporary, relevant stories that engage, charm, and make Jewish connections for our children. One only has to seek out PJ Library to know that fabulous books are being published more often and in greater quantities. Some favorites are: Bagels from Benny by Aubrey Davis, How Dalia Put a Big Yellow Comforter Inside a Tiny Blue Box by Linda Heller, Picnic at Camp Shalom by Jacqueline Jules, The Only One Club by Jane Naliboff, A Sweet Passover by Leslea Newman, The Adventures of Rabbi Harvey by Steve Sheinkin, and A Song for My Sister byLesley Simpson.
We want and need many more stories that break the mold and speak to today’s Jewish families. Recently, Marshall Cavendish, a New York mainstream publisher, launched a new imprint called Shofar Books, dedicated to Jewish children’s literature. While it takes time to produce a greater supply, the movement is steady and strong. And readers agree. Every day, we hear from families who write about magical moments at bedtime when parents and children snuggle together around beautiful Jewish stories which spark meaningful conversations.
Ms. Kolben asks, “Who Will Light Up Jewish Kids Lit?” PJ Library is proud to make this happen every day.
For more information, visit www.pjlibrary.org.
Marcie Greenfield Simons, Director, PJ Library North America
A program of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation in partnership with local Jewish communities
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