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Jan 24 2013

Why I Won’t Be Reading the Giving Tree on Tu Bishvat

By at 4:05 pm

the giving tree shel silverstein tu bishvatTwo months prior to my birth, according to the date on the inside cover in my mother’s handwriting, my parents received a copy of Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree. A gift that, based on an unscientific survey of people in my demographic, was a very popular birth gift in the late 1960s/early 1970s.

When I was growing up, Tu Bishvat included an annual reading of The Giving Tree. It was a tradition that I dreaded. A rather unpopular reaction at the time and one that I learned to keep to myself. After all, it takes a certain kind of crazy to publicly decry a beloved children’s book. Although I wasn’t yet able to articulate it, there was something about the relationship between the boy and the tree that greatly troubled me. Read the rest of this entry →

Jan 16 2013

We Proudly Present: The Purim Superhero

By at 9:50 am

the purim superhero

As you may have guessed, we’re huge fans of Jewish children’s books, which is why we were very excited to co-sponsor the launch of The Purim Superhero, the first LGBT-inclusive Jewish children’s book in English!

This book, written by Elisabeth Kushner and illustrated by Mike Byrne, was the winner of Keshet’s National Book-Writing Contest, and we couldn’t be happier to finally see it released from Kar-Ben Publishing.

So what’s it all about? Read the rest of this entry →

May 8 2012

What Maurice Sendak Taught Me

By at 12:48 pm

maurice sendak where the wild things areThere are so many things to say about Maurice Sendak, the incredible children’s writer and illustrator who died today at 83 years old. In the famous book The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales, child psychologist Bruno Bettelheim wrote that the most truly magical works of children’s literature were the ones that allowed children to face their terrors and fears through symbolism. Sendak was a master of this–and not only for children.

Facebook feeds will surely be full up today with status message tributes to Sendak’s legacy. Read the rest of this entry →

Feb 9 2012

Maurice Sendak Ripped Off Sesame Street (Not Really)

By at 10:56 am

bumble-ardy by maurice sendakIt’s hard to put into words how much Maurice Sendak means to me. I know I’m not alone in this–Where The Wild Things Are touched a nerve from the moment it hit bookstore shelves in 1964, and even though he comes across as a crotchety old curmudgeon in interviews (we’re talking Colbert Report), let’s be serious: the Little Bear illustrations show someone with a deep, sensory memory of a mother’s love. Read the rest of this entry →

Jan 31 2012

Where Have all the Good Jewish Books for Kids Gone?

By at 11:29 am

Simms Taback

So, I’ve been writing a little bit for the Forward. Last month I pleaded with the Jewish establishment to spend money on Jewish childcare (preferably in my part of Brooklyn!). And this month I take on Jewish children’s books arguing that they should be better. Here’s the first bit to get  you started. Click on over to the Forward to read the rest.

(Feel free to disagree with me, and please, please share the names of your favorite Jewish books in the comment section below.) Read the rest of this entry →

Jan 18 2012

The Best of Jewish Children’s Lit 2012

By at 3:54 pm

book of the yearIf you’re looking to update your kids’ bookshelves with some great new Jewish children’s books, how about some prize winners? The Sydney Taylor Book Awards for 2012 have just been announced, recognizing the best in Jewish children’s writing each year.

Without further ado, this year’s winners were:

The Sydney Taylor Book Award Winner for Younger Readers:
Chanukah Lights by Michael J. Rosen with artwork by Robert Sabuda
(Candlewick Press)

Read the rest of this entry →

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