Michael Weingrad: Why Are Jewish Children’s Books so Bad?

From Mosaic Magazine:

Year after year, most of what gets served up to young Jewish readers is poorly conceived, substantively shallow, and reeking of chicken-soup nostalgia.

Admittedly, part of the challenge for children’s literature of any sort is to avoid programmatic tendentiousness, a surefire killer of readerly charm. For books whose purpose is specifically to teach aspects of Judaism, especially those marketed to American Jewish families in which parents are often learning the basics along with their children, this presents an unavoidable and all but insurmountable hurdle. Imagine a Goodnight, Moon in which Margaret Wise Brown was obliged to devote pages to explaining what a moon is.

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