And sure, there are books from both Jewish and secular publishers that address some non-holiday, non-Holocaust aspects of Judaism. Just because they’re “important” doesn’t mean they’re readable or even meritorious.
I was impressed by the current books in rotation at PJ Library, some of which are fab and address a variety of Jewish subjects. If you have kids under 6 or 9, depending on the community, you should sign up to get free books from this foundation-funded initiative.) Current titles I love, which you should immediately go buy on your own if you’re not eligible: (a great graphic novel, not a great Jewish graphic novel). Do not be suckered by sepia tones and barbed-wire covers.
There’s a splash of red (lettering) or yellow (star). Oh, hey, it’s yet another children’s book about the Holocaust.
And it looks exactly like every other children’s book about the Holocaust. Is it good for your kid, is it good for literature, is it good for the Jews? In my experience, a great many Holocaust books are factually flawed, trivializing of the horror, numbing, and/or unreadably didactic as all-get-out.
We take pride in our community of readers, and are thrilled that you choose to engage with us in a way that is both thoughtful and thought-provoking.
But the Internet, for all of its wonders, poses challenges to civilized and constructive discussion, allowing vocal—and, often, anonymous—minorities to drag it down with invective (and worse).
but we also need to be mindful of the risk of teaching them poorly.
Or perhaps worse, teaching them that the Holocaust is the defining focus of our identity as Jews.
There are unheralded scientists, athletes, doctors, artists, and writers whose lives our kids could learn from and take pride in.
Do your research, think about how young is too young, and for heaven’s sake, don’t just hand over a book and walk away.
Think sex ed: A book can start a conversation, but you need to be the one to process it with your child.
As a non-Jewish librarian recently observed to me, if you dropped an alien into the children’s section of a library, it would think Jews disappeared after WWII.
(The alien could tick off each book’s subject matter on its long green fingers: Holocaust, Holocaust, shtetl, Holocaust, Holocaust, Hanukkah, Holocaust.) As a people, we have a 6,000-year history to mine for stories.
” The survey found that 73 percent of respondents named the Holocaust as the primary essential of Jewish identity.