Sorry, Sammy…


Okay, so today Nextbook will be publishing a short essay I wrote, an essay about the (sorry) state of Jewish picture books…

And some of you will read it, and get angry with me because you like the books I don‘t like.  Because you think that more books about Bubbe’s chicken soup, and orthodox-looking kids who like to plant trees, and latkes latkes, latkes… are just what we need.

To you I say feh.

But some of you will be angry because you are SMARTER than me. Some of you will be waiting to pounce on me and tell me about all the wonderful, funny, new Jewish books I haven’t read yet.  Some of you know things I don’t know.

And to you I say BRING IT ON!

Already, people are writing to tell me about the Five Little Gefiltes, The Castle on Hester Street, and the Chicken Man.  And I’m so glad!  I want to know MORE!

If you know of a wild and wonderful Jewish picture book, a book that is subtly about Jewish ideas and ethics rather than Jewish nostalgia for fatty heavy foods, please leave a comment below!  If you know of a Jewish picture book that is smart and funny and contemporary, sing out!

And if you are someone who wants to write such a book, backchannel me.  When I win the lottery, I’m planning a press.

5 Responses to “Sorry, Sammy…”

  1. Joyce York Says:

    Read your essay and say “Amen!” I strive to find books for my kids that have Jewish characters that resemble middle America, contemporary life and stories that aren’t preachy, focused on holidays, early Americana, etc. There’s tons of great Holocaust literature for young adults but little else. Please keep writing AND let me know of good books that you see for kids of all ages. Thanks for your essay. It was great.

  2. Sara Says:

    Here’s the link:

  3. Noelle Says:

    If, while you’re at it, you find some good Christian-themed kids book that are NOT about a special occasion or that picture victorian cherubic blond kids, bring ‘em on. Past the Toddler Rhyming Bible and Julie Vivas’ “The Nativity” there’s not much of interest to a liberal Christian. and so we stick to Harry the Dirty Dog and avoid the subject completely. I wonder if it is a function of children’s religious literature in general? I’m not so WASPy to NOT recognize that there’s more out there for “us” than for “y’all”, but the pickins are slim.

  4. Nicole Says:

    What about Joseph Had a Little Overcoat by Simms Taback? One of my all-time favorite children’s book.

  5. hds Says:

    What’s your problem with latkes? Leave latkes alone. I find myself wishing for more art dedicated to latkes. My “no latkes/ no oil.. \a nd ; latkes” installation at last month’s Jewfest 2009 was a huge hit, and I think there’s a market out there…

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