Jewish Children's Literature

Classic books continue to inspire new generations.

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In author-illustrator Margot Zemach's It Could Always Be Worse (1976), an unhappy man, living in a house crowded with noisy children, heeds his rabbi's strange advice and agrees to bring farm animals inside to join the crowd. Zemach's illustrations of chaos spill across the pages, and the detail and movement capture to perfection the tumult and eventual peace.

The classics of Jewish children's literature represent a broad spectrum of subject, style, point of view, and artistic technique. But they all point back to the stories and traditions that have been so integral to Judaism for centuries. Although intended for children, as classics, they have something to say to readers of all ages.

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Linda R. Silver is the editor of The Jewish Valuesfinder, an online guide to over 1,200 recommended books of Jewish content for children and teens. She is also the author of Jewish Classics for Kids and The Jewish Values Finder: A Guide to Values in Jewish Children's Books.