Marshall Cavendish and The PJ Library (a Massachusetts based non-profit organization) have announced that they will partner to launch a new Jewish children's book line in 2011. The first three titles will launch this fall and will continue with two to four titles each season.
"For a long time, I've wanted to start a line of Judaica picture books, but because they'd sell mainly into a niche market, I could never make the numbers work," said Margery Cuyler, Publisher of Marshall Cavendish Children's Books. "I'm so glad that The PJ Library came along, because with their support, we can now develop an exciting program of children's books that reflects Jewish values and identity."
Each of the new books will be branded with an image of a shofar, an ancient musical horn that historically announced important events and is used today on the High Holy Days. They will also be an embossed seal with The PJ Library logo on the jacket of the Marshall Cavendish editions.
"We are honored to have our logo appear on titles in the major bookstores," said Marcie Greenfield Simons, Director of The PJ Library. "Marshall Cavendish embraces publishing books with Jewish values and bringing them into the mainstream market. The PJ Library is thrilled to partner with Marshall Cavendish in this endeavor, which will bring more high-quality Jewish-themed books into print.
To assist in making Shofar Books a success, Marshall Cavendish is seeking Judaic picture book submissions. Please send submissions to Margery Cuyler, Publisher, Marshall Cavendish Children's Books, 99 White Plains Road, Tarrytown, NY 10591 and mark the package "Shofar."
The first three titles will be:
The Golem's LatkesEric A. Kimmel
Illustrated by Aaron Jasinski
Hanukkah, Oh Hanukkah!
Illustrated by Olga and Aleksey Ivanov
Three generations of a Jewish family, plus their goofy dog, celebrate the holiday of Hanukkah with the “other” traditional song. Hanukkah, Oh Hanukkah doesn’t have quite the cachet of I Have a Little Dreidel with elementary school choirs, but perhaps this will give teachers an overdue alternative. The song sheet is printed in the front of the book with an after note that explains the tune’s origin as a 19th century folk song to which Hebrew words were added. The joyous, smiling family lights the Hanukkiah and eats a traditional dinner that includes latkes with sour cream and apple sauce. Mom, dad, the kids and the dog dance a happy hora while the candles burn and the children open simple gifts, a flute and a dreidel. This brings to mind the Hanukkah Harry skit on Saturday Night Live where Jewish children got underwear for the holiday to explain why it doesn’t compete with Christmas. However, the dog seems ecstatic with his holiday bone. Grandad, father, and son are wearing kippot for the celebration, but all indications are that this is a modernly observant family. The illustrations are the best part of the book--bright, cheery, and with a final reminder of the holiday’s origins depicted by an ancient Hebrew family lighting candles in the son’s imagination. Overall, this will be a winner for holiday sharing of an old, familiar song. 2011, The PJ Library/Marshall Cavendish Corporation, $12.99. Ages 3 to 7. Reviewer: Lois Rubin Gross (Children's Literature).
Many Days, One Shabbat
Illustrated by Maria Monescillo