Sunday, February 21, 2010

A mitzvah?

Diversity - or more properly, the lack thereof - in kidlit has been a hot topic in our corner of the blog world lately. Some of the discussion has focused on historical fiction and its insistence on focusing on particular periods, especially slavery and the Holocaust.

Which is why this paragraph from recent non-kidlit reading caught my eye:
"To the 613 mitzvot counted by the rabbis, [Emil] Fackenheim added one: Thou shalt not grant Hitler a posthumous victory... Part of the obligation of this commandment rests with Holocaust remembrance, but it can go too far. We can read only so many books... Of those that have Jewish content, what percentage should be about the Shoah? Ten? Fifty? At what age should children be taught about these horrific events?... If the child cannot respond and later feels that she already knows all about it, the impact of remembrance is lost."
It's from Unsettled: An Anthropology of the Jews, by Melvin Konner.


Doret said...

Uri Orlev has a new MG novel coming out in April called The Song of The Whales

It set in Isreal. Its a beautiful story and has nothing to do with the Holocaust.

While I was reading an arc of the book, I had a mantra going.

Please don't turn a Holocaust.

And thankfully it never did.

Sarah Rettger said...

I have an ARC of The Song of the Whales, and I really should get to it - I've never read Uri Orlev, and I've been on a bit of an Israeli lit kick lately. (Also, it's short! That is one of the great things about middle-grade books. There, I said it.)

On a mostly-unrelated note, have you gotten a copy of Diamond Ruby yet? It's being published as an adult book, but it's definitely a YA crossover - and the main character is a girl who plays baseball in 1920s Brooklyn.

Doret said...

Glad I came back, so soon. I hadn't heard of Diamond Ruby. I shall google. You know I love my baseball stories.

Song of the Whales is a very quick and very good read.