Laurel at From The Mixed Up Files, a blog about books for middle schoolers, interviews Heidi Estrin, the Vice-President of the Association of Jewish Libraries, about Jewish books for kids.
Laurel is a Hereville fan and gets a bit silly. :-D
QUESTION: what trends do you see currently? Any good new books we should be watching for?
ANSWER: Watch for Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword by Barry Deutsch, a graphic novel whose tagline is “Yet another troll-fighting 11-year-old Orthodox Jewish girl.” (at this point, the interviewer squeals because she’s so in love with this book!) This book succeeds on so many levels! It’s got drama, Jewish customs, humor, Jewish ways of thinking, magic, and super-expressive art! (interviewer nods insanely) It effortlessly draws any reader into the Orthodox setting without feeling educational or preachy. It creates its own rich Jewish world with no need for victimhood as a source of identity or as a dramatic device. In a way, this book is the culmination of several positive kidlit (and Jewishlit) trends: multiculturalism and normalizing of ethnic characters, respecting children’s intelligence, experimental formats, and strong female leads.
Thanks so much, Heidi and Laurel!
I really loved that Heidi said Hereville “creates its own rich Jewish world with no need for victimhood as a source of identity or as a dramatic device.” That was definitely one of my goals for the book.
(If you’d like a copy of Hereville, you can find information here.)