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Based on a presentation at the 28th Annual Convention of the Association of Jewish Libraries, June 21, 1993, New York, as part of the panel, "Family Relationships in Jewish Children's Literature."

Abstract

Current concerns with equality and equity focus the spotlight on gender, especially in a patriarchal religion and its observances, customs, and literature. When boys and girls read Jewish books they receive an image through word and picture of Jewish girls and women. This image can vary if the subject of the story is religious or cultural, if the time frame is past or present, if the locale is familiar or foreign, or if the plot conflict involves a male or another female. Gender can shift the fulcrum when the world seesaws between unfair and un equal.

Books contain implicit and explicit norms about 'what little girls are made of.' This article examines the picture of the Jewish female found on the pages of various types of children's books including biblical, religious, historical, and secular experiences at reading levels from primary through young adult (Kindergarten–High School).