Sunday, May 9th 2021   |

Books

One Jewish photographer’s mission to preserve the legacy of the Rosenwald schools

By DAVID SCHECHTER

ATLANTA (JTA) — To the end of his life, the civil rights hero and later congressman John Lewis remembered the half-mile walk from his family’s farm in rural Pike County, Alabama, to the Dunn’s Chapel School.

There was no school bus for Black children; Lewis’ hike was short compared with the miles walked by many of his classmates. They were being educated in surroundings separate from whites,...

A Muslim and a Jewish woman co-wrote a children’s book about standing up to prejudice

By TALIA LIBEN YARMUSH

(JTA via Kveller) – “A Place at the Table” tells the story of two middle-school girls, Elizabeth and Sara — one Jewish and one Muslim — whose friendship begins in a South Asian cooking class taught by Sara’s mother. Elizabeth is a budding chef and Sara is the new kid in school. Both girls have mothers who are studying to become American citizens, and as the...

Stan Lee’s legacy is complicated. This new book casts a shadow on it.

By JULIAN VULOJ

(JTA) — Stan Lee, arguably the most famous American comic book creator, died at age 95 in 2018.

Honoring his Jewish identity, many evoked the phrase “may his memory be a blessing” (coming from the Hebrew “zichrono l’bracha”) when reporting on his passing.  

Just what this memory looks like, however, and what it should look like, is a topic that is increasingly up for debate. 

To most...

British children’s author omits ‘Merchant of Venice’ from Shakespeare anthology, citing anti-Semitism as one reason

(JTA) — A popular British children’s author omitted “The Merchant of Venice” from his adaptation of William Shakespeare plays for young audiences.

One reason: anti-Semitism.

“Yes, there was some worry that this might be the first time an 8-year-old reads about a Jew,” Michael Morpurgo told The Guardian on Monday about the decision not to include the play in the “Tales from Shakespeare” anthology for children older than 6.

“A...

Prince and the Jews: The late rock star’s best Jewish friend tells all in new memoir

By STEPHEN SILVER

(JTA) — In the late 1960s, when Neal Karlen was not even 10 years old, he would spend time at the home of his grandparents, one of the few Jewish families that remained on the north side of Minneapolis. Karlen would play basketball and ride bikes with a group of African-American kids who lived in the neighborhood. One of them, he later realized, was a young Prince...

Jewish poet Louise Gluck wins Nobel Prize in Literature

(JTA) — Louise Gluck, the American granddaughter of Hungarian Jews, was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature on Thursday.

Gluck, 77, was awarded “for her unmistakable poetic voice that with austere beauty makes individual existence universal,” the Nobel committee wrote in its announcement.

Her collections of poetry — which explore broad and painful topics, such as family life, trauma and aging — include the books “The Wild Iris,” “Meadowlands,” “The...

Natalie Portman’s debut children’s book makes 3 classic tales ‘gender-safe’

(JTA) — Actress, director and Academy Award winner Natalie Portman can add another title to her resume: children’s book author.

The Israeli-American movie star rewrote three classic children’s stories — “The Tortoise and the Hare,” “The Three Little Pigs” and “Country Mouse and City Mouse” — to be more “gender-safe,” in her words, with fewer male pronouns and more gender diversity.

She wrote about the thinking behind the project in...

The real history behind Seth Rogen’s ‘An American Pickle’

By LIOR ZALTZMAN

(JTA) — Seth Rogen’s “An American Pickle” is one of the most Jewish Hollywood films ever.

In it, Rogen plays two Jewish family members separated by a century: Ben Greenbaum, a young app developer who lives in Brooklyn, and Herschel Greenbaum, his great-grandfather from the old country who falls into a vat of pickles and stays perfectly preserved in brine for 100 years. Call it a pickle...

Inaugural N.O. Book Festival canceled for 2020

Citing concerns over the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, organizers of the New Orleans Book Festival at Tulane University canceled their inaugural event for 2020 scheduled to take place March 19-21 on the Uptown Tulane campus. Festival organizers, including co-chairs Walter Issacson and former New Orleans First Lady Cheryl Landrieu, have indicated it will be rescheduled for 2021.

Tickets already purchased for keynote addresses by novelists John Grisham, Michael Lewis and Malcolm...

Publisher axes Woody Allen memoir

(JTA) — Hachette Book Group announced it will not publish Woody Allen’s memoir after its employees staged a walkout in protest of the company’s deal with the acclaimed filmmaker.

Hachette announced the decision to cancel the publication of “Apropos of Nothing” on Friday. The book had been scheduled for release next month. Employees of the company staged a walkout at the company’s Manhattan office on Thursday.

Also Thursday, Allen’s son...