The Nation and the Child

Nation building in Hebrew children’s literature, 1930–1970

| Tel Aviv University
ISBN 9789027200754 | EUR 95.00 | USD 143.00
ISBN 9789027264039 | EUR 95.00 | USD 143.00
The Nation and the Child – Nation Building in Hebrew Children’s Literature, 1930–1970 is the first comprehensive study to investigate the active role of children’s literature in the intensive cultural project of building a Hebrew nation.

Which social actors and institutions participated in creating a Hebrew children’s literature? How did they envision their young readership and what new cultural roles did they prescribe for them through literary texts? How tolerant was the children’s literary field to alternative or even subversive national options and how did the perceptions of the “national child” change in the transition from the pre-state Jewish settlement in Palestine to a sovereign state? This book seeks to provide answers to such questions by focusing on the literary activities of leading taste-setters and writers for children, from the most intense period of Israeli nation building – the 1930s and 1940s, the two last decades of the pre-state era, and the 1950s, the first decade following the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948 – through the 1960s, when the nation-building fervor gradually waned.
Publishing status: Available
Table of Contents
List of illustrations
Chapter 1. Nation building and the Zionist school: Creating a Hebrew poetics for children
Chapter 2. The children’s weekly as the first hegemonic literary agent
Chapter 3. Designating a national poet for children
Chapter 4. Portrait of a hegemonic taste-setter
Chapter 5. Inventing tradition and folklore
Chapter 6. Making amends with Yiddish in the aftermath of the Holocaust
Chapter 7. Calling children to arms through national war narratives
Chapter 8. Conflicting voices in the kibbutz collective story
Chapter 9. The debate over the child’s voice
Chapter 10. Depoliticizing the children’s book market during Israel’s first decade
Chapter 11. From nation-building to statehood: Reinterpreting a canonic text
Conclusion: Building a nation with children’s books
“In this insightful and wide-ranging study Yael Darr offers a unique approach to the research on Hebrew nation building by showing the central role played by Hebrew children’s literature in transforming an invented culture into a living native culture that was taken for granted.

This is essential reading for anyone interested in the complex cultural processes of nation building in general, the creation of a Hebrew children’s culture in the specific case of Israel, and the diverse and dynamic field of Hebrew children’s literature that evolved during the pre-state period and the first decades of Israeli statehood.

The Nation and the Child offers an engaging and insightful discussion of the challenges that writers, educators, and publishers faced in creating a new national Hebrew children's literature in mandatory Palestine, and the changing literary trends and political sensibilities that marked its development in post-independence Israeli society. The book is a must read for scholars of Israel studies, nationalism, and children’s literature.”



Am Oved Archive, Tel Aviv.
Aviezer Yellin Archive of Jewish Education in Israel and the Diaspora, Tel Aviv University.
Gnazim Archives, Tel Aviv.
Lavon Archive, Pinhas Lavon Institute for Labour Movement Research, Tel Aviv.
Kipnis Archive, Levin Kipnis Center for Children’s Literature, Levinsky College of Education, Tel Aviv.
Ministry of Education Archive, Israel State Archives, Jerusalem.
Solomon Bartonov Israeli Archive for Theater, Tel Aviv University.
Stekelis Archive, Levin Kipnis Center for Children’s Literature, Levinsky College of Education, Tel Aviv.
Yad Yaari Archive, Yad Yaari – Hashomer Hatzair Research and Documentation Center, Givat Haviva.


Davar li-Yeladim ( Davar for Children)
Ha-Boker li-Yeladim ( Ha-Boker for Children)
Musaf Davar li-Yeladim (Davar Supplement for Children)
Shai Mishmar li-Yeladim ( Mishmar’s Gift to Children)
Mishmar li-Yeladim ( Mishmar for Children)

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2019. Editorial: Curating National Literatures. International Research in Children's Literature 12:1  pp. v ff. Crossref logo

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Literature & Literary Studies

Theoretical literature & literary studies
BIC Subject: DSY – Children's literature studies: general
BISAC Subject: LIT009000 – LITERARY CRITICISM / Children's & Young Adult Literature
U.S. Library of Congress Control Number:  2018005028