Heading home: The domestication of Israeli children's literature in the 1960s as reflected in Am Oved's Shafan ha-sofer series

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Abstract

This article explores the master narrative narrated to Israeli children in the second decade of statehood, on the basis of a popular series of children's books published by Am Oved (the commercial publishing arm of the hegemonic Labor Party, Mapai). In contrast to the Yishuv era, after ten years of statehood, the concept of "home" dominates hegemonic children's literature on several levels. On the thematic level, home and family became the focal point. On the commercial level, the home emerged as the locus for reading and evaluating the book, i.e., it was perceived as "the market" catered to by the publishers. On the poetic level, the home was recognized as an arena in which writing for children takes place. This new dominance of "home" suggests a dramatic transformation both in the ethos on which Israeli children were raised after the transition from Yishuv to statehood and in the way "the Israeli child" was perceived by key taste-setters of the time: the shift from the "pioneer child," whose main social and nation-building tasks were set outdoors, to the sheltered and familial "child citizen."

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)127-139
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Israeli History
Volume32
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2013

Keywords

  • Am Oved
  • Hebrew children's literature
  • Mapai
  • Shafan ha-sofer
  • T. Carmi
  • statehood ethos

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