What would we do without Kar-Ben Publishing? This specialty publisher creates Jewish early childhood books without which the shelves in my preschool library would be almost empty. Since the 1970's, Kar-Ben has been an important force in the creation of Jewish books for young children.
Founders Judye Groner and Madeline Wikler created the company from scratch and wrote many of the early titles themselves. They filled a need, and the company flourished. In 2001 they sold the company to Lerner, having published over 150 Jewish children's books. Under Lerner, Kar-Ben continues as imprint that specializes in Judaica, and has expanded to include books for older children as well as early childhood.
The Association of Jewish Libraries awarded Judye and Madeline a Sydney Taylor Body-of-Work Award for their contributions to the genre of Jewish children's literature. This award usually goes to a prolific author, but Kar-Ben has played a unique role in helping to expand the body of literature available. As they transitioned to Lerner, AJL felt it was appropriate to mark the occasion with special recognition.
You can read an extensive interview with Judye Groner, which includes descriptions of many recent Kar-Ben titles, on the Cynsations blog. Children's and YA author Cynthia Leitich Smith has been blogging since 2004 with a variety of kidlit reviews, literary news, and interviews. It's a great blog for keeping up with happenings in the kidlit world. Thanks to Cynthia for helping to promote Jewish kids' publishing too!