Coming Out for Purim
The Purim Superhero, a new picture book for Jewish children, includes gay parents. It’s about time.
Still, PJ Library, the influential program that sends free books to Jewish children across the continent (it’s sent nearly 4 million books to nearly 176,000 families) declined to offer the book to its subscribers. When I asked PJ Library’s Book Selection Chair Chris Barash why the book wasn’t chosen, she replied in an email: “The criteria for a PJ Library book begins with a great story with Jewish content and appealing illustrations that children and families will want to read again and again. … Our Book Selection Committee looks at a number of factors so that the overall PJ line-up for each of our eight age groups is multi-dimensional, diverse and appealing to our target audience. … The fact that a book hasn’t been chosen for our line-up may just be a question of a good fit at a given time and doesn’t mean that it won’t appear on our list in the future.”
I pointed out that The Purim Superhero meets all of PJ Library’s criteria. (Especially “diverse”!) So, why was it turned down? “Many quality books meet the basic checklist of criteria but aren’t selected,” she responded in another email. “It’s our policy not to share the specific reasons that any considered book isn’t selected.” (If you’d like The Purim Superhero to be included in the future, you can let PJ Library know by writing to them here.)
Sussman remains optimistic that the book will find its audience. “This isn’t just a ‘do the right thing’ project for us,” she said. “We really think it’s marketable. And if it does well, we’ll publish more.”
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Stories about hidden identity, vegetarianism, and getting plastered, from four young comedy writers