Waves Sharon Stars in a bucketHurry, Run, DwarfsDaddy's big umbrella

  • Issue: June 1995
  • Designer: R. Goldenberg
  • Stamp size: 40 x 25.7 mm
  • Plate no.: 253 - 255
  • Sheet of 15 stamps Tabs: 5
  • Printers: E. Lewin-Epstein Ltd.
  • Method of printing: Offset

Psychologists, educators and poets who lived in Eretz Israel during the first decades of the present century, realised that if there were no proper literature for small children, no proper Hebrew culture would flourish here.

Parents reading nursery rhymes aloud to their children and their recital by heart by the children themselves, created a cultural base for people for whom Hebrew was only just becoming a living, spoken language.

Levin Kipnis, Miriam Yallan-Stekelis and Anda Amir--Pinkerfeld were among the builders of this cultural base and their works, written in the 30's and 40's are still recited today by generations of parents and children.

Each of these writers was awarded the Israel Prize for Children's Literature, and their place in the pantheon of Hebrew culture is assured, as indeed their works are engraved on the hearts and in the minds of all children who were educated here over the last 60 years.

Anda Amir-Pinkerfeld (1902-1981) Stars in a Bucket (Illustrated by Hava Nathan)

This important poetess wrote both for children and for adults, but what she wrote for children was what really determined her place of distinction in the world of Hebrew literature.

She herself declared that it was quite by accident that she began writing for children. At the end of the '20's she travelled to Poland to visit her parents, together with her 5-year old daughter. Her little girl missed her home very much - Tel Aviv, the sea, her friends - and Anda, to console her, wrote her some light, snappy verses of the sort which conjured up home for her the world of her play-room.

On returning home she showed the verses to Kipnis and Yatziv and they encouraged her to keep on writing. Anda's unique lyrical style was such that everyone she showed her work to, immediately committed it to memory. The rhyming verse was light and easy to remember. In her verse, Anda touches on everything connected with the world of the small child. Her work is often immersed in the humour of the child, who can see human characters in everything about him, as in "Uncle Moon in the Skies who does not want to close his eyes", and "The loaf of bread who goes for a walk, ends up on the sea shore and falls asleep".

Her poems contain a lot of toys, teddy bears and spinning toys, and they are all wonderfully organised and integrated into the reality and imagination of the world of the small child.

In 1978 the Israel Prize Committee wrote: "Her poems excel in their musical rhythm and their easy rhymes. The child can enjoy and be entertained by reading her descriptive poems, which are full of a gaiety taken from his own world, which allows him to leave behind day-to-day realities.

The poetess breathes the breath of life into flowers and toys and weaves them all into an attractive poetic composition, capturing the child in his movement, his secrecy and his sounds.

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Miriam Yallan-Stekelis (1900-1984) Hurry, Run, Dwarfs (Illustrated by Tirzah Tanny)

Mriam Yallan, regarded as the most important poet in Israel, devoted her writing exclusively to small children.

In her lyrical songs she knew how to portray the real distress that children suffer ("Gingy", Danny, the Hero", "A Story of a Lonely Girl") and she manages very faithfully and sensitively to depict things from the suffering child's viewpoint. Her verse and her stories, on one hand, express the sensitivity of all children, and on the other, are immersed in a love for the land of Israel and are closely connected with the Jewish world. Her father was the Zionist leader, Dr. Yehuda Leib Wilensky, and her grandfather was a Lubavich Hasid.

In 1957, when she was awarded the Israel Prize, the adjudicators wrote: "Everything she wrote, she wrote for children and in everything she wrote there is no sense of imitating childhood, but the feeling of childhood itself, real and tangible, with its joy and its innocence, its grief and tears, its worldly wisdom and its catastrophes, its disappointments and consolations - all the ingredients that make up good adult writing, so that not only little readers can enjoy the poetry, but grown-up readers too".

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Levin Kipnis (1894-1990) Daddy's Big Umbrella (Illustrated by Pazit Meller-Dushi)

In Israel and throughout the Jewish world, Levin Kipnis is perhaps the best known and most-quoted children's poet in the Hebrew language. He wrote a prodigious number of works: some 800 stories and over 600 poems, as well as a large number of plays - and his songs are sung to this day on every Jewish Holiday and to celebrate every new season. Songs like "A year has gone, a new year is on the way", "I will lift up my hands" or "I have a candle, I have a candle, I have a thin candle", "I am Purim, I am Purim, the jolly, joking holiday", and many others - long ago became classic Israeli songs, which every child or adult in the country is familiar with.

Kipnis began writing at the beginning of the century, when he lived next to Mrs. Hasia Sukenik's nursery school in Jerusalem, and was studying at the Bezalel Academy of Art. Here he discovered that the nursery school children had no repertoire of Hebrew songs and began writing songs for the Jewish Festivals. Later he wrote songs on the seasons of the year, on flowers ("From under the rock, wondrously blooms") and many narrative rhymes, such as: "Eliezer and the Carrot", Daddy's Big Umbrella", "Three Butterflies".

In 1978 he was awarded the Israel Prize and, among other things, the panel of adjudicators wrote that "He devoted his entire life to developing children's literature in Hebrew".

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Children's books