Monday, October 31, 2016

Liz the Louse??

Would it be possible to publish a book called Liz the Louse in English?  I doubt it!

But  a popular  Israeli children’s book is actually called הכנה נחמה /Nechama the Louse by מאיר שלו/Meir Shalev .  Nechama the Louse wants a different life  than the  average louse.  She wants to be loved and not hated.  She jumps from head to head , sees the world and even goes on reserve duty.  In the end, Nechama finds a loving home on the head of a bald man who is thrilled to find that a louse wants to be on his head.

 Be aware though  that  there are some political and social messages in this book that you may not be comfortable with.








מאיר שלו  is  a well know author of children's books as well as books for adults . In addition to being a writer, Shalev is a producer and moderator of radio and TV programs as well as  a newspaper reporter and columnist.  His  children's books are for children ages 3-7.






One of my son’s favorite books was Shalev’s  הטרקטור בארגז-החול   /The Tractor in the SandboxAfter living a full life, a kibbutz tractor is “put out to pasture”   in a sandbox of   a children’s gan.   The kibbutz   tractor driver who was also “put out to pasture”   fixes up the tractor, which gives them both a new lease on life.  This is a great first introduction to kibbutz life.











My personal  favorite Meir Shalev book is 
אבא עושה בושות / My Father Always Embarrasses MeIt’s the story of a boy with a stay-at-home father who embarrasses him to no end.  Many of us have had parents like that and can sympathize with Efraim. Why, oh why  can’t his father be like all  his friends' fathers? Of course, there is a happy ending and Efraim  begins to appreciate  his father for who he is. 









TIP  no. 1     Join your local library!  Have the whole family borrow books!  In Israel,  library membership is usually free but a security deposit is required .   Israeli libraries will limit the number of books you can take out at one  time.


12 comments:

  1. So informative! Had only heard of the first book. (And of course you understand why I never liked its title! :-) )

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    1. Exactly why I started with that book to show the difference between Anglo and Israeli children's books. Glad you found the post informative.

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  2. נהדר! מלכה תמשיכי

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  3. I'm so glad you're doing this! I have a 3 year old and a 5 year old, and we read two books in Hebrew every night. Todah!

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    1. That's wonderful ! I read to all my children until the end of 5th grade. Keep it up as long as you can.

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  4. "Be aware though  that  there are some political and social messages in this book that you may not be comfortable with."

    Could you elaborate? The fact that politicians' votes are meaningless?

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    1. By the way - great name - Liz the Louse! You should translate it!
      I'm an Israeli living in Canada, and today is family literacy day, when parents read books to their children's classes. Yesterday we got a notice that one kid has lice. An information sheet was sent, explenations etc. I thought it would have been fun to read to them הכינה נחמה, but wasn't sure, if they would view it as shaming etc. I think it's a way to show that it's not personal in a humorous way, but who knows how they would view it in Canada... There are humorous French books about lice... "Rendez-moi mes poux". And "Alerte aux poux ! : la maîtresse se gratte" - an early reader about a teacher with lice, scratching her head. So maybe the French are even worse with dealing (too) directly with this stuff...

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    2. Miriam - Sorry it took awhile to get back to you. Some examples from הכינה נחמה that might upset adult readers. Nechama is living on the head of a minister who gives money to an ultra-orthodox man. Nechama interviews a louse who is carrying a gun, became religious and lives in a wig. We learn that soldiers have a "ראש קטן" - meaning they are small-minded. These are just a few examples.
      Glad to hear that Canadians are more relaxed than Americans about lice!

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    3. Thank you for your message and clarifying.

      I'm not sure Canadian are relaxed... I asked if I could read it and the teacher said that she herself doesn't know who was the individual who had lice, because it's not allowed, and they may feel singled out. So I didn't read it. The French books are in French, not from the Canadian side, but from France.

      And regarding politics and the social messages - I didn't think anyone would take it personally. It's meant more as a side note to amuse the adults. The lice she interviewed on her talk shows were caricatures, exaggerated types in the Israeli society. Including a militant right wing khozeret bitshuva, but also a leach who travelled to South America - probably after the army (and is still high on some drug or another https://youtu.be/nm_DWiCVq3k?t=10m58s) - another side of the Israeli society.

      All the soldiers laugh at themselves that they have 'ראש קטן' - especially during milu'im. That the moment the men put on their uniforms they become horny, hungry and stupid. I think the expression 'ראש קטן' is an army expression, when the commanders are yelling at the soldiers that they do not show leadership, responsibility nor initiative. Then again, the army encourages people to be like that, to fit in, not ask questions. I know, I was there.

      I didn't think it was meant as a political satire, just another level of showing the different facets of the Israeli community.

      But, again, maybe I'm a lot less sensitive... If I were to take personally all the things that are said against Jews in general or orthodox Jews - I wouldn't be able to read anything!

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    1. Thank you! Hope you will continue to read my blog posts.

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