by Naomi Danis

Writing from the Outside

Lilith's annual Jewish feminist look at books for young readers

We are living in a time of what may seem like necessary xenophobia, where strangers, or—more pointedly—strange people, are to be feared, shunned, rejected. Jews know about this: “Because you were strangers in the Land of Egypt” is a leitmotif in the Jewish narrative. Women know about this. We’ve been “other” when the norm has been male. And in the hierarchical world of children who’s in and who’s out packs ever more fire power. So this year, for our annual spotlight on books for young readers we asked a number of writers: Are there ways you personally have experienced “outsider” status? Have outsider/insider experiences as a Jew and/or as a person sensitive to gender issues influenced your writing? Do particular books from your own youth stand out as illuminating this continuum from alienation to feeling fully included?

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Writing from the Outside

The articles in this special section:

A Jew Amid the Alien Corn

by Michelle Edwards

The Hobo Book Exchange

by Barbara Feinberg

Politics Make Her a Stranger

by Deborah Heiligman

The Shame of Being Smart

by Francine Klagsbrun

Writing to Become Whole

by Miriam Stone

Growing Up Weird

by Ellen Kushner

Uptown Jews, Downtown Jews

by Susan Goldman Rubin

At Last! I Didn’t Belong!

by Emily Nussbaum

What Would Be Sufficient?

by Pnina Moed Kass


by Carol Snyder

My Country is Judaism

by Susie Morgenstern

An Israeli Foster Mother

by Galila Ron-Feder-Amit

In Favor of Outsiderhood

by Rebecca Alban Hoffberger

An Adult Can Be Your Best Friend

by Kathy Walden Kaplan