A classic Yiddish children’s book, The Clever Little Tailor, by Solomon Simon (1895-1970) is now available to English-speaking children for the first time, thanks to David Forman, Yiddish instructor at Cornell University and Simon’s grandson.
Simon was a prolific writer and children’s author. He published twenty Yiddish books, half of them for children. Only a few were translated into English in his lifetime. When Forman studied Yiddish as an adult, it was originally in order to be able to read what his grandfather had written. Now he has surpassed that goal, sharing these folklore-based stories with a wider world of readers.
The new publication by Kinder-Loshn Publications includes the original Yiddish text alongside the English translation and stunning illustrations by Yehuda Blum. Kinder-Loshn Publications is a new publishing house under the auspices of the Yiddish organization, Yugntruf.
The side-by-side format also makes the book a valuable resource beyond its initial audience of children. There are few such English-Yiddish bilingual books. In fact, this may be the only such middle-grade reader, or chapter book, in print, says Forman. This makes The Clever Little Tailor a valuable aid for college language learners and other adults as well. "I am particularly excited about this aspect of the project," says Forman. "It means that others can improve their ability to read Yiddish the same why I originally did, by reading my grandfather's stories. My own story proves that it is never too late to begin."
You can find out more about the book, and about Forman at davidrforman.com/the-clever-little-tailor.