A gift for the state: Commemorating fallen heroes in Israeli children's picture books

Dan Porat*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Since the 1990s, a new form of commemoration has emerged in Israel: picture books for young children in which family members honor fallen soldiers and victims of terrorism. The article analyzes nine such books and discusses the reason for the development of this genre. A blurring of lines between battle zone and home front during two Intifadas and two Gulf Wars exposed small children directly to national mourning and the loss of many civilian victims, young and old, Jewish and non-Jewish, whose commemoration was privatized and described in a feminized language more fitting for their tender age. While these commemorative picture books represent victims able to express emotions and feelings, they preserve the traditional view of them as heroes who have sacrificed their lives for their country.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)152-172
Number of pages21
JournalIsrael Studies
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Indiana University. All rights reserved.


  • Children's books
  • Children's literature
  • Commemoration books
  • Commemoratory picture books
  • Fallen soldiers
  • Israeli edu¬ cation
  • Israeli society
  • National victims

RAMBI Publications

  • Rambi Publications
  • Memorialization -- Israel
  • Arab-Israeli conflict -- Literature and the conflict
  • Children's literature, Israeli -- History and criticism
  • Picture books for children -- Israel
  • Fallen soldiers -- Israel
  • Heroes -- Israel
  • Arab-Israeli conflict -- Children


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