New Kids Books About Trailblazing Jewess Designers
Madame Alexander: The Creator of the Iconic American Doll
By Susan Goldman Rubin. Illustrated by Sarah Dvojack (Feiwel and Friends).
The delicate illustrations in Madame Alexander are a perfect accompaniment to this delightful tale of one of America’s premier doll makers.
Beatrice Alexander, dubbed “The First Lady of Dolls,” grew up on New York City’s Lower East Side. Susan Goldman Rubin describes that childhood in the book, along with how Alexander—who became one of the few American women to found a company in the 1920s—dreamt up the designs for her iconic dolls.
A Perfect Fit: How Lena “Lane” Bryant Changed the Shape of Fashion
By Mara Rockliff. Illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal (Clarion Books).
Lena Himmelman Bryant was another innovator. She revolutionized the fashion industry in the early 20th century with the Lane Bryant mail-order line of clothing for larger sizes and elegant and comfortable maternity garments meant to be worn in public—back when many “proper” women hid in their homes while pregnant.
A Perfect Fit recounts Bryant’s move, at age 16, from Lithuania under the czar to New York City and how her rabbi-grandfather’s advice, that helping other people is “real success,” inspired her fashions.
Leah Finkelshteyn is the senior editor at Hadassah Magazine.