Children’s Author Miriam Roth Born

February 16, 1910

Miriam Roth, whose Hebrew writing elevates children’s literature in Israel, is born in the Slovakian region of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

She attends various Jewish schools, including one run by her father, and graduates from Brno University. She is active in the socialist-Zionist Hashomer Hatzair movement, and in 1931 she immigrates to Palestine and helps pave roads in the Jezreel Valley with other members of Hashomer Hatzair. Her family remains in Europe, and most of her immediate family members are killed at Auschwitz.

She eventually marries Pesach Ivry, another Jewish immigrant from near her hometown, and they have three children, 14 grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren. Miriam and Pesach settle at a new kibbutz, Sha’ar Hagolan, where she becomes a preschool teacher. The Syrian army briefly holds the kibbutz during the Israeli War of Independence and carries out looting and destruction.

Roth begins to write children’s books in Hebrew in the 1970s, while in her 60s, after writing teacher training manuals for years. She’s the author of 23 books for children over three decades, including “A Tale of Five Balloons,” “Boots,” “Yael’s House” and “Podi the Hedgehog.” Her books sell millions of copies, and many are seen as classics in Israel. 

She teaches children and fellow educators well into her 70s but also begins to lose her eyesight in the 1980s and is blind by the time she dies of pneumonia Nov. 13, 2005. Her awards include the UNICEF Smile Award in 1998 and the Bialik Prize in 2002.