Marilyn Hirsh

Marilyn Hirch brought her knowledge as an art historian and Jewish scholar to her thoughtful illustration and writing of children’s books, including the beloved K’tonton series. Hirsh graduated from the Carnegie Mellon Institute with a degree in fine art in 1965 and joined the Peace Corps that year, serving in India, where she taught English and art and illustrated four children’s books for the Children’s Book Trust in New Delhi. After returning to the US in 1967 she earned a master’s from NYU’s Institute of Fine Arts in 1974 and taught Indian and Buddhist art history at Cooper Union and NYU. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s she wrote and illustrated a variety of children’s books, often drawing on her Jewish heritage and researching different eras to depict them accurately, from the ancient world of Tower of Babel to the crusader-era Spain of Butchers and Bakers, Rabbis and Kings and the Hellenistic Hanukkah Story. But she was best known for her collaboration with writer Sadie Rose Weilerstein on the K’tonton books, following a Jewish Tom Thumb character through various adventures. In 1980, she won the Association of Jewish Libraries’ prestigious Sydney Taylor Body-of-Work Award.


Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
Three of little K'tonton's "big adventures"&hellpi; 1) riding on a chopping knife (narrowly escaping from being made into gefilte fish); 2) spinning on a runaway Hannukah dreidel [top]; 3) reading the Megillah after "masquerading" inside a hamantash [Purim pastry]. Illustrated by Marilyn Hirsh.
Courtesy of Women's League for Conservative Judaism.
Date of Birth

Chicago, IL
United States

Date of Death

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Marilyn Hirsh." (Viewed on April 10, 2021) <>.


Help us elevate the voices of Jewish women.

donate now

Get JWA in your inbox