Lawton, Clive A. 1951-
LAWTON, Clive A. 1951-
Born July 14, 1951, in London, England; son of Reginald Samuel Clifford and Regina (Attias) Lawton; married Sara Joy Leviten, April 1, 1984 (divorced December 31, 1992); children: Anna Meriam, Evie Penina. Ethnicity: "White/Jewish." Education: University of York, B.A. (English and education), 1973, postgraduate education certification, 1974; Polytechnic of North London, M.A. (theatre studies), 1984; University of Liverpool, M.Ed. (religious studies), 1991; University of East London, M.Sc. (educational management), 1998; Institute of Education, study toward Ph.D. Politics: Labour. Religion: Jewish. Hobbies and other interests: "DIY, theatre going, travel, photography."
Home—363 Alexandra Rd., Muswell Hill, London N10 2ET, England. E-mail—[email protected].
Teacher of English and drama, 1974-79; Board of Deputies, London, England, executive director of education and community relations departments, 1979-84; King David High School, Liverpool, England, headmaster, 1984-91; Liverpool City Local Education Authority, Liverpool, deputy director and head of Planning, Development and Equal Opportunities Service, 1991-94; Jewish Continuity, chief executive, 1993-96; Limmud, executive director, 1997—. Visiting lecturer at various institutions, including Chichester College, European Center for Leadership Development and Training, and Florence Melton Adult Mini-School; fellow at London School of Jewish Studies. Chair of North Middlesex University Hospital NHS Trust, and magistrate on Haringey Bench, 1999—; African Child Association, director, 2000—. Freelance writer, broadcaster, lecturer, and teacher trainer. Member, management board of NHS London Board Leadership programme; advisor to Home Secretary's Race Equality advisory panel. Member, Shap Working Party on World Religions in Education; board member, Commonwealth Jewish Council. Creator of The Jewish Year Game (board game), 1982.
Jewish Action for a Just World.
The Jewish People: Some Questions Answered, Board of Deputies (London, England), 1982.
A Jewish Family Event: Barmitzvah (educational filmstrip), Board of Deputies (London, England), 1982.
A Synagogue Tour (educational filmstrip), Board of Deputies (London, England), 1983.
The Calendar of World Religions' Festivals, Commission for Racial Equality (London, England), 1983-1994.
The Seder Handbook, Board of Deputies (London, England), 1984.
Matza and Bitter Herbs, Hamish Hamilton (London, England), 1984.
I Am a Jew, photographs by Chris Fairclough, Franklin Watts (New York, NY), 1984.
Pesakh: The Festival of Passover (video), Inner London Educational Authority TV (London, England), 1986.
Passport to Israel, Franklin Watts (New York, NY), 1987.
Religion through Festivals: Judaism, Longman (London, England), 1989.
(With Clive Erricker) Themes in Religions: Judaism, Longman (London, England), 1992.
(With Peggy Morgan) Ethical Issues in Six Religious Traditions (for adults), Edinburgh University Press (Edinburgh, Scotland), 1996.
Celebrating Islam, Young Library (Corsham, Wiltshire, England), 1996.
Celebrating Jewry, Young Library (Corsham, Wiltshire, England), 1996.
Which Planet Are You On? Does Religion Ever Come down to Earth?, Church of England National Society (London, England), 1997.
The Story of the Holocaust, Franklin Watts (London, England), 1999, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2000.
Auschwitz: The Story of a Nazi Death Camp, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2002.
Hiroshima, Franklin Watts (New York, NY), 2003.
Columnist for London Jewish News, 1996—; member of editorial board of Oxford University Journal of Holocaust Studies and Jewish Renaissance. Contributor of articles to periodicals, including, Times Educational Supplement, British Journal for Religious Education, Shap Journal, World Religions in Education, Tablet, Oxford Junior Encyclopedia, Resource, Religious Education in the Primary School, Assembly File, Dictionary of Religious Education, Jewish Chronicle, Jewish Quarterly, Avar Ve'atid, British Journal for Multicultural Education, Le'eylah, Westminster Journal of Religions, Testing the Global Ethic, International Journal of Children's Spirituality, International School, Freedom and Authority in Religions, and Religious Education.
From picture books about life in an Orthodox Jewish household to an introduction to the Holocaust and an examination of the Auschwitz concentration camp, British educator Clive A. Lawton has clearly demonstrated his desire to explore the Jewish religion, culture, and history for young readers. His early works, which include books, filmstrips, and videotapes, deal with Jewish religious customs and practices, as well as the middle-grade title Passport to Israel, described in Booklist as "clear, succinct, and fact filled." Over the decades, Lawton has held numerous positions in educational and humanitarian organizations that strive for the betterment of Jewish life and society in general.
"In the 1980s, I was heavily involved in introducing education about the Holocaust to school-aged children in what I hope was a responsible way," Lawton told CA. "My concern was to ensure that this did not become a defining story about the Jews, but about humanity. The lesson to be learned was how to avoid becoming a perpetrator in the future, not a victim. That may not be in our hands." In this effort, Lawton created the television program Problems and Dilemmas in Teaching the Holocaust, which aired on Inner London Educational Authority TV in 1984. Nearly twenty years later, Lawton continued to educate about this dark time in human history in several books: The Story of the Holocaust and Auschwitz: The Story of a Nazi Death Camp. Although adults have argued about the appropriateness of teaching grade-school children about this horrific event, Lawton has long believed that children need to know in order to deal with anti-Semitic imagery that they may encounter. Using carefully chosen photographs and words, Lawton presents the facts about this attempted genocide in The Story of the Holocaust. "I want the book to be factual," he told Tom Deveson of the Times Educational Supplement, "which is not the same as dispassionate. I don't want to point a facile moral lesson. I want readers to make up their own minds." Lawton also briefly discusses post-World War II attempts at genocide in Cambodia, Rwanda, and Serbia, bringing home the necessity of discussing such an onerous topic. "This book can only do good, by making children think as well as feel and, above all, by making them ask disturbing but necessary questions," concluded Deveson.
In the 2002 title Auschwitz, Lawton focuses on the death camp in Nazi-occupied Poland in which over 1.5 million men, women, and children perished. As with The Story of the Holocaust, he uses a many-faceted perspective and carefully chosen photographs and text to educate readers about Nazi anti-Semitism, the operation of the camp, prisoner transportation, medical experiments carried out upon prisoners, slave labor, and finally the liberation of the prisoners by Allied forces. The work elicited praise from reviewers, among them Booklist's Hazel Rochman, who called it "stirring," and Linda R. Silver, who described it as an "excellent account" in her School Library Journal review. A Kirkus Reviews contributor wrote, "Scrupulously documented, this is short but packs a lot of information."
Also beginning in the 1980s, Lawton "became more and more involved in the attempts to broaden British Religious Education—compulsory in all State[-run] schools—from purely Christian to a well-informed exploration and discovery of world religions, including an intelligent education about Christianity," as he told CA. Therefore, over the next twenty years he wrote such educational titles as Religion through Festivals: Judaism, Celebrating Jewry, Celebrating Islam, and Which Planet Are You On? Does Religion Ever Come down to Earth? for the Church of England. Lawton also teamed up with Peggy Morgan to write Ethical Issues in Six Religious Traditions for adults. "I sincerely believe that a child/adult is not well educated if they've not thought intelligently and maturely about the issues religions address," he told CA.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, May, 1988, review of Passport to Israel, p. 1609; July, 2000, Gillian Engberg, review of The Story of the Holocaust, p. 2024; August, 2002, Hazel Rochman, review of Auschwitz: The Story of a Nazi Death Camp, p. 1943.
Books, fall, 1999, review of The Story of the Holocaust, p. 22. Junior Bookshelf, December, 1984, review of IAma
Jew, p. 256.
Kirkus Reviews, July 1, 2002, review of Auschwitz, p. 957.
Reading Teacher, March, 1986, review of I Am a Jew, p. 720.
School Library Journal, April, 1986, Kathy Piehl, review of I Am a Jew, p. 82; August, 1988, Sue A. Norkeliunas, review of Passport to Israel, p. 103; September, 2002, Linda R. Silver, review of Auschwitz, pp. 246-247.
Times Educational Supplement, November 16, 1984, Mary Jane Drummond, "Noble Failures," review of I Am a Jew, p. 24; December 3, 1992, Andrew Scott, "Living Faiths," p. 36; September 24, 1999, Tom Deveson, review of The Story of the Holocaust, p. 63.