KAPLAN, JOHANNA (1942– ), U.S. author and teacher. Born in New York City, Kaplan became a teacher of emotionally disturbed children in the New York City school system and at Mt. Sinai Hospital. At the same time, she developed an interest in writing and following the publication of a collection of short stories and a novel was recognized as a significant talent among the younger generation of Jewish writers.
Her short stories collection, Other People's Lives (1975), revealed her sensitive development of character and dialogue, a talent exploited to the full in her first novel O My America! (1980). O My America! describes the life of a famous radical, Ezra Slavin, as told after his death by one of his children. The book follows Slavin's early years on the Lower East Side, his intellectual rise, and his attempted dissociation from his Jewish roots. As it unfolds, the novel also surveys several generations of the Jewish experience in America.
Johanna Kaplan also contributed book reviews to the New York Times and other journals.