Tuesday, May 31, 2016

The Safest Lie


Reviewing too many Holocaust books has brought on "Holocaust fatigue" for me, so I don't cover them very often on The Book of Life. However, The Safest Lie intrigued me with its back story of author Angela Cerrito's meeting with Irena Sendler. Angela lives in Germany, but I Skyped with her while she was visiting the United States. The Safest Lie was named a 2016 Notable Book by the Association of Jewish Libraries' Sydney Taylor Book Award committee.


AUDIO:


Or click Mp3 File (28:13)


CREDITS:

Produced by: Feldman Children's Library at Congregation B'nai Israel 
Supported in part by: Association of Jewish Libraries   
Theme music: The Freilachmakers Klezmer String Band   
Facebook: facebook.com/bookoflifepodcast   
Twitter: @bookoflifepod 
 
Support The Book of Life by becoming a patron at Patreon.com/bookoflife!
 
Your feedback is appreciated! Please write to bookoflifepodcast@gmail.com or leave a voicemail at 561-206-2473


Friday, May 06, 2016

Viva, Rose!

Susan Krawitz with her Manuscript Award
Susan Krawitz won the 2015 Sydney Taylor Manuscript Award for her story Viva Rose, which will be published by Holiday House in the spring of 2017. The Manuscript Award is presented annually by the Association of Jewish Libraries to an unpublished work for ages 8-13 that has broad appeal to readers and presents Jewish life in a positive light.

As the press release explains,  "Set in El Paso, Texas in 1915, Viva, Rose tells the story of Rose Solomon’s older brother Abraham who runs off to join Pancho Villa's revolutionary group. When Rose tries to find Abraham and convince him to come home, she is kidnapped and taken to Villa's hideout. There she meets a cast of characters based on real people who traveled with Villa and the fictional, spoiled Dorotea, Villa's young charge. The feisty Rose learns to ride a horse, to stand up for herself and, along the way, discovers her brother's secret."

AUDIO:


Or click Mp3 File (18:51)


CREDITS:

Produced by: Feldman Children's Library at Congregation B'nai Israel 
Supported in part by: Association of Jewish Libraries   
Theme music: The Freilachmakers Klezmer String Band   
Facebook: facebook.com/bookoflifepodcast   
Twitter: @bookoflifepod 
 
Support The Book of Life by becoming a patron at Patreon.com/bookoflife!
 
Your feedback is appreciated! Please write to bookoflifepodcast@gmail.com or call our voicemail number at 561-206-2473.


Thursday, May 05, 2016

The Cybils: Jewish Titles

The CYBILS are the Children's and Young Adult Bloggers' Literary Awards. Nominations are open to the public and judges are generally members of the kidlit blogging community. They have a friendly and playful mission statement on their website:
The Cybils Awards aim to recognize the children’s and young adult authors and illustrators whose books combine the highest literary merit and popular appeal. If some la-di-dah awards can be compared to brussels sprouts, and other, more populist ones to gummy bears, we’re thinking more like organic chicken nuggets. We’re yummy and nutritious.
This spring, I saw an announcement on the Kidlitosphere listserv inviting bloggers to contribute to the "List Fun" series on the Cybils blog, grouping Cybils-recognized titles by theme. I was happy to provide a list of ten Cybils Books of Jewish Interest, and was even happier to find that there were more then ten titles that had a Jewish connection.

Here are all the Cybils finalists and winners I could find that seemed to have a Jewish connection - please leave me a comment if I've missed any. And please follow this link for my annotated guest post on the Cybils Blog, my top ten Cybils Books of Jewish Interest! In that post, I also give credit where it's due if the titles won any additional awards besides the Cybils, as many of them have done.

JEWISH BOOKS ON THE CYBILS LIST

From my post on the Cybils Blog:
  • Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews (2012 Winner · Young Adult Fiction)
  • Hidden: A Child's Story of the Holocaust by Loic Dauvillier, art by Marc Lizano and Greg Salsedo (2014 Finalist · Elementary/Middle-Grade Graphic Novels)
  • Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword by Barry Deutsch (2011 Finalist · Elementary/Middle-Grade Graphic Novels)
  • Hereville: How Mirka Met a Meteorite (2013 Winner · Elementary/Middle-Grade Graphic Novels)
  • Death by Toilet Paper by Donna Gephart (2014 Middle Grade Fiction finalist)
  • The Boy Who Loved Math: The Improbable Life of Paul Erdos by Deborah Heiligman, illustrated by LeUyen Pham (2013 Finalist · Elementary/Middle Grade Non-Fiction)
  • Courage & Defiance: Stories of Spies, Saboteurs, and Survivors in World War II Denmark by Deborah Hopkinson (2015 Finalist · Young Adult Nonfiction)
  • Self-Portrait With Seven Fingers: The Life of Marc Chagall in Verse by J. Patrick Lewis and Jane Yolen (2011 Finalist · Poetry)
  • The Boy on the Wooden Box: How the Impossible Became Possible . . . on Schindler's List by Leon Leyson (2013 Finalist · Young Adult Nonfiction, memoir)
  • Under a Red Sky: Memoir of a Childhood in Communist Romania by Haya Leah Molnar (2010 Finalist · Non-Fiction - middle/teen [2006-2012])
  • Paper Hearts by Meg Wiviott (2015 Finalist · Poetry)

Additional Cybils Titles of Jewish Interest:
  • Faith by Maya Ajmera, Magde Nakassis, and Cynthia Pon (2009 Finalist · Non-Fiction Picture Book)
  • An Unspeakable Crime: The Prosecution and Persecution of Leo Frank by Elaine Marie Alphin (2010 Finalist · Non-Fiction - middle/teen [2006-2012])
  • Angel Island: Gateway to Gold Mountain by Russell Freedman (2014 Finalist · Elementary Middle Grade Non-Fiction)
  • Prisoner B-3087 by Alan Gratz (2013 Finalist · Middle Grade Fiction)
  • Requiem: Poems of the Terezin Ghetto by Paul B. Janeczko (2011 Winner · Poetry)
  • Freedom Summer Murders by Don Mitchell (2014 Finalist · Young Adult Non-Fiction)
  • The Inquisitor's Apprentice by Chris Moriarty (2011 Finalist · Elementary/Middle-Grade Speculative Fiction)
  • Feynman by Jim Ottaviani (2011 Finalist · Young Adult Graphic Novels)
  • Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War by Steve Sheinkin (2015 Winner · Young Adult Non-Fiction)
  • Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein (2012 Finalist · Young Adult Fiction)


Friday, April 15, 2016

The Jewish Book Carnival: April 2016


The Jewish Book Carnival is a monthly roundup of Jewish literary links from across the blogosphere. Each month, a different blog hosts the Carnival, and any blogger is welcome to participate by submitting links from their own blog to that month's host.

This month, I am pleased to host the Jewish Book Carnival here at The Book of Life. In May, the Carnival will be hosted by Jennifer Tzivia MacLeod on her blog, Adventures in MamaLand. We've got a great line-up of blogs for the upcoming months, but are still seeking hosts for September through November, 2016. See the Jewish Book Carnival HQ to learn how the whole thing works, and let us know if you want to participate!

And now, this month's links...

Batya Medad at A Jewish Grandmother says "Wonderful book!! Total inspiration!!" about Miriam's Song: The Story of Miriam Peretz by Smadar Shir.

In March, Jill at Rhapsody in Books reviewed Anna and the Swallow Man by Gavriel Savit, which she rated as superlative. It is a stunning story set during the Holocaust, but without explicitness; rather, metaphor and allusion convey much of the story.

Deborah Kalb interviews a wide variety of authors on her blog, Book Q&As with Deborah Kalb. She recently interviewed Rochelle Wisoff-Fields about her historical novels Please Say Kaddish for Me and From Silt and Ashes, which focus on members of a Jewish family who escape the pogroms of Eastern Europe and make their way to Kansas City.

Have you been wondering what author Maggie Anton has been up to? The Fig Tree Books blog has that covered.

From My Machberet: Having recently re-read Julie Orringer's The Invisible Bridge, Erika Dreifus pauses over one critic's especially insightful take on the book, and on literature written by grandchildren of Holocaust survivors more broadly.

In God and Politics in Esther: A political parable for our time, Yoram Hazony draws political lesson from the Book of Esther, some of which are harrowingly relevant to the increasingly polarized American political landscape, and to other nations facing the politics of pessimism.

Lorri M. Writings reviews The Coffee Trader by David Liss.

Over on the Jewish Book Review, Rivka Levy gets to grip with a new book on the history and holiness of Hebrew, called Lashon HaKodesh: History, Holiness, and Hebrew.

Ellen Golub, author of PsychoSemitic, shares a piece she wrote for Kveller in the style of her book, "How Testing Positive for the BRCA Gene Was Actually a Blessing."

The 2017 Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee is accepting submissions of Jewish kidlit published during 2016. Read about it on the Association of Jewish Libraries blog, People of the Books.

And in our Passover section, author April Halprin Wayland is getting a lot of attention!

April Halprin Wayland at Teaching Authors shares behind the scenes stories of the creation of her new picture book, More Than Enough: A Passover Story.

At YA & Kids Books Central, Jill Ratzan highlights (chai lights) recent Passover picture books (including More Than Enough by April Halprin Wayland).

Jama Rattigan interviews April about More Than Enough at her blog, Jama's Alphabet Soup: An Eclectic Feast of Food, Fiction, Folderol and Chewy Culinary Verse.

Barbara Krasner at The Whole Megillah | The Writer's Resource for Jewish Story interviews April Halprin Wayland about her newest picture book, More Than Enough, a Passover Story.

On the Multicultural Kid Blogs site, I (Heidi Estrin) posted a roundup of Passover Books for Kids. The site is "For families and educators raising world citizens, through arts, activities, crafts, food, language, and love." The roundup happens to include More Than Enough.

And finally, on this blog, The Book of Life, I recorded a podcast interview with April about More Than Enough and about mindfulness and gratitude. April played Dayenu on the fiddle and I sang along!


Thursday, April 07, 2016

More Than Enough


April Halprin Wayland's new picture book is More Than Enough: A Passover Story. April won the 2010 Sydney Taylor Book Award for New Year at the Pier: A Rosh Hashanah Story. Here is my 2009 interview with her about New Year at the Pier.

Our wide-ranging conversation touched upon so many interesting resources that I've compiled a list of links for you here. You'll understand after you listen to the podcast!



AUDIO:


Or click Mp3 File (40:12)


VIDEO:

The Yiddish Swing Sextet peform Dayenu, just because it amuses me.


CREDITS:

Produced by: Feldman Children's Library at Congregation B'nai Israel 
Supported in part by: Association of Jewish Libraries   
Theme music: The Freilachmakers Klezmer String Band   
Facebook: facebook.com/bookoflifepodcast   
Twitter: @bookoflifepod 
 
Support The Book of Life by becoming a patron at Patreon.com/bookoflife!
 
Your feedback is appreciated! Please write to bookoflifepodcast@gmail.com or call our voicemail number at 561-206-2473.




Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Passover Books for Kids


I wrote an article for Multicultural Kid Blogs about Passover books for kids, and you can read it here.

I recommended books about different aspects of Passover: the Exodus, the seder, matzah, music, history, and nonfiction. I hope by sharing this info on a multicultural page, it will reach non-Jewish readers as well as those already familiar with the holiday.

The post is part of a Passover "Blog Hop" so check out the other participating blogs too. You can also add your own Passover posts using the Add Your Link button at the bottom of the article.


Thursday, March 03, 2016

The Yiddish Fish

The Yiddish Fish is a quirky picture book by author/illustrator Santiago Cohen, based on a true story from the New York Times, "Miracle? Dream? Prank? Fish Talks, Town Buzzes."

AUDIO:


Or click Mp3 File (10:09)


VIDEO:


The entire story, read by the author.

 
CREDITS:

Produced by: Feldman Children's Library at Congregation B'nai Israel 
Supported in part by: Association of Jewish Libraries   
Theme music: The Freilachmakers Klezmer String Band   
Facebook: facebook.com/bookoflifepodcast   
Twitter: @bookoflifepod 
 
Support The Book of Life by becoming a patron at Patreon.com/bookoflife!
 
Your feedback is appreciated! Please write to bookoflifepodcast@gmail.com or call our voicemail number at 561-206-2473.