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May Twofer: A Jewish + Asian Intersectional Booklist

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The month of May is "heritage month" for a number of cultures in the United States. Uppermost in my mind, of course, is Jewish American Heritage Month , established in 2006. Asian American and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander Month is also celebrated in May, as is Haitian Heritage Month .   While I can't think of any children's books that include both Jewish and Haitian content, I am aware of a number of titles that include Jewish and Asian characters, and in some cases, characters who have a combined Jewish/Asian identity. Here, then, is my two-for-one booklist, celebrating both Jewish American Heritage Month and Asian American and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander Month, at the same time.  Please note that I have not read all of these books myself, so cannot vouch for their quality. On the other hand, some of these are books or authors I've podcasted about, and if so I'll provide a link. If you have any feedback about these titles, or any others to suggest,

Wayward Creatures

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LISTEN TO THE PODCAST     |    READ THE TRANSCRIPT     |    BUY THE BOOK     🕮     Wayward Creatures by Dayna Lorentz is a heartfelt animal friendship story for middle grade readers, told from the points of view of both a troubled young Jewish boy and the wayward coyote he befriends after a forest fire changes both of their lives. A local restorative justice program helps Gabe learn the value of community and tikkun olam. This book takes place in the United States of America in the state of Vermont. During Jewish American Heritage Month in May, I'll be posting a Jewish American kidlit title every day on Facebook . Follow along to see my recommendations, and share your own favorites! LEARN MORE:  Buy Wayward Creatures Author Dayna Lorentz's website Burlington VT Community Justice Center (they provided guidance about restorative justice)  The Killington VT forest fire that burned underground How to handle living near coyotes and opossums Video of a coyote and badger hunti

Holiday Highlights: The Best New Passover Books

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LISTEN TO THE PODCAST     |    READ THE TRANSCRIPT     🕮    Regular listeners will remember my friend Susan Kusel, a librarian/bookseller/author who partners with me frequently to promote Jewish children's literature. In this episode, we discuss Holiday Highlights, a project we set up through the Association of Jewish Libraries. Our expert committee, Amy Lilien-Harper, Robbin Friedman, and Sylvie Shaffer, compile seasonal Holiday Highlights lists representing the best Jewish children's holiday books each Spring and Fall. We tell you all about the project, and about the amazing Passover picture books on the Spring 2022 Holiday Highlights list. Why were we both wearing tiaras during our Zoom call? You'll have to listen to the episode to find out. LEARN MORE: Holiday Highlights Susan Kusel's website Guest Post: How to Support Jewish Children's Literature  SPRING 2022 Holiday Highlights Shabbat Shalom & A New Week by Vicki Weber Raquela's Seder by Joel E

Guest Spot: Jewish Joy on Everyone Loved It But Me

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LISTEN TO THE PODCAST     |    READ THE TRANSCRIPT     🕮    When I was interviewed by Lisa Hedger on the Everyone Loved It But Me podcast, I told her about the many issues I have with The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, but I also suggested some alternate titles and urged listeners to seek out books of Jewish joy. Lisa used that part of our conversation in a separate "Book Bits" episode, which you can listen to here. Below are links to some of the titles and resources we discussed. LEARN MORE: Heidi's interview about The Boy in the Striped Pajamas My Completely Unofficial 2022 Sydney Taylor Shortlist (for joyful Jewish book suggestions) Whistle: A New Gotham City Hero by E. Lockhart (on The Book of Life, November 2021 ) The Unfinished Corner by Dani Colman (on The Book of Life, March 2022 ) All-of-a-Kind Family by Sydney Taylor (on The Book of Life, October 2007 ) Aviva vs. the Dybbuk by Mari Lowe  The Sydney Taylor Book Award from the Association of Jewish Libraries

Guest Spot: Everyone Loved It But Me

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LISTEN TO THE PODCAST     |    READ THE TRANSCRIPT     🕮    I was pleased to be a guest on the podcast Everyone Loved It But Me , hosted by Lisa Hedger. I spoke about the many issues I have with the middle grade Holocaust novel The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne. This fall, a sequel will be released, entitled All the Broken Places . I urge you to approach this sequel with great caution. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is rife with historical inaccuracies, impossible scenarios, emotional manipulation, and tone-deaf messaging, and the author has shown only defensiveness in the face of the many criticisms he has received. I don't hold high hopes for the sequel to be any better, and I don't want this author to continue to profit from literary exploitation of the tragedy that was the Holocaust. In my personal opinion, Boyne's books should be put aside and attention should instead be paid to more authentic works of fiction and nonfiction about the Holocaust (see re

The Unfinished Corner

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LISTEN TO THE PODCAST     |    READ THE TRANSCRIPT     |    BUY THE BOOK     🕮    The Unfinished Corner, a National Jewish Book Awards finalist, is a graphic novel that challenges a bat mitzvah girl and her group of diverse Jewish friends to finish a corner of the universe left unfinished by God, in order to rid the world of evil. It's a bold premise, brilliantly carried out with a mix of ancient folklore and modern thinking. I was excited to speak with author Dani Colman to learn more. LEARN MORE: Buy The Unfinished Corner Author  Dani Colman's website Colorist Whitney Cogar's website Editor Rebecca "Tay" Taylor's website Illustrator Rachel "Tuna" Petrovicz's website Letterer Jim Campbell's website Vault Comics website  / Wonderbound imprint website CREDITS: Produced by Feldman Children's Library at Congregation B'nai Israel Co-sponsored by the Association of Jewish Libraries Sister podcast: Nice Jewish Books Theme Music: The Fr

Good Grief

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LISTEN TO THE PODCAST    |    READ THE TRANSCRIPT     🕮    Today I've got a group interview for you, with three authors whose books each take a different and fascinating angle on dealing with grief. It's a difficult topic to talk about with young people but these books handle it with grace and sensitivity. Tyler Feder, author of the Sydney Taylor Book Award winning graphic memoir for young adults, Dancing at the Pity Party , middle grade novelist Emily Barth Isler, whose debut book is called Aftermath , and returning guest Joanne Levy, who was on the show in October 2020 to talk about Fish Out of Water , is back with her new middle grade novel Sorry for Your Loss , a Sydney Taylor Notable Book. LEARN MORE: Buy Dancing at the Pity Party Author Tyler Feder Tyler's Dad's review of her book on GoodReads Buy Aftermath Author Emily Barth Isler Buy Sorry for Your Loss Author Joanne Levy Joanne's guest post "How to Support Jewish Children's Literature" Em

Guest Post: How to Support Jewish Children's Literature

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  by Joanne Levy I originally wrote a post in the Jewish Kidlit Mavens Facebook group summing up my thoughts and feelings about getting the word out about Jewish kidlit. A staunch supporter of Jewish kidlit herself, Heidi invited me to expand what she called a "manifesto" for posting here. I truly believe that to end hate, including antisemitism, which is on the rise (again/still) in the world, we need to build empathy in our kids. It’s a long game but I think the best way to be proactive is to get our kids reading widely. To normalize the varied and diverse experiences of contemporary Judaism. Being a Jew who writes books about Jewish kids, I’m always thinking about how to get more books with Jewish characters in the hands of kids. All kids—Jewish and non-Jewish alike. Since I'm an author, by definition, this post is self-serving BUT I've been thinking a lot lately about all Jewish books and getting more of them out into the world. In particular, into mainstream pl