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The 2022 Sydney Taylor Book Awards, Revealed

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LISTEN TO THE PODCAST     |    READ THE TRANSCRIPT     🕮    Martha Seif Simpson is the chair of the Sydney Taylor Book Award committee of the Association of Jewish Libraries. She joined us to discuss the 2022 winners of the award, which annually recognizes the best Jewish literature for children and teens. AJL is an affiliate of the American Library Association , so the Sydney Taylor Book Awards are announced at ALA's Youth Media Awards press conference, being held virtually this year on January 24, 2022. You can watch a recording of the announcement on ALA's YouTube channel . Here's my unofficial shortlist of deserving books, and here's the official 2022 Sydney Taylor Book Award press release and the printable list of winners, honors, and notable books. You can also scroll down to see all the winning titles listed, with links to any past podcast appearances by the authors on The Book of Life. A week after the official announcement at ALA, AJL will hold an &qu

Jewish Book Carnival: January 2022

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  The Jewish Book Carnival is a monthly roundup of Jewish literary links from across the blogosphere. Sponsored by the Association of Jewish Libraries, it is hosted by a different blog each month and shares book reviews, author interviews, essays, and other blog posts about Jewish books. Visit the Jewish Book Carnival HQ for the upcoming schedule, past Carnivals, and to learn how to participate! Hanukkah and Christmas may be over but this Holiday Heroes interview will still warm your heart. Here on The Book of Life I brought together Lee Wind, author of Red and Green and Blue and White , and Jeff Gottesfeld, author of The Christmas Mitzvah , for a joint interview . Both books are based on inspiring true stories, and I included them both on my Completely Unofficial 2022 Sydney Taylor Shortlist . A Jewish Grandmother reviews The Last Words We Said by Leah Sheier, which is about three close teenage friends, all Jewish from Modern Orthodox homes, trying to deal with the disappearance a

My Completely Unofficial 2022 Sydney Taylor Shortlist

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Many years ago, I was on the Association of Jewish Libraries' Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee, and I even chaired the committee for a few years. Those days are long gone, and I am no longer a part of those decisions. However, I still have strong opinions about each year's crop of Jewish kidlit. 2021 offered an inspiring array of Jewish books, with very diverse representation and an encouraging thread of activism, making me want to advocate for more titles than I have time to podcast about. Here then, is my completely unofficial shortlist of titles that I personally feel are deserving of Sydney Taylor Book Award recognition, or at least deserving of your attention. I'll also add the caveat that I did not read every single Jewish children's or YA book that came out this year, so there may be other titles that I would have added to this list if I'd gotten around to reading them. I'm not naming unofficial gold, silver, or notable books -- I'm just saying tha

Holiday Heroes

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LISTEN TO THE PODCAST     |    READ THE TRANSCRIPT     |    BUY LEE'S BOOK     |    BUY JEFF'S BOOK     🕮    For this episode I've paired Red and Green and Blue and White by Lee Wind with The Christmas Mitzvah by Jeff Gottesfeld. These two 2021 holiday picture books are both based on true stories of allyship and they have a lovely synergy.  These two fine people have been Book of Life guests before: You may remember Jeff from February 2020 when he told us about No Steps Behind: Beate Sirota Gordon's Battle for Women's Rights in Japan , and Lee from the June 2020 "Through the Window" diversity exchange episode, when we learned more about queer kidlit. Their new books really uphold the spirit of the holiday season with beautiful stories of bridge-building. The Book of Life now has an AJL "sister podcast," Nice Jewish Books, a show about Jewish fiction for adults, hosted by my friend and fellow librarian Sheryl Stahl. Listen past the credits

Whistle: A New Gotham City Hero

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LISTEN TO THE PODCAST     |    READ THE TRANSCRIPT     |    BUY THE BOOK     🕮    In December 2018 I interviewed Emily Jenkins about her picture book All-of-a-Kind Family Hanukkah . Now Emily's back, in the guise of E. Lockhart, the pen name she uses for her young adult fiction, to talk about her graphic novel Whistle: A New Gotham City Hero , featuring a Jewish teen superhero with enhanced canine superpowers and a Great Dane sidekick named Lebowitz. This episode is sponsored by Every Child a Reader in association with the Children's Book Council, in honor of Children's Book Week, November 8-14, 2021. This year's theme is "Reading is a Superpower!" Take the Superpower Challenge ! Learn all about it HERE . Sponsorship also comes from the Association of Jewish Libraries, and I'm happy to announce that The Book of Life now has an AJL "sister podcast," Nice Jewish Books , a show about Jewish fiction for adults, hosted by my friend and fellow librari

The Book of Life's New Sister Podcast: Nice Jewish Books

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The Association of Jewish Libraries Launches Nice Jewish Books Podcast The Association of Jewish Libraries (AJL) is pleased to announce the launch of Nice Jewish Books, a monthly podcast focusing on adult Jewish fiction. Nice Jewish Books will bring attention to works of literary fiction, genre fiction, and literature in translation, as well as books and authors that have been considered for AJL’s annual Jewish Fiction Award. Nice Jewish Books can be found at https://jewishlibraries.org/nicejewishbooks /. The first episode, available now, features Mary Marks, author of the Quilting Mysteries series, in which Jewish protagonist Martha Rose and her circle of quilting friends seem to bump into dead bodies with alarming frequency. Luckily, they are able use their observational skills, intuition, and persistence to "help" the police catch the killers. In this wide-ranging conversation, host Sheryl Stahl and Mary Marks discuss Jewish practice, the representation of female charact

Reading is a Superpower

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"Reading is a Superpower" is the theme of Children's Book Week , celebrated November 8-14, 2021 and sponsored by Every Child a Reader , in association with the Children's Book Council . The Book of Life is happy to be a Children's Book Week Partner . This year's theme is brought to life by the Superpower Challenge , inviting kids to name "a skill, personal trait, or passion that plays an important role in your life, helps you do good in the world, and makes you feel special, happy, and confident."  What's your superpower? Mine is the ability to quickly locate library books based on very minimal descriptions like "It's got a blue cover" or "It had a pumpkin in it." The superpower of Whistle, the subject of November's Book of Life episode, is to communicate with dogs and have the sensory perception of dogs. A superpower of Whistle's creator, E. Lockhart, is to seamlessly add a Jewish neighborhood into Gotham City, m