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Zay Getray Zikh Aleyn, or You Be You: The Kid's Guide to Gender, Sexuality, and Family

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LISTEN TO THE PODCAST     |    READ THE TRANSCRIPT     |    BUY THE BOOK IN ENGLISH or YIDDISH     🕮    You Be You, The Kid's Guide to Gender, Sexuality, and Family by Jonathan Branfman may not seem like an obvious choice for coverage on The Book of Life, but I was fascinated by the fact that it had been translated into Yiddish to make it accessible not only to scholars of modern Yiddish but to Hasidic families. Branfman brings both Jewish and gender expertise as a scholar in both fields. Translator Lili Rosen is not only a translator but also a cultural consultant and actor on the Netflix hit Unorthodox and other Yiddish-related media. They combined their talents to create a book for 7-12 year old readers that is affirming and inspiring. See also The Book of Life's list of Queer Jewish Kidlit ! LEARN MORE:  Buy the book in English or Yiddish Jonathan Branfman's website Lili Rosen's website Lili Rosen film credits on IMDB Moonbeam Awards (You Be You won in 2019)

Queer Jewish Books

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    June is Pride Month ! In celebration, I am happy to provide this list of queer Jewish kidlit. This list includes a broad range of representation, from queer Jewish protagonists to minor characters.   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, please leave a comment!   PICTURE BOOKS Havdalah Sky by Chris Barash Adopting Ahava by Jennifer Byrne  The Rosh Hashanah Recipe by Laura Gehl The Hanukkah Hunt by Laura Gehl The Flower Girl Wore Celery by Meryl G. Gordon The Purim Superhero by Elisabeth Kushner MIDDLE GRADE Almost Flying by Jake Maia Arlow  You Be You: The Kids Guide to Gender, Sexuality, and Family (Yiddish edition) by Jonathan Branfman, translated by Lili Rosen Repairing the World by Linda Epstein Lily & Dunkin by Donna Gephart The

Unite Against Book Bans

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LISTEN TO THE PODCAST     |    READ THE TRANSCRIPT     |    JOIN UNITE AGAINST BOOK BANS     🕮    Recently, libraries and schools have been facing an outrageous number of book challenges. Jewish tradition encourages debate and the exchange of ideas, and to me, the attempted repression we are seeing right now is diametrically opposed to Jewish values and American values. Books about marginalized communities, including the Jewish community, have been targeted. Librarians and educators are being vilified. It's time to speak out to protect the rights of all readers to have access to books that reflect their own experiences. That's why I asked Deborah Caldwell-Stone, the Director of the American Library Association's Office for Intellectual Freedom, to come on the podcast and talk about censorship and ALA's Unite Against Book Bans campaign. LEARN MORE: Unite Against Book Bans campaign TOOLKIT for Unite Against Book Bans Confidential Censorship Reporting Tool ALA Off

Jewish American Heritage Month Reading Recommendations

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To celebrate Jewish American Heritage Month this May, I posted a Jewish kidlit recommendation set in an American location each day on Facebook . Here are all of the recommendations with links to podcasts or reviews, for your #JewishAmericanHeritageMonth reading pleasure. FYI, May is also Asian American and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander Month - see my intersectional reading list of Jewish/Asian kidlit ! May 1, 2022 VERMONT Wayward Creatures by Dayna Lorentz is a middle grade contemporary novel told in two voices: a troubled Jewish boy and a wayward coyote. May 2, 2022 CHICAGO, ILLINOIS The City Beautiful by Aden Polydoros is a queer Jewish historical fantasy young adult thriller.  May 3, 2022 ARIZONA The Sundown Kid: A Southwestern Shabbat by Barbara Bietz is a historical picture book about a Jewish family creating community in their new home out west.  May 4, 2022 BALTIMORE, MARYLAND The Length of a String by Elissa Brent Weissman is a contemporary middle grade novel about Black

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