Wednesday, January 10, 2018

2018 Sydney Taylor Book Awards Announced

For More Information Contact:
Susan Kusel, Chair Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee
Association of Jewish Libraries
sydneytaylorbookaward@jewishlibraries.org

January 10, 2018
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Winners of the annual Sydney Taylor Book Award were announced by the Association of Jewish Libraries today. Named in memory of Sydney Taylor, author of the classic All-of-a-Kind Family series, the award recognizes books for children and teens that exemplify high literary standards while authentically portraying the Jewish experience. 

2018 is the 50th Anniversary of the Sydney Taylor Awards. The first winner was The Endless Steppe: Growing Up in Siberia by Esther Hautzig in 1968, published by the Thomas Y. Crowell Company.

GOLD MEDALISTS

The Language of Angels: A Story About the Reinvention of Hebrew by Richard Michelson, illustrated by Karla Gudeon, published by Charlesbridge, won the Sydney Taylor Book Award in the Younger Readers category. This beautiful picture book tells the story of how Hebrew became an everyday language in Israel, after being out of use for two thousand years. The folk art illustrations are an illuminating match. 

Refugee by Alan Gratz, published by Scholastic Press, an imprint of Scholastic, won the Sydney Taylor Book Award in the Older Readers category. The journeys of three different young refugees from Nazi Germany, 1990s Cuba and present-day Syria come together to form an emotional and timely narrative about the refugee experience.

The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe, translated by Lilit Thwaites, published by Godwin Books, an imprint of Henry Holt and Company, a division of Macmillan Children's Publishing Group, won the Sydney Taylor Book Award in the Teen Readers category. This powerful story of Dita Kraus and her protection of a handful of books in the Auschwitz concentration camp shows the importance of hope in the darkest of times. 

Harold Grinspoon and PJ Library won the Sydney Taylor Body of Work Award. PJ Library, a project of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, is a family engagement program that sends free books celebrating Jewish values and culture to families with children 6 months through 8 years old. This program has revolutionized the field of Jewish children’s literature by providing dramatically improved access to Jewish books for families. It has also significantly increased the publication of children’s books with Jewish content. The Body of Work Award has been given twelve times in the 50-year history of the Sydney Taylor Awards. The last recipient was author Eric Kimmel in 2004. 

SILVER MEDALISTS


Eight Sydney Taylor Honor Books were also recognized.  For Younger Readers, the Honor Books are: Yaffa and Fatima: Shalom, Salaam adapted by Fawzia GilaniWilliams, illustrated by Chiara Fedele, published by Kar-Ben Publishing, a division of Lerner Publishing Group and Drop by Drop: A Story of Rabbi Akiva by Jacqueline Jules, illustrated by Yevgenia Nayberg, published by Kar-Ben Publishing, a division of Lerner Publishing Group.

For Older Readers, the Honor Books are: Viva, Rose! by Susan Krawitz, published by Holiday House, which was also the recipient of the 2015 Sydney Taylor Manuscript Award; This Is Just a Test by Madelyn Rosenberg and Wendy Wan-Long Shang, published by Scholastic Press, an imprint of Scholastic; and The Six-Day Hero by Tammar Stein, published by Kar-Ben Publishing, a division of Lerner Publishing Group.

For Teen Readers, the Honor Books are: To Look a Nazi in the Eye: A Teen’s Account of a War Criminal Trial by Kathy Kacer with Jordana Lebowitz, published by Second Story Press; Almost Autumn by Marianne Kaurin, translated by Rosie Hedger, published by Arthur A. Levine Books, an imprint of Scholastic; and The Girl with the Red Balloon by Katherine Locke, published by Albert Whitman & Company.

In addition to the medal winners, the Award Committee designated twelve Notable Books of Jewish Content for 2018. More information about the Sydney Taylor Book Award and a complete listing of the award winners and notables can be found at www.sydneytaylorbookawards.org.

Winning authors and illustrators will receive their awards at the Annual Conference of the Association of Jewish Libraries, to be held in Boston, MA from June 18-20, 2018. Gold and silver medalists will also participate in a blog tour February 4-8, 2018. For more information about the blog tour please visit www.jewishlibraries.org/blog.

The Language of Angels and Refugee were also named winners of the 67th Annual National Jewish Book Awards, which were announced today as well. A full list of all the winners can be found on the Jewish Book Councils website here

Members of the 2018 Sydney Taylor Book Award committee are: Chair Susan Kusel, Temple Rodef Shalom Library, Falls Church, VA; Rena Citrin, Bernard Zell Anshe Emet Day School, Chicago, IL; Elissa Gershowitz, Horn Book Magazine, Boston, MA; Rebecca Levitan, Baltimore County Public Library, Pikesville Branch, Baltimore, MD; Heather Lenson, Joseph & Florence Mandel Jewish Day School, Beachwood, OH; Marjorie Shuster, Congregation Emanuel of the City of New York, New York, NY; and Rivka Yerushalmi, Silver Spring, MD.

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The 2018 Sydney Taylor Book Awards
Association of Jewish Libraries

The Sydney Taylor Book Award Winner for Younger Readers
The Language of Angels: A Story About the Reinvention of Hebrew by Richard Michelson, illustrated by Karla Gudeon, published by Charlesbridge

The Sydney Taylor Book Award Winner for Older Readers
Refugee by Alan Gratz, published by Scholastic Press, an imprint of Scholastic

The Sydney Taylor Book Award Winner for Teen Readers
The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe, translated by Lilit Thwaites,  published by Godwin Books, an imprint of Henry Holt and Company,  a division of Macmillan Children's Publishing Group

The Sydney Taylor Body of Work Award Winner
Harold Grinspoon and PJ Library

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Sydney Taylor Honor Books for Younger Readers
Yaffa and Fatima: Shalom, Salaam adapted by Fawzia Gilani-Williams, illustrated by Chiara Fedele
published by Kar-Ben Publishing, a division of Lerner Publishing Group

Drop by Drop: A Story of Rabbi Akiva by Jacqueline Jules, illustrated by Yevgenia Nayberg
published by Kar-Ben Publishing, a division of Lerner Publishing Group

Sydney Taylor Honor Books for Older Readers
Viva, Rose! by Susan Krawitz, published by Holiday House 

This Is Just a Test by Madelyn Rosenberg and Wendy Wan-Long Shang,  published by Scholastic Press, an imprint of Scholastic

The Six-Day Hero by Tammar Stein, published by Kar-Ben Publishing,  a division of Lerner Publishing Group

Sydney Taylor Honor Books for Teen Readers
To Look a Nazi in the Eye: A Teen’s Account of a War Criminal Trial by Kathy Kacer with Jordana Lebowitz, published by Second Story Press

Almost Autumn by Marianne Kaurin, translated by Rosie Hedger published by Arthur A. Levine Books, an imprint of Scholastic

The Girl with the Red Balloon by Katherine Locke, published by Albert Whitman & Company

 ~~~~~~

Notable Books for Younger Readers
Yom Kippur Shortstop by David A. Adler, illustrated by Andre Ceolin published by Apples & Honey Press, an imprint of Behrman House 

Under the Sabbath Lamp by Michael Herman, illustrated by Alida Massari published by Kar-Ben Publishing, a division of Lerner Publishing Group

Big Sam: A Rosh Hashanah Tall Tale by Eric A. Kimmel, illustrated by Jim Starr published by Apples & Honey Press, an imprint of Behrman House 

The Knish War on Rivington Street by Joanne Oppenheim, illustrated by Jon Davis published by Albert Whitman & Company

Ruth Bader Ginsburg: The Case of R.B.G. vs. Inequality by Jonah Winter, illustrated by Stacy Innerst, published by Abrams Books for Young Readers, a division of Abrams

 Notable Books for Older Readers
Hedy’s Journey: The True Story of a Hungarian Girl Fleeing the Holocaust by Michelle Bisson, illustrated by El primo Ramón published by Capstone Press, a Capstone imprint

The Children of Willesden Lane: A True Story of Hope and Survival During World War II:  Young Readers Edition by Mona Golabek and Lee Cohen and adapted by Emil Sher published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, a division of Hachette Book Group

Wordwings by Sydelle Pearl, published by Guernica Editions

The Dollmaker of Krakow by R.M. Romero published by Delacorte Press, a division of Random House Children’s Books

 Notable Books for Teen Readers
Man’s Search for Meaning: Young Reader Edition by Viktor E. Frankl, published by Beacon Press

Ronit & Jamil by Pamela L. Laskin published by Katherine Tegen Books, a division of HarperCollins Publishers

Stolen Secrets by L.B. Schulman, published by Boyds Mills Press, a division of Highlights

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For more information contact:
Susan Kusel, Chair Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee, Association of Jewish Libraries sydneytaylorbookaward@jewishlibraries.org




2018 Sydney Taylor Manuscript Award Chosen



For More Information Contact:
Aileen Grossberg, Coordinator Sydney Taylor Manuscript Award Committee
Association of Jewish Libraries
STMACAJL@AOL.com
tinyurl.com/stma18

January 10, 2018
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The Sydney Taylor Manuscript Award Competition committee is pleased to announce the recipient of the 2018 award. Judith Pransky, author of The Seventh Handmaiden, will receive the award at the annual conference of the Association of Jewish Libraries to be held in Boston, MA, from June 18-20, 2018. The Award is offered annually to an unpublished manuscript that has broad appeal to readers aged 8-13 and presents Jewish life in a positive light.

Set in the time of King Xerxes of Persia, the novel begins with the kidnapping of a young girl and then flashes forward several years to focus on Darya, a young slave who is uncertain of her origins. The story follows Darya and her free friend Parvaneh from service in the household of a Persian army captain to positions in Xerxes’s palace as handmaidens to Queen Esther. Swirling around the girls’ everyday activities is palace intrigue orchestrated by Haman’s henchmen including Behrooz, who has a mysterious and frightening connection to Parveneh’s mother. 

Filled with historical details, intrigue, mystery, politics and a host of issues that contemporary readers can identify with, the story has a satisfying ending for both Darya and her mistress Esther and fleshes out the story found in the Megillah. The judges were impressed by the unique approach to the story of Esther, the strongly nuanced characters, the touch of mystery and the relevance of the issues to today’s world.

According to Ms Pransky, The Seventh Handmaiden was written with her sixth grade ancient history students in mind, and tries “to bring the history and lifestyle of Persia to life, as well as the characters that populate the Megillah and the Jewish story that permeates it.” Ms Pransky, a middle school language arts/history teacher, has contributed to Philadelphia area magazines and edited the Marmac Guide to Philadelphia. She has also taught writing to adults and worked as an editor for a textbook publishing company before returning to teaching. The Seventh Handmaiden is her first novel for young readers.

In an unusually strong year, the Committee is pleased to name three honorable mention manuscripts: Go To Yourself by Stuart Melnick is the story of an Orthodox boy preparing for his bar mitzvah. Through sports he experiences the outside world for the first time and learns about friendship, decisions and their consequences. Diverse characters and a warm family setting are hallmarks of this story. Raising Canaans by Catherine Orkin Oskow uses humor to tell the story of a dog-crazy preteen who obsesses over the Canaan dogs that her aunt raises and finally comes to accept that she cannot have a dog. Reeni’s Turn by Carol Coven Grannick uses verse to follow ballet dancer Reeni from doubt about herself to self-acceptance. The contemporary story focuses on issues common in today’s families.

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The Big Reveal: 2018 Sydney Taylor Book Award Winners

Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee Chair Susan Kusel
with 2018 gold medalist titles


Susan Kusel is the chair of the Sydney Taylor Book Award committee of the Association of Jewish Libraries. She joined us by Skype from her home in Falls Church, VA. to talk about the 2018 winners of the award. 

Here's the official Sydney Taylor Book Award announcement with the full list of winners, honors, and notable books: click here

The Sydney Taylor Book Award Blog Tour will take place February 4-8, 2018. For details, click here.

The Sydney Taylor Manuscript Award was mentioned in the interview: click here.  

The National Jewish Book Award winners from the Jewish Book Council have also been announced! To see their winners, click here.

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO THE PODCAST



CREDITS:

Theme music: The Freilachmakers Klezmer String Band 
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Your feedback is appreciated! Please write to bookoflifepodcast@gmail.com or call our voicemail number at 561-206-2473.



Thursday, January 04, 2018

UPCOMING: 2018 Sydney Taylor Book Award Announcement!

STBA Committee: Left to right Front row: Ellen Tilman, Diane Rauchwerger, Kathy Bloomfield, Back row: Rivka Yerushalmi, Rebecca Levitan, Susan Kusel, Elissa Gershowitz, Heather Lenson Not pictured: Marjorie Shuster, Rena Citrin
The winners of the 2018 Sydney Taylor Book Awards for the best in Jewish children's and teen literature will be announced on January 10, 2018. Chair Susan Kusel gave The Book of Life an exclusive interview that will be posted on that date. In the meantime, here is her dedication to the hardworking awards committee:

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Grand Finale (at least for now)


In this twelfth anniversary episode of The Book of Life, we hear from listeners and past guests about some of their favorite interviews. If we missed YOUR favorite, check out the right-hand sidebar at bookoflifepodcast.com for past episodes or go to the Internet Archive at archive.org/details/@TBOL.

During The Book of Life's coming hiatus, I may post occasional interviews if I come across something just too interesting to resist podcasting about, and I'll also post about any future podcasting plans, so watch this space!

My new job at PJ Library includes overseeing the Author Newsletter, so if you're a creator of Jewish kidlit, be sure to subscribe to that newsletter here.

Today's show includes clips from these shows; click on any title to listen to the full episode.
 
CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO THE PODCAST


 
CREDITS:

Theme music: The Freilachmakers Klezmer String Band 
Facebook: facebook.com/bookoflifepodcast  
Twitter: @bookoflifepod 
 
Your feedback is appreciated! Please write to bookoflifepodcast@gmail.com or call our voicemail number at 561-206-2473.



Thursday, December 07, 2017

#Readukkah 2017


The Association of Jewish Libraries and the Jewish Book Council present the third annual reading challenge for readers of all ages, Readukkah! To participate, all you have to do is post about any #JewLit book (any book of Jewish interest) on the Facebook event discussion board—or share a link to your review anywhere online—and use the hashtag #Readukkah to connect with other readers!

By sharing your Readukkah posts, your participation in this reading challenge helps spread the word about worthwhile titles, bringing them to the attention of more readers and supporting the publication of Jewish books!





Sunday, December 03, 2017

The Many Faces of the Pirkei Avot




I convened a virtual roundtable among the creators of two books related to The Ethics of the Fathers, aka the Pirkei Avot. Goodness knows, this is a time when the world needs moral guidance! Why not turn to ancient and modern teachings of Judaism for help?

I spoke with Jessica Deutsch, creator of The Illustrated Pirkei Avot: A Graphic Novel of Jewish Ethics, and with Lois Shenker and Rabbi Eve Posen, co-authors of Pirkei Imahot: The Wisom of Mothers, The Voices of Women.


CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO THE PODCAST





GRAND FINALE:

In other news, I want to thank you all for the voicemails you've left me saying nice things about The Book of Life. You'll hear those messages, mixed with clips from the episodes they refer to, in our grande finale episode later in December 2017.

I also want to let you know that I may post random episodes of The Book of Life now and then in the coming year, if I stumble across something too interesting to resist podcasting about. So don't unsubscribe!

FYI, You can find a full archive of past episodes at bookoflifepodcast.com, and also on The Internet Archive at archive.org/details/@tbol.
   
CREDITS:

Theme music: The Freilachmakers Klezmer String Band   
Facebook: facebook.com/bookoflifepodcast    
Twitter: @bookoflifepod    

Your feedback is appreciated! Please write to bookoflifepodcast@gmail.com or call our voicemail number at 561-206-2473.



Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Tasa's Song

The Carpe Diem String Quartet
Tasa's Song by Linda Kass is a story of a young musician in WWII Poland. I met the author at "A Book in Concert" where she read excerpts interspersed with musical performances by the Carpe Diem String Quartet. They played classical music that Tasa would have played herself, and they played the original piece "Tasa's Song," written by Charles Weatherbee as a tribute to the book.

Linda is not only an author, she's also a bookseller! If you're ever in Bexley, Ohio, visit her bookstore, Gramercy Books!
Author Linda Kass
 CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO THE PODCAST




GRAND FINALE:

The Book of Life will go on hiatus after the December 2017 episode. YOU can be a part of my grand finale! Leave me a voicemail or send me an audio recording with your comment about what The Book of Life has meant to you, about a favorite interview, about new podcasting ideas for me, or any other thoughts you want to share. Your voice may end up on the December episode! Here's how to play:
By November 30, 2017, do one of the following:

CREDITS:

Theme music: The Freilachmakers Klezmer String Band 
Facebook: facebook.com/bookoflifepodcast 
Twitter: @bookoflifepod 

Your feedback is appreciated! Please write to bookoflifepodcast@gmail.com or call our voicemail number at 561-206-2473. 


Wednesday, October 25, 2017

The Yiddish Book Center & NEWS

NEWS!  NEWS!  NEWS!


B'nai Israel goodbye party for Heidi
After 18 amazing years as Judaica librarian at Congregation B'nai Israel of Boca Raton, I've taken a new job at PJ Library in Agawam, Massachusetts. I need to focus my energy on this new adventure, so I'm putting The Book of Life on a (possibly permanent) hiatus after the 12th anniversary episode in December, 2017. I expect to get back to some kind of podcasting next year, and I'll post here to let you know my plans (once I figure them out!).

YOUR MOMENT OF FAME 

YOU can be a part of my grand finale! Leave me a voicemail or send me an audio recording with your comment about what The Book of Life has meant to you, about a favorite interview, about new podcasting ideas for me, or any other thoughts you want to share. Your voice may end up on the December episode! If you're shy (or technologically disinclined), write me an email so I can read your words aloud for you. I just want to hear from you, one way or another! Here's how to play:

By November 30, 2017, do one of the following:


And now, on with our show...
Lisa Newman in the Yiddish Book Center's recording studio

The Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, MA rescues Yiddish books and puts them in context to broaden our understanding of modern Jewish identity. This June I visited the Yiddish Book Center, where I spoke to Communications Director Lisa Newman, and to Christa Whitney, director of the center's Wexler Oral History Project. They both offered exciting backstage views of the Yiddish Book Center, and they even helped me clear up an old family linguistic mystery!

By the way, here's a link to Lisa's podcast, The Shmooze; and the address Christa mentions for requesting oral history interviews is yiddishbookcenter.org/tell-your-story. 


CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO THE PODCAST






"VACATION PHOTOS"



CREDITS:

Theme music: The Freilachmakers Klezmer String Band   

Facebook: facebook.com/bookoflifepodcast   
Twitter: @bookoflifepod 
 

Your feedback is appreciated! Please write to bookoflifepodcast@gmail.com or call our voicemail number at 561-206-2473.



Author Israel Adventure


As many of you have heard, I now work for PJ Library and PJ Our Way! I am very pleased to announce their new initiative, a FREE trip to Israel to inspire authors to write for children about Judaism in general and Israel in particular. If you are an author who writes Jewish kidlit, or if you are a published author who has ever thought about writing Jewish kidlit, check this out. And if you have friends who are authors, please let them know about this opportunity!