Showing posts from 2007

Meet Markus!

LISTEN TO THE PODCAST      🕮    OK, here's your big, last-night-of-Hanukkah present: an embeddable flash player so you can enjoy The Book of Life on your own web page, blog, or social network! And to go with it, I've uploaded a bonus episode, "Meet Markus!" This is a live, unedited talk recorded at the independent bookstore Books & Books in Coral Gables, Florida with Markus Zusak , author of The Book Thief . Let me tell you a little more about the new podcast player widget, provided by Big Contact (btw, I must tell you that they have excellent customer service! They were a huge help to me when I ran into trouble setting up this player!). The player you see here is just an image ... for the real player, please look on the sidebar to your right. ----> (If you're not viewing this post at , you can see the player here.) You can scroll down the list of episodes and click on any title to play that show. The little tab with t

Hooray for Hanukkah!

LISTEN TO THE PODCAST      🕮    This episode marks the 2nd year anniversary of The Book of Life! In this show, we celebrate the holiday of Hanukkah . > Illustrator Ann Koffsky describes her snowflake " Jerusalem of Peace ," created for Robert's Snow for Cancer's Cure . We also learn about her illustrations for My Cousin Tamar Lives in Israel by Michelle Shapiro Abraham, and her new Joyfully Jewish 2008 calendar . > Author Sarah Marwil Lamstein and illustrator Neil Waldman discuss their picture book Letter on the Wind: A Chanukah Tale . > Kenny Ellis , cantor and performer, riffs on his CD Hanukkah Swings! You can also check out Kenny's MySpace page, and download "Swingin' Dreidel" as a ringtone. > Author Barbara Bietz talks about her chapter book Like a Maccabee , as well as her kidlit blog and her new position on the Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee , where she'll help choose the best Judaic children's books of

Interview with Heidi on Barbara Bietz's Blog

Barbara Bietz, kidlit blogger, incoming member of the Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee, and author of Like a Maccabee , interviewed me for her blog! Click here to read the interview. Turn about is fair play, so I'll be interviewing Barbara for the December 2007 episode of The Book of Life. Her entertaining chapter book is about Hanukkah, family... and soccer. (Who knew?) Keep up with Barbara Bietz at or at .

MyJewishLearning Article on Jewish Kidlit

As you may know, in addition to hosting The Book of Life I am also a Judaica children's librarian. I was so pleased when asked me to write an article for their web page about Contemporary Jewish Youth Literature! The article discusses recent trends in Judaic literature for kids and teens. Click here to read the article , and please post a comment to let me know what you think, or to suggest additional titles! ~ Heidi

Thanksgiving Shout-Out Special

LISTEN TO THE PODCAST      🕮    In this episode of The Book of Life, a show about Jewish people and the books we read, we celebrate Thanksgiving with a special bonus episode! > We hear from Todd Herzog , a Jewish musician/singer/songwriter from Phoenix, Arizona. Todd's spiritual pop music has a thankful quality about it that fits in well with Thanksgiving. Also check out Todd's MySpace page . > We meet Maryann Kovalski, illustrator of the award-winning picture book Rivka's First Thanksgiving by Elsa Okon Rael. > We learn about the Library Blogathon at the Feldman Children's Library (home base of The Book of Life). If you are a fan of books and libraries, you need to check out this blog! Available beginning November 21, 2007. > Throughout the show we send shout-outs to various listeners who have sent in their comments and feedback to The Book of Life during the year. Do YOU have something to say? Be sure to email us at bookoflifepodcast@gm

Old Radio and New Media

LISTEN TO THE PODCAST      🕮    In this episode of The Book of Life, a show about Jewish people and the books we read, we celebrate traditional radio and the new media revolution of podcasting and blogging that was born from it. > We interview Harold Augenbraum , director of the National Book Foundation , about the Foundation's choice of Terry Gross, host of NPR's Fresh Air , for the 2007 Literarian Award . > We talk to David & Susan Siegel about the history of Jews in radio. They are the authors of Radio and the Jews : The Untold Story of How Radio Influenced America's Image of Jews, 1920's - 1950's . > We meet literary blogger and synagogue librarian Marie Cloutier at the Podcast & New Media Expo . Marie's blog is The Boston Bibliophile . NEWS: Be sure to check back later in November 2007 for our Thanksgiving Special podcast! This bonus episode will include interviews with musician Todd Herzog and with Maryann Kovalski , illustra

Blog Action Day

Today is Blog Action Day , when bloggers across the world will write posts related to a single issue: the environment. The idea is to raise awareness across the spectrum of readers about the importance of considering the environment. In that spirit, I offer you some Jewish titles with an environmental slant. Annotations are from the Jewish Valuesfinder . Enjoy! > Behold the Trees by Sue Alexander, Scholastic, 2001 Recalling the history of Eretz Yisrael from Canaanite times to the founding of the modern state, this beautifully designed book has splendid illustrations that mirror the rise, trials, and achievements of the Jewish people as reflected by Israel's trees. > This is the World That God Made by Rhonda Gowler Greene, Eerdmans, 2002 Dazzling color illustrations, full of curves and movement, are the highlight of this retelling of the Creation story. The text is patterned after "This Is the House That Jack Built" and the language is spare and simp

Catch Me a Classic!

LISTEN TO THE PODCAST      🕮    In this episode of The Book of Life, a show about Jewish people and the books we read, we celebrate classic Jewish children's books ! > The All-of-a-Kind Family books by Sydney Taylor, about five sisters growing up on the Lower East Side at the turn of the last century, helped to create the genre of Jewish children's literature. We speak with Sydney's daughter, Jo Taylor Marshall, to get the inside scoop. Related info: > The Sydney Taylor Book Award > The Sydney Taylor Manuscript Award > The All-of-a-Kind Family Companion (a reader's guide) > Author Michelle Edwards talks about her picture book, Chicken Man , which takes place on an Israeli kibbutz. Good news: Chicken Man will be back in print in January 2008, reissued by New South Books ! > We discuss The Rabbi and the 29 Witches by Marilyn Hirsh with her editor, Margery Cuyler (who is also a children's book author). Publisher Marshall Cavend

Seeing Through New Eyes

LISTEN TO THE PODCAST      🕮    In this episode of The Book of Life, a show about Jewish people and the books we read, we view the world through new eyes at this season of the Jewish New Year. > We speak to Mordicai Gerstein , author of The White Ram , a picture book midrash about the sacrifice of Isaac. The White Ram won the National Jewish Book Award and a Sydney Taylor Honor Award. > We hear from Rabbi Cary A. Friedman , author of Wisdom from the Batcave , about how Batman can teach each of us to live a super, heroic life. > Musician Yoshie Fruchter describes his CD Beyond the Book , which provides a look into the subconscious of our biblical ancestors. > Brynn Olenberg Sugarman tells of her picture book Rebecca's Journey Home , which is based on her own daughter's adoption. This book won a Sydney Taylor Honor Award. NEWS: > Don't forget to inscribe yourself in The Book of Life's High Holidays "Book of Life!" Shanah

Inscribe Yourself in the Book of Life

Please inscribe yourself in The Book of Life's "Book of Life" by signing our interactive guestbook! Why get inscribed? > It will give Heidi a lot of naches . > It will help Book of Life listeners get to know each other. > You can let us know about your favorite Judaic book, CD, or website. > If you are an author, musician, etc. you can let us know about YOUR book, CD, or website! And if you're too shy to upload your own photo, just use an image of a book or CD you want to recommend, or a screenshot of your website! Remember, you can also link to a YouTube video! ~ Shanah Tovah from Heidi, your Book of Life host!


LISTEN TO THE PODCAST      🕮    In this episode of The Book of Life, a show about Jewish people and the books we read, we celebrate klezmer music! > We visit the Judaica Sound Archives at Florida Atlantic University and hear some of their historic klezmer samples. > We talk to Joan Betty Stuchner , author of the picture book The Kugel Valley Klezmer Band (also known in Canada as Shira's Hanukkah Gift ). > We meet Yale Strom , a "one man klezmer industry," who tells us about his books, films, travels, and performances, all relating to klezmer music.   NEWS: > Don't forget to inscribe yourself in The Book of Life's High Holidays "Book of Life!" Shanah Tovah! CREDITS: Background music is provided by The Freilachmakers Klezmer String Band. Books and CD's mentioned on the show may be borrowed from the Feldman Children's Library at Congregation B'nai Israel . 

Magic & Mystery

LISTEN TO THE PODCAST        🕮    In this episode of The Book of Life, a show about Jewish people and the books we read, we explore themes of magic and mystery. > Cantor Amy O. Miller explains Jewish views on Harry Potter. Cantor Miller has presented at many Harry Potter symposiums , including Nimbus 2003 , ConventionAlley 2004 , Accio 2005 , and Lumos 2006 . > Cartoonist Jason Lutes gives us some background on his graphic novel, Houdini, The Handcuff King , published by Hyperion in association with The Center for Cartoon Studies . Lutes' co-creator was Nick Bertozzi . > Author Sarah Mlynowski describes her Bras & Broomsticks trilogy for middle-grade girls. > Mystery writer Pari Noskin Taichert tells us about supernatural aspects of her novel The Clovis Incident . She also blogs on Murderati and is active on Crimespace . NEWS: > The Book of Life T-shirt with original art by award-winning author/illustrator Simms Taback is now available! Order your

Summer Coolness

LISTEN TO THE PODCAST     🕮    The Book of Life cools off with summer reading. We learn about the ReaderGirlz web site, and their promotion of a Jewish title: GoyCrazy by Melissa Schorr . Then we talk to Melissa herself! We hear from the music group Sababa . And we talk to for summer reading recommendations. Our background music is provided by The Freilachmakers Klezmer String Band. Most books, videos, or CD's mentioned on the show may be borrowed from the Feldman Children's Library at Congregation B'nai Israel . Browse our online catalog to reserve books, post a review, or just to look around!

We Won Bronze!

The Book of Life has won the Bronze Medal in the Best Jewish Podcast/ Audio Blog/ Video Blog category of the 3rd Annual 2007 Jewish & Israeli Blog Awards ! Gold went to Lazer Beams Emunah Outreach Videos , and Silver went to Sameach Music Podcast. Thanks SO MUCH to everybody who voted and helped make this medal a reality for The Book of Life!!!

Please Vote!

The Book of Life is a finalist in the 3rd Annual Jewish & Israeli Blog Awards (JIBA) in the "Best Jewish Podcast/Audio Blog/Video Blog" category. We are currently the lowest in votes, and we need your help ! Won't you please vote for us? Click here to vote . Voting closes on Wednesday, May 16, 10pm US-EDT. Thanks! Heidi Host, The Book of Life

The Book of Life Plays Ball

LISTEN TO THE PODCAST      🕮    In this episode of The Book of Life, a show about Jewish people and the books we read, we celebrate Jewish American Heritage Month by focusing on America's favorite pastime: baseball! > We'll talk to Carol Matas , author of the middle-grade historical novel Play Ball . > We meet Aviva Kempner, the independent filmmaker behind the documentary The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg . > During our seventh-inning stretch, we take a break to "say Chai" in celebration of our 18th episode. Thanks to all our listeners who sent in greetings! > Fellow podcasters Andrea & Mark of Just One More Book review the picture book Across the Alley for us. > Finally we speak to the author of Across the Alley , Richard Michelson . Rich is also the owner of the R. Michelson Galleries in Northampton, MA. Baseball-themed music in this episode includes Take Me Out to the Ball Game (Yiddish Version) performed by Henry

13th Blog Carnival of Children's Literature

Ever heard of a Blog Carnival? Here's a description from the blog Chicken Spaghetti : A "carnival" takes place at one blog; it is a conglomeration of links (from many different blogs) to posts on a certain theme. Children's books and reading are the focus of the Carnival of Children's Literature. Carnivals generally include one post from each blog who wants to join in. The Book of Life participated in the 13th Carnival of Children's Literature , hosted at Jen Robinson's Book Page . Jen's blog promotes the love of reading among children and the continued reading of children's books by adults, a sentiment I heartily agree with! The Carnival has links to children's-literature-related posts from a wide variety of literary blogs. Our post, which relates to the Sydney Taylor Book Awards, can be found in the section labeled "The Midway (About Prizes and Awards)."

The Book of Life and the Power of Books

LISTEN TO THE PODCAST      🕮    Next month we will post our 18th episode! The number 18 is lucky in Jewish tradition because its numerological value is "chai" (Hebrew for "life"). In celebration, we invite you to "say chai" to the folks in your life! We'll be reading your shout-outs on the show, like Garrison Keillor does after intermission on A Prairie Home Companion. Send in a message for your friends or family by emailing today! In this episode of The Book of Life, a show about Jewish people and the books we read, we celebrate the power of books to sustain the Jewish people. We'll hear from: > Jonathan Kirsch , author of Biblical non-fiction such as The Harlot by the Side of the Road, God Against the Gods, and A History of the End of the World . He'll be the keynote speaker at the Association of Jewish Libraries convention on June 17, 2007 in Scottsdale, Arizona. > Nancy Kalikow Maxwell, autho

The Book of Life on WJEW Radio

WJEW is an online radio station broadcasting live out of Temple Israel in West Bloomfield, Michigan. The station is run by the students of Temple Israel and overseen by Cantor Michael Smolash. As the description on their broadcast page says, they play "the best new Jewish music, along with interviews with some of the most influential Jews in the world." WJEW will be broadcasting various interviews from The Book of Life's past podcasts. During their "talk hour" 8:00-9:00 pm on Thursday, March 22, 2007 they will be playing The Book of Life's interview with Steve Brodsky of Mah Tovu about the song "Pharoah Pharoah." The segment originally appeared in The Book of Life's April 2006 episode .

Why is this Podcast Different from All Other Podcasts?

LISTEN TO THE PODCAST      🕮    In this episode of The Book of Life, a show about Jewish people and the books we read, we celebrate the holiday of Passover. We'll hear from: > dave horowitz (yes, he spells it lower case), speaking about his picture book Five Little Gefiltes (Putnam, 2007). The "Five Little Ducks" recording you'll hear on the show was provided by I CAN , a UK charity that supports children's communication. Please help them help more kids by adding your favorite (or "favourite") word to their Wall of Words. I added "gefilte." > Tami Lehman-Wilzig on her children's book Passover Around the World (Kar-Ben, 2007). > Sean Altman of the band Jewmongous about the song "They Tried to Kill Us (We Survived, Let's Eat)," written with Rob Tannenbaum (now of Good for the Jews ) during their tenure in the band What I Like About Jew .   FYI: W hile most materials discussed on The Book of Life are

Meet Me at Podcast Expo

I will be attending the 3rd Annual Podcast and New Media Expo in Ontario, California (note - California, not Canada), September 28-30, 2007. Check it out at , and let me know if you'll be there too!

The Book of Life's Purim Celebration

LISTEN TO THE PODCAST      🕮    In this episode of The Book of Life, a show about Jewish people and the books we read, we celebrate the holiday of Purim with jokes and interviews! We'll hear about: > The classic Purim picture book Queen Esther Saves Her People , by Rita Golden Gelman with illustrations by Frane Lessac . > Two recent Purim-related major motion pictures, One Night with the King and For Your Consideration , reviewed for us by film critic Kathryn Bernheimer, author of The 50 Greatest Jewish Movies: A Critic's Ranking of the Very Best. > Jewtopia: The Chosen Book for the Chosen People , a crazy comedy book by Bryan Fogel and Sam Wolfson, based on the hit play Jewtopia.   FYI: while most materials discussed on The Book of Life are family-friendly, this book has some sections that are strictly for adults! > Jewish jokes submitted by listeners Pete Pollock, Nina Black, and Maureen Reister. Mazel tov to Nina, winner of The Book of Life jok

Add Yourself to Our New Listener Map

We love to know where The Book of Life is being heard, so please take a moment and click here to add yourself to our new listener map , provided by Frappr.

The Book of Life Appears on Just One More Book

The Book of Life makes a guest appearance on Just One More Book , a fun podcast "about the children's books we love and why we love them." Check out Heidi's review of Hanukkah at Valley Forge , and take some time to listen to their other reviews and author interviews. Thanks to hosts Andrea & Mark for including us!

The Book of Life, All Shiny and New

LISTEN TO THE PODCAST      🕮    In this episode of The Book of Life, a show about Jewish people and the books we read, we kick off the new year with new books and new music. We'll hear about: > The 2007 Sydney Taylor Book Awards for Jewish children's literature, presented by the Association of Jewish Libraries. We'll speak to awards chair Rachel Kamin, as she announces the winners at the Association's Midwinter Meeting. Many of the winning authors have been previously interviewed on The Book of Life; click below to find those interviews: 2007 SYDNEY TAYLOR BOOK AWARD: YOUNGER READERS CATEGORY Hanukkah at Valley Forge by Stephen Krensky & Greg Harlin - December 2006 show 2007 SYDNEY TAYLOR BOOK AWARD: OLDER READERS CATEGORY Julia's Kitchen by Brenda Ferber - September 2006 show 2007 SYDNEY TAYLOR HONOR AWARD: OLDER READERS CATEGORY Vive la Paris by Esme Raji Codell - November 2006 show 2007 AJL TEEN BOOK AWARD (this is a new award, as Rachel describ