A Podcast About Jewish Kidlit (Mostly)

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Monday, October 15, 2007

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 simple. The inclusive intent of the book is clear: Adam and Eve are portrayed as being of two different races. Not directed to a specifically Jewish audience, this is ecumenical in approach. It is excellent for reading aloud.
> Pearl Moskowitz's Last Stand by Arthur Levine, Tambourine Books, 1993

A wonderful story, with equally wonderful illustrations, about an elderly woman who decides she will save the last tree on her street from being cut down. She and a group of ethnically diverse friends use their wiles as bubbes to divert an earnest young bureaucrat from his efforts at urban renewal. He is no match for them and the tree survives. Written in tongue-in-cheek style, this is a delightful look at not-so-passive resistance on behalf of the environment.
> In Our Image: God's First Creatures by Nancy Sohn Swartz, Jewish Lights, 1998

All of G-d's creation gather to witness the creation of man and woman and each gives the new humans a gift based on its own nature: laziness from the lizard, curiosity from the chimpanzee, warmth from the sun, etc. G-d adds to those gifts goodness, love, and kindness so that humanity will live in harmony with nature. Deeply colored illustrations have fluid, sweeping lines.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Catch Me a Classic!



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 Cavendish is considering bringing it back into print as part of their new Classics line. To encourage them, or suggest other titles, email mmark@marshallcavendish.com.

> Librarian Tasha Bergson-Michelson and two of her enthusiastic students at Peninsula Temple Sholom tell us how they chose The Rabbi and the 29 Witches for their Readers' Choice Award.


> Feldman Library, the home base of The Book of Life podcast, will hold a Blogathon on November 21, 2007! Please post a comment at http://www.cbiboca.blogspot.com/ to show your support for Jewish libraries, and to show Heidi's patrons that there are lots of fellow Jewish book-lovers out there!

Background music is provided by The Freilachmakers Klezmer String Band. Additional background music for this episode is provided by Brian Smith at The Laughing Librarian's "BibDitties" (copyright 2006).

Books and CD's mentioned on the show may be borrowed from the Feldman Children's Library at Congregation B'nai Israel