Tuesday, December 02, 2008

The Book of Life Chanukah Round-Up

The Book of Life's first-ever episode was posted in December, 2005, which means that we've been podcasting for three whole years! Here are the Chanukah episodes for 2008, 2007, 2006, and 2005 in a handy-dandy flash player, so you can enjoy them all at once. Makes great background listening while you are wrapping presents or frying latkes!


Monday, December 01, 2008

Spin the Dreidel

SHOW NOTES:

The Book of Life celebrates Chanukah!

> Sylvia Rouss tells us about her Sammy Spider series of picture books, which began with Sammy Spider's First Hanukkah. We also hear about the upcoming Sammy Spider's First Simchat Torah, Sammy Spider's First Day at School, and an entry in Sylvia's "Littlest" series, The Littlest Maccabee.

> FYI: You can now download mp3 audiobooks of The Chanukah Guest, Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins, and The Magic Dreidels, read by author Eric Kimmel himself. Find them at Anansi's Store at www.ericakimmel.com.

> Musician Josh Nelson (of The Josh Nelson Project) tells us about the part he played in Craig Taubman's Lights Hanukkah concert, and about his own debut CD, Lift. Scroll down to watch a YouTube video of Josh performing L'Dor Vador during the Lights concert. And click to learn how you can get the CD of Lights, and find listings for the TV special. Note that a DVD of the concert will be available during December from many PBS stations as a pledge drive thank-you gift.

> Rabbi Ilene Schneider discusses her mystery novel, Chanukah Guilt. Protagonist Rabbi Aviva Cohen's life takes an interesting - and sinister - turn when she agrees to officiate at the funeral of an unpopular land developer. She doesn't expect to be told by two different people that he had been murdered. Nor does she expect that the first funeral will result in a suicide!

AUDIO:

Click the play button on this flash player to listen to the podcast now:

Or click MP3 File to start your computer's media player.

VISUAL AIDS:
Josh Nelson performs L'Dor Vador in "Lights"


CREDITS:

Our 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. Browse our online catalog to reserve books, post a review, or just to look around!

Your feedback is appreciated! Please write to bookoflifepodcast@gmail.com!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Yaldah Magazine Wins $100,000!

Way back in October 2006, The Book of Life featured an interview with Leah Larson, the teenage founder of the magazine Yaldah, which is written, edited, and published by and for Jewish girls.

On September 24, 2008, I blogged about how Leah's mother Evelyn had entered the Wells Fargo Someday Stories Contest, in hopes of winning money to support expansion of Yaldah. I encouraged you to vote for Evelyn, and it looks like many of you heeded that call. Evelyn has won the grand prize of $100,000! Mazel tov of Evelyn, Leah, and all the girls who contribute to Yaldah!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

AJL Launches Podcast, Book Give-Away

Along with hosting The Book of Life, I am now assisting the Association of Jewish Libraries with getting its own podcast up and running. Here's the press release we sent out to announce the launch of the podcast. Be sure to check out the book give-away promotion in the last paragraph!

New Podcast

Author talks, lectures on Jewish literature, panel discussions, and workshops are among the offerings of the newly launched Association of Jewish Libraries Podcast. Available at www.jewishlibraries.org/podcast, the program provides audio that enhances and enriches the listener's appreciation of Jewish book culture.

The podcast will include material recorded at the Association of Jewish Libraries annual convention, as well as recordings of Jewish literary events across North America. A wide range of topics will be covered, from the academic to the hands-on, from children's literature to technology.

"Jews are book lovers, and Jewish librarians even more so," says Susan Dubin, President of the Association of Jewish Libraries. "The AJL Podcast gives us a way to share our enthusiasm with others, without geographical or scheduling restrictions. Now everyone can learn and enjoy!"

How to Listen

New podcast episodes will be posted every few weeks. Listeners can hear the show online at www.jewishlibraries.org/podcast, subscribe via iTunes or other feed readers (using the feed http://feeds.feedburner.com/ajlpodcast), receive episodes by email via FeedBlitz, or listen by phone at (651) 925-2538.

Book Give-Away

To celebrate the launch of the podcast, AJL is offering a Jewish book give-away. Forward this press release or post its contents on a blog or web page to be entered into a drawing for five Jewish interest books from Hachette Book Group. Be sure to CC jewishlibraries@gmail.com on any forwarded messages or to email us about any posts. Complete contest rules and information about the give-away titles can be seen at jewishlibraries.org/podcast - click on the Contest page in the sidebar. Deadline for entry is December 12, 2008.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Tribalism

SHOW NOTES:

Are you a member of the tribe? Which tribe? What is a tribe, anyway? We explore the notion of "tribe" with several guests:

> Aaron Kula is director of the Klezmer Company Orchestra, the ensemble-in-residence of the library at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, FL. We spoke to him about the KCO's CD Beyond the Tribes. Scroll down for a video that includes music from the CD and commentary from the orchestra.

> Tiffany Shlain is a documentary filmmaker, director of the Moxie Institute, and founder of the Webby Awards. We spoke to her about her short film The Tribe, which "
enlists pop icon Barbie to tackle the challenging issue of Jewish identity." Scroll down to watch a trailer for The Tribe, the entire 18-minute film, or a promotional video for Tiffany's next film Connected: A Declaration of Interdependence. 
> Rafael Goldchain is a professional photographer. His installation Familial Ground is the basis for his new book, I Am My Family: Photographic Memories and Fictions, a family album in which Rafael plays each role. Photographs from the book were recently exhibited at Galerie Claude Samuel in France, the gallery of a newly-discovered family member! We heard a little about this book during our Book Expo America series, and called Rafael to learn more. Scroll down to see selected images from I Am My Family in the Visual Aids section.


AUDIO: 
Click the play button on this flash player to listen to the podcast now:

Or click MP3 File to start your computer's media player.


VISUAL AIDS:







Visit Familial Ground for more images.

CREDITS:
Our background music is provided by The Freilachmakers Klezmer String Band.

Books 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!

Your feedback is appreciated! Please write to
bookoflifepodcast@gmail.com!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Blog Action Day: Poverty


SHOW NOTES:

Blog Action Day aims to unite the world’s bloggers, podcasters and videocasters, to post about the same issue on the same day. The aim is to raise awareness and trigger a global discussion. On October 15, 2008, thousands of people are posting on the topic of POVERTY.


The Book of Life is participating with this podcast episode, in which authors Davis and Kimmel explore themes of generosity and the tradition of tzedakah (charity). We also get an overview about Blog Action Day itself. The line-up includes:

> Cyan Ta'eed, cofounder (with husband Collis) of Blog Action Day, FreelanceSwitch blogger and director of Envato


> Aubrey Davis, author of Bagels from Benny (interviewed by our Canadian Correspondent Anne Dublin!)

> Eric Kimmel, author of The Mysterious Guests: A Sukkot Story


AUDIO:

Click the play button on this flash player to listen to the podcast now:

Or click MP3 File to start your computer's media player.
CREDITS:

Our background music is provided by
The Freilachmakers Klezmer String Band. Additional background music in this episode is courtesy of The Klezmer Company Orchestra. Listen to our upcoming November 2008 podcast for an interview with Aaron Kula, Klezmer Company Orchestra leader, about their CD Beyond the Tribes.Books 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!

Your feedback is appreciated! Please write to
bookoflifepodcast@gmail.com!

Thursday, October 02, 2008

O Canada


SHOW NOTES:

Meet The Book of Life's new Canadian Correspondent, author & librarian Anne Dublin! Anne will be recording material for us in the enviably literary city of Toronto. She is the former librarian of Holy Blossom Temple, and the author of a number of children's books, including the Sydney Taylor Honor Book Bobbie Rosenfeld, the Olympian Who Could Do Everything (Second Story Press, 2004). She was interviewed about this title for The Book of Life's third-ever episode back in February of 2006. Check out Anne's website at annedublin.ca.

In this episode, Anne introduces us to her Toronto writers' group as they discuss the Jewish elements of their work. The group includes:

AUDIO:

Click the play button on this flash player to listen to the podcast now:

Or click MP3 File to start your computer's media player.

UPCOMING:

Don't miss The Book of Life's Blog Action Day episode! It will be posted on October 15, 2008.

CREDITS:

Our background music is provided by
The Freilachmakers Klezmer String Band. The Book of Life is a production of Feldman Library at Congregation B'nai Israel, and receives additional support from the Association of Jewish Libraries.Your feedback is appreciated! Please write to bookoflifepodcast@gmail.com!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Someday Stories

Way back in October 2006, The Book of Life featured an interview with Leah Larson, the teenage founder of the magazine Yaldah, which is written, edited, and published by and for Jewish girls. I just got an email from Leah, and this is what she said:
I wanted to share some exciting news with you. YALDAH has been chosen as one of five finalists in Wells Fargo Bank's "Someday Stories" contest. The general public is voting on their favorite story on www.wellsfargo.com/somedaystories, and on November 10th the story with the most votes will be awarded $100,000!! I'm sure you can imagine how far $100,000 will get YALDAH!

We've been in first place since the contest opened, but others are catching up fast. If you could please let all your friends/family/contacts know how they can vote, that would be a huge help.

Please consider supporting Leah's publishing efforts! Visit Someday Stories and vote for "Evelyn from MA" - that's Leah's mom. You need to register to vote in the contest, but it's free. Voting ends November 10, 2008 and the grand prize winner will be announced on November 17, 2008.


Monday, September 08, 2008

Blog Action Day

Once again this year, The Book of Life will participate in Blog Action Day. On October 15, 2008, we'll join the worldwide discussion on the topic of poverty. We'll interview the creators of Blog Action Day, as well as some Jewish authors whose books deal with themes of poverty and tzedakah (charity).

If you have a blog, you can participate in Blog Action Day too! Sign up at
blogactionday.org.


Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Laughing with God


SHOW NOTES:

This is the Book of Life's 2008 High Holidays Special!
A Yiddish proverb says "What soap is to the body, laughter is to the soul." In this episode, we lather up with books that show us how we can laugh with God! Then we get a little more serious as we have our handwriting analyzed to see what we can learn about ourselves. We meet:

> Jacqueline Jules, author of the picture book Sarah Laughs, as well as other great books like Abraham's Search for God, Once Upon a Shabbos, The Hardest Word and more

> Rabbi Sherre Hirsch, author of the self-help book We Plan, God Laughs: 10 Steps to Finding Your Divine Path When Life Is Not Turning Out Like You Wanted

> Arlyn Imberman, graphologist and executive coach, analyzes the handwriting of these two authors as well as Book of Life Host, Heidi Estrin, to help us get into a self-reflective mode for the Jewish New Year

AUDIO:


Click the play button on this flash player to listen to the podcast now:
Or click MP3 File to start your computer's media player.

SURVEY:

Do you prefer the regular half-hour shows that includes multiple interviews? Or would you rather have shorter, single-interview episodes? Post a comment, e-mail bookoflifepodcast@gmail.com, or take the survey in the sidebar here at bookoflifepodcast.com. The survey lasts until the end of September.

CREDITS:

Our background music is provided by
The Freilachmakers Klezmer String Band. Additional background music in this episode includes "Alphabet Song" by Pitx from ccmixter.org and "Letter" by Daveski from podsafeaudio.com.

Books mentioned on the show may be borrowed from the
Feldman Children's Library at Congregation B'nai Israel. (Or if they're too new to be in the library now, they will be once they are published!) Browse our online catalog to reserve books, post a review, or just to look around!

Your feedback is appreciated! Please write to
bookoflifepodcast@gmail.com!

Friday, August 08, 2008

2 Jews, 3 Opinions


SHOW NOTES:
In this episode of The Book of Life, we talk to 2 Jews and get way more than 3 opinions! These two conversations are the last of the material recorded at Book Expo 2008.

> Kathy Bloomfield, owner of the former Jewish book fair company For Words, member of the Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee, and Outreach Program Ambassador for the Union for Reform Judaism's Northeast Council talks about her life as a Jew by choice, and how it affects her reading.

> Laurel Snyder, author of secular books for kids and adults and editor of Half / Life: Jewish Tales from Interfaith Homes, talks about growing up interfaith, raising Jewish children in an interfaith home, and about how questions of Jewish identity affect her writing.

SURVEY:
Do you prefer the regular half-hour shows that includes multiple interviews? Or would you rather have shorter, single-interview episodes? Post a comment, e-mail bookoflifepodcast@gmail.com, or take the survey in the sidebar here at bookoflifepodcast.com.

NEWS:

The Book of Life has joined the Big Tent Judaism Coalition. This an umbrella group for communal Jewish institutions that strive to be inclusive and welcoming, like Abraham and Sarah in the Bible, whose big tent was open on all four sides to let guests enter. The Book of Life became a Big Tent member to show our commitment to exploring Judaism from new angles and to educating and welcoming a wide variety of listeners. The Big Tent Judaism Coalition is run by the Jewish Outreach Institute. Check out their website at joi.org/bigtent.


AUDIO:


Click the play button on this flash player to listen to the podcast now:

Or click MP3 File to start your computer's media player.

CREDITS:
 Our background music is provided by The Freilachmakers Klezmer String Band. Additional background music in this episode includes the song "Bad Writer" by Gokee Quateto from the Podsafe Music Network.

Books mentioned on the show may be borrowed from the Feldman Children's Library at Congregation B'nai Israel. (Or if they're too new to be in the library now, they will be once they are published!) Browse our online catalog to reserve books, post a review, or just to look around!

Your feedback is appreciated! Please write to bookoflifepodcast@gmail.com!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Book Expo, Part 4: The Holocaust

What's new in Jewish books for adults? Follow me around the 2008 Book Expo America conference to listen in on publishers and authors talking about their new and forthcoming titles!

This series includes four episodes: In Part 1 we heard about Jewish pictures books. Part 2 was about Jewish books for older kids and teens. Part 3 featured Jewish literature for adults. This final episode in the series, Part 4, is about books (for all ages) relating to the Holocaust.

Part 4 also includes a non-Holocaust-related palate cleanser: an interview with the Jewish Publication Society that was accidentally left out of Part 3 (sorry, JPS!).

SURVEY:

Next time we'll return to our regular format of more in-depth interviews, but I do want to know YOUR preferences. Do you prefer the regular half-hour shows that includes multiple interviews? Or would you rather have shorter, single-interview episodes? Post a comment, e-mail bookoflifepodcast@gmail.com, or take the survey in the sidebar here at bookoflifepodcast.com.

PART 4: Books about the Holocaust

Second Story Press
The Diary of Laura's Twin by Kathy Kacer

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
T4 by Ann Clare Lezotte


Other Press
The Road to Rescue: The Untold Story of Schindler's List by Mietek Pemper
Isaac's Torah: Concerning the Life of Isaac Jacob Blumenfeld Through Two World Wars, Three Concentration Camps, and Five Motherlands by Angel Wagenstein

Tundra Books
Good-Bye Marianne: A Story of Growing Up in Nazi Germany by Irene Watts, illustrated by Kathryn Shoemaker (graphic novel version)

Holiday House

The Anne Frank Story: How Simon Wiesenthal Proved It True by Susan Goldman Rubin, illustrated by Bill Farnsworth

Academy Chicago Publishers
Album of the Damned: Snapshots from the Third Reich by Paul Garson

Lerner/Carolrhoda
Angel Girl by Laurie Friedman, illustrated by Ofra Amit

Jewish Publication Society
An Introduction to Islam for Jews by Reuven Firestone
From Krakow to Krypton: Jews and Comic Books by Arie Kaplan
AUDIO:

Click the play button on this flash player to listen to the podcast now:


Or click MP3 File to start your computer's media player.
 
CREDITS: 
Our background music is provided by The Freilachmakers Klezmer String Band.

Books mentioned on the show may be borrowed from the Feldman Children's Library at Congregation B'nai Israel. (Or if they're too new to be in the library now, they will be once they are published!) Browse our online catalog to reserve books, post a review, or just to look around!

Your feedback is appreciated! Please write to bookoflifepodcast@gmail.com! Or even better, if you know of any new Jewish books I missed seeing at Book Expo, please post a comment!

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Book Expo, Part 3: Jewish Books for Adults

What's new in Jewish books for adults? Follow me around the 2008 Book Expo America conference to listen in on publishers and authors talking about their new and forthcoming titles!

This series includes four episodes: In Part 1 we heard about Jewish pictures books. Part 2 was about Jewish books for older kids and teens. This is Part 3, and Part 4 will be about books (for all ages) relating to the Holocaust.

Part 3, Jewish Books for Adults

Coffee House Press
Jealous Witness, Poems by Andrei Codrescu, with CD Maelstrom: Songs of Storm & Exile by the New Orleans Klezmer AllStars

Harper Perennial
Just Say Nu by Michael Wex
Who by Fire by Diana Spechler

Princeton Architectural Press
I Am My Family: Photographic Memories and Fictions by Rafael Goldchain

URJ Press (Union for Reform Judaism)
The Torah: A Women's Commentary edited by Tamara Cohn Eskanazi and Andrea Weiss

Gayla Gabriel, author
Leaving with Love: Eternal Messages from the Heart

AUDIO:

 
Click the play button on this flash player to listen to the podcast now:

Or click MP3 File to start your computer's media player.

CREDITS:

 Our background music is provided by The Freilachmakers Klezmer String Band. Additional background music in this episode came from the CD Maelstrom: Songs of Storm & Exile by the New Orleans Klezmer AllStars.

Books mentioned on the show may be borrowed from the Feldman Children's Library (or for this episode, they might be in the Adult Library) at Congregation B'nai Israel. (Or if they're too new to be in the library now, they will be once they are published!) Browse our online catalog to reserve books, post a review, or just to look around!

Your feedback is appreciated! Please write to bookoflifepodcast@gmail.com! Or even better, if you know of any new Jewish books I missed seeing at Book Expo, please post a comment!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

The PJ Library: Boosting Jewish Publishing

One of the hats I wear is that of reviewer for the PJ Library, a project that provides Jewish books for families with young children. I'm privileged to be on the book selection committee that determines which titles meet the project's unique goal, to introduce disconnected families to a taste of Judaism.

The PJ Library's growth is having an exciting effect on the publishing industry too, by expanding the market for Jewish children's literature. I recently got ahold of a press release explaining this phenomenon, and though you all might find it interesting.

The PJ Library Creates Renaissance for Children's Book Publishing Industry

SPRINGFIELD, MA, June 19, 2008 - Why are Simon & Schuster, Random House, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Scholastic and other top publishers listening intently to the opinions of a tiny group of Jewish educators?

Because their decisions have directly triggered more than $1.5 million in children's book purchases in just two and a half years.

These specialists comprise The PJ Library - a unique national program of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation that is filling a growing demand among young Jewish families across America, to bring Jewish culture and a sense of heritage into their homes.

The PJ Library selects, mass-purchases and mails Jewish children's books directly to children ages 6 months to 7 years on a monthly basis. Currently the books are mailed to 22,000 children per month, and projected to reach 44,000 by next year.

The books are free of charge to the participating families, thanks to The Harold Grinspoon Foundation and its partner-donors in over 70 communities where The PJ Library operates. The program also funds facilitators and supports reading activities in each community.

More Than a High-Quality Program - A Valuable Brand

With its purchasing power and critical acclaim, The PJ Library is a valuable brand to its 25 publishing suppliers and the authors of its 67 book titles, resulting in:

- Publishers asking The PJ Library to consult on content direction of their upcoming Jewish books, and on bringing back out-of-print Jewish classics.

- Authors integrating more Jewish educational elements into their second editions to tie in with The PJ Library's goals.

- Publishers putting The PJ Library logo on book covers, and printing its Reading Guides on the 'French flap' book cover extensions, to further explain Jewish concepts to readers.

The PJ Library Genesis and Future

In 2005, entrepreneur Harold Grinspoon conceptualized The PJ Library out of his concern that numerous young Jewish families are only marginally engaged in Jewish life, or not engaged at all. "In two and a half short years, the demand for The PJ Library has become overwhelming," remarked Grinspoon. "But we've only just begun - we aim for the program to be thriving in all 555 North American Jewish communities."

For more information, visit: http://www.PJLibrary.org/aboutfaqs.php and www.hgf.org.

PRESS CONTACTS: Dahlia Greer, 310-339-1060, dahlia@annabellestevens.com, or Annabelle Stevens, 310-435-6996, annabelle@annabellestevens.com.


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Book Expo, Part 2: Jewish Kids/Teen Books


At Book Expo, left to right: Librarian Etta Gold, Blogger Barbara Bietz, Podcaster Heidi Estrin

SHOW NOTES:
What's new in Jewish books for older kids and teens? Follow me around the 2008 Book Expo America conference to listen in on publishers and authors talking about their new and forthcoming titles!

This series includes four episodes: In Part 1 we heard about Jewish pictures books. Part 3 will be about adult books, and Part 4 will be about books (for all ages) relating to the Holocaust.

Again, thanks to all the publishers who graciously agreed to be interviewed on the spot! By the way, many of these books have not yet been published, so you may not be able to find the individual titles online. I've provided links to the publishers so you can keep an eye on until the books become available!

Part 2, Jewish Books for Kids & Teens:

Jewish Kidlit Blogger Barbara Bietz

Annick Press
The Apprentice's Masterpiece, A Story of Medieval Spain by Melanie Little

Roaring Brook Press
Penina Levine Is a Potato Pancake by Rebecca O'Connell

Kar-Ben Publishing
The Bat-Chen Diaries by Bat-Chen Shahak
Keeping Israel Safe by Barbara Sofer

Feiwel & Friends
Brooklyn Bridge by Karen Hesse

Jewish Lights
Rabbi Harvey Rides Again by Steve Sheinkin

Maggie Anton, author
Rashi's Daughter: Secret Scholar (Jewish Publication Society)

AUDIO:


Click the play button on this flash player to listen to the podcast now:


Or click MP3 File to start your computer's media player.

CREDITS:
Our background music is provided by The Freilachmakers Klezmer String Band.

Books mentioned on the show may be borrowed from the Feldman Children's Library at Congregation B'nai Israel. (Or if they're too new to be in the library now, they will be once they are published!) Browse our online catalog to reserve books, post a review, or just to look around!

Your feedback is appreciated! Please write to bookoflifepodcast@gmail.com! Or even better, if you know of any new Jewish kids' or teen books I missed seeing at Book Expo, please post a comment!

Friday, June 06, 2008

Brand Spanking New (Part 1): Jewish Picture Books


Action on the floor, Originally uploaded to Flickr by wkpspie

SHOW NOTES:


What's new in Jewish picture books? Follow me around the 2008 Book Expo America conference to listen in on publishers and authors talking about their new and forthcoming titles! I gathered so much audio that I'll be posting it over four episodes. Part 2 will be books for children and teens, Part 3 will be adult books, and Part 4 will be books (for all ages) relating to the Holocaust.

Part 1, Jewish Picture Books:

Tricycle Press
The Yankee at the Seder by Elka Weber

Marshall Cavendish

Cakes and Miracles by Barbara Diamond Goldin
The Hanukkah Mice by Steven Kroll
The Rabbi and the 29 Witches by Marilyn Hirsh

Tanglewood Press
The Miracle Jar by Audrey Penn

Sleeping Bear Press
A is for Abraham by Richard Michelson

Kar-Ben Publishing
Jodie's Hanukkah Dig by Anna Levine
Harvest of Light by Allison Ofanansky

Engineer Ari and the Rosh Hashanah Ride by Deborah Bodin Cohen
Sammy Spider's First Day at School by Sylvia Rouss
Sarah Laughs, Benjamin and the Silver Goblet, Miriam in the Desert by Jacqueline Jules

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Built By Angels by Mark Podwal

Blue Apple Books
Hanukkah Haiku by Harriet Ziefert

Holiday House
The Mysterious Guests by Eric Kimmel

Yale Strom, author
:
The Wedding That Saved a Town by Yale Strom (Kar-Ben)

AUDIO:

Click the play button on this flash player to listen to the podcast now:

Or click MP3 File to start your computer's media player.

CREDITS:
Thanks to Yale Strom for permission to record and podcast his violin performance at Book Expo. Our regular background music is provided by The Freilachmakers Klezmer String Band.

Books mentioned on the show may be borrowed from the Feldman Children's Library at Congregation B'nai Israel. (Or if they're too new to be in the library now, they will be once they are published!) Browse our online catalog to reserve books, post a review, or just to look around!

Your feedback is appreciated! Please write to bookoflifepodcast@gmail.com! Or even better, if you know of any new Jewish picture books I missed seeing at Book Expo, please post a comment!

Thursday, June 05, 2008

A Jewish Humor Teleseminar


I am pleased to let you know about a Teleseminar on Jewish humor being taught by past Book of Life guest Rabbi Moshe Waldoks. Reb Moshe is the co-editor the The Big Book of Jewish Humor, and he was featured on our Purim episode in March, 2006. He was a hoot, and now he'll be sharing his secrets for two hours, live, on Thursday, June 12, 2008.

The program is called Beyond "Laughter Through Tears": A Short History of Jewish Humor. You can participate by phone or through your computer. It'll be held twice that day, once at 1pm eastern, and again at 9pm eastern. Space is limited and registration is $20.

I hope you all don't think that I'm doing a commercial here. Reb Moshe emailed me about this event and asked me to spread the word, and I obliged because it sounds really cool and because I like to support the use of technology and social media in Jewish education. And because, having interviewed him, I know he'll be a great speaker on this subject!

Get more info and register at www.askmoshewaldoks.com.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Fear of Microphones


The scene: Book Expo America in the sprawling Los Angeles Convention Center

ME: Hi, I'm Heidi Estrin from the Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee and The Book of Life podcast. Do you have any new Judaic titles I should know about?

FRIENDLY PUBLISHING PERSON: Oh yes, let me show you this exciting book on our fall list...

ME: Do you mind if I record you for my podcast while you tell me about the book?

FRIENDLY PUBLISHING PERSON: Record ME???? NOW??? Wait, maybe I can get my colleague over here to do it....

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


It's remarkable how much fear can be inspired by a tiny little handheld microphone, especially one with cute Mickey Mouse ears. But seriously, I really want to thank the many brave souls who spoke to me about their wonderful new books at BEA, and to reassure them that I will be editing the audio before I post it. Everyone sounded great in the first place, and I'll polish it up so we'll all sound even better, not to worry.

I collected enough audio that I will probably post a multi-part episode. I'm thinking of dividing it into categories: picture books, books for older kids and teens, adult books, and Holocaust books. I'll try to get the first part posted within a week, and more as June progresses.

As thorough as I tried to be, I'm sure I can't have found every Jewish book at BEA. I'd love it if people could post comments to tell me about the books I missed. Just click where it says "comments" at the end of the post. Thanks!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

See You at Book Expo!

I will be attending Book Expo America 2008 in Los Angeles, CA to record material for The Book of Life podcast and to promote the Sydney Taylor Book Award for Jewish children's literature. If YOU will be at Book Expo too, drop me a line at bookoflifepodcast@gmail.com! (If we meet up, I'll even give you a shiny gold Sydney Taylor Book Award lapel pin!)

Hope to see you soon!
Heidi Estrin
Host, The Book of Life Podcast 

Click the play button on this flash player to hear about Heidi's plans for Book Expo:
Or click MP3 File to start your computer's media player. 
As always, background music is provided by The Freilachmakers Klezmer String Band. And also as always, The Book of Life is a production of the Feldman Children's Library at Congregation B'nai Israel, with additional support from the Association of Jewish Libraries.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

A Musical Israel @ 60


Or click MP3 File to start your computer's media player.

SHOW NOTES:

The Book of Life celebrates Israel's 60th birthday with a musical extravaganza!

> Composer
Yuval Ron talks about the music he created for the Oscar-winning short film West Bank Story

>
Fran Manushkin discusses her book Come, Let Us Be Joyful: The Story of Hava Nagila

> We learn about the
60 @ 60 concert tour with music promoter Michael Dorf, who tells us about the best in new Israeli pop music, including:

MUSIC VIDEOS:





CREDITS:

Special thanks to Vaskez for the
techno version of Hava Nagila, to John Zorn for permission to use the track "Nekashim" from the CD The Dreamers, and to Habanot Nechama for permission to use the track "So Far." Our regular background music is provided by The Freilachmakers Klezmer String Band.

Books, DVD's and 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!

Your feedback is appreciated! Please write to bookoflifepodcast@gmail.com!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Passover Internationale


Or click MP3 File to start your computer's media player.

SHOW NOTES:

The Book of Life takes you on a virtual trip around the world for Passover!

> Pulitzer Prize winning author Geraldine Brooks discusses People of the Book, her fictional history of the Sarajevo Haggadah.

> Basya Schechter talks about her band Pharaoh's Daughter, which mixes world music and psychedelic rock with Middle Eastern sounds.

> Author Ilana Kurshan describes her compilation of translations, Why Is This Night Different From All Other Nights? The Four Questions Around the World.

> If you like Ilana's book, you may also like 300 Ways to Ask the Four Questions from Zulu to Abkhaz by Murray Spiegel and Rickey Stein. It comes with a CD and a DVD to demonstrate the translations!

NEWS:

In our next episode we'll celebrate Israel@60! Don't miss it!

CREDITS:

Thanks to Dan Krimm for permission to use Ma Nishtana - The Blues Version! Our regular 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. Browse our online catalog to reserve books, post a review, or just to look around!

Your feedback is appreciated! Please write to bookoflifepodcast@gmail.com!

Sunday, March 02, 2008

The One with the Mezuzahs


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SHOW NOTES:

> Author Amy Meltzer discusses her picture book A Mezuzah on the Door, an Association of Jewish Libraries Notable Book and PJ Library selection

> Author Eric Kimmel shares mezuzah memories

> Author Sarah Gershman and illustrator Kristina Swarner talk about their Sydney Taylor Book Award winning picture book, The Bedtime Sh'ma: A Good Night Book. This book was also a National Jewish Book Award Finalist, and is a PJ Library selection.

> Author Maggie Anton shares mezuzah memories

Special background music for this episode is provided by The Bedtime Sh'ma Companion CD and by Cantor Jeff Klepper's "Mezuzah" song on the CD Shiron L'Yeladim. Our regular 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. Browse our online catalog to reserve books, post a review, or just to look around!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Funny, That Book Doesn't Look Jewish


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SHOW NOTES:

The Book of Life hosted a live, call-in show on February 7, 2008 with special guest Pamela Ehrenberg, author of Ethan, Suspended. Our discussion topic was "what makes a book Jewish?" This recording of the call-in show has been edited for clarity and sound quality, but is essentially the same show heard by those who listened live on the big day.

Many of those who called in are well-known as authors or bloggers. Follow these links to learn more about the voices you hear on this episode (listed alphabetically):

> Maggie Anton, author of the series
Rashi's Daughters

> Barbara Bietz, author of Like a Maccabee, and blogger at Barbara's Book Blog

> Marie Cloutier, blogger at
The Boston Bibliophile

>
June Cummins, Associate Professor of English & Comparative Literature at San Diego State University

> Andi Davidson, past member of the
Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee

> Pamela Ehrenberg, author of Ethan, Suspended

>
Brenda Ferber, author of Julia's Kitchen

> Rita Frischer, past Chair of the
Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee
> Janet Gingold, author of children's novels and nonfiction

>
Mary Claire Mahaney, author of Osaka Heat
> Elizabeth McBride, blogger at
Mommytown, who tried to submit questions by chat; we ran out of time, but I want to acknowledge her participation

> Kathe Pinchuck, current Chair of the
Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee

> Hazel Rochman, author, and editor/reviewer for ALA's Booklist

> Linda Silver, author/editor of The Jewish Values Finder (
book and database), and another past chair of the Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee

Thanks to everyone who participated!


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. Browse our online catalog to reserve books, post a review, or just to look around!

Friday, February 08, 2008

Live Show a Success

The Book of Life's experimental live call-in show was held yesterday, and it was a success! A number of people called to share opinions about our featured book, Ethan, Suspended, and about what defines a Jewish book.

The show was recorded, and I'm editing it now; soon it will be added to the regular podcast line-up. I apologize in advance for the sound quality. My own voice sounds kind of broken up, while other callers came through loud and clear. I may, in fact, try re-recording my own comments if I can get it to integrate with the rest of the conversation.

Many of our callers were well-known figures within the Judaic literary community, so I will provide links in the show notes to lead you back to some of their special projects (blogs, books, and so on).

Thanks so much to everyone who called and to everyone who listened live, and thanks again to featured guest author Pamela Ehrenberg!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Bells & Whistles: How to Call In, Live


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In this special "Bells & Whistles" edition of The Book of Life, host Heidi Estrin gives instructions for accessing the live Book of Life call-in show being held on Thursday, February 7, 2008, 3-4pm EST.

The theme of the February 7 program is "Funny, That Book Doesn't Look Jewish" and our guest will be Pamela Ehrenberg, author of the middle-grade novel Ethan, Suspended. We'll take calls about Ethan, Suspended, and about what makes a book Jewish in general.

What follows is a transcript of the podcast, for those of you who prefer written to auditory instructions:

On Thursday February 7, 2008 from 3 to 4 pm eastern standard time, The Book of Life will host a live call-in show using the Talkshoe service. The show is entitled "Funny, That Book Doesn't Look Jewish." Our special guest will be Pamela Ehrenberg, author of the middle grade novel Ethan, Suspended, and our discussion topic will be what makes a book Jewish. We'll do this Diane Rehm -style: first I'll chat with Pam about her book, and then we'll open the phones for questions about comments about Ethan, Suspended AND about defining Jewish literature.

If you simply want to listen to the discussion, go to our website, bookoflifepodcast.com, on February 7 at 3pm and click the PLAY button on the Talkshoe widget you'll see in the right-hand column. The show will play through your computer's speakers. If you're busy on February 7, don't worry... the show will be recorded and added to our regular podcast for later listening.

If you'd like to participate in the discussion, you can call in on February 7 between 3 and 4pm eastern time using any phone or voice over IP. Please be aware that the phone number is NOT toll free.

To call in to the show, dial 724-444-7444. It will ask for a Call ID that identifies The Book of Life as the show you want to reach, and that number is 10816.

At that point it will ask you for a 10-digit PIN number, but if you don't have a PIN you can simply press 1 and the pound key to sign in as a guest. Here's the deal with PIN numbers: If you sign up for a free account and create a PIN, the system will tell me who you are when you call. My hosting control panel will show your name instead of just showing an anonymous caller from your area code. It just makes it easier for me to keep track of what's going on and who's participating.

I encourage you to go to Talkshoe.com ahead of time and sign up for a free account so that your name will show when you call in... but if you don't want to, that's okay, I still want you to call and participate in the discussion.

Talkshoe also provides a way to do chat via text during the show, but I plan to ignore that feature. I think just hosting the discussion will keep me busy enough without that.

So that's it! Please mark February 7th on your calendar and plan to call in! In the meantime, check out pamelaehrenberg.com to learn more about Ethan, Suspended. In a starred review in Booklist, reviewer Hazel Rochman said that "Ehrenberg focuses on themes of race and class without sounding preachy" as Ethan moves in with his grandparents in DC and finds himself suddenly in the minority as the only white, Jewish kid in his school. I really enjoyed Ethan, Suspended and I think you will too. I can't wait to discuss it with you on February 7th!