Funny, That Book Doesn't Look Jewish


     🕮    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


Anonymous said…
Thanks so much, Heidi and everyone! It was great talking with all of you, and I'll look forward to continuing the conversations as our paths cross again. Many thanks again to all!
Anonymous said…
Great show, Heidi! Sorry I couldn't call in. BTW, my favorite example of a Jewish book by a non-Jewish author is Pete Hamill's "Snow in August."
Anonymous said…
Dear Heidi,

I am an AJL member from Bend, Oregon. I want to thank you for the podcast on Ethan, Suspended. I loved the book and my 13 year old son is reading it now. I heard about the book through you. It is so hard to find good quality books for Jewish boys in middle school. I listened to the recorded podcast at work and enjoyed hearing the author talk about what made the book Jewish. I agree that it is definitely Jewish in terms of the values and lifestyle of the grandparents and their children.

What a wonderful book and program! Thanks so much!


Pat Givens
For adults, Snow in August is a great one! For kids, I'd second the recommendation made during the podcast of Notes from the Midnight Driver by Jordan Sonnenblick, as well as Sonnenblick's other book, Girls, Drums, and Dangerous Pie. Even though the Jewish content is not strong, they're great books. A contemporary Jewish book (imho) that looks kind of like a chick book but has a male protagonist is Tell It To Naomi by Daniel Ehrenhaft, I liked that one too.
I'm not Jewish but I may tune-in for your podcast.

Stay on groovin' safari,
Anonymous said…
I enjoyed the commentary and questions during your call-in show about Ethan, Suspended. It's a wonderful format, providing for honest, natural reactions by a good variety of participants. It was helpful that you mentioned the "credentials" of the callers. This is a book I look forward to reading!
Marie Cloutier said…
Thanks Heidi! I enjoyed the conversation and learned a lot. What a great idea to have a call in show!