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: and

PRESS CONTACTS: Dahlia Greer, 310-339-1060,, or Annabelle Stevens, 310-435-6996,

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