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Showing posts from 2010

December's Jewish Book Carnival

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The December Jewish Book Carnival is hosted by Erika Dreifus at her blog, My Machbere t. It's a round-up of links from a wide variety of Jewish book blogs. You'll hear from authors and librarians, find essays and book reviews, and you'll even see a submission from The Book of Life! Please check it out, and don't forget to leave comments at the blogs you visit!

3,548 Library Lovers Celebrate Jewish Library Snapshot Day

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Library Snapshot Day 2010 The People of the Book really do love libraries! In November 2010, during Jewish Book Month, 30 Jewish libraries participated in Library Snapshot Day. The event, sponsored by the Association of Jewish Libraries, was created to let all types of Judaic libraries record what happens in a day in the life of a library. Across North America, libraries in synagogues, day schools, community centers and universities picked one day during the first two weeks of November to hold the event. Collectively, participating libraries served 3,548 patrons on Library Snapshot Day. The Activities From Jewish hubs like Chicago, IL to smaller Jewish communities like Tulsa, OK, from sunny Miami, FL to chilly Montreal, Quebec, Jewish libraries held author visits, study groups, literary and computer quizzes, artist receptions, book discussions, book sales, scavenger hunts, craft projects, parenting programs, charity drives, and children’s story times. Eleven of the participatin

Shalom Sesame

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LISTEN TO THE PODCAST     🕮    Sesame Street with its Israeli counterpart Rehov Sumsum . The program was originally produced in the 1980's, and has just been revamped and reissued on DVD. The Chanukah episode, "The Missing Menorah," will be airing on many PBS stations during December, 2010, so check your local listings. This interview with Veronica Wulff, Director of Global Production at Sesame Workshop, gives us some insight into Rehov Sumsum and Shalom Sesame . CREDITS: Produced by: Feldman Children's Library at Congregation B'nai Israel Supported in part by: Association of Jewish Libraries Theme music: The Freilachmakers Klezmer String Band Facebook fan page: facebook.com/bookoflifepodcast Twitter: @bookoflifepod "Shalom Sesame Theme" used in this episode courtesy of Sesame Workshop (New York, NY) Your feedback is appreciated! Please write to bookoflifepodcast@gmail.com or call our voicemail number at 561-2

The 2010 Canadian Jewish Book Awards

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LISTEN TO THE PODCAST     🕮    The Book of Life's Canadian Correspondent Anne Dublin interviews winners of the 2010 Helen & Stan Vine Canadian Jewish Book Awards at the gala ceremony in Toronto. For the full list of 2010 winners, click here . Anne spoke with: Eva Wiseman, author of Puppet (Youth Literature category) Goldie Sigal, author of Stingy Buzi and King Solomon / Der karger Buzi un Shloymeh Hameylekh (Yiddish category) Robin McGrath, author of The Winterhouse (Fiction category) Mystery writer Howard Engel (Special Achievement Award) CREDITS: Produced by: Feldman Children's Library at Congregation B'nai Israel Supported in part by: Association of Jewish Libraries Theme music: The Freilachmakers Klezmer String Band Facebook fan page: facebook.com/bookoflifepodcast Twitter: @bookoflifepod   Your feedback is appreciated! Please write to bookoflifepodcast@gmail.com or call our voicemail number at 561-206-2473 .

Shooting My Mouth Off with Laurel Snyder

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So my friend Laurel Snyder (who was on The Book of Life in August, 2008 , and whose book Baxter, The Pig Who Wanted to Be Kosher was mentioned in the BEA09 episode) made the mistake of giving me a soapbox upon which to climb. She's one of the bloggers at From The Mixed-Up Files of Middle-Grade Authors, and she wanted to do a piece on Jewish middle-grade books so she emailed me a bunch of questions. Took me all day, but I wrote up some ideas and suggestions, which you can read here at the interview, (Sometimes-Not-So) All-of-a-Kind Families . There's an interesting discussion going in the comments section, too -- feel welcome to join in!

Papernick the Book Peddler

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Jonathan Papernick is the author of Who by Fire, Who by Blood and The Ascent of Eli Israel . His new book of short stories is entitled There Is No Other: Stories of Faith, Love and Heartache . Jon kindly agreed to answer some questions for us about his new book. Jon, please give us a brief overview of your book of short stories, There Is No Other . The stories in my new collection are set in Brooklyn, Israel, and Massachusetts and deal with issues of love, faith, relationships and God. Most of the stories deal explicitly with Jewish themes while others deal with the complications of modern relationships. The characters in each of the stories are searching for that other in their life, whether spiritual or physical -- sometimes finding that other, sometimes failing to. The younger characters in my collection tend to struggle with tradition and faith and grapple with Judaism and how to fit it in his traditions of their lives, while the older characters tend to struggle with th

Book Expo 2010: Jewish Presses

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LISTEN TO THE PODCAST     🕮    Forthcoming books of from Judaic publishers discovered at Book Expo America 2010 in NYC! The Crown of Aleppo: The Mystery of the Oldest Hebrew Bible Codex by Hayim Tawil & Bernard Schneider, JPS Jewish Choices, Jewish Voices series by JPS Sara Finds a Mitzva by Rebeka Simhaee, Hachai The Aleph-Bais Trip on the Aleph-Bais Ship by Chani Altein, Hachai I'm God; You're Not: Observations on Organized Religion and Other Disguises of the Ego by Lawrence Kushner, Jewish Lights Sacred Treasure--The Cairo Genizah: The Amazing Discoveries of Forgotten Jewish History in an Egyptian Synagogue Attic by Rabbi Mark Glickman, Jewish Lights Confronting Scandel: How Jews Can Respond When Jews Do Bad Things by Dr. Erica Brown, Jewish Lights Communities of Purpose, Lives of Meaning: Shaping American Judaism and Jewish Identity in the 21st Century by Barry Shrage, Jewish Lights How to Be a Perfect Stranger: The Essential Religious Etiquette Handbook e

The Jewish Book Carnival

The Jewish Book Carnival is a monthly blogging event which rounds up links of Jewishlit interest and builds community among Jewishlit bloggers. I came up with the idea along with Marie Cloutier, AJL consultant and host of The Boston Bibliophile , and we started seeking out other bloggers who share our passion for Judaic literature. The sponsoring organization for the Jewish Book Carnival is the Association of Jewish Libraries. If YOU would like to participate in a future carnival, email Marie at mcloutier at jewishlibraries dot org! The September 2010 Jewish Book Carnival is being hosted by the Jewish Publication Society Blog at http://jpsblog.org/blog/2010/09/15/jewish-book-carnival. There are terrific links from seventeen different blogs, offering book reviews, philosophical essays, interviews, and more. This month's carnival includes a link from The Book of Life, to our recent episode on Jewish kidlit at Book Expo America! Upcoming carnivals will be held at: October 15,

Book Expo 2010: Kids & Teens

LISTEN TO THE PODCAST     🕮    Recent and forthcoming children's and teen books of Jewish interest discovered at Book Expo America 2010 in NYC! Cry of the Giraffe by Judie Oron, Annick Press Hanukkah puzzles, and One Red Apple by Harriet Ziefert, Blue Apple Books Annexed by Sharon Dogar, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt The Rooster Prince of Breslov by Anne Redisch Stampler, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt The Journey That Saved Curious George by Louise Borden (reprint), Houghton Mifflin Harcourt The Grand Mosque of Paris by Karen Gray Ruelle, Holiday House The Little Red Hen and the Passover Matzah by Leslie Kimmelman, Holiday House The Story of Esther, A Purim Tale by Eric Kimmel, Holiday House (spring 2011) Cakes and Miracles: A Purim Tale by Barbara Diamond Goldin (reissue, new illustrations), Marshall Cavendish Restitution by Kathy Kacer, Second Story Press A Chanukah Noel by Sharon Jennings, Second Story Press Teaching guides for Holocaust Remembrance Series, Seco

Book Expo 2010: Adults

LISTEN TO THE PODCAST      🕮    Forthcoming adult books of Jewish interest discovered at Book Expo America 2010 in NYC! Jews and Money: The Story of a Stereotype by Abraham Foxman, Palgrave Macmillan The Moses Expedition by Juan Gomez-Jurado, Atria Books I'd Bark But You Never Listen: An Illustrated Guide to the Jewish Dog by Harold Kimmel, Red Rock Press The Frozen Rabbi by Steve Stern, Algonquin Books Peep Show by Josh Braff, Algonquin Books A Curable Romantic by Joseph Skibell, Algonquin Books Muslim, Christian and Jew: Finding a Path to Peace Our Faiths Can Share by Dr. David Liepert, Faith of Life Publishing Unifying Truths of the World's Religions by C. David Lundberg, Heavenlight Press Living Fully, Dying Well: Reflecting on Death to Find Your Life's Meaning by Edward W. Bastian & Tina L. Staley, Sounds True Hebrew Illuminations by Adam Rhine, Sounds True America's Great Delis: Recipes and Traditions from Coast to Coast by Sheryll

From Other Press

Two new books of interest from Other Press : THE DEBBA (Other Press; July 13, 2010; $14.95) by award winning author Avner Mandelman THE DEBBA is the page-turning story of an Israeli ex-assassin's quest to uncover his dead father's secret - and the truth about the birth of Israel. Mandelman was born in Israel and served in the Israeli Air Force during the Six-Day War. His story collection Talking to the Enemy was chosen by Kirkus Reviews as one of the twenty-five best books of 2005, and by the American Library Association as the first recipient of the Sophie Brody Medal for outstanding achievement in Jewish literature. This is his first novel. A recent **starred** review in Kirkus proclaimed that "The author deftly blends a murder mystery with a nuanced examination of the intransigent Israeli-Arab conflict" and a **starred** Booklist declared that he "has written a first rate debut novel that tackles current issues in the Arab-Israeli conflict while revealing

The Beautiful Blogger Award

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The Book of Life just received a Beautiful Blogger Award from the lovely folks at the Jewish Publication Society. Thanks, JPS! To claim the award, I have to share seven little-known facts about The Book of Life and pass the award on to seven other blogs. Seven Little-Known Facts. (Actually, if you've been paying dorkily close attention you might already know some of these.) 1. The Book of Life was once used as a vehicle for two 3rd grade girls to get credit for a book report on Marc Chagall! Rather than present to the class, they presented their book report on the podcast . 2. Coolest audio project I've participated in: being one of the five voices in the librarian episode of the QN Podcast . 3. Favorite gig I got as a result of being a podcaster: getting to introduce Markus Zusak, author of The Book Thief , when he spoke at our local indie, Books & Books in Coral Gables, Florida. (You can hear his talk in the episode Meet Markus .) 4. Episode that was the mos

2010 AJL Convention Session: Everyone's A Critic

LISTEN TO THE PODCAST     🕮    At the Association of Jewish Libraries 2010 Convention in Seattle, WA, I organized a panel presentation on book reviewing with Ellen Cole, Kathe Pinchuck, Lisa Silverman, and Rita Soltan. This post is our online handout, and a record of our presentation. AJL Reviewing Panel FOR FUN The Top 20 Most Annoying Book Reviewer Phrases and How to Use Them All in One Meaningless Review Book Review BINGO MORE SERIOUS RESOURCES Suggested Resources for Jewish Children's Book Reviewers , a bibliography/webliography by Kathe Pinchuck Excellence in Jewish Children's Literature : A Guide for Book Selectors, Reviewers, and Award Judges (AJL Publication) From Cover to Cover: Evaluating and Reviewing Children's Books by K.T. Horning (HarperCollins, 2010 revised edition) Faint Praise: The Plight of Book Reviewing in America by Gail Pool (University of Missouri Press, 2007) Critical Mass, the blog of the National Book Critics Cir

2010 AJL Convention Session: AJL & Social Media

At the Association of Jewish Libraries 2010 Convention, I co-presented a session on AJL & Social Media with Diane Romm. You can read our paper HERE . This post is our online handout, and a record of our presentation. Also relevant is the four-part series "Why Be Social?" that appeared on The Book of Life podcast in 2009. You can listen to all four parts here: http://jewishbooks.blogspot.com/2009/08/why-be-social-whole-megillah.html . LINKS mentioned in Part 1: Association of Jewish Libraries: http://www.jewishlibraries.org AJL Wiki: http://nesiya.wikispaces.com/?responseToken=0a642c679fa9b8b4beaa52dd7d68d713b Past AJL Conventions: http://jewishlibraries.org/Conference_Proceedings Sydney Taylor Book Award: http://jewishlibraries.org/content.php?page=Sydney_Taylor_Book_Award Convention Stipends: http://jewishlibraries.org/Member_Awards AJL Newsletter: http://jewishlibraries.org/AJL_News___AJL_Reviews Bibliography Bank: http://jewishlibraries.org/B

Kathy Kacer

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LISTEN TO THE PODCAST    |    BUY KATHY KACER'S BOOKS     🕮    The Book of Life's Canadian Correspondant, Anne Dublin , interviews author Kathy Kacer . Kathy has written many, many Holocaust novels for young people, including The Diary of Laura's Twin , which won a National Jewish Book Award and a Canadian Jewish Book Award. For the impressive list of Kathy's works, click here . CREDITS: Produced by: Feldman Children's Library at Congregation B'nai Israel Supported in part by: Association of Jewish Libraries Theme music: The Freilachmakers Klezmer String Band Facebook fan page: facebook.com/bookoflifepodcast Twitter: @bookoflifepod   Your feedback is appreciated! Please write to bookoflifepodcast@gmail.com or call our voicemail number at 561-206-2473.

Queen of Secrets: An Interview with Jenny Meyerhoff

Back in February I interviewed Debra Spark , author of Good for the Jews , an adult novel based on the story of Purim. The Megillah inspires a lot of modern writing, apparently! Today I've got an interview for you with Jenny Meyerhoff , author of a young adult novel based on the Megillah, called Queen of Secrets . When I met Jenny last summer at the Planet Esme Reading Room, she told me this book was in the works. I am pleased to say that this very interesting novel will be released this summer! Jenny, where did the idea come from to write a modern novel based on the story of Queen Esther? Growing up, always loved the story of Esther, probably because it was one of the few stories I remember learning in Sunday school that featured a female as the main character. One spring a few years ago, I was thinking about the story again, and it occurred to me that Esther most likely would have been a teenager. I began to wonder what her story would be like if it were occurring today. How wo

When the Hurricane Came to New Orleans

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LISTEN TO THE PODCAST    |    BUY THE BOOK     🕮    I'm just back from the 2010 Book Expo America trade show in NYC, where I recorded lots of interesting interviews. It will take me a while to edit them, but lucky for you guys I still have several recordings from last summer to post in the meantime. This interview turns out to be unfortunately timely, with Louisiana so much in the spotlight right now due to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Last summer, when we all thought Hurricane Katrina was the worst thing that could happen to New Orleans, I interviewed Nachama Liss-Levinson, author of the 2009 Sydney Taylor Manuscript Award winning title When the Hurricane Came to New Orlean s. Being unpublished (thus a "Manuscript Award" winner), you can't read it yet. But I'm sure after hearing from awards chair Aileen Grossberg and from Nechama herself, you will want to! (Sorry for any angst caused by this situation!) [NOTE: The book has subsequently been published - see

A New Blog: The Whole Megillah

I've just added a new site to my list of Links (see the right-hand sidebar on The Book of Life blog) and I wanted to make sure you noticed it. The site is The Whole Megillah: The Writer's Resource for Jewish-themed Children's Books at thewholemegillah.wordpress.com . There are few blogs that focus on Jewish kidlit, and as far as I know, this is the first that emphasizes the perspective of authors rather than readers. Blogger Barbara Krasner is well-known in the Jewish kidlit world as the force behind the annual Jewish Children's Book Writers & Illustrators Conference, held until recently at New York's 92nd Street Y, so she's definitely in the know. I'm excited about The Whole Megillah (and I love the name)! Welcome to the blogosphere, Barbara!

Live from Israel, It's Anna Levine!

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LISTEN TO THE PODCAST     |    BUY FREEFALL / JODIE'S HANUKKAH DIG      🕮    I met up with author Anna Levine last year at the 2009 Association of Jewish Libraries convention in Chicago, IL, where she was a guest presenter and an award-winner! During a late night gathering of book lovers, I pulled her aside to discuss her YA novel Freefall and her picture book Jodie's Hanukkah Dig , both set in Israel. Both books received recognition from the Association of Jewish Libraries in 2009, Freefall as a Sydney Taylor Honor Book, and Jodie's Hanukkah Dig as a Notable Book. CREDITS: Produced by: Feldman Children's Library at Congregation B'nai Israel Supported in part by: Association of Jewish Libraries Theme music: The Freilachmakers Klezmer String Band Facebook fan page: facebook.com/bookoflifepodcast Twitter: @bookoflifepod   Your feedback is appreciated! Please write to bookoflifepodcast@gmail.com or call our voicemail number at 561-206-2473.

So Punk Rock

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LISTEN TO THE PODCAST     |    BUY THE BOOK     🕮    An interview with Micol Ostow , author of So Punk Rock (And Other Ways to Disappoint Your Mother) , a 2010 Sydney Taylor Notable Book in the Teen Readers category. This very cool novel with graphic elements was illustrated by Micol's brother David Ostow . The interview was recorded in a busy Manhattan bar, so please consider the loud background noise to be atmosphere for this story of a teen garage band! CREDITS:   Produced by: Feldman Children's Library at Congregation B'nai Israel Supported in part by: Association of Jewish Libraries Theme music: The Freilachmakers Klezmer String Band Facebook fan page: facebook.com/bookoflifepodcast Twitter: @bookoflifepod   Your feedback is appreciated! Please write to bookoflifepodcast@gmail.com or call our voicemail number at 561-206-2473.

Friday Finds: Queen of Secrets & The Pillow Book

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The "Friday Finds" meme is hosted by MizB at the Should Be Reading blog. She asks "What great books did you hear about / discover this past week? Share with us your FRIDAY FINDS!" This week I received two review copies of new Jewish-interest YA novels from the publicists at Blue Slip Media , and they look like they'll be a lot of fun t o read: Lotus Lowenstein's life is merde. She dreams of moving to Paris and becoming an existentialist. Yet here she is trapped in Park Slope, Brooklyn, with a New-Agey mom, an out-of-work dad, and a chess champion brother who dreams of being a rock star. Merci à Dieu for Lotus’s best friend, Joni, who loves French culture enough to cofound their high school’s first French Club with Lotus. At the first meeting, the cutest boy in the world walks in. His name is Sean, and he too loves French culture and worships Jean-Paul Sartre. Queen of Secrets by Jenny Meyerhoff (FSG, 2010). I interviewed this author briefly at a par

The Little Red Hen and the Passover Matzah

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I thought it would be seasonally appropriate to share with you the starred review I wrote about The Little Red Hen and the Passover Matzah for School Library Journa l. This is a delightful new Passover story, that I used successfully with several Kindergarten and first grade classes in our religious school recently. For more info about author Leslie Kimmelman and her books, see www.lesliekimmelman.net . KIMMELMAN, Leslie . The Little Red Hen and the Passover Matzah . illus. by Paul Meisel. unpaged. glossary. CIP. Holiday House . Mar. 2010. Tr $16.95. ISBN 978-0-8234-1952-4 . LC 2008048488. PreS-Gr 3— This Yiddish-inflected retelling of "The Little Ren Hen" features a balabusta (good homemaker) who kvetches about her lazy no-goodnik friends who will not help her make matzah from wheat. When they show up at the Passover Seder, the hen scolds, "What chutzpah!" Ultimately, however, they repent and the hen forgives them because she is a mensch. All ends ha

Friday Finds: First Rain

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The "Friday Finds" meme is hosted by MizB at the Should Be Reading blog. She asks "What great books did you hear about / discover this past week? Share with us your FRIDAY FINDS!" I just had to participate because this very Friday morning I found a wonderful new book awaiting me in a package on my desk in the library: First Rain by Charlotte Herman, illustrated by Kathryn Mitter (Albert Whitman). It's a simple, straightforward story about a little girl whose family makes aliyah (moves to Israel). Through the exchange of letters with the Grandma she left behind, we learn a little bit about Israel, a little Hebrew vocabulary, and a little about dealing with moving. It's not preachy, it's a good match with its intended audience of 1st through 4th graders in terms of emotion and writing style, and the illustrations are clean, detailed, and give a good sense of place. As is appropriate for the audience, politics are NOT included. There are few pict