Monday, December 05, 2011

The Book of Life Moves to a Relaxed Schedule

I've been podcasting here at The Book of Life since December 2005. It's been a great opportunity for me to have conversations with all sorts of fascinating people, but as you can imagine, putting the show together is a time-consuming process. That's why, as of December 2011, I'm moving the show to an "occasional" instead of a monthly schedule. When I find something too interesting to resist, I'll podcast it, but new episodes will no longer appear on a regular basis. Hopefully, this will give you the chance to catch up on listening to old episodes (six years' worth!) at bookoflifepodcast.com. If you're not yet subscribed to the show through iTunes or Facebook, I recommend that you do so now so that you'll get notified about any new episodes as they are posted. It will save you the trouble of checking The Book of Life web page.

Thanks for listening, everyone!
Heidi

Saturday, December 03, 2011

David Bezmozgis and The Free World



The Book of Life's Canadian Correspondent Anne Dublin interviews author and filmmaker David Bezmogis about his development as a writer and his new novel The Free World. Learn more about David at bezmozgis.com, and more about Anne (who is a librarian and an author in her own right) at www.annedublin.ca.

AUDIO:

Mp3

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: facebook.com/bookoflifepodcast
Twitter: @bookoflifepod
Your feedback is appreciated! Please write to bookoflifepodcast@gmail.com or call our voicemail number at 561-206-2473.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Pulani



Here's an interview I've had in the queue for a long time: an interview with Ruchel Louis, Jewish author of Pulani: A Memoir of Growing Up in Apartheid South Africa. I met Ruchel at Book Expo America in 2010, and had a great time interviewing her while we sat waiting for the keynote address (it was Barbara Streisand, speaking about her book on interior design). I think Ruchel was the more interesting speaker!

AUDIO:


Mp3

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: facebook.com/bookoflifepodcast
Twitter: @bookoflifepod
Your feedback is appreciated! Please write to bookoflifepodcast@gmail.com or call our voicemail number at 561-206-2473.


Monday, October 03, 2011

Write Your Own Megillah


Barbara Krasner blogs at The Whole Megillah. During Jewish Book Month 2011, she is sponsoring the "Write Your Own Megillah "project to encourage Jewish children's writers a la NaNoWriMo. Write 36,000 words of a young adult novel or 18,000 words for middle grade readers between November 21-December 21, and become eligible to win 3-chapter critiques from professional children's editors Stephanie Lurie and Margery Cuyler!

Complete information about the event can be found at: http://thewholemegillah.wordpress.com/write-your-own-megillah-a-new-whole-megillah-event/

AUDIO:

Mp3

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: facebook.com/bookoflifepodcast
Twitter: @bookoflifepod
Your feedback is appreciated! Please write to bookoflifepodcast@gmail.com or call our voicemail number at 561-206-2473.



Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Life, After

Sarah Darer Littman (center) with librarians Etta Gold and Heidi Estrin
at the 2011 AJL Convention, where she received her STBA Honor Award


Sarah Darer Littman's novel Life, After, was a 2011 Sydney Taylor Honor Book for teens. Sarah was a guest on the show in 2006 when her debut novel Confessions of a Closet Catholic won the Sydney Taylor Book Award, and it was great to meet up with her again. Her novels are always brave, taking on subjects that others might fear to talk about.

AUDIO:


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VIDEO:



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: facebook.com/bookoflifepodcast
Twitter: @bookoflifepod
Your feedback is appreciated! Please write to bookoflifepodcast@gmail.com or call our voicemail number at 561-206-2473.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Wherever You Go



Wherever You Go is a finely interwoven novel of three American lives and the unexpected ways they touch each other in the landscape of Israel. I recorded this interview with author Joan Leegant when she visited Boca Raton, Florida for a Jewish Book Network event at the Levis JCC.

For more information about the book, visit Joan's website at  www.joanleegant.com/Leegant/Joan_Leegant.html.

AUDIO:

Mp3

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: facebook.com/bookoflifepodcast
Twitter: @bookoflifepod
Your feedback is appreciated! Please write to bookoflifepodcast@gmail.com or call our voicemail number at 561-206-2473.


Thursday, July 28, 2011

A Day in the Life of a Judaica Librarian

This post is written for Round 7 of Library Day in the Life, a project started by librarian blogger Bobbi Newman at LibrarianByDay.net. Librarians across the world explain what they do (it's not just sitting around and reading!).To see a list of the 200+ participants (of which I am Number 69), visit http://librarydayinthelife.pbworks.com/w/page/42017739/Roun.

I am the librarian and computer teacher at Congregation B'nai Israel of Boca Raton, Florida, where I work with the synagogue's preschool and religious school. During the school year, a typical "day in the life" includes teaching up to ten preschool classes in a row, performing storytimes or conducting lessons on computer skills. Later in the day, this may be followed by a visit with religious school classes, using the power of story to connect them with their Jewish heritage. When no students are in the room, I am typically doing lesson planning, maintaining the library's 7000+ volume collection, and working on my podcast, The Book of Life. My days often include other professional work, such as volunteering with the Association of Jewish Libraries, of which I am the Vice President / President-Elect.

Right now it's summer break, so my day is not so fast-paced. Here's what I did today:
  • Had a very productive meeting with my director about revamping the preschool blog.
  • Brainstormed for a possible new library enrichment project: preschool literacy centers, wrote up a proposal and started seeking out materials that could be used in such centers.
  • Checked in and shelved returned library books.
  • Wrote a book review for School Library Journal, to which I am a regular contributor. Also received editorial comments on an article I am currently writing for SLJ.
  • Got up on a stepstool and wrote the names of donors onto the artificial (but real-looking) leaves on the Tree of Knowledge that is built into the storytime corner, using a gold pen.
I'd also like to note that today the library was used by early drop-off child care, by a summer camp group who came by to read a story, and by the bar mitzvah tutor who worked with two different students, helping them to practice chanting their Torah portions.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Noah's Swim-a-thon


Author Ann Koffsky talks about her newest picture book, Noah's Swim-a-thon, about lifeguarding at camp, and about the nutty things adults say to get kids to put their faces in the water.

For more info about the book, visit URJ Books & Music at http://urjbooksandmusic.com/product.php?productid=12179.


AUDIO:


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VIDEO:





CREDITS:

Supported in part by: Association of Jewish Libraries
Twitter: @bookoflifepod
Your feedback is appreciated! Please write to bookoflifepodcast@gmail.com or call our voicemail number at 561-206-2473.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Jewish Book Carnival: June 2011


The Jewish Book Carnival is a monthly event where bloggers who blog about Jewish books can meet, read, and comment on each others’ posts. The posts are hosted on one of the participant’s sites on the 15th of each month.

For the month of June, 2011, our host is Erika Dreifus at My Machberet (Hebrew for "notebook"). She's got a great round-up of posts from all over the blogosphere. You'll find author interviews, book reviews, suggested reading lists, reflections on Jewish Book Network experiences, and various Shavuot-themed posts.

Visit My Machberet for the June Jewish Book Carnival!


Enjoy, and please leave comments for the bloggers - they love feedback!

_____________________________

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Double Dip: Rona Arato



A double dip of interviews with Rona Arato, author of Mrs. Kaputnik's Pool Hall & Matzo Ball Emporium.
  • Heidi Estrin interviews Rona at Book Expo America
  • The Book of Life's Canadian Correspondent Anne Dublin interviews Rona at home in Toronto

AUDIO:

Mp3

CREDITS:

Supported in part by: Association of Jewish Libraries
Twitter: @bookoflifepod
Your feedback is appreciated! Please write to bookoflifepodcast@gmail.com or call our voicemail number at 561-206-2473.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Tropical Secrets


Cuban-American, half-Jewish author Margarita Engle won the 2010 Sydney Taylor Book Award in the Teen Reader category for Tropical Secrets: Holocaust Refugees in Cuba. It's a free verse novel in several voices, about a Jewish teen who escapes Europe during World War II and flees to Cuba - but will Cuba take him in?

I had the honor of interviewing Margarita at the 2010 Association of Jewish Libraries convention, where she received her award. She is no stranger to awards, having won the Pura Belpre Medal several times for her depiction of Latino culture, among other prizes.

For another interview with Margarita, check out her stop on the 2010 Sydney Taylor Book Award Blog Tour.

AUDIO:


Mp3

CREDITS:

Supported in part by: Association of Jewish Libraries
Twitter: @bookoflifepod
Your feedback is appreciated! Please write to bookoflifepodcast@gmail.com or call our voicemail number at 561-206-2473.



Friday, April 15, 2011

April's Jewish Book Carnival


The Jewish Book Carnival is a monthly event where bloggers who blog about Jewish books can meet, read, and comment on each others’ posts. The posts are hosted on one of the participant’s sites on the 15th of each month. For April 2011, our host is the Jewish Book Council blog at http://jewishbooks.wordpress.com/2011/04/15/jewish-book-carnival-april. There you will find links to Jewish book reviews, author interviews, and other booky Jewishy goodness (including a link back to The Book of Life's interview with Ann Redisch Stampler on The Rooster Prince of Breslov).

Please visit the Carnival, comment on the posts, and if you'd like to play next time, send a booky Jewishy link from your own blog to our May host, The Whole Megillah, at BarbaraKrasner@att.net.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Yuvi's Candy Tree


Author Lesley Simpson offered to interview herself, and I couldn't pass that up! She talks about Yuvi's Candy Tree (Kar-Ben, 2011), a picture book on Ethiopian Jews fleeing to Israel based on the true story of Yuvi Tashome. With its strong Exodus themes, it makes a great tie-in to Passover; it's also a universal immigration story and a good illustration of the diversity of the Jewish family.

Yuvi's Candy Tree is a PJ Library selection for ages 8 and up. You can take a look at their reading guide here.

AUDIO:

Mp3

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: facebook.com/bookoflifepodcast
Twitter: @bookoflifepod
Your feedback is appreciated! Please write to bookoflifepodcast@gmail.com or call our voicemail number at 561-206-2473.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

The Rooster Prince of Breslov


I bumped into Ann Redisch Stampler at Book Expo 2010. Ann is the author of the Jewish folktale picture book The Rooster Prince of Breslov, which (a while after our interview) was named winner of the National Jewish Book Award's 2010 Louis Posner Memorial Award for illustrated children's books. It was also named a 2011 Notable Children's Book of Jewish Content by the Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee.

Ann was a guest on The Book of Life in 2007 when she won the Sydney Taylor Honor Award for Shlemazel and the Remarkable Spoon of Pohost.

AUDIO:


Mp3

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: facebook.com/bookoflifepodcast
Twitter: @bookoflifepod

Your feedback is appreciated! Please write to bookoflifepodcast@gmail.com or call our voicemail number at 561-206-2473.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Defying Gravity


One of the many interesting people I met at last year's Book Expo America was Carol de Giere, author of a biography of Jewish superstar composer Stephen Schwartz. Her book is entitled Defying Gravity: The Creative Career of Stephen Schwartz from Godspell to Wicked. Carol shared interesting tidbits about her time backstage on Wicked and about the Jewish influences on Schwartz's work. Check out her website at caroldegiere.com and check out her book's website at defyinggravitythebook.com.

AUDIO:


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VIDEO:

The song "Defying Gravity" from Wicked, as performed at the Tony Awards.



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: facebook.com/bookoflifepodcast
Twitter: @bookoflifepod

Your feedback is appreciated! Please write to bookoflifepodcast@gmail.com or call our voicemail number at 561-206-2473.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

The Sydney Taylor Book Award Blog Tour: Interview with Jaime Zollars


Jaime Zollars is the illustrator for the 2010 reissue of Cakes and Miracles: A Purim Tale by Barbara Diamond Goldin. This title was named a 2011 Sydney Taylor Honor Book by the Association of Jewish Libraries. In celebration of this honor, AJL is sponsoring a Blog Tour with all gold and silver medalists. Today I am so pleased to participate in the blog tour and have Jaime Zollars here on The Book of Life!


Welcome, Jaime! Cakes and Miracles was originally published in 1991 with illustrations by Erika Weihs. Did you refer to the original illustrations in any way as you worked on this book, or did you start completely fresh? How was re-illustrating an old book different from illustrating a new book?

I started completely fresh on this title. My first instinct was to look at the original book first, but then I decided that it would only limit my thinking if I peeked too early in the process. Once I had my sketches in, I did order the book to see how it was first illustrated. For me, re-illustarting an old book was exactly the same as illustrating a new one. I treated it as if it had never been published. The text for this edition was also edited to make it a shorter story. This change allowed for more full spreads and room for art, which was great for me!


The main character of the book, Hershel, is blind, yet you've shown him with very compelling eyes, and in most scenes his eyes are open if a little unfocused. Can you talk about how you decided what his eyes should look like and how you achieved that effect?

Hershel's blindness was one of the most immediate challenges for this book. I thought a long while about how I would portray his eyes. One of my major concerns is how much we all relate to characters in picture books through their eyes. If Hershel's eyes were rendered lifeless, it would have been much harder for readers to connect with him.

I went on to research images of blind people to discover that there is a wide range of physical evidence of blindness in people. Besides Hershel's gaze being unfocused at times and him closing his eyes often to "see", I decided to keep his eyes relatively normal in appearance. My decision to treat them this way came from considering what this story is actually about. Yes, Cakes and Miracles is about a boy who overcomes the perceived limitations of his blindness and discovers that he can see in a unique way. But I see this tale as not just about one little blind boy. It is about the spirit's triumph over a physical reality. Too much emphasis on physical disfigurement could have distracted from a more universal message. I'm hoping this title can get even the youngest readers to connect to Hershel and understand how this story is also about them and overcoming their own obstacles in life.

On a technical level, I averted Hershel's gaze and then brushed a light coating of transparent white ink over his eyes in many cases so they appear a bit unfocused.


Can you give us any insider knowledge about Cakes and Miracles or talk a little about the process of writing the book?

Although this book went very smoothly and I don't have many insider anecdotes to share, the process was an adventure for me. It involved some research on my part. I am not Jewish, nor have I ever worked on a Jewish book before. My art must harken something relevant though, as I'd been offered three other Jewish books before Cakes and Miracles came my way, and I'm working on another Jewish title now!

I have enjoyed the process of learning something about Jewish history and culture. I aimed to make sure that my imagery was as accurate as possible without losing the story's spirit in too much technical reference. This experience was richer for me than illustrating previous books because of all the preliminary reading and work I got to do first to better understand the tale.


I've heard that your work is influenced by Flemish painters. Can you tell us more about that?

I've always loved the Flemish painters of the 15th-16th century. Hieronymus Bosch and Pieter Breughel are among my influences. Brueghel seems like an appropriate reference for this story. He was best known for painting pictures of real working people, the peasant class, while other painters were most absorbed with painting royal life. I love these painters because of their attention to detail, sophisticated palettes, and the ability to capture the atmosphere of a time and a place very affectively. I am also a fan of proverbs and folk tales, so Brueghel's Proverbs piece (link here) is one of his most memorable images for me.



You are a designer as well as an illustrator. Can you tell us a little about the various art forms you work with?

While I'd call myself and illustrator first, there are many things I do as a freelance artist. I create paintings for galleries, and commercial paintings for books, ad campaigns, and magazines. I have designed characters and branding for various art and craft companies, and I enjoy printmaking as well. As far as technique is concerned, the variety in jobs that come up allows me to use acrylic paint, collage, Photoshop, and screen printing to achieve my desired affect.

On top of the my art assignments, I also get to teach art to the talented students at MICA here in Baltimore. Teaching actually exposes me to many new ideas and techniques that I would not have explored otherwise, and has led to my own experiments and a willingness to continue learning new things myself!


Have you ever made hamantaschen? What's your favorite hamantaschen filling?

I have not tried to make hamantaschen, (I'm more of a cook than a baker) but that is sounding like a great idea right now! The coffee shop I frequent here in Baltimore keeps theirs well-stocked, and I can thank this book for trying my first (and getting somewhat addicted). Raspberry has proven to be a consistent favorite.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

The Year of Goodbyes


I still have a number of interviews from Book Expo America 2010 in the queue, but I decided to post the interview with Debbie Levy today because it is her birthday! Thanks to Facebook for letting me know. Happy Birthday, Debbie!

I met Debbie Levy and her mother Jutta at Book Expo America 2010, where we sat down in the cafe for an interview. Debbie is the author and Jutta is the subject of The Year of Goodbyes: A True Story of Friendship, Family and Farewells, based on Jutta's poesiealbum from the 1940's. A poesiealbum is a poetry album or autograph album, in which friends write each other little notes and poems. Debbie was touched by the writings of her mother as a young girl, and her mother's friends. To encourage readers to experience the poesiealbum tradition, she has created a participatory blog where people can submit their own entries to an online poesiealbum at theyearofgoodbyes.blogspot.com.

The Year of Goodbyes was named a 2011 Notable Book of Jewish Content in the Older Readers Category by the Sydney Taylor Book Award committee of the Association of Jewish Libraries.


AUDIO:


Mp3


VIDEO:



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: facebook.com/bookoflifepodcast
Twitter: @bookoflifepod

Your feedback is appreciated! Please write to bookoflifepodcast@gmail.com or call our voicemail number at 561-206-2473.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The 2011 Sydney Taylor Book Award Blog Tour


The Sydney Taylor Book Award will be celebrating and showcasing its 2011 gold and silver medalists with a Blog Tour, February 6-11, 2011! Interviews with winning authors and illustrators will appear on a wide variety of Jewish, kidlit, and family-interest blogs. For those of you who have not yet experienced a Blog Tour, it's basically a virtual book tour. Instead of going to a library or bookstore to see an author or illustrator speak, you go to a website on or after the advertised date to read an author’s or illustrator's interview.

Below is the schedule for the 2011 Sydney Taylor Book Award Blog Tour. Please follow the links to visit the hosting blogs on or after their tour dates, and be sure to leave plenty of comments!

The Book of Life will be participating on Tuesday, February 8, hosting an interview with Jaime Zollars, illustrator of the Sydney Taylor Honor Book Cakes and Miracles: A Purim Tale by Barbara Diamond Goldin.

For the full list of this year's winners, honors, and notable books, please visit the Association of Jewish Libraries website.

THE 2011 SYDNEY TAYLOR BOOK AWARD BLOG TOUR

SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 6, 2011

Carla Jablonski, author of Resistance
Sydney Taylor Honor Award winner in the Older Readers Category
at Jewish Comics

Leland Purvis, illustrator of Resistance
Sydney Taylor Honor Award winner in the Older Readers Category
at Shelf-Employed

Sarah Gershman, author of Modeh Ani: A Good Morning Book
Sydney Taylor Honor Award winner in the Younger Readers Category
at Biblio File

MONDAY, FEBRUARY 7, 2011

Linda Glaser, author of Emma’s Poem: The Voice of the Statue of Liberty
Sydney Taylor Honor Award winner in the Younger Readers Category
at ASHarmony

Claire Nivola, illustrator of Emma’s Poem: The Voice of the Statue of Liberty
Sydney Taylor Honor Award winner in the Younger Readers Category
at Lori Calabrese

Evelyn Krieger, author of One Is Not a Lonely Number
Sydney Taylor Honor Award winner in the Older Readers Category
at Ima On and Off the Bima

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 8, 2011

Barbara Diamond Goldin, author of Cakes and Miracles: A Purim Tale
Sydney Taylor Honor Award winner in the Younger Readers Category
at Great Kid Books

Jaime Zollars, illustrator of Cakes and Miracles: A Purim Tale
Sydney Taylor Honor Award winner in the Younger Readers Category
at The Book of Life

Susan Lynn Meyer, author of Black Radishes
Sydney Taylor Honor Award winner in the Older Readers Category
at The 3 Rs – Reading, ‘Riting & Research

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 9, 2011

Howard Schwartz, author of Gathering Sparks
Sydney Taylor Book Award winner in the Younger Readers Category
at Boston Bibliophile

Barry Deutsch, author and illustrator of Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword
Sydney Taylor Book Award winner in the Older Readers Category
at BewilderBlog

Dana Reinhardt, author of The Things a Brother Knows
Sydney Taylor Book Award winner in the Teen Readers Category
at A Chair, a Fireplace, and a Tea Cozy

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 10, 2011

Kristina Swarner, illustrator of Gathering Sparks
Sydney Taylor Book Award winner in the Younger Readers Category
And illustrator of Modeh Ani: A Good Morning Book
Sydney Taylor Honor Award winner in the Younger Readers Category
at Alice Pope’s SCBWI Children’s Market Blog

Sarah Darer Littman, author of Life, After
Sydney Taylor Honor Award winner in the Teen Readers Category
at Into the Wardrobe

Eishes Chayil, author of Hush
Sydney Taylor Honor Award winner in the Teen Readers Category
at Frume Sarah’s World

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 11, 2011

Morris Gleitzman, author of Once
Sydney Taylor Honor Award winner in the Teen Readers Category
at The Fourth Musketeer

Sydney Taylor Award Winners – Wrap-Up
All winners, all categories
at The Whole Megillah

Monday, January 10, 2011

2011 Sydney Taylor Book Awards Announced by the Association of Jewish Libraries

Here is a press release from the Association of Jewish Libraries about the newest winners of the Sydney Taylor Book Award! Please note that The Book of Life has an interview with Barry Deutsch, winner in the Older Readers Category for Hereville, posted below. Interviews with some of the other recognized authors were recorded in 2010 and are in the queue to be released on the podcast in the coming year.
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Music: "Conflict in the Middle Table" by Michael Stampler.


Howard Schwartz and Kristina Swarner, author and illustrator of Gathering Sparks, Barry Deutsch, author and illustrator of Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword, and Dana Reinhardt, author of The Things a Brother Knows are the 2011 winners of the prestigious Sydney Taylor Book Award.

The Sydney Taylor Book Award honors new books for children and teens that exemplify the highest literary standards while authentically portraying the Jewish experience. The award memorializes Sydney Taylor, author of the classic All-of-a-Kind Family series. The winners will receive their awards at the Association of Jewish Libraries convention in Montreal this June.

Schwartz and Swarner will receive the 2011 gold medal in the Sydney Taylor Book Award’s Younger Readers Category for Gathering Sparks, published by Roaring Brook Press, an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Publishing. Both are second time winners. In 1992, Schwartz received the Sydney Taylor Book Award for The Diamond Tree: Jewish Tales from Around the World. Swarner earned the 2008 Sydney Taylor Book Award for her illustrations in The Bedtime Sh’ma: A Goodnight Book by Sarah Gershman.

Gathering Sparks is based on a sixteenth century teaching of “tikkun olam,” or “repairing the world.” Committee member Debbie Colodny commented, “Schwartz spins a calming tale that suggests that the way to bring peace and well-being to our world is by doing good deeds and loving one another... Swarner’s art and Schwartz’s poetic words interpret the concept of the vessel as a fleet of ships outlined in the night sky by millions of starry points of light.”

Deutsch will receive the 2011 gold medal in the Sydney Taylor Book Award’s Older Readers Category for Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword, published by Amulet Books, an imprint of Abrams Books. This is the first graphic novel to win the Award. Committee member Aimee Lurie noted, “Mirka is a clever, headstrong and imaginative heroine who will appeal to a wide audience. Teens who feel like they don’t fit in will have no trouble relating to her balancing what is best for her family versus her desire to fight dragons. Grounded in her religious beliefs, she is willing to put her fantasies aside to celebrate Shabbat. The illustrations strike the perfect balance of showing a realistic Orthodox community, while creating the perfect backdrop for a fairytale.”

Reinhardt will receive the 2011 gold medal in the Sydney Taylor Book Award’s Teen Readers Category for The Things a Brother Knows, published by Wendy Lamb Books, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books. Levi’s older brother Boaz is a military hero, and Levi has always lived in his shadow. Now Boaz is returning from war and it seems everyone thinks Levi is the luckiest boy in town. When Boaz refuses to engage with his family and barely leaves his room, Levi wonders if his brother will ever be normal. Committee member Rita Soltan said, “Reinhardt creates a moving portrayal of teen characters … She provides balance through Levi and Boaz’s Israeli grandfather, who served in Israel and has experienced war and suicide bombings. Realistic and subtle, her story unfolds with enough suspense, sardonic humor and pathos to keep readers focused until a conclusion that leaves room for pondering interpretation.” In 2007, Reinhardt earned a Sydney Taylor Honor Award for A Brief Chapter in My Impossible Life.

Nine Sydney Taylor Honor Books were named for 2011. For Younger Readers, the Honor Award Winners are: Modeh Ani: A Good Morning Book by Sarah Gershman with illustrations by Kristina Swarner (EKS Publishing), Emma's Poem: The Voice of the Statue of Liberty by Linda Glaser with illustrations by Claire A. Nivola (Houghton Mifflin Books for Children), and Cakes and Miracles: A Purim Tale by Barbara Diamond Goldin with illustrations by Jaime Zollars (Marshall Cavendish Children). Sydney Taylor Honor Award Winners for Older Readers include: Resistance by Carla Jablonski with art by Leland Purvis (First Second, an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group), One Is Not a Lonely Number by Evelyn Krieger (YM Books, an imprint of YALDAH Media, Inc.), and Black Radishes by Susan Lynn Meyer (Delacorte Press, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books). For Teen readers, the Honor Award Winners are: Hush by Eishes Chayil (Walker & Company, a division of Bloomsbury Publishing), Once by Morris Gleitzman (Henry Holt and Company), and Life, After by Sarah Darer Littman (Scholastic Press, an imprint of Scholastic, Inc.).

In addition to the medal-winners, the Award Committee designated twenty-seven Notable Books of Jewish Content for 2011: thirteen in the Younger Readers Category, seven in the Older Readers Category, and seven for Teens. Notable titles, and more information about the Sydney Taylor Book Award, may be found online at www.SydneyTaylorBookAward.org.

A blog tour, featuring interviews with winning authors and illustrators, will take place in early February, with participation from a wide range of children's literature, family interest, and Jewish blogs. The blog tour schedule will appear on the Association of Jewish Libraries' blog "People of the Books" at JewishLibraries.org/blog.

# # #

The Sydney Taylor Book Award Winner for Younger Readers:
Gathering Sparks by Howard Schwartz with illustrations by Kristina Swarner
(Roaring Brook Press, an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group)

The Sydney Taylor Book Award Winner for Older Readers:
Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword by Barry Deutsch
(Amulet Books, an imprint of Abrams)

The Sydney Taylor Book Award Winner for Teen Readers:
The Things a Brother Knows by Dana Reinhardt
(Wendy Lamb Books, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books)

Sydney Taylor Honor Award Winners for Younger Readers:
Modeh Ani: A Good Morning Book by Sarah Gershman with illustrations by Kristina Swarner
(EKS Publishing)
Emma's Poem: The Voice of the Statue of Liberty by Linda Glaser with illustrations by Claire A. Nivola
(Houghton Mifflin Books for Children)
Cakes and Miracles: A Purim Tale by Barbara Diamond Goldin with illustrations by Jaime Zollars
(Marshall Cavendish Children)

Sydney Taylor Honor Award Winners for Older Readers:
Resistance by Carla Jablonski with illustrations by Leland Purvis
(First Second, an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group)
One Is Not a Lonely Number by Evelyn Krieger
(YM Books, an imprint of YALDAH Media, Inc.)
Black Radishes by Susan Lynn Meyer
(Delacorte Press, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books)

Sydney Taylor Honor Award Winners for Teen Readers:
Hush by Eishes Chayil
(Walker & Company, a division of Bloomsbury Publishing)
Once by Morris Gleitzman
(Henry Holt and Company)
Life, After by Sarah Darer Littman
(Scholastic Press, an imprint of Scholastic, Inc.)

Notable Books for Younger Readers:
Engineer Ari and the Sukkah Express by Deborah Bodin Cohen with illustrations by Shahar Kober
(Kar-Ben, an imprint of Lerner)
Feivel's Flying Horses by Heidi Smith Hyde with illustrations by Johanna van der Sterre
(Kar-Ben, an imprint of Lerner)
Miriam in the Desert by Jacqueline Jules with illustrations by Natascia Ugliano
(Kar-Ben, an imprint of Lerner)
The Little Red Hen and the Passover Matzah by Leslie Kimmelman with illustrations by Paul Meisel
(Holiday House)
Say Hello, Lily by Deborah Lakritz with illustrations by Martha Aviles
(Kar-Ben, an imprint of Lerner)
Beautiful Yetta, The Yiddish Chicken by Daniel Pinkwater with illustrations by Jill Pinkwater
(Feiwel and Friends, an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group)
A Tale of Two Seders by Mindy Avra Portnoy with illustrations by Valeria Cis
(Kar-Ben, an imprint of Lerner)
Jackie's Gift by Sharon Robinson with illustrations by E.B. Lewis
(The Viking Press, an imprint of Penguin)
Zishe the Strong Man by Robert Rubenstein with illustrations by Woody Miller
(Kar-Ben, an imprint of Lerner)
Sara Finds a Mitzva by Rebeka Simhaee with illustrations by Michael Weber
(Hachai Publishing)
Baxter, the Pig Who Wanted to be Kosher by Laurel Snyder with illustrations by David Goldin
(Tricycle Press, an imprint of The Crown Trade Group/Random House)
The Rooster Prince of Breslov by Ann Stampler with illustrations by Eugene Yelchin
(Clarion, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
Dear Tree by Doba Rivka Weber with illustrations by Phyllis Saroff
(Hachai Publishing)

Notable Books for Older Readers:
Is It Night or Day? by Fern Schumer Chapman
(Farrar Straus Giroux, an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group)
Kings and Carpenters: One Hundred Bible Land Jobs You Might Have Praised or Panned
by Laurie Coulter with illustrations by Mary Newbigging
(Annick Press)
Hot Pursuit: Murder in Mississippi by Stacia Deutsch and Rhody Cohon with illustrations by Craig Orback
(Kar-Ben, an imprint of Lerner)
The Orphan Rescue by Anne Dublin with illustrations by Qin Leng
(Second Story Press)
The Year of Goodbyes by Debbie Levy
(Hyperion Books, an imprint of Disney Book Group)
Sharing Our Homeland: Palestinian and Jewish Children at Summer Peace Camp by Trisha Marx with photographs by Cindy Karp
(Lee & Low Books)
Mitzvah the Mutt by Sylvia Rouss with illustrations by Martha Rast
(Yaldah Publishing)

Notable Books for Teen Readers:
An Unspeakable Crime: The Prosecution and Persecution of Leo Frank by Elaine Marie Alphin
(Carolrhoda Books, an imprint of Lerner)
Annexed by Sharon Dogar
(Houghton Mifflin Books for Children)
Inconvenient by Margie Gelbwasser
(Flux, an imprint of Llewellyn Worldwide Ltd.)
Anne Frank: The Anne Frank House Authorized Graphic Biography by Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colon
(Hill and Wang)
Queen of Secrets by Jenny Meyerhoff
(Farrar Straus Giroux, an imprint of Macmillan)
Under a Red Sky: Memoir of a Childhood in Communist Romania by Haya Leah Molnar
(Farrar Straus Giroux, an imprint of Macmillan)
Cry of the Giraffe by Judie Oron
(Annick Press)

Here's Hereville


I met Barry Deutsch, author of Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword, at Miami Book Fair International in November, 2010. Hereville is the 2011 winner of the Sydney Taylor Book Award in the Older Readers Category, the first graphic novel ever to win this prestigious literary prize. For the full list of 2011 prize winners, visit the Association of Jewish Libraries' blog "People of the Books."

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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
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