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Canadian Interlude: Sharon McKay

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LISTEN TO THE PODCAST    |    BUY THE BOOK     🕮    The Book of Life's Canadian Correspondent, Anne Dublin , interviews author Sharon McKay , winner of the Canadian Jewish Book Award in the Children and Youth Literature category for Enemy Territory . The Canadian magazine Resource Links says "McKay weaves a story of depth and understanding, a beautiful portrait of reluctant friendship, of overcoming profound prejudices, misconceptions, and deep-seeded anger, even hate."   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.

Laurel Snyder Redux

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Laurel Snyder LISTEN TO THE PODCAST I first made friends with author Laurel Snyder in 2008, when I interviewed her for the Book of Life episode "2 Jews, 3 Opinions." She crops up on this blog every now and then (do a search for her name), usually because we are having some kind of friendly argument. When she stopped by Florida in 2012 I recorded a wide-ranging conversation with her. She is certainly an outside-the-box thinker in the world of Jewish kidlit. 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. 

Rav Hisda's Daughter

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Maggie Anton     LISTEN TO THE PODCAST    |    BUY THE BOOK An interview with Maggie Anton , author of Rav Hisda's Daughter , Book I: Apprentice: A Novel of Love, the Talmud, and Sorcery. Maggie has a lot of interesting background information to share, including some actual spells! 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.

Openings on the Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee

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2013 Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee with winning authors and illustrators The Sydney Taylor Book Award is like the Newbery Medal of Jewish children's literature. As past Chair of the award committee, I am excited to announce that there will soon be three openings for Jewish kidlit lovers. To learn how to apply for a position on this prestigious committee, please read this announcement from current Chair Aimee Lurie:  Dear Friends:  Three positions on the Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee will be available beginning January 1, 2014. Applicants should be members of AJL, familiar with the scope of Judaic children’s literature, experienced in writing critical reviews, willing and able to read and review over 120 books during the course of a year, and able to meet deadlines.  Committee members are expected to attend annual conventions and to participate in committee-sponsored events, including speaking at the Committee’s annual presentation. The term of m

Intentions

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Deborah Heiligman (center) at the 2013 AJL Conference in Houston, TX, with her son Benjamin and her friend, AJL member Elinor Grumet.   LISTEN TO THE PODCAST    |    BUY THE BOOK Deborah Heiligman 's first teen novel INTENTIONS won the 2013 Sydney Taylor Book Award. It is a powerful portrayal of faith betrayed, and how one heals from such betrayal. In this podcast, Deborah speaks about her inspiration for the story, and the doubts she experienced as she brought it to life. 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.

Whitman's Jewish Picture Books

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  LISTEN TO THE PODCAST    |   BUY THE WOODEN SWORD / HAPPY BIRTHDAY, TREE The publisher Albert Whitman & Company comes out with a Jewish picture book or two almost every year. Here's a show-floor interview from the 2012 American Library Association conference with Marketing Director Michelle Bayuk about two of their recent Jewish-interest picture books:   The Wooden Sword: a Jewish folktale from Afghanistan by Ann Redisch Stampler (which has since won a 2013 Sydney Taylor Honor Award in the Older Readers category) Happy Birthday, Tree: A Tu B'shevat Story by Madelyn Rosenberg (also author of The Schmutzy Family , a 2013 AJL Notable Book for Younger Readers) 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 appreciat

Zayde Comes to Live

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Sheri Sinykin at AJL Conference     LISTEN TO THE PODCAST    |    BUY THE BOOK I discovered Sheri Sinykin 's touching picture book Zayde Comes to Live at the American Library Association conference in 2012, and was pleased when it won a 2013 Sydney Taylor Honor Award. It's a beautifully written story of a young girl coming to terms with her grandfather's impending death. Be sure to have tissues handy when you read it! I interviewed Sheri by Skype and was later lucky to be able to meet her at the 2013 Association of Jewish Libraries conference in Houston, Texas. In the picture above, taken at AJL, she holds her award certificate and a picture created in her honor by her grandchildren! The book is illustrated by Kristina Swarner , who has received Sydney Taylor Book Awards in the past for The Bedtime Sh'ma (2008), Gathering Sparks (2011). CREDITS: Produced by: Feldman Children's Library at Congregation B'nai Israel   Supported in part by:

BLOG TOUR: Super Pop! Pop Culture Top Ten Lists to Help You Win at Trivia, Survive in the Wild, and Make It Through the Holidays

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Everybody loves Top Ten lists, so I was pleased to be invited to host a blog tour stop for Super Pop!  Author Dan Harmon claims that Top Ten lists are not just fun, they can be used for self improvement. He has organized his lists into helpful categories such as "Be More Interesting" and "Find Happiness."  The countdown lists within those categories have unusual themes such as "Find Your Calling: All-Consuming Hobbies for Your Consideration" and "Sleep with the Fishes: The Ten Best Places to Find Your Spirit Animal." The lists are populated by books, movies, TV shows, comics, podcasts, video games and songs - anything "that people can reasonably expect to consume for fun." Harmon annotates each entry with a paragraph or so that is sometimes snarky, sometimes witty, and always entertaining. I don't always agree with his choices; for instance, "Drink the Kool-Aid: Touchstones for Quirky, Like-Minded People" includes St

Super Pop! Blog Tour

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On Tuesday, June 11, 2013 The Book of Life will be a blog tour stop for  Super Pop! Pop Culture Lists to Help You Win at Trivia, Survive in the Wild, and Make It Through the Holidays by Daniel Harmon (published by Zest Books, June 2013, $16.99; ISBN 9781936976362). It was short notice but I couldn't resist the chance to participate because the book looks like so much fun. Here's the description sent to me by Zest Books: As David Letterman demonstrates on the Late Show , top ten lists are really funny. And we know lists are a great way to get organized, get things done, and streamline life’s many tasks. But now, pop culture expert Daniel Harmon takes a totally new approach to list making in his new book Super Pop! and organizes 500 movies, songs, video games, and books into top ten lists that not only have the power to entertain, but also to help create a new and better you! To put a Jewish spin on the theme of Top Ten lists, I'd like to invite you to help me b

The Schmutzy Family

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LISTEN TO THE PODCAST    |    BUY THE BOOK At the ALA conference in 2012, I interviewed the folks at Holiday House about the hilarious Shabbat picture book, The Schmutzy Family by Madelyn Rosenberg . This family embraces the messiness of life, but also knows the peace of orderliness. 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.

The Jewish Book Carnival: May 2013

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Welcome to the May 2013 Jewish Book Carnival ! The Jewish Book Carnival is a monthly online event in which bloggers who blog about Jewish books share highlights from their own blogs. You'll find links to Jewish sites across the blogosphere, featuring interviews, book reviews, ruminations and more.  The Jewish Book Carnival usually posts on the 15th of the month; this month in observance of Shavuot we have delayed posting until the 16th. And now, on to the links! The Jewish Book Council sent in a link from their blog,  The Prosen People , featuring an  interview with Naomi Alderman, author of  The Liars' Gospel . The Association of Jewish Libraries blog, People of the Books , shared this interview with Austin Ratner, author of Land of the Living . Kathe Pinchuck at Life is Like a Library shares her excitement about   Leadership in the Wilderness: Authority & Anarchy in the Book of Numbers   by Dr. Erica Brown. On My Machberet , Erika Dreifus recommends some

Eugene Yelchin: Breaking Stalin's Nose

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LISTEN TO THE PODCAST    |    BUY THE BOOK At the 2012 Association of Jewish Libraries conference, I sat with author Eugene Yelchin during lunch and snuck in a quick interview. He's the author of the 2012 Newbery Honor book Breaking Stalin's Nose , based on his own youth in Stalinist Moscow. He gave a very moving talk about freedom of information earlier during the conference. Yelchin is also the illustrator of Ann Stampler's picture book, The Rooster Prince of Breslov , named a 2011 Notable Book by the Association of Jewish Libraries and winner of the Jewish Book Council's National Jewish Book 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: facebook.com/bookoflifepodcast  Twitter: @bookoflifepod   Your feedback is appreciated! Please write to bookoflifepodcast@gmail.com or call

The Sophie Brody Award

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LISTEN TO THE PODCAST Emily Bergman, member of the Sophie Brody Award committee, discusses the ins and outs of choosing the best Jewish book of the year. The award is presented for Jewish literature by RUSA, an arm of ALA. See  http://www.ala.org/rusa/awards/brody  for more info. 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. 

Hava Nagila: The Movie

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LISTEN TO THE PODCAST    |    BUY THE FILM Filmmaker Roberta Grossman offered a work-in-progress screening of her documentary on Hava Nagila at the Association of Jewish Libraries 2012 conference in California. Here we have her introductory remarks and the Q&A that followed the screening. The film is now opening in theaters across the country! 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.  

Canadian Guest Interview: Kathy Kacer with Anne Dublin

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LISTEN TO THE PODCAST    |    BUY THE BOOK The Book of Life's Canadian correspondent, Anne Dublin , interviews author Kathy Kacer about the compilation of children's responses to the Holocaust entitled We Are Their Voice . 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.  

2013 STBA Blog Tour: Day 5

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On this final day of the Sydney Taylor Book Award Blog Tour, awards committee member Barbara Krasner hosts a roundtable wrap-up at her blog, The Whole Megillah . Read responses from various winners, as if they were participating in a panel presentation at a conference! Thanks to all the winners for their participation in the blog tour, to all the bloggers for hosting, and to you, the readers, for your enthusiasm and attention!

2013 STBA Blog Tour: Day 4

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Read an interview with Linda Leopold Strauss, author of The Elijah Door: A Passover Tale (Sydney Taylor Honor Book in the Younger Readers Category) at Pen and Prose ! A highlight: "As I was writing the story, I kept hearing the cadence of my grandparents’ Yiddish-speaking voices in my head. The repetition of phrases, the rhythms, the word combinations. And I think their voices also very much informed the way I wrote the story." Read an interview with Alexi Natchev, illustrator of The Elijah Door: A Passover Tale (Sydney Taylor Honor Book in the Younger Readers Category) at Madelyn Rosenberg's Virtual Living Room ! A highlight: "In my artistic education, illustration was really not just for children. In my formative years, art was part of the idealogical system. We were living at that time on the other side of the Iron Curtain so everything was very ideological and politicized. But in the illustration field you could be a little more creative, not so rigidly

2013 STBA Blog Tour: Day 3

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Read an interview with Sheri Sinykin, author of Zayde Comes to Live (Sydney Taylor Honor Book in the Younger Readers Category) at Read, Write, Repeat ! A highlight: "My dearest wish is that Zayde will bring reassurance, peace, and completeness — shalom! — to children just discovering the circle of life they’ve heard sung about in the popular animated movie." Read an interview with Kristina Swarner, illustrator of Zayde Comes to Live (Sydney Taylor Honor Book in the Younger Readers Category) at Writing and Illustrating ! A highlight: "I really didn’t want to make the art too sad or pensive. The ideas evolved as I sketched, and the more I sketched, the more the tenderness and joyfulness of the story came out in the art." *** PODCAST! Audio interview with Sheri Sinykin and text interview with Kristina Swarner coming soon on The Book of Life!

Blog Tour Interview with Illustrator Kristina Swarner

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I am proud to take part in the 2013 Sydney Taylor Book Award Blog Tour! During the week of February 11-15, 2013 you can find interviews with gold and silver medalists all over the blogosphere. Check out my earlier post (January 31, 2013) for the full schedule. Kristina Swarner is the illustrator of Zayde Comes to Live by Sheri Sinykin, a 2013 Sydney Taylor Honor Award winner in the Younger Readers Category . She is no stranger to the Sydney Taylor, having won a gold medal in 2008 for The Bedtime Sh'ma by Sarah Gershman, a silver medal for Gershman's 2011 sequel, Modeh Ani , and another gold medal in 2011 for Gathering Sparks by Howard Schwartz. She also illustrated Schwartz's book Before You Were Born , a 2006 Sydney Taylor Notable Book and winner of the 2006 Koret Jewish Book Award. TBoL: Kristina, what medium do you use for your illustrations? KS: I use a combination of printmaking, watercolor, and colored pencil on heavyweight paper. TBoL: Zayde Com