A Podcast About Jewish Kidlit (Mostly)

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Thursday, October 29, 2015

#Readukkah: A Challenge & A Giveaway

The Association of Jewish Libraries kicks off its first reading challenge with #Readukkah during Hanukkah, December 6-14, 2015. 

It's easy! Anyone can participate, including kids. All you have to do is: 
  • Read one Jewish book 
  • Review it online (include hashtag #Readukkah) 
  • During Hanukkah, December 6-14, 2015 
You pick the book - any reading level, fiction or nonfiction, Jewish in any way you choose to define it. 

Review your book anywhere online: on a blog, GoodReads, Amazon, Facebook, YouTube, or even on AJL's listserv, Hasafran. Use the hashtag #Readukkah somewhere in your review to help readers find you! 

By sharing your #Readukkah reviews of Jewish books, you will help spread the word about worthwhile titles, bringing them to the attention of more readers, increasing the market and supporting the publishing of Jewish books! 


Sign up to participate in #Readukkah! All participants will be entered into a drawing for a free copy of FIREBRAND by Aaron Barnhart (Quindaro Press, 2015), YA historical fiction about August Bondi, a Jewish freedom fighter in the Civil War.

After John Brown, the most interesting man in Bleeding Kansas had to be August Bondi, the subject of Aaron Barnhart's exciting new novelized biography, Firebrand. At age 14, young August is an ordinary kid growing up in Vienna's Jewish quarter when the revolutions of 1848 break out. His friends are killed, and August goes to the front lines to fight. At age 15, his parents move to America, and August sees slavery for the first time. His anger leads him to Kansas and the fight for freedom. Adapted from the 1958 book by beloved author Lloyd Alexander, Firebrand reimagines Bondi's story as a coming-of-age tale. How did it feel to be caught up in a freedom struggle so young? And when given a chance to live the good life in America, why did August return to the fight? “Involving from start to finish,” says Midwest Book Review. “Likable” and “historically rigorous,” adds Kirkus Reviews

For each 12 sign-ups up to 36 (double chai), another giveaway copy will be added for a total of three chances to win! Winners will be selected during Thanksgiving weekend, to give you time to read and review Firebrand as your #Readukkah title if you wish.


Tuesday, October 13, 2015

AJL Reads! A Virtual Jewish Book Discussion

Please join the Association of Jewish Libraries for a book discussion about the adventurous Jewish historical novel THE WAYWARD MOON by Janice Weizman on Sunday, October 18, 2015 at 9pm Eastern/8pm Central/6pm Pacific Time via call-in show. We'll discuss the book by phone, and record the discussion for those who miss it.

Call (724) 444-7444 and enter the Call ID 139461 to participate! The discussion will last approximately one hour.

This is Association of Jewish Libraries' first experiment with a virtual book discussion event. Please spread the word and please join us on Sunday to make it a success! Don’t worry if you haven’t read the book yet – the discussion will be a good introduction that will make you eager to read it afterwards.

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

#Diversiverse Challenge

I am participating in the #Diversiverse Challenge, in which you have to:
  • Read and review one book
  • Written by a person of color
  • During the first two weeks of October (October 4th-17th, 2015)

I wanted to include a Jewishly diverse angle, so I selected My Basmati Bat Mitzvah by Paula J. Freedman (Amulet/Abrams, 2013). The author and the protagonist have a mixture of European Jewish and East Indian heritage. The novel is aimed at 10-14 year olds.

I found this to be a delightful book. Twelve-year-old Tara Feinstein forges her identity as a Jew with strong pride in both the Jewish and Indian sides of her family. She struggles and grows as her relationships with best friends and boys change and develop, she expresses her individuality while respecting her family relationships, and she takes her Bat Mitzvah lessons seriously. Despite all the important learning going on, the tone remains light and upbeat, a fun read. Characters are well-developed and likable. Comparisons with Are You There, God? It's Me Margaret by Judy Blume (1970) are inevitable, as a mixed-heritage girl contemplates her religious identity, but Tara seems to have a pleasing confidence that Margaret lacks. As a bonus, the paperback edition (2015) has recipes included at the back for Jewish traditional dishes with an Indian twist

For those who enjoyed the Indian/Jewish mix of Mira in the Present Tense, The Whole Story of Half a Girl, or the cultural tensions of the film Bend It Like Beckham, My Basmati Bat Mitzvah will be very welcome. For an interesting comparison of Basmati and Mira, check out Matzo Masala in The New York Times, Nov. 2013.

Check out other entries in the #Diversiverse Challenge here!

Thursday, October 01, 2015


Maggie Anton visits Congregation B'nai Israel

I interviewed author  Maggie Anton about Apprentice, the first book in her Rav Hisda's Daughter series, back in October 2013 - you can listen to that podcast here. Here is my follow-up interview with her about the second book in the series, Enchantress, which continues Hisdadukh's story.


Mp3 (22:00)


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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