Showing posts from December, 2015

10 Years of The Book of Life Podcast

Ten years ago on December 21, 2005, I posted the very first episode of The Book of Life . Fourteen and a quarter minutes long, the episode is a mix of home-grown Hanukkah celebrations at Congregation B'nai Israel , the Boca Raton synagogue where I am librarian, and interviews with authors. I had summoned up the courage to approach Eric Kimmel (aka "Mr. Hanukkah"), who I'd met at the 2005 Association of Jewish Libraries conference when he won the Sydney Taylor Body-of-Work Award, and I interviewed him over the phone (with an in-ear recorder!) about his classic Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins . I also called Rebecca Tova Ben-Zvi , who had been my colleague when I worked for the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh and had since authored Four Sides, Eight Nights: A New Spin on Hanukkah . Because it's been ten years and the downloads have had so long to accumulate, that episode has been downloaded 11,306 times and counting. You can still hear that very first episod

The Mitten String

This post is a double dip! It’s my contribution to the Multicultural Kid Blogs Hanukkah series ( see the whole series here ) AND it’s my entry in #Readukkah, the 2015 Jewish Reading Challenge , which encourages everyone to spread the word about great Jewish titles in order to increase readership and support Jewish publishing. Last year I wrote a review of The Mitten String for School Library Journal, which you can see below. I continue to adore this book, and when I thought about what I could use for my #Readukkah selection, this title jumped to mind as an ongoing favorite. I love the sense of community that shines forth from the very first line: “It was said that Ruthie Tober’s family warmed the hands of the entire village, because everyone who lived there, big and small, wore mittens knitted from Tober wool.” I love the spare writing that makes relationships clear so simply: the ease between Mother and Ruthie shows in the wink Mother gives when she reminds Ruthie

Hanukkah Books: A Diverse Dozen

READ THE ARTICLE     🕮    I was very pleased when Multicultural Kid Blogs invited me to write a guest post about Hanukkah. MKB is a collective of blogs from around the world "for families and educators raising world citizens, through arts, activities, crafts, food, language, and love."  Because the post was for a general audience, I started with a roundup of facts about Hanukkah. Because of the diversity emphasis of MKB, I focused my reading list on books that show the diversity of the Jewish experience by posting about Hanukkah books with Sephardic characters, Jews of color, Jews with disabilities, and interfaith families.  You can read Hanukkah Books: A Diverse Dozen here! Enjoy!

Enough with the Holocaust Books for Children!

LISTEN TO THE PODCAST     🕮    It all started with Marjorie Ingall ’s Tablet article, Enough with the Holocaust Books for Children . As she says in the article, "if you dropped an alien into the children’s section of a library, it would think Jews disappeared after World War II.” Then Arthur A. Levine shared Marjorie’s article on Facebook , commenting that “this smart article says many things that I’ve been saying for a while.” Twenty comments later, Elissa Gershowitz and Yael Levy had thoroughly discussed the difficulties and triumphs of getting NON-Holocaust books for kids published, and Barbara Bietz and I (blogger and podcaster, respectively) had started wondering aloud how we could bring more attention to these issues. Thus, this podcast episode was born. BOOK LIST of mostly non-Holocaust great Jewish kidlit (titles mentioned during the podcast or s ubmitted later by panelists ) I Lived on Butterfly Hill by Marjorie Agosin An Unspeakable Crime: The Prose