Friday, January 27, 2017

Everybody Says Shalom #ReadYourWorld


Today, January 27, 2017, is Multicultural Children's Book Day, a celebration of diversity in kidlit. Check out multiculturalchildrensbookday.com to find diversity booklists for kids, a kindness kit for teachers, and giveaways of diverse books. And be sure to search for the hashtag #ReadYourWorld to find links to multicultural children's book reviews and reading suggestions.

In the spirit of the Day's hashtag, #ReadYourWorld, I'm posting a recording of Leslie Kimmelman's talk at the 2016 Association of Jewish Libraries conference in Charleston, SC. Leslie spoke about her picture book, Everybody Says Shalom, which was a 2016 Sydney Taylor Honor Book in the Younger Readers category. This charming book showcases friendly diversity in an Israeli setting. Enjoy, and shalom!


CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO THE PODCAST: 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 
 
Support The Book of Life by becoming a patron at Patreon.com/bookoflife!
 
Your feedback is appreciated! Please write to bookoflifepodcast@gmail.com or call our voicemail number at 561-206-2473.


Friday, January 20, 2017

2017 Sydney Taylor Book Award Blog Tour


The Sydney Taylor Book Award will be showcasing its 2017 gold and silver medalists with a Blog Tour, February 6-10, 2017! Interviews with winning authors and illustrators will appear on a variety of Jewish and kidlit blogs. Interviews will appear on the dates below, and will remain available to read at your own convenience.

Below is the schedule for the 2017 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 them plenty of comments!

2017 SYDNEY TAYLOR BOOK AWARD BLOG TOUR

MONDAY, FEBRUARY 6, 2017

Gavriel Savit, author of Anna and the Swallow Man
Sydney Taylor Book Award winner in the Teen Readers category
At Book Q&A's with Deborah Kalb 

Andrea Davis Pinkney (author), Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher (illustrators) of A Poem for Peter
Sydney Taylor Honor Book in the Older Readers category
At The Book of Life 

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 7, 2017

Debbie Levy and Elizabeth Baddeley, author and illustrator of I Dissent
Sydney Taylor Book Award winner in the Younger Readers category
At Ima On and Off the Bima
 
Joel Ben Izzy, author of Dreidels on the Brain
Sydney Taylor Honor Book in the Older Readers category
At Bildungsroman

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 8, 2017

Adam Gidwitz and Hatem Aly, author and illustrator of The Inquisitor's Tale
Sydney Taylor Book Award winner in the Older Readers category
At The Prosen People

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 9, 2017

Michelle Edwards and G. Brian Karas, author and illustrator of A Hat for Mrs. Goldman
Sydney Taylor Honor Book in the Younger Readers category
At Jewish Books for Kids with Barbara Bietz

Richard Michelson and Edel Rodriguez, author and illustrator of Fascinating
Sydney Taylor Honor Book in the Younger Readers category
At The Horn Book Blog

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 10, 2017

Blog tour wrap-up at The Whole Megillah



Storytime for Social Jutice


Storytime Underground, a blog and Facebook group for children's librarians, challenged participants to use their storytimes to make the world a fairer place. As the organizers said, "Take a moment to think about what you can do to help teach empathy and inclusiveness in your programming." These goals are represented by the Jewish values of tikkun olam (repairing the world) and tzedakah (justice). The hashtag #storytimejusticewarrior helps us find examples from storytime providers everywhere.



During the week following Martin Luther King Jr. Day, my storytime theme was skin, its functions and colors. I particularly enjoy using puppets to teach this concept. This pair of puppets from Sunny & Co. offer a great Venn diagram of intersecting comparisons and contrasts. Their hair is the same color but different styles. Their clothing both includes denim but for different items. I love it that the boy puppet is the one who has jewelry on, flipping expectations. Having these puppets lead a discussion about "same and different" puts skin in perspective as one of many things that makes us each unique yet unifies us too. After puppet time, we read Shades of People by Shelley Rotner, so we could see real skin tones of real people. We followed up with My Nose, Your Nose by Melanie Walsh and The Belly Book by Fran Manushkin, which both combine a celebration of diversity and universality.

I work with mostly white, affluent preschool children in a synagogue setting, and I struggle with how to introduce social justice concepts to them in a relatable way. I hope that by making them aware of skin's function, and by celebrating its many forms, I can lay the groundwork for them to become fair-minded and unbiased people as they grow up. It's an uphill battle, because the backdrop of this well-intended lesson is systemic racism, and I fear that my efforts may do little in that context. This article, "For Whites (Like Me): On White Kids" urges us to confront the issue of race more directly. I have not yet found the courage to do so with other people's 2-5 year olds. I'd love to hear from other storytime providers who have found a way to have a truly substantive conversation with children about race and racism.




Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The Inquisitor's Tale




The Inquisitor's Tale: Or, the Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog by Adam Gidwitz with illustrations by Hatem Aly is the 2017 Sydney Taylor Book Award winner in the Older Readers category, and it was a National Jewish Book Award Finalist in the Children's Literature category. Both these awards were announced in January 2017; I interviewed Adam long before that, soon after meeting him at a kidlit author speed dating event at the American Library Association convention in Orlando in June 2016.


The Inquisitor's Tale has been receiving accolades from simply everyone. A particularly insightful review was the one by Betsy Bird at A Fuse #8 Production blog on the School Library Journal website.


CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO THE PODCAST: 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 
 
Support The Book of Life by becoming a patron at Patreon.com/bookoflife!
 
Your feedback is appreciated! Please write to bookoflifepodcast@gmail.com.


Friday, January 13, 2017

Bonus Episode: The 2017 Sydney Taylor Book Awards!


Ellen Tilman is the chair of the Sydney Taylor Book Award committee of the Association of Jewish Libraries. She joined us by phone from her home in Philadelphia to talk about the newest crop of winners that were announced just this week.

Here's the official announcement with the full list of winners, honors, and notable books: click here.

Here's my roundup of winning books that have appeared on The Book of Life: click here.

And here's Ellen:

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO THE PODCAST: 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, January 11, 2017

Book Awards, Podcasted

AJL's Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee, June 2016
January 11, 2017 was a big day for Jewish book awards - both the Association of Jewish Libraries and the Jewish Book Council announced winning titles! Many of these books have already been covered on The Book of Life podcast, and others are in the pipeline now.


I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark by Debbie Levy, illustrated by Elizabeth Baddeley, won the Sydney Taylor Book Award in the Younger Readers category AND the National Jewish Book Award in the Children's Literature category. Hear from author Debbie Levy in this November 2016 podcast.


The Inquisitor's Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog by Adam Gidwitz, illustrated by Hatel Aly, won the Sydney Taylor Book Award in the Older Readers category AND was a National Jewish Book Award Finalist in the Children's Literature category. Hear my interview with Adam in this January 2017 podcast.


Dreidels on the Brain by Joel Ben Izzy was a Sydney Taylor Honor Book in the Older Readers category AND a National Jewish Book Award Finalist in the Children's Literature category. Hear my interview with Joel in this December 2016 podcast.


Fascinating: The Life of Leonard Nimoy by Richard Michelson, illustrated by Edel Rodriguez, was a Sydney Taylor Honor Book in the Younger Readers category. Hear my interview with Rich in this October 2016 podcast.



Another Me by Eva Wiseman was a National Jewish Book Award Finalist in the Young Adult category for the Posner Award. The Book of Life's Canadian Correspondent Anne Dublin recorded an interview with Eva Wiseman that will be published this spring on the podcast.


 
The Sundown Kid: A Southwestern Shabbat by Barbara Bietz was named a Notable Book for Younger Readers by the Association of Jewish Libraries. I reviewed this title for #Readukkah 2016, and I expect to interview my friend Barbara for the podcast in the future.


Anna and the Swallow Man by Gavriel Savit won the Sydney Taylor Book Award in the Teen Readers category AND the National Jewish Book Award's Goldberg Prize for Debut Fiction AND was a Finalist for the National Jewish Book Award's Posner Award for Young Adult literature. While I have not yet had an opportunity to interview Gavriel, I thought it was worth pointing out the many accolades this book has received. Perhaps I will have an opportunity to interview the author in the future - watch this space!

Full lists of winners:
* 2017 Sydney Taylor Book Award
* 2016 National Jewish Book Award


2017 Sydney Taylor Book Award Winners Announced!


For More Information Contact:
Ellen Tilman, Chair
Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee
Association of Jewish Libraries
(215) 906-4657

January 11, 2017

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


2017 SYDNEY TAYLOR BOOK AWARD WINNERS ANNOUNCED

Winners of the annual Sydney Taylor Book Award were announced by the Association of Jewish Libraries today. Named in memory of Sydney Taylor, author of the classic All-of-a-Kind Family series, the award recognizes books for children and teens that exemplify high literary standards while authentically portraying the Jewish experience.

GOLD MEDALISTS

I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark by Debbie Levy with illustrations by Elizabeth Baddeley, published by Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers, won the Sydney Taylor Book Award in the Younger Readers category. This delightful biography of the Supreme Court Justice teaches children that dissent does not make a person disagreeable, and can even help change the world. The grab-your-attention illustrations help explain the text.

The Inquisitor’s Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog by Adam Gidwitz, illustrated by Hatem Aly, published by Dutton Children’s Books/Penguin Random House, won the Sydney Taylor Book Award in the Older Readers category.  Part fantasy and part adventure, this is the tale of strangers who become friends while on a quest to save thousands of volumes of Talmud. The beautiful illuminations reflect the medieval flavor of the book.

Anna and the Swallow Man by Gavriel Savit, published by Alfred A. Knopf/Penguin Random House, won the Sydney Taylor Book Award in the Teen Readers category. Anna is left alone in 1939 Krakow when the Nazis take her father away.  She meets the mysterious Swallow Man who is able to speak “bird,” and travels with him in the forests of Poland, where they spend four years hiding and eluding capture.  This is a haunting story that may be allegory or folktale or perhaps both.

SILVER MEDALISTS

Four Sydney Taylor Honor Books were also recognized. For Younger Readers, the Honor Books are Fascinating: The Life of Leonard Nimoy by Richard Michelson with illustrations by Edel Rodriguez, published by Alfred A. Knopf/Penguin Random House, and A Hat For Mrs. Goldman: A Story About Knitting and Love written by Michelle Edwards with illustrations by G. Brian Karas, published by Schwartz and Wade Books/Penguin Random House.

Dreidels on the Brain written by Joel Ben Izzy and published by Dial Books for Young Readers/Penguin Random House, and A Poem For Peter: The Story of Ezra Jack Keats and the Creation of The Snowy Day by Andrea Davis Pinkney with illustrations by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher, published by Viking Children’s Books/Penguin Random House, are the Honor books in the Older Readers Category.

In addition to the medal winners, the Award Committee designated ten Notable Books of Jewish Content for 2017.  More information about the Sydney Taylor Book Award and a complete listing of the award winners and notables can be found at www.SydneyTaylorBookAward.org.

Winning authors and illustrators will receive their awards at the Annual Conference of the Association of Jewish Libraries, to be held in New York City in June. Gold and silver recipients will also participate in a blog tour during February.  For more information about the blog tour please visit www.jewishlibraries.org/blog.

### 


 The Sydney Taylor Book Award Winner for Younger Readers
I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark
by Debbie Levy with illustrations by Elizabeth Baddeley
(Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers) 

The Sydney Taylor Book Award Winner for Older Readers
The Inquisitor’s Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog
by Adam Gidwitz with illustrations by Hatem Aly
(Dutton Children’s Books/Penguin Random House) 

The Sydney Taylor Book Award Winner for Teen Readers
Anna and the Swallow Man by Gavriel Savit
(Alfred A. Knopf/Penguin Random House) 

Sydney Taylor Honor Books for Younger Readers
Fascinating: The Life of Leonard Nimoy
by Richard Michelson with illustrations by Edel Rodriguez
(Alfred A. Knopf/Penguin Random House) 

A Hat For Mrs. Goldman: A Story About Knitting and Love
by Michelle Edwards with illustrations by G. Brian Karas
(Schwartz and Wade Books/ Penguin Random House) 

Sydney Taylor Honor Books for Older Readers
Dreidels on the Brain by Joel Ben Izzy
(Dial Books for Young Readers/Penguin Random House) 

A Poem for Peter: The Story of Ezra Jack Keats and the Creation of the Snowy Day
by Andrea Davis Pinkney with illustrations by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher
(Viking Children’s Books/Penguin Random House)

Notable Books for Younger Readers
Chicken Soup, Chicken Soup by Pamela Mayer with illustrations by Deborah Melmon
(Kar-Ben Publishing) 

Gabriel’s Horn
by Eric Kimmel with illustrations by Maria Surducan
(Kar-Ben Publishing) 

Not This Turkey by Jessica Steinberg with illustrations by Amanda Pike
(Albert Whitman & Company) 

On One Foot by Linda Glaser with illustrations by Nuria Balaguer
(Kar-Ben Publishing) 

The Sundown Kid: A Southwestern Shabbat
by Barbara Bietz with illustrations by John Kanzler
(August House) 

The Tree in the Courtyard: Looking Through Anne Frank’s Window
by Jeff Gottesfeld with illustrations by Peter McCarty
(Alfred A. Knopf/Penguin Random House) 

Notable Books for Older Readers
The Bicycle Spy by Yona Zeldis McDonough
(Scholastic Books) 

Irena’s Children: Young Readers Edition: A True Story of Courage
by Tilar J. Mazzeo and adapted by Mary Cronk Farrell
(Margaret McElderry Books/Simon and Schuster) 

The Ship to Nowhere by Rona Arato
(Second Story Press) 

Skating with the Statue of Liberty by Susan Lynn Meyer
(Delacorte Press/Penguin Random House) 

No Honor or Notable Books were designated for Teen Readers in 2017.

Sunday, January 08, 2017

Adam & Thomas

Adam and Thomas by Aharon Appelfeld won the 2016 Sydney Taylor Book Award in the Older Readers category. The book is based loosely on Appelfeld's own Holocaust experiences, and is the story of two young boys who band together to survive while hiding in the forest. It was originally written in Hebrew and translated into English by Jeffrey Green. Appelfeld was not able to attend the Association of Jewish Libraries conference to accept his award, but Green was present, and allowed me to record the talk he gave about the experience of translating the book. You'll also hear from award committee chair Ellen Tillman, who met with Appelfeld during a recent trip to Israel.

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO THE PODCAST: 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 

Support The Book of Life by becoming a patron at Patreon.com/bookoflife!

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