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Showing posts from 2018

Stand Up! Storytime for Social Justice

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LISTEN TO THE PODCAST     ๐Ÿ•ฎ    Hillary Saxton is a children's librarian at the Cambridge (Massachusetts) Public Library , and the creator of the event series "Stand Up! Storytime for Social Justice." She was originally scheduled to participate in the " Social Justice and Jewish Children's Books " panel at the Association of Jewish Libraries conference, featured on The Book of Life in August 2018. She was sick and couldn't make it, so I caught up with her later by Skype. Find the titles used in the 2017-18 Stand Up storytimes at the Cambridge Public Library's collection of booklists here . And please share your own favorite social justice titles in the comments here at The Book of Life . Speaking of social justice, check out the Association of Jewish Libraries' series of " Love Your Neighbor" booklists , created to provide all children and their families with a greater understanding of the Jewish religion and its people.

All-of-a-Kind Family Hanukkah

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LISTEN TO THE PODCAST     |    BUY THE BOOK     ๐Ÿ•ฎ    Remember All-of-a-Kind Family ? It's the classic chapter book by Sydney Taylor, of five sisters living on the Lower East Side in the early 20th century. Now Emily Jenkins and Paul O. Zelinsky have created an original picture book based on those same characters, All-of-a-Kind Family Hanukkah . Illustrator Zelinsky attended the 2018 Association of Jewish Libraries conference where he gave us a sneak peek at his artistic process, as you can see in the photo below. I snagged his email address and arranged a conference call with him and author Emily Jenkins, and that's what you'll hear on this podcast. HANUKKAH TREATS FOR YOU: Buzzfeed Quiz : Which All-of-a-Kind Family Sibling Are You? Emily Jenkins' latke recipe Coloring pages based on Paul Zelinsky's art Teaching Guide for All-of-a-Kind Family Hanukkah   CREDITS: Produced by: Feldman Children's Library at Congregation B'nai Israe

Light the Menorah! A Hanukkah Handbook

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LISTEN TO THE PODCAST     |    BUY THE BOOK     ๐Ÿ•ฎ    At the 2018 Association of Jewish Libraries conference, I bumped into author Jacqueline Jules . She's been on the podcast before in 2014 to talk about Never Say a Mean Word Again . Her new picture book is Light the Menorah: A Hanukkah Handbook , which offers meditations for candle lighting. We grabbed a quick interview after lunch in the busy dining hall, so you will have a "you are there" experience listening to our conversation about this wonderful new holiday book! Speaking of Jewish rituals like lighting the menorah, the Association of Jewish Libraries has published another list in the Love Your Neighbor series of book lists. List #2 is about Synagogues, Clergy, & Jewish Ritual . The picture books and chapter books on this list will help readers understand more about Jewish practices both in synagogue and in the home. Click here to see the list . CREDITS: Produced by: Feldman Children's Lib

The Missing Voices of Moe and Mo

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LISTEN TO THE PODCAST     |    BUY THE BOOK     ๐Ÿ•ฎ    Jane Breskin Zalben is an artist/illustrator and the author of over 50 books for children. Her recent picture book, A Moon for Moe and Mo , was featured in the Missing Voice picture book discussion group on Facebook in September 2018. The Missing Voice group was created by another author, Lisa Rose , to bring books about under-represented populations into the limelight. You may be familiar with Lisa's book, Shmulik Paints the Town . I spoke with Jane and Lisa by conference call, in the week following the anti-Semitic attack at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, because I felt it was the right time to talk about stories that model friendships between Jews and non-Jews, and to encourage people to read more books that offer windows into different cultures.  During that same week, I worked with a bunch of my favorite women, my posse of snarky Jewish kidlit nerds from across the world, to create a book list a

Love Your Neighbor: An AJL Book List Series

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SEE LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR LISTS     ๐Ÿ•ฎ    In response to the anti-Semitic domestic terrorism that took place at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, PA last Saturday, my friends and I have done what librarians do: we've turned to literature, not for explanations, but for solutions. After 100+ email messages back and forth, we've hammered out a cream-of-the-crop list of "window" books for youth, that we hope will build empathy and understanding in the hearts of non-Jewish readers. There's no knowing whether books like these would have made a difference if read during the childhood of the Pittsburgh shooter, and we can't guarantee that reading them to today's kids will prevent future tragedy. But as the Pirkei Avot, the Ethics of the Fathers, tell us, we are not obligated to complete the work of combating anti-Semitism, but neither are we free to desist from it. We've got to do what we can. As librarians, we know that the right book can make a dif

The Girl with the Red Balloon

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LISTEN TO THE PODCAST      |    BUY THE BOOK     ๐Ÿ•ฎ    The Girl with the Red Balloon is a magical time travel, historical fiction, kind-of-sort-of Holocaust book that won a Sydney Taylor Honor in the Teen Readers Category for 2018. I met the author, Katherine Locke , at the Association of Jewish Libraries conference in Boston, where we snuck into a side room to talk – please excuse the faint hubbub coming from outside. We discussed not only Katherine’s book, but also her article on Medium.com, “ Thinking about Jewish Children’s Literature in a Time of anti-Semitism .” 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   Patreon: patreon.com/bookoflife Your feedback is appreciated! Please write to bookoflifepodcast@gmail.com or call our voicemail number at 56

The Sundown Kid

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LISTEN TO THE PODCAST      |    BUY THE BOOK     ๐Ÿ•ฎ    Before I moved back to Florida from Massachusetts, my friend Barbara Bietz , author of The Sundown Kid: A Southwestern Shabbat , came to Amherst, MA for a workshop about Jewish kidlit. We got together while she was in town and recorded our conversation for you. 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   Patreon: patreon.com/bookoflife Your feedback is appreciated! Please write to bookoflifepodcast@gmail.com or call our voicemail number at 561-206-2473.

American Golem

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LISTEN TO THE PODCAST      |    BUY THE BOOK     ๐Ÿ•ฎ    American Golem: The New Adventures of an Old World Mud Monster by Marc Lumer is a new picture book from Apples & Honey Press. I ran into Vicki Weber of Behrman House (the parent company of Apples & Honey) at the Association of Jewish Libraries conference in Boston, MA this June, and grabbed a quick interview about American Golem . You'll notice the loud buzz of conference-goers in the background because we spoke in the dining room after lunch. Hopefully, that will give you a "you are there" feeling! 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 bookoflifepodcas

The Book of Life Returns! with "Social Justice and Jewish Children's Books"

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LISTEN TO THE PODCAST     ๐Ÿ•ฎ    The podcast hiatus is over! I'm thrilled to return to my beloved Feldman Children's Library at Congregation B'nai Israel in Boca Raton, Florida, and to The Book of Life podcast! On Monday June 18, 2018 at the 53rd annual conference of the Association of Jewish Libraries in Boston, MA, I participated in a panel discussion of "Social Justice and Jewish Children's Books." Other panelists included author Leslรฉa Newman , and Horn Book editors Shoshana Flax and moderator Elissa Gershowitz .   As mentioned on the podcast, this post offers some titles in the various categories of books that I spoke about during the panel. These lists are by no means comprehensive. They mostly represent titles in the Feldman Children's Library at Congregation B'nai Israel of Boca Raton, Florida, and the list was compiled by memory without actually visiting the library. My purpose is to offer a few suggestions to get you started on

Podcamp

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On April 7, 2018, I attended PodCamp Western Mass , an unconference about social media and online marketing held at Holyoke Community College. You can see me right there in the front center (behind the reclining gals). As an unconference, it was really a series of intense conversations rather than presentations. Sometimes it was even like therapy. There was a session about personal branding, where I decided that my own tagline might be "proudly geeking out." Honestly, there was very little that was directly related to podcasting, but I did get some good technical tips about audio equipment from a guy who happened to be sitting at my lunch table. And I met a lot of nice people. I am pleased to announce that The Book of Life's hiatus will soon be over! I expect to revive The Book of Life by fall 2018.

Little Women and All-of-a-Kind Family: A Guest Post by Emily Schneider

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Guest poster: Emily Schneider   This February, and Adar in the Jewish calendar, marks the 40 th yahrtzeit of Sydney Taylor, author of that timeless chronicle of the Jewish immigrant experience, All-of-a-KindFamily , and its sequels. Ella, Henny, Sarah, Charlotte, and Gertie became mirrors for Jewish girls, who grew up recognizing themselves in her nostalgic portrait of Jewish life. Whether you were raised on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, in suburban Long Island, the outskirts of Philadelphia, or any other American shtetl , you knew you could identify with one of the sisters, all richly drawn personalities, and yet so generic and lasting that the family did not have a last name.   The four sisters of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women have also imprinted themselves on the consciousness of American girls since they first appeared in 1868.   This novel, with its idealized representation of New England family life during the Civil War, became a model for girls beginning to th