Thursday, May 30, 2019

Craig Taubman & Mostly Kosher

Craig Taubman is a long-time star in the world of American Jewish rock and roll, and the founder of the Pico Union Project

Mostly Kosher is an up and coming Gypsy Rock Klezmer band whose tagline is “word to your bubbe.” 

In spring 2019, Craig Taubman brought along Mostly Kosher and together they put on a foot-stomping concert at Congregation B’nai Israel, the home of The Book of Life podcast. That gave me the chance to grab this interview, and even to include the voice of our cantor’s daughter Aria. Here’s your chance to be a fly on the wall in the green room before the show.




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

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Honeycake Magazine: A Guest Post by Anna Caplan

Hello everyone! My name is Anna Caplan. I’m a Jewish educator, a mom, and the creator of Honeycake magazine, a new Jewish literary magazine for two- to six-year-olds. I’m excited to tell you a bit about our history and what we’re working on now! To learn more, visit our website.

Our History
The idea for Honeycake came from my four-year-old daughter’s love of children’s magazines. One day as I was renewing her subscription to Ladybug magazine, it occurred to me that I had never seen a similar type of publication for Jewish kids. I started to think about the gaps I saw in contemporary American Jewish children's literature, and how a magazine could fill some of those gaps for our family.

I was curious about what other people thought of the idea of a Jewish children’s magazine, so I started reaching out to parents, grandparents, writers, artists, educators, and librarians. The response was overwhelmingly enthusiastic. I began putting together a team, including an advisory board and a creative director (who is both an experienced graphic designer and a Jewish grandparent). We decided to start by creating a single issue of Honeycake magazine, which would be funded through Kickstarter and released in December 2019.

About the Magazine
Honeycake magazine is for families who are interested in playful, imaginative Jewish stories and activities that reflect the racial and cultural diversity of the Jewish community. The first issue will be released in December 2019, just in time for Hanukkah. In it, you'll find twenty-four pages of stories and activities created for two- to six-year-olds by Jewish writers, artists, and educators.

Contents include stories, poems, songs, puzzles, comic strips, and art activities that help kids explore Jewish ideas.

Honeycake magazine is named for the sweet dessert some Jewish people eat on Rosh Hashana (the Jewish New Year), and for our goal of helping families share sweet Jewish moments. Honeycake is also the name of the fun-loving bear who guides children through the magazine, asking questions families can discuss together.

Kickstarter Campaign
For a limited time, the first issue of Honeycake can be pre-ordered through our Kickstarter campaign. Backers will receive their copy of the magazine in the mail in early December — just in time for Hanukkah! You can find Honeycake on Kickstarter from May 14 to June 6, 2019.

Submit Your Work
We are accepting submissions through July 1, 2019 for our Hanukkah issue. Writers can submit work to us at Visit our website for details about what we’re looking for.

We’re also interested in hiring a freelance editor to work on our first issue. The ideal candidate will have experience working on manuscripts for young children as well as a background in Jewish education. If this sounds like you or someone you know, we’d love to hear from you at

The Future of Honeycake
We have big plans for Honeycake! As we grow, we intend to publish four to six issues each year. We’re also exploring the possibility of adding a section for older children, so that the magazine can be shared with the whole family. Our vision is that Honeycake will serve as a platform for Jewish writers and artists and inspire the creation of new work. To follow us on our journey, you can subscribe to our email newsletter. You can also find us on Facebook and Instagram at @honeycakemagazine.

NOTE: The Book of Life has scheduled an interview with Anna Caplan about Honeycake. Watch for Anna's episode in Fall 2019!

Thursday, May 09, 2019

Jewish Kidlit Mavens

Jewish kidlit can save the world. That's why The Book of Life has a new Facebook group, "Jewish Kidlit Mavens," where we can save the world together. This is a space for Jewish kidlit professionals (the kidlit is Jewish; the professionals may or may not be) to discuss books from early childhood through middle grade and young adult. Members may include librarians, teachers, publishers, authors, illustrators, agents, booksellers, book bloggers, reviewers, etc.

Join the group at Let's schmooze! 

Friday, May 03, 2019

"Jewish Kidlit, Mostly"

Children’s Book Week runs from April 29-May 5, 2019. This year is the 100th anniversary of Children’s Book Week, an annual celebration of books for young people and the joy of reading. The 2019 theme is “Read Now. Read Forever.”

Children’s Book Week is the perfect time to announce The Book of Life’s new focus on Jewish children’s literature. We’ve always had a strong emphasis on books for youth, but now we are making a conscious choice to prioritize coverage of kidlit, with occasional forays into other topics. Instead of defining ourselves as “a show about Jewish books, music, film and web,” The Book of Life is now officially “a show about Jewish kidlit, mostly.”

Why this change? 
Because kidlit will save the world. Books read in youth are formative, making an especially strong impact. Jewish books help Jewish kids create their religious and cultural identities, and help other kids understand and empathize with Jews. Through mirrors and windows polished bright by tikkun olam, Jewish kidlit makes the world a better place.

What to expect?
The Book of Life will continue to offer occasional interviews with creators of Jewish music, film, web, and books for teens and adults. However, priority will be given to Jewish children’s books. This will not be a drastic change, as at least half of the podcast’s content has been kidlit since we kicked off in 2005.

Watch for upcoming episodes featuring children's historical fiction, biography, and folklore. We'll cover the launch of a new early childhood magazine and our LA live show in June will focus on picture book illustration. True to the "mostly" description, we've got a musical episode in the works. The podcast will continue to deliver the creator backstories that you've come to know and love.

Wednesday, May 01, 2019

Sweep: The Story of a Girl and Her Monster

May 1 is May Day, the chimney sweeps’ holiday. It’s the perfect day to bring you a podcast about Sweep: The Story of a Girl and Her Monster by Jonathan Auxier. The book introduces us to Nan, a chimney climber, and her golem friend Charlie, a creature made of soot. This middle grade novel won the 2019 Sydney Taylor Book Award for Jewish children’s books, along with numerous other literary awards. In this lush, dense interview, Jonathan gives us much to think about!

Here are links to some of the resources mentioned during our conversation:



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   


Twitter: @bookoflifepod  


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