Showing posts from October, 2019

Nancy Churnin, Biography Queen

LISTEN TO THE PODCAST      |    READ THE TRANSCRIPT     |    BUY IRVING / MARTIN     🕮    We are in a golden age of picture book biographies, and one prolific biographer is Nancy Churnin . She's got half a dozen bios out and more on the way, and each one is inspiring in its own way. Nancy attended the 2019 Association of Jewish Libraries conference to take part in the author luncheon, where she represented her Jewish interest books, Irving Berlin: The Immigrant Boy Who Made America Sing , and Martin & Anne: The Kindred Spirits of Dr Martin Luther King Jr and Anne Frank . I was happy to snag this live interview with her during the conference. Be sure to explore Nancy's website for the teacher guides and projects she describes in our interview, as well as her blog The Kids Are All Write . When asked for Tikkun Olam recommendations, Nancy suggested supporting Room to Read , a nonprofit that seeks to transform the lives of millions of children in low-income comm

Diversity Needs Jewish Books

During the 2019 High Holiday season, the image above was posted on Facebook by We Need Diverse Books , the nonprofit that seeks to build "a world in which all children can see themselves in the pages of a book." This is a big deal. It's a big deal because for a long time, the kidlit diversity discussion has mostly left Jews out in the cold. A perfect example happened recently at a major diversity workshop aimed at librarians. A Jewish friend who attended reported that religious diversity was barely touched upon (a single slide referenced Muslim literature) and that Judaic books were completely absent from a discussion that covered a wide range of marginalized groups from African Americans to Latinx, Native Americans, LGBT, and even the Neurodiverse community.  While a sense of fairness demands that Jewish titles be included in diversity discussions, there's a more urgent need than that. Quoting the We Need Diverse Books website, children "suffer from not s