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Showing posts from 2019

Thank the Helpers

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Shamash Night is the brainchild of author Erica Perl, whose book The Ninth Night of Hanukkah will be published in 2020. Her synagogue, Temple Micah in Washington DC, is holding the first ever Shamash Night celebration, and they explain it this way: " It is a community celebration of helpers and helping. It takes place on the “ninth night” of Hanukkah because the shamash candle spends the entire holiday helping its neighbors in the menorah. We’ll gather to give thanks to the shamash candle, and to all the helpers in our lives." What a beautiful idea this is! Personally, it's exactly what I needed to hear as we come to the close of the most violent Hanukkah of my lifetime, after multiple attacks on Jews in the New York and New Jersey area, and after a friend emailed me this morning with a photo of her children's elementary school outside Chicago with a swastika freshly spray painted on its bricks. Hanukkah commemorates the Rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerus

World Premiere: Hanukkah with Noshy Boy & Friends

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LISTEN TO THE PODCAST      |    READ THE TRANSCRIPT     |    BUY THE PRINT BOOK      ๐Ÿ•ฎ    ANNOUNCING: The World Premiere of the audiobook version of Hanukkah with Noshy Boy & Friends by Anne-Marie Asner, voiced by Anne-Marie Asner and Ed Asner (yes, that Ed Asner!), on The Book of Life Podcast! Plus, we've got an interview with Anne-Marie about the story's creation! Noshy Boy, Schmutzy Girl, Kvetchy Boy, and their other friends are characters in a series from Matzah Ball Books , which shares Yiddish vocabulary and culture with young children through humor. For all you Yiddish-lovers out there, this is just the beginning of a mechaye for you: in January we will have an episode called A Bisl Yiddish , in which we'll hear from authors Sue Macy ( The Book Rescuer ), Debbie Levy ( Yiddish Saves the Day ) and Valerie Estelle Frankel ( Chelm for the Holidays ) about their Yiddish-related stories. Watch this space! CREDITS: Produced by: Feldman Children's

A Field Guide to Jewish Kidlit

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LISTEN TO THE PODCAST     |    READ THE TRANSCRIPT       ๐Ÿ•ฎ    On The Book of Life, we talk a lot about Jewish kidlit. But where do you go to find Jewish children's books? In this episode, Marjorie Ingall joins me to talk about how to discover and how to access the best Jewish kidlit. Marjorie is a columnist at Tablet Magazine and is well-known for her year-end "best of Jewish kidlit" lists, and she's the author of Mamaleh Knows Best : What Jewish Mothers Do to Raise Successful, Creative, Empathetic, Independent Children , which was featured on The Book of Life in April 2017 . Marjorie Ingall Resources mentioned in this episode, in order of appearance:  Podcast: Kidlit These Days, Diversity-Focused Publishing episode Blog: Jewish Books for Children (Barbara Bietz) Blog: The Whole Megillah (Barbara Krasner) Podcast: The Kiddush Book Club Website: Kveller Award: Sydney Taylor Book Award (Association of Jewish Libraries) Award: The National Jewi

The 100 Most Jewish Foods

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LISTEN TO THE PODCAST      |    READ THE TRANSCRIPT     |    BUY THE BOOK     ๐Ÿ•ฎ    The 100 Most Jewish Foods, a Highly Debatable List , started as a fun interactive feature on the website of Tablet Magazine, and then grew up to be a book. We've got an interview for you with the book's editor, Alana Newhouse, by The Book of Life's Canadian Correspondent, Anne Dublin . B'tay avon...good appetite! CREDITS: Produced by: Feldman Children's Library at Congregation B'nai Israel   Theme music: The Freilachmakers Klezmer String Band     Facebook Discussion Group: Jewish Kidlit Mavens Facebook Page: facebook.com/bookoflifepodcast      Twitter: @bookoflifepod   Support the Podcast: Ways to Donate    Your feedback is appreciated! Please write to bookoflifepodcast@gmail.com or call our voicemail number at 561-206-2473. 

Honeycake Magazine

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LISTEN TO THE PODCAST      |    READ THE TRANSCRIPT     ๐Ÿ•ฎ    Honeycake Magazine is a new Jewish magazine for kids ages 2 to 6. Creator Anna Caplan guest posted on The Book of Life about the magazine in May 2019. Now here's our podcast interview, in which I spoke to Anna about her inspiration for Honeycake and her plans for its future. Want your own copy of Honeycake? Go to HoneycakeMagazine.com and click on the Get the Magazine button . Order by November 17, 2019 to get your copy in time for Hanukkah. 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 Discussion Group: Jewish Kidlit Mavens Facebook Page: facebook.com/bookoflifepodcast      Twitter: @bookoflifepod   Support the Podcast: Ways to Donate    Your feedback is appreciated! Please write to bookoflifepodcast@gmail.com or call our voi

Nancy Churnin, Biography Queen

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LISTEN TO THE PODCAST      |    READ THE TRANSCRIPT     |    BUY IRVING / MARTIN     ๐Ÿ•ฎ    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

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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

Bonus Episode: Superfight!

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LISTEN TO THE PODCAST     ๐Ÿ•ฎ    In May 2019 I posted an interview with Jonathan Auxier , the author of Sweep: The Story of a Girl and Her Monster . In our interview we talked about the book, of course, but we also talked about our favorite board games. I met Jonathan at the 2019 Association of Jewish Libraries conference where he'd come to accept his Sydney Taylor Book Award, and we got to play one of those games together along with a roomful of other authors, illustrators, and librarians. Here's your chance to listen in as we play a round of Superfight: A Game of Absurd Arguments . First we'll hear the description of the game from Jonathan's May 2019 appearance on The Book of Life podcast. Then we'll hear a clip of me versus Jonathan Auxier in actual gameplay. Just so you know, the game was ultimately won by illustrator Paul O. Zelinsky , who was at the conference to receive the Sydney Taylor Book Award for All-of-a-Kind Family Hanukkah . His Superfight

The Book of Life Live Show!

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LISTEN TO THE PODCAST    |    READ THE TRANSCRIPT        ๐Ÿ•ฎ    At the 2019 Association of Jewish Libraries conference in Los Angeles, California, we recorded a Book of Life live show. My guests were Joni Sussman of KarBen Publishing , and author/illustrator/musician Barney Saltzberg . We discussed picture book illustration while recording our conversation in front of a live audience of Judaica librarians. At the live show, I mentioned the new Listener Survey . Please take a moment to share your feedback to help me make the show the best it can be.  FYI, during Tikkun Olam Time, Joni mentions the organization Books for Africa, which can be found at BooksForAfrica.org .    L-R: Joni Sussman, Barney Saltzberg, Heidi Rabinowitz 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 Discussion Group: Jewish

Sister Religion/Sister Kidlit

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LISTEN TO THE PODCAST      |    READ THE TRANSCRIPT        ๐Ÿ•ฎ    Sadaf Siddique and Gauri Manglick are the co-creators of Kitaab World , a website that promotes South Asian children's books. Within their website, they created a campaign called Counter Islamophobia Through Stories , (similar to the Love Your Neighbor campaign that I worked on to help bring Jewish books to ALL readers), and they even turned their campaign into a book called Muslims in Story .  Listen now as Sadaf joins me to talk about the kidlit of our sister religion! 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 Discussion Group: Jewish Kidlit Mavens Facebook Page: facebook.com/bookoflifepodcast      Twitter: @bookoflifepod   Support the Podcast: Ways to Donate    Your feedback is appreciated! Please write to bookoflifepod

Happy Eid Al-Adha

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In a few weeks, I'll be posting an interview with Sadaf Siddique, co-founder of Kitaab World , a website focusing on South Asian children's literature.  We'll talk about the parallels between her "Counter Islamaphobia Through Stories" campaign and the "Love Your Neighbor" campaign that I spearheaded for the Association of Jewish Libraries. While I'm a little late, I wanted to take this opportunity to wish everyone a Happy Eid al-Adha, a holiday that took place just yesterday. This celebrates the end of the Hajj pilgrimage and commemorates Abraham's near sacrifice of his son. Interestingly, I just learned that there is some dispute between Judaism and Islam about which son was to be sacrificed. In any case, we can all agree that rejecting human sacrifice was the right move!

Notes from a Young Reader

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LISTEN TO THE PODCAST     |    READ THE TRANSCRIPT       ๐Ÿ•ฎ    Young Aria is a voracious reader. In this interview, she shares a few of her favorite titles: All Kinds of Strong by Sharon Reiss Baker Zishe the Strongman by Robert Rubinstein Brave Girl : Clara and the Shirtwaist Makers' Strike of 1909 by Michelle Markel Gittel's Journey : An Ellis Island Story by Leslรฉa Newman The Harriet Hamsterbone series 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 Discussion Group: Jewish Kidlit Mavens Facebook Page: facebook.com/bookoflifepodcast      Twitter: @bookoflifepod   Support the Podcast: Ways to Donate    Your feedback is appreciated! Please fill out Heidi's survey , write to bookoflifepodcast@gmail.com or call our voicemail number at 561-206-2473.

Viewing Opportunity: The Last Shepherd

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WATCH THE VIDEO     |    LISTEN TO THE PODCAST     ๐Ÿ•ฎ   The Last Shepherd by Evil Sun Productions is a Hebrew-language indie comedy adventure scifi fantasy film with elements of Jewish mysticism and kabbalah, made in Israel. To summarize, "A geeky programmer and his rebellious co-worker are taken by a mysterious biblical figure on a cross country adventure, trying to stop an ancient evil force, while being chased by government agents." At the time of my interview with the filmmakers back in August 2017, the movie was not available outside of Israel. Excitingly, the film is now available to be viewed on YouTube! Check it out here: PODCAST INTERVIEW ON "THE LAST SHEPHERD" FROM AUGUST 2017

A Cage Without Bars

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LISTEN TO THE PODCAST     |    READ THE TRANSCRIPT     |    BUY THE BOOK     ๐Ÿ•ฎ    Anne Dublin is a Toronto-based author and retired synagogue librarian. She is the Canadian Correspondent for The Book of Life Podcast, performing many of our interviews with Canadian creatives. She's also the author of A Cage Without Bars , a historical middle grade novel that tells the little-known tale of Jewish children kidnapped after the expulsion from Spain and enslaved on the island of Sรฃo Tomรฉ, off the coast of West Africa. 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 Discussion Group: Jewish Kidlit Mavens Facebook Page: facebook.com/bookoflifepodcast      Twitter: @bookoflifepod   Support the Podcast: Ways to Donate    Your feedback is appreciated! Please write to bookoflifepodcast@gmail.com or call ou

The Jewish Book Carnival: June 2019

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The Jewish Book Carnival is a monthly roundup of Jewish literary links from across the blogosphere. It's hosted by a different blogger each month on or near the 15th. The purposes of the Jewish Book Carnival are to build community among bloggers and to promote Jewish reading. This month, we have some very special links for you! On Barbara Bietz's "Jewish Books for Children" blog we've got an interview with Israeli illustrator Omer Hoffman about The Sages of Chelm and the Moon . On gilagreenwrites, Gila interviews author of eleven cookbooks (including Gila's favorite Second Helpings, Please! ), Norene Gilletz. On her blog, Book Q+As with Deborah Kalb, Deborah interviewed Julie Zuckerman about her new novel in stories, The Book of Jeremiah . Castle of Concrete by Katia Raina is reviewed by Batya Medad on her blog Shiloh Musings. It's a coming of age story that takes place in Moscow as the USSR crumbles. It can be enjoyed by readers of all age

Simple Acts: The Busy Family's Guide to Giving Back

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LISTEN TO THE PODCAST      |    READ THE TRANSCRIPT     |    BUY THE BOOK     ๐Ÿ•ฎ    Natalie Silverstein is the New York volunteer coordinator of Doing Good Together , an organization that empowers families to raise caring, engaged children. She wrote Simple Acts: The Busy Family's Guide to Giving Back to give parents practical ideas for incorporating service and the spirit of giving into family life.  IN OTHER NEWS: The podcast Kidlit These Days honors Jewish American Heritage Month in June 2019. They interviewed friend-of-The-Book-of-Life Leslรฉa Newman , and they included      Jewish kidlit reading recommendations from yours truly, Heidi Rabinowitz.  CLICK HERE TO LISTEN!       CREDITS: Produced by: Feldman Children's Library at Congregation B'nai Israel   Theme music: The Freilachmakers Klezmer String Band     Facebook Discussion Group: Jewish Kidlit Mavens Facebook Page: facebook.com/bookoflifepodcast      Twitter: @bookoflifepod  

Craig Taubman & Mostly Kosher

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LISTEN TO THE PODCAST     |    READ THE TRANSCRIPT     |    VISIT CRAIG'S WEBSITE       ๐Ÿ•ฎ    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. 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 Discussion Group: Jewish Kidlit Mavens Facebook Page: facebook.com/bookoflifepodcas