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Showing posts from 2020

Media Pitch Kit

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A suggestion in the Jewish Kidlit Mavens forum on Facebook inspired the creation of a media pitch kit specifically geared towards Jewish literature for children and young adults. Publicists and authors can consult this kit to learn where to market new Judaic titles. Sections include News Media, Blogs & Podcasts, Awards & Lists, and Events. Created in Google Drive, this is a living document that will be updated as additional resources are discovered.  Find the Media Pitch Kit at TinyURL.com/JewishKidlitPitchKit

Anya and the Dragon

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LISTEN TO THE PODCAST     |    READ THE TRANSCRIPT     |    BUY THE BOOK     🕮    Anya and the Dragon is Sofiya Pasternak's debut, a middle grade Jewish historical fantasy novel. It was recognized by a 2020 Sydney Taylor Honor Award. It will be joined on November 10, 2020 by a sequel, Anya and the Nightingale. Join me for a fascinating conversation with Sofiya about the history behind the fantasy.   LEARN MORE:   Sofiya Pasternack's website Buy Anya and the Dragon   Buy Anya and the Nightingale Sofiya's suggestion for Boosting Black Voices: Color Me In by Natasha Diaz  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: Shop or Donate Your feedback is welcome! Please write to bookoflifepodcast@gmail.com or leave a voicemail at 561-20

Bound in the Bond of Life: Pittsburgh Writers Reflect on the Tree of Life Tragedy

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BUY THE BOOK       🕮    October 27, 2020 is the second anniversary of a horrific act of domestic terrorism, the antisemitic shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, PA. In memory of the lives lost on that day, I bring you a conversation with the editors of Bound in the Bond of Life: Pittsburgh Writers Reflect on the Tree of Life Tragedy . This book highlights the voices of those who were significantly affected by the deadliest antisemitic act on American soil. Although the gunman killed 11 innocent souls, injured 6, and created deep wounds within the community, he was unable to silence them or disconnect them from their ties to their faith.    I got my Masters of Library Science at the University of Pittsburgh and worked for a few years at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh's Lawrenceville Branch in the 1990s. I love Pittsburgh, so I was especially eager to hear the local perspective from co-editors Beth Kissileff and Eric Lidji . Beth and Eric, can you please each

The Mitzvah of Voting, Part 1

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LISTEN TO THE PODCAST   |  READ THE TRANSCRIPT     🕮    This episode is a call to action for U.S. citizens eligible to vote, and a reminder to listeners everywhere that voting is your superpower. If you are a U.S. citizen eligible to vote in the upcoming presidential election, please do so! For information about how to vote, visit VOTE.ORG . In this special 3-part series, some of your favorite Jewish kidlit authors will be sharing why they vote and they'll give some recommendations for ways to keep our democracy healthy. Listen to PART 2 | PART 3 In each episode of The Book of Life, I ask guests to suggest a tikkun olam action, a way to help repair the world. This special series is MY tikkun olam action. Please help me inspire more people to vote by sharing this podcast as widely as you can, today.   FYI, PART 2 explains how voting can be called a "mitzvah," and includes guests Elissa Brent Weissman, Lee Wind, Barbara Bietz, Jane Breskin Zalben, Jacqueline Ju

The Mitzvah of Voting, Part 2

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LISTEN TO THE PODCAST   |  READ THE TRANSCRIPT       🕮    Welcome to Part 2 of our 3 part series, The Mitzvah of Voting. It's October 2020 your favorite Jewish kidlit authors want all eligible US citizens to vote in the upcoming Presidential election, and listeners around the world to vote in their own local elections! My author guests will be sharing why they vote and they'll give you some recommendations for ways to keep democracy healthy. Listen to PART 1 | PART 3 Guest authors include: Elissa Brent Weissman , author of The Length of a String Lee Wind , author of Queer as a $5 Bill and No Way, They Were Gay? Barbara Bietz , author of Sweet Tamales for Purim Jane Breskin Zalben , author of A Moon for Moe and Mo Jacqueline Jules , author of The Generous Fish , Never Say a Mean Word Again , The Hardest Word Anne-Marie Asner , author of the Matzah Ball Books series  Suggestions from guests in this episode: Become a poll worker Add your Representative and Senators to your

The Mitzvah of Voting, Part 3

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LISTEN TO THE PODCAST   |  READ THE TRANSCRIPT     🕮    Welcome to the third and final entry in our series, The Mitzvah of Voting. It's October 2020 your favorite Jewish kidlit authors want all eligible US citizens to vote in the upcoming Presidential election, and listeners around the world to vote in their own local elections. My author guests will be sharing why they vote and they'll give you some recommendations for ways to keep democracy healthy. This time, we will leave you with some musical inspiration to carry you through Election Day. Listen to PART 1 | PART 2 One of today's guests, Sarah Aroeste, is not only an author, she's also a singer songwriter who performs in Ladino, the Judeo-Spanish dialect that became the tongue of Spanish Jews after their expulsion from Spain in 1492. We'll hear Gracia , a tribute to the medieval Sephardic heroine, Doña Gracia Nasi who lived in the 1500s and saved hundreds of Jews from the Inquisition. The main idea of the song

"Pond Life" - FISH Out of Water & TURTLE Boy

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LISTEN TO THE PODCAST    |    READ THE TRANSCRIPT     |    BUY FISH    |    BUY TURTLE     🕮    For this "Pond Life" episode, I paired the books Turtle Boy with Fish Out of Water , to highlight the similar themes I saw in both middle grade bar mitzvah novels. Wonderfully, authors Joanne Levy and Evan Wolkenstein really hit it off and they actually helped to interview each other! In fact, Joanne said she felt like their two books were holding hands and she created this adorable image: And one more thing, I just want to give a shout-out to Sidura Ludwig for becoming a Book of Life supporter at Patreon.com !      Learn More: Buy at Fish Out of Water Buy Turtle Boy   Joanne Levy's website Evan Wolkenstein's website Pardes Center for Jewish Educators curriculum for Turtle Boy Discussion guide for Fish Out of Water BimBam Jewish videos Woolgathering Jo (Joanne's Etsy shop for felted creations)  Guest recommendations: Boosting Black Voices Joanne suggests Drago

Honey on the Page

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BUY THE BOOK     🕮    October 6, 2020 is the book birthday for Miriam Udel 's Honey on the Page: A Treasury of Yiddish Children's Literature ! I was not able to fit an audio interview into The Book of Life's schedule, but to bring your attention to this worthy book I offer you this conversation-in-print with Miriam. Enjoy! THE BOOK OF LIFE: What inspired you to create Honey on the Page ? MIRIAM UDEL : Honey on the Page represents the convergence between my vocation as a language instructor and my avocation as a mother. I sought authentic materials that my second-semester Yiddish students would be able to read profitably and without frustration. At the same time, I was searching for representations of Yiddish-speaking life and childhood that I could share with my own children. When I discovered the large, mostly untranslated and forgotten corpus of Yiddish children’s literature, I knew that I had to create at least one anthology that would help to retrieve these texts for

Happy New Year 5781

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A Place at the Table

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LISTEN TO THE PODCAST    |    READ THE TRANSCRIPT    |    BUY THE BOOK     🕮    Muslim author Saadia Faruqui and Jewish author Laura Shovan joined me to talk about their jointly written middle grade contemporary novel, A Place at the Table. This is a book about immigration, about friendship, and it will make you hungry. From the official description: "A timely, accessible, and beautifully written story exploring themes of food, friendship, family and what it means to belong, featuring sixth graders Sara, a Pakistani American, and Elizabeth, a white, Jewish girl taking a South Asian cooking class taught by Sara's mom." LEARN MORE: Buy A Place at the Table Saadia Faruqi's website Laura Shovan's website   Bonus recipes Blue Minaret Poem "My Best Friend is Jewish"  Poetry Friday   GUEST RECOMMENDATIONS - BOOSTING BLACK VOICES: Saadia suggests Not Quite Snow White by Ashley Franklin, Your Name Is a Song by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow Lau

Video Episode: Artist Patricia Portillo

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WATCH THE VIDEO     |    LISTEN TO THE PODCAST     |    READ THE TRANSCRIPT    |    BUY ART     🕮    Back in August 2006, author/illustrator Simms Taback was a guest on The Book of Life. He spoke about his classic picture book Joseph Had a Little Overcoat and his newer picture book Kibitzers and Fools . After the interview, he painted me the picture you see here of a dancing man with an iPod. In 2020, the dancing man returned to me in a new form as a crocheted doll! I was so impressed that I invited Patti, the artist, to be a guest on the podcast. Multi-talented mensch Patricia Portillo is an artist who works with fiber, clay, and other materials. She is also a voice artist and professional opera singer, and she dabbles in the culinary arts. Listen to the audio or watch the video below to learn more about her work and how you can commission her to make something for you too! Learn more: August 2006 podcast with Simms Taback About Simms Taback Patricia Portillo on Insta

No Vacancy

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LISTEN TO THE PODCAST      |    READ THE TRANSCRIPT     |    BUY THE BOOK     🕮    No Vacancy is Tziporah Cohen 's debut middle grade novel. It's a story of friendship across boundaries, the importance of community as a bulwark against prejudice... and a Virgin Mary sighting.     Groundwood Books' official description says "Buying and moving into the run-down Jewel Motor Inn in upstate New York wasn’t eleven-year-old Miriam Brockman’s dream, but at least it’s an adventure. Miriam befriends Kate, whose grandmother owns the diner next door, and finds comfort in the company of Maria, the motel’s housekeeper, and her Uncle Mordy, who comes to help out for the summer. She spends her free time helping Kate’s grandmother make her famous grape pies and begins to face her fears by taking swimming lessons in the motel’s pool. But when it becomes clear that only a miracle is going to save the Jewel from bankruptcy, Jewish Miriam and Catholic Kate decide to create their own

"Finally, Jewish kids' books are starting to reflect the diversity of Judaism"

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I am pleased to announce that I have written an article for The Forward , the famous Jewish newspaper founded in 1897 and originally published in Yiddish. It is entitled "Finally, Jewish kids' books are starting to reflect the diversity of Judaism." I referenced Dr. Rudine Sims Bishop's well-known metaphor about "mirrors, windows, and sliding glass doors" to explain that all children need to read Jewish books that reflect the diversity of the Jewish community, and I shared a few personal favorite titles. Read THE FORWARD Article For those of you who would like to learn about additional titles, please take a look at my growing Diverse Jewish Kidlit bibliography. See DIVERSE JEWISH KIDLIT Bibliography

The Bubbes and the Zaides

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LISTEN TO THE PODCAST     |    READ THE TRANSCRIPT     |    BUY THE BOOK     🕮    This episode is all about grandparents. We hear from David Raphael, co-founder of the Jewish Grandparents Network, and we enjoy the audiobook Bubbe & Zaide , written and voiced by Anne-Marie Asner along with the famous actor Ed Asner as Zaide. You may remember Anne-Marie from our December 2019 episode, when she told us about her Yiddish-inspired picture book series, Matzah Ball Books.  Learn more:   Jewish Grandparents Network Pop Up Stories Bubbe & Zaide by Anne-Marie Asner Matzah Ball Books December 2019 podcast with Anne-Marie Asner   Guest recommendations: Boosting Black Voices David suggests the New York Times columns of Charles M. Blow and Roxane Gay Anne-Marie suggests Beloved by Toni Morrison CREDITS: Produced by: Feldman Children's Library at Congregation B'nai Israel   Theme music: The Freilachmakers Klezmer String Band     Facebook Discussion Group: Jewish Kidl

Through the Window: Lee Wind

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LISTEN TO THE PODCAST     |    TRANSCRIPT:    PART1    PART2      |    BUY THE BOOK     🕮    In celebration of Pride Month and as part of the Through the Window diversity exchange, our guest today is Lee Wind, author of Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill . Lee blogs at I'm Here, I'm Queer, What the Hell Do I Read? He is also the official blogger for SCBWI. We opened the window wide to interview each other about Jewish kidlit and LGBTQIA2+ kidlit. Through the Window is a diversity exchange created by the Association of Jewish Libraries to fight antisemitism and other forms of bias through education and allyship. Jewish organizations swap content with other marginalized communities to give both groups a look through the window at our common humanity. Another Through the Window partnership recently celebrated Pride Month with posts swapped by the Jewish Women's Archive and Yali Books: A Window to South Asia . See their posts here: On Jewish Women's Archive: Inte

Promoting Multicultural Library Services in Virtual Spaces

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EMIERT Chair's Program 2020 at ALA Virtual Friday June 26, 2020, 10AM Central Time ALA Virtual Event Panelist Heidi Rabinowitz approaches the issue of virtual library services from a Jewish point of view. The panel also includes well-known mover and shaker, school librarian K.C.Boyd, whose approach is from an African American point of view. Heidi's Remarks: Closures during the Coronavirus pandemic affect all kinds of libraries, including many that may be unfamiliar to the general public, such as specialized Judaica libraries. Libraries in synagogues, Jewish day schools, museums, universities, archives, Jewish community centers, and research organizations have been shuttered during quarantine. These specialty collections serve Jewish patrons as well as others with an interest in Judaica, who now suffer from lack of access to Jewish books, programs, and services. Many Judaic libraries are small, without the budget to purchase e-books, and many Jewish books (espe