Showing posts from January, 2020

#ReadYourWorld Jewish Diversity

Today I'm celebrating Multicultural Children's Book Day by reminding you that JEWISH BOOKS ARE DIVERSE BOOKS in more than one sense. On the one hand, the Jewish community must be fully welcomed under the Diversity umbrella within the kidlit world, and we've made strides towards that in recent days. On the other hand, diversity within the Jewish community needs to be celebrated in the literature, and progress is being achieved in this area also. While much Jewish children's literature is still "Ashkenormative," representing the white, European Jewish experience, publishing is beginning to recognize and represent other ways of being Jewish. The photo above represents Jews of color, differently abled Jews, adopted Jews, and Jewish-Gentile cooperation, and this is just the handful of books I was able to grab quickly from my shelf rather than a curated selection. Finding a variety of Jewish representation is getting easier all the time! Back in June 2017,

The 2020 Sydney Taylor Book Awards, Revealed!

LISTEN TO THE PODCAST     |    READ THE TRANSCRIPT     🕮    Rebecca Levitan is the chair of the Sydney Taylor Book Award committee of the Association of Jewish Libraries. She joined us to discuss the 2020 winners of the award, which annually recognizes the best Jewish literature for children and teens. This is the second year that the Sydney Taylor Book Awards will be announced at the ALA Youth Media Awards press conference, being held this year in Philadelphia, PA during the ALA Midwinter Meeting on January 27, 2020 at 8am ET. For the first time, the Sydney Taylor Honor Books are also included in the announcement. The Association of Jewish Libraries is an ALA Affiliate. Watch a live webcast of the press conference. Here's the official 2020 Sydney Taylor Book Award press release and the full list of winners, honors, and notable books . The Sydney Taylor Book Award Blog Tour will take place February 9-13, 2020. Details will appear soon at . AJL&#

How to Fight Antisemitism

In November 2018 I posted about the Love Your Neighbor series of book lists that I helped create for the Association of Jewish Libraries, in response to the Tree of Life synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh in October of that year. You can read about the project in Tablet Magazine, here . With the upsurge of antisemitic hate crimes that took place during Hanukkah 2019, we decided it was time to add to the Love Your Neighbor series. The series now includes five lists. The newest addition focuses on Orthodox Jews, because they were a target for so much of the recent hate. I am also very happy to share The Book of Life's new resource page, JUSTICE . This is a growing collection of suggestions for Jews and allies, for standing up to antisemitism. One of the suggestions is sharing the Love Your Neighbor series with readers of ALL backgrounds. The Love Your Neighbor series includes: Love Your Neighbor List #1: Standing Up for Each Other Love Your Neighbor List #2: Synagogues, Cl

A Bisl Yiddish: Bikher fur Kinder

LISTEN TO THE PODCAST    |    READ THE TRANSCRIPT      |    Buy the books by clicking the images     🕮    Yiddish is really popular right now. From the annual Yidstock festival each summer to the off-Broadway Yiddish production of Fiddler on the Roof, the mameloshn seems to be everywhere. That's even true in children's publishing. Today I have a joint interview with three authors who've created kidlit related to Yiddish language or culture. Sue Macy is the author of the picture book biography, The Book Rescuer: How a Mensch from Massachusetts Saved Yiddish Literature for Generations to Come , about Aaron Lansky who founded the Yiddish Book Center . Debby Levy , who appeared on The Book of Life in November 2016 to talk about her RBG biography I Dissent , is back with her picture book Yiddish Saves the Day . And Valerie Estelle Frankel has written a humorous chapter book called Chelm for the Holidays . These three shayne meydelekh joined me to

How to read for the Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee...a Self Care poem?

A guest post by Sylvie Shaffer Breaking News: One of the world’s largest Persian Jewish congregations, Nessah synagogue in Beverly Hills, was attacked last night. Two sefer Torahs were damaged. We stand in solidarity with LA’s Jewish community. — American Jewish Committee (@AJCGlobal) December 15, 2019 Just before Chanukah, I wrote this poem as response to the Nessah Synagogue desecration. At the time, I was finishing my second year of reading for the Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee, which I have been so incredibly honored to do. The award has been given annually since 1968 by the Association of Jewish Libraries to the best books featuring Jewish content published for children and young adults. While I have enjoyed reading and critically considering some wonderful books with joyful expressions of Jewish life, most of my committee reading has centered the Holocaust, and to be completely honest, it's been brutal

Top Posts of 2019

I was on vacation as 2019 came to a close, so I'm a little late with this year-in-review post, but I hope you will still find it interesting. If you missed any of these posts, you might want to go back and check them out. Your fellow fans would recommend them! The most popular Book of Life posts of 2019 were (in increasing order of popularity): Sister Religion/Sister Kidlit , August  Blog Tour 10th Anniversary , February A Field Guide to Jewish Kidlit , December Diversity Needs Jewish Books , October Takeaways from "Beyond the Holocaust & Holidays," March The 2019 Sydney Taylor Book & Manuscript Award Winners , January Beyond the Holocaust & Holidays: A Writing Symposium , January The Book of Life has a huge back catalog - after all, I've been podcasting since 2005! Please enjoy these 2019 highlights (the other posts from 2019 were pretty good too!). Happy reading and happy listening!

Statement from the Association of Jewish Libraries Regarding Recent Antisemitic Acts

The Association of Jewish Libraries (AJL) is horrified by the recent spate of antisemitic attacks, especially those that took place during the holiday of Hanukkah. The shooting at a kosher market in New Jersey and the stabbing at a Hanukkah party in New York made national news; at the same time, there has been a tidal wave of verbal abuse, physical violence, and widespread vandalism of Jewish spaces. We mourn the tragic loss of life, offer prayers of recovery for victims, and urge all to stand in solidarity with the Jewish community in the face of intimidation. As an international organization of librarians, archivists, researchers, writers, teachers, and lovers of literature, AJL seeks to educate the public and provide resources to fight this scourge of ignorance and hate. After the 2018 attack on the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, AJL published the Love Your Neighbor series of youth booklists. These recommended titles demystify the Jewish experience for readers, with the a