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Showing posts from 2021

Reading is a Superpower

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"Reading is a Superpower" is the theme of Children's Book Week , celebrated November 8-14, 2021 and sponsored by Every Child a Reader , in association with the Children's Book Council . The Book of Life is happy to be a Children's Book Week Partner . This year's theme is brought to life by the Superpower Challenge , inviting kids to name "a skill, personal trait, or passion that plays an important role in your life, helps you do good in the world, and makes you feel special, happy, and confident."  What's your superpower? Mine is the ability to quickly locate library books based on very minimal descriptions like "It's got a blue cover" or "It had a pumpkin in it." The superpower of Whistle, the subject of November's Book of Life episode, is to communicate with dogs and have the sensory perception of dogs. A superpower of Whistle's creator, E. Lockhart, is to seamlessly add a Jewish neighborhood into Gotham City, m

The Way Back

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LISTEN TO THE PODCAST    |    READ THE TRANSCRIPT    |     BUY THE BOOK     ๐Ÿ•ฎ   The Way Back is a strange and wonderful, life-affirming story about death, an adventure in which Bluma and Yehuda Lieb set out from the shtetl on a quest into the Far Country peopled by demons. It won the National Jewish Book Award in the young adult category and was named a Sydney Taylor YA Notable Book. It's a crossover book that will appeal to adults as well as YA readers. I am pleased to bring you this interview with author Gavriel Savit. LEARN MORE:  Gavriel Savit's website Gavriel singing El Malei Rachamim    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 voic

Happy Jewish New Year!

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 To our beloved listeners: May you be inscribed in the Book of Life!

Little Free Libraries

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LISTEN TO THE PODCAST    |    READ THE TRANSCRIPT    |    VISIT READ IN COLOR     ๐Ÿ•ฎ    Little Free Library is a nonprofit organization that inspires a love of reading, builds community, and sparks creativity by fostering neighborhood book exchanges. Here's an interview with Margret Aldrich, Director of Communications at the Little Free Library organization. We'll find out how this phenomenon got started, and we'll learn about how Jewish books are being included in their Read In Color program.  And as someone who receives a LOT of Jewish book donations, many of which duplicate titles I already have, I can tell you from personal experience that Little Free Libraries are a wonderful way to get those books off my own shelf and share them with the world. LEARN MORE:  Margret Aldrich's website Little Free Library website Read In Color program Jewish Read In Color Recommended Reads Buy The Little Free Library Book by Margret Alrich Tikkun Olam suggestion: sign the Read

Zoe Rosenthal Is Not Lawful Good

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LISTEN TO THE PODCAST    |    READ THE TRANSCRIPT    |    BUY THE BOOK     ๐Ÿ•ฎ    Zoe Rosenthal Is Not Lawful Good by Nancy Werlin is a coming of age story with a Jewish protagonist, about the power of fandom, friendship, and finding your inner nerd. Speaking of fandom, be sure to check out my guest spot on the August episode of the podcast Star Trek and the Jews! Link below. LEARN MORE: Zoe Rosenthal Is Not Lawful Good Nancy Werlin's website Casual Jewish Representation: Jewish Readers Deserve to See Themselves Outside of the Holocaust and Holidays , blog post from We Need Diverse Books People of the (Futuristic) Book , bibliography of Jewish science fiction Star Trek and the Jews podcast (Heidi is the guest)   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: @bookoflifepo

Star Trek and the Jews

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I am thrilled to be a guest on the podcast Star Trek and the Jews, a monthly podcast using Star Trek to boldly explore the world of Jews and Judaism! We discussed the Star Trek stories Creative Couplings about a Klingon/Jewish wedding, and the revenge/forgiveness story "An Easy Fast" in Tales from the Captain's Table . My interview appears in Part I of a two-part series. The second part features an interview with the authors of the above stories. Check it out at StarTrekandtheJews.Podbean.com . Here's my episode: Part I - Captain David Gold: Don't Call It a Midrash   Heidi's Star Trek cosplay at the local science museum  Additional books and media discussed in this episode: Star Trek: The New Voyages 2 edited by Sondra Marshak & Myrna Culbreath  Atalanta from Free to Be You and Me K'Tonton's Sukkot Adventure by Sadie Rose Weilerstein All-of-a-Kind Family by Sydney Taylor [ Book of Life, October 2007 ] The Latke Who Couldn't Stop Screami

Family Stories: A Podcast Live Show

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LISTEN TO THE PODCAST     |    READ THE TRANSCRIPT     |    BUY THE BOOK     ๐Ÿ•ฎ    Esther Safran Foer and Sadie Foer joined me in May 2021 for a podcast Live Show sponsored by The Jewish Grandparents Network in celebration of the opening of their Family Room. Esther Safran Foer is a past CEO of Sixth & I and the author of I Want You To Know We’re Still Here, a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award. She is the daughter of Holocaust survivors, the wife of Bert Foer (an attorney and public interest advocate), the mother of three sons (bestselling authors Frank, Jonathan, and Joshua Foer), and the grandmother of six. Sadie Jean Foer is one of Esther's six grandchildren. She's a high school student and self described family historian, and the host of the podcast Rooted History. Jacqueline Jules is an author and poet who enjoys The Book of Life from Arlington, Virginia, and who is our newest Patreon patron. Shout out to Jackie! If you'd like to join her in supp

The New Queer Conscience

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LISTEN TO THE PODCAST    |    READ THE TRANSCRIPT    |    BUY THE BOOK     ๐Ÿ•ฎ    June is Pride Month, so I'm pleased to bring you The New Queer Conscience , a 2021 Sydney Taylor Notable Book in the Young Adult category. It's a manifesto by young activist Adam Eli, that holds up k'lal yisrael , or Jewish solidarity, as a model for the queer community to emulate. For queer kidlit with identifiably Jewish characters, see the Diverse Jewish Kidlit page within the READ section of The Book of Life. Look for the tag LGBT. You'll find about 30 titles. If you know of any books I've missed, please drop me a line at bookoflifepodcast@gmail.com .  Speaking of solidarity, it's always a good time to push back against ongoing antisemitism. Please click on the tab labelled JUSTICE at The Book of Life to find resources that will help you do just that. LEARN MORE: The New Queer Conscience Adam Eli on Instagram Adam on I Weigh   Adam in Tablet Pride Month CREDITS: P

Not Your All-American Girl

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LISTEN TO THE PODCAST     |    READ THE TRANSCRIPT     |    BUY THE BOOK May is Jewish American Heritage Month and Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month. We celebrate both on The Book of Life by talking to Madelyn Rosenberg and Wendy Wan-Long Shang, co-authors of This Is Just a Test and Not Your All-American Girl , a pair of middle grade novels set in the 1980's that feature a Jewish Chinese American family. I also want to take this opportunity to welcome new Patreon patron Erica Lyons, a listener who lives in Hong Kong and is raising a child who is both Chinese and Jewish. If you'd like to join Erica in supporting the podcast, please visit patreon.com/bookoflife . LEARN MORE: Wendy & Madelyn hula hooping Madelyn Rosenberg's website Wendy Wan-Long Shang's website Madelyn's Tikkun Olam suggestion: ihollaback.org Wendy's Tikkun Olam suggestion: Shout Mouse Press Book that Wendy mentioned: From a Whisper to a Rallying Cry: The Killing of Vincent Chin and the

Podcast Live Show!

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REGISTER FOR LIVE SHOW     |    BUY THE BOOK     |    VISIT JGN     ๐Ÿ•ฎ    The Book of Life is doing a virtual Live Show on Wednesday, May 26, 2021 at 7:00PM Eastern Time, presented in partnership with the Jewish Grandparents Network Family Room Initiative! Guests will be Esther Safran Foer, the matriarch of a prominent literary family and author of I Want You to Know We’re Still Here: A Post-Holocaust Memoir , joined by her teenage granddaughter Sadie, each giving their perspective on how sharing stories can help us better understand each other and bring our families closer together. This is a FREE event.  << Please click on the Jewish Grandparents Network logo to register!

Through the Window: Brave with Beauty

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LISTEN TO THE PODCAST    |    READ THE TRANSCRIPT     |    BUY THE BOOK     ๐Ÿ•ฎ    Ambika Sambasivan is the co-founder and publisher at Yali Books, which opens a window to South Asia –India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, and the Maldives —and invites the rest of the world to learn more about the incredible diversity of this region. Maxine Rose Schur is the author of Brave with Beauty , a picture book biography of the the 15th century Queen Goharshad of Afghanistan, published by Yali Books. She's also the author of several Jewish books for children, including the 1999 Sydney Taylor Book Award winner, The Peddler's Gift . This interview with Ambika and Maxine is part of the Through the Window Diversity Exchange sponsored by The Book of Life and the Association of Jewish Libraries, in which Jewish and  non-Jewish partners meet and converse to look through the window at each other's culture. LEARN MORE: Through the Window: A Diver

Get The Book of Life by Email

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  If you are a long-time reader of The Book of Life's blog, you may have signed up years ago to receive posts by email. If you signed up in the era of Feedburner, I am sorry to announce that your subscription won't be supported after June, 2021. However, there's an easy solution! Sign up to receive Book of Life blog posts in your inbox via Mailchimp! And if you don't remember which service you signed up with, just go ahead and re-subscribe to be on the safe side. Type your email address in this box and hit Subscribe!

Cuba and the Jews

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BUY LETTERS FROM CUBA    |    BUY 37 DAYS AT SEA     ๐Ÿ•ฎ    As we approach Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, we hear from two authors who have written about the welcome or lack thereof that Jews received in Cuba in the years around World War II. Ruth Behar's Letters from Cuba , based on her family history, was a 2021 Sydney Taylor Notable Book (Middle Grade category). Barbara Krasner's forthcoming 37 Days at Sea: Aboard the MS St. Louis, 1939 , is a poetic take on a historical tragedy, available May 1, 2021.  Let's start with a description of each book, and then we'll dive into questions. Ruth Behar's Letters from Cuba   The situation is getting dire for Jews in Poland on the eve of World War II. Esther’s father has fled to Cuba, and she is the first one to join him. It’s heartbreaking to be separated from her beloved sister, so Esther promises to write down everything that happens until they’re reunited. And she does, recording both the good–the kindne

National Library Week

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It's National Library Week (with lovely Jewish Honorary Chair, Natalie Portman)! As a librarian, I am always happy to celebrate libraries. Let's take a look back at past podcast episodes and blog posts that focus on libraries, storytimes, or Jewish collections. MONDAY ๐Ÿ•ฎ Promoting Multicultural Library Services in Virtual Space, 2020, my presentation for ALA  TUESDAY ๐Ÿ•ฎ Notes from a Young Reader, an interview with 7 3/4-year-old library patron Aria Freudenberger, 2019 WEDNESDAY ๐Ÿ•ฎ Stand Up! Storytime for Social Justice with Hillary Saxton, 2018 THURSDAY ๐Ÿ•ฎ Author Antonio Iturbe talks about The Librarian of Auschwitz on the 2018 Sydney Taylor Book Award Blog Tour   FRIDAY ๐Ÿ•ฎ The Yiddish Book Center with Lisa Newman, 2017 

Vaccines Then & Now: The Polio Pioneer

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LISTEN TO THE PODCAST    |    READ THE TRANSCRIPT    |    BUY THE BOOK     ๐Ÿ•ฎ    Linda Elovitz Marshall was excited to get her COVID-19 shot, and back in the day she was glad to be vaccinated for polio too. That gratitude led her to create the picture book biography The Polio Pioneer: Dr. Jonas Salk and the Polio Vaccine illustrated by Lisa Anchin, a 2020 Sydney Taylor Notable Book. Listen to our wide-ranging conversation about polio, COVID, writing, Passover, and baby lambs. LEARN MORE: Linda Elovitz Marshall's website Buy The Polio Pioneer at Bookshop.org  Buy The Passover Lamb at Indiebound.org The Salk Institute "Race and the Politics of Polio" in the American Journal of Public Health  Ritualwell and Central Reform Congregation 's COVID blessings CDC information on COVID-19 vaccines CREDITS: Produced by Feldman Children's Library at Congregation B'nai Israel Theme Music: The Freilachmakers Klezmer String Band Facebook Discussion Group: Jewish Kidlit

The Passover Guest

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LISTEN TO THE PODCAST    |    READ THE TRANSCRIPT  PART 1   PART 2    |    BUY THE BOOK     ๐Ÿ•ฎ    My good friend  Susan Kusel has been on the podcast before, to talk about The Sydney Taylor Shmooze ,  and to announce the Sydney Taylor Book Award winners in 2018 and 2019 . She also appeared in Beyond the Holocaust and Holidays , a 2019 episode about the Highlights Foundation's writing symposium, and in the 2020 episode The Mitzvah of Voting: Part 1 .  This time she's here along with illustrator Sean Rubin to talk about their debut picture book, The Passover Guest , an AJL Holiday Highlights book. See below for the list of fine Passover picture books recently recommended by the Association of Jewish Libraries. LEARN MORE:  Susan Kusel's website Sean Rubin's website Buy The Passover Guest at Bookshop.org Sean's work on Redwall AJL Holiday Highlights AJL's 2021 Passover Children's Book Recommendations The Passover Guest by Susan Kusel Meet the Matzah by Al

Ezra's Big Shabbat Question

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LISTEN TO THE PODCAST    |    READ THE TRANSCRIPT    |    BUY BOOKS     ๐Ÿ•ฎ    Aviva Brown is the author of Ezra's BIG Shabbat Question and Not Now, Mara! These picture books portray Jewish children of color without making a big deal about it, something we don't see often enough in kidlit. Listen to Aviva as she talks about her inspiration, about self publishing, and about winning Mother of the Year Award for the state of North Carolina. LEARN MORE: Aviva Brown's website Mother of the Year Award 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 561-206-2473.

Jewish Book Carnival: February 2021

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The Jewish Book Carnival is a monthly roundup of Jewish literary links from across the blogosphere. Sponsored by the Association of Jewish Libraries, it is hosted by a different blog each month and shares book reviews, author interviews, essays, and other blog posts about Jewish books. Visit the Jewish Book Carnival HQ for the upcoming schedule, past Carnivals, and to learn how to participate!    Here on The Book of Life , I am pleased to share my interview with Rebecca Levitan, chair of the Sydney Taylor Book Award committee, about the 2021 award winning titles! The Association of Jewish Libraries organized a Blog Tour for the winners of the 2021 Sydney Taylor Book Award! See the schedule and follow the links to the various interviews. You can also read about the AJL Fiction Award winners for adult literature. On The Sydney Taylor Shmooze , the mock award blog for the Sydney Taylor Book Award, we've got a review of Esther Didn't Dream of Being Queen by Allison Ofanansky

The 2021 Sydney Taylor Book Award Blog Tour

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    The Sydney Taylor Book Award will be showcasing its 2021 gold and silver medalists with a Blog Tour, February 8-12, 2021! Interviews with winning authors and illustrators will appear on a variety of Jewish and kidlit blogs. Interviews will appear on the dates below, and will remain available to read at your own convenience. Below is the schedule for the 2021 Sydney Taylor Book Award Blog Tour. Please follow the links to visit the hosting blogs on or after their tour dates, and be sure to leave them plenty of comments! MONDAY, FEBRUARY 8, 2021  Leslรฉa Newman and Susan Gal , author and illustrator of Welcoming Elijah Sydney Taylor Book Award in the Picture Book Category at A Fuse #8 Production at School Library Journal Sofiya Pasternack , author of Anya and the Nightingale Sydney Taylor Honor Book in the Middle Grade Category at 100 Scope Notes at School Library Journal   TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 9, 2021 M. Evan Wolkenstein , author of Turtle Boy Sydney Taylor Book Award in the Mi

The 2021 Sydney Taylor Book Awards, Revealed

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LISTEN TO THE PODCAST     |    READ THE TRANSCRIPT       ๐Ÿ•ฎ    Rebecca Levitan is the chair of the Sydney Taylor Book Award committee of the Association of Jewish Libraries. She joined us to discuss the 2021 winners of the award, which annually recognizes the best Jewish literature for children and teens.  AJL is an affiliate of the American Library Association, so the Sydney Taylor Book Awards are announced at ALA's Youth Media Awards press conference, being held virtually this year on January 25, 2021. You can watch a recording of the announcement on ALA's YouTube channel . Here's the official 2021 Sydney Taylor Book Award press release and the printable list of winners, honors, and notable books . The Sydney Taylor Book Award Blog Tour will take place February 8-12, 2021. Details will appear soon at JewishLibraries.org . We also spoke about AJL's Sydney Taylor Manuscript Award . The 2021 winner is Cats and Honey Cake by Sonja Spear. We mentioned AJL