The 2022 Sydney Taylor Book Awards, Revealed


    🕮    Martha Seif Simpson is the chair of the Sydney Taylor Book Award committee of the Association of Jewish Libraries. She joined us to discuss the 2022 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 24, 2022. You can watch a recording of the announcement on ALA's YouTube channel.

Here's my unofficial shortlist of deserving books, and here's the official 2022 Sydney Taylor Book Award press release and the printable list of winners, honors, and notable books. You can also scroll down to see all the winning titles listed, with links to any past podcast appearances by the authors on The Book of Life.

A week after the official announcement at ALA, AJL will hold an "After Party" on Sunday January 30, 2022 at 12:30pm ET. The guest of honor will be Jo Taylor Marshall, daughter of Sydney Taylor and sponsor of the book awards. Register for this free event HERE!

The Sydney Taylor Book Award Blog Tour will take place February 7-11, 2022. Details will appear soon at


Picture Book Winner: The Passover Guest by Susan Kusel, illustrated by Sean Rubin, published by Neal Porter Books, an imprint of Holiday House. Podcast appearance by Susan and Sean: 2021.

Middle Grade Winner:
How to Find What You’re Not Looking For by Veera Hiranandani, published by Kokila, an imprint of Penguin Random House

Young Adult Winner: The City Beautiful by Aden Polydoros, published by Inkyard Press


Picture Book Honors

Dear Mr. Dickens by Nancy Churnin, illustrated by Bethany Stancliffe, published by Albert Whitman & Company. Podcast appearance by Nancy: 2019

The Christmas Mitzvah by Jeff Gottesfeld, illustrated by Michelle Laurentia Agatha, published by Creston Books. Podcast appearances by Jeff: 2020, 2021

Nicky & Vera: A Quiet Hero of the Holocaust and the Children He Rescued by Peter Sís, illustrated by Peter Sís, published Norton Young Readers, an imprint of W.W. Norton & Company

Middle Grade Honors

Linked by Gordon Korman, published by Scholastic Press, an imprint of Scholastic, Inc.

The Genius Under the Table: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain by Eugene Yelchin, illustrated by Eugene Yelchin, published by Candlewick Press. Podcast appearance by Eugene: 2013

Young Adult Honors

Whistle: A New Gotham City Hero by E. Lockhart, illustrated by Manuel Preitano, published by DC Comics. Podcast appearance by E. Lockhart: 2021

The Summer of Lost Letters by Hannah Reynolds, published by Razorbill, an imprint of Penguin Random House

The Last Words We Said by Leah Scheier, published by Simon & Schuster


Picture Book Notables

A Queen to the Rescue: The Story of Henrietta Szold, Founder of Hadassah by Nancy Churnin, illustrated by Yevgenia Nayberg, published by Creston Books. Podcast appearance by Nancy: 2019

The People’s Painter: How Ben Shahn Fought for Justice with Art by Cynthia Levinson, illustrated by Evan Turk, published by Abrams Books for Young Readers, an imprint of ABRAMS

Red and Green and Blue and White by Lee Wind, illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky, published by Levine Querido. Podcast appearances by Lee: 2020, 2021. Podcast appearance by Paul: 2018

Middle Grade Notables

The Magical Imperfect by Chris Baron, published by Feiwel and Friends, an imprint of Macmillan Publishing Company

Sorry for Your Loss by Joanne Levy, published by Orca Book Publishers. Podcast appearance by Joanne: 2020, and upcoming in February 2022

Benny Feldman’s All-Star Klezmer Band by Alison and Wayne Marks, published by Green Bean Books

Young Adult Notables

The Light of Days: The Untold Story of Women Resistance Fighters in Hitler’s Ghettos (Young Readers’ Edition) by Judy Batalion, published by Harper, an imprint of HarperCollins

Why We Fly by Kimberly Jones and Gilly Segal, published by Sourcebooks Fire, an imprint of Sourcebooks

The Seventh Handmaiden by Judith Pransky, published by Green Bean Books

Boy from Buchenwald by Robbie Waisman and Susan McClelland, published by Bloomsbury Books, part of Bloomsbury Publishing Inc.


Body-of-Work Winner: Jane Yolen. Podcast appearance: 2019


Manuscript Award Winner: "Echo of Light" by Noah Weisz



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