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Here's a roundup of some interesting links about Jewish books this week:

Listen to an interview with Zoe Fishman, author of the new novel Balancing Acts, with HarperCollins' Book Club Girl.

Schocken Books announces that Elie Wiesel's A Mad Desire to Dance is now in paperback.

A beautiful review of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel's I Asked for Wonder can be found at the Jew Wishes book blog.

Have you been following Tablet Magazine's serialization of Steve Stern's The Frozen Rabbi, forthcoming from Algonquin Books?

On Twitter? The Jewish Book Council is running its third "Twunch and Talk" on April 27 at 1:00 EST. It's going to be a discussion of Dara Horn's All Other Nights.

Got a link about Jewish books you'd like me to see?  Email me at mcloutier at jewishlibraries.org. Have a great week!
Posted in: Uncategorized
Yom Hashoah Ve-Hagevurah

Nisan 27, 5770 | April 11, 2010

NON-FICTION

Bogacki, Tomek. THE CHAMPION OF CHILDREN: THE STORY OF JANUSZ KORCZAK. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2009. 33 pages. ISBN: 978-0-374-34136-7. Elementary. Expressive acrylic illustrations by the author immediately set the tone of this Holocaust biography. Their tone fluctuates to match the mood of the text, which portrays Korczak's life from youth to death, last showing him marching with the orphans he taught to the train that would take them all to their deaths.

De Saix, Deborah Durland; Ruelle, Karen Gray. THE GRAND MOSQUE OF PARIS: A STORY OF HOW MUSLIMS RESCUED JEWS DURING THE HOLOCAUST. Holiday House, 2009. 40 pages. ISBN: 978-0-8234-2159. Primary, Elementary. This handsomely illustrated book, with paintings in shades of blue, gray, maize and gold, gives an account of how Jewish families, escaping Allied airmen, and various others (some in the Resistance) found respite and shelter in a North African Kabyle mosque in the heart of Paris.

Kacer, Kathy; McKay, Sharon E. WHISPERS FROM THE CAMPS. Penguin Canada, 2009. 151 pages. ISBN: 978-0-14-331252-9 . Middle-School, High-School. As in Whispers from the Ghettos, Kacer and McKay have documented individual true stories from the lives of teenage survivors of the Holocaust. In some cases, the lives of the teens are saved because of their special skills, e.g. knowledge of the German language or the ability to read aircraft blueprints. Many of the stories deal with the arrival at Auschwitz - selection, stripping, hair shearing, cold showers, thin clothing, repeated lineups for counting, etc. - but each is remarkable for being personal and detailed. Also included is a 5-minute play, "The Liberation of Dachau" and a glossary.

Kacer, Kathy; McKay, Sharon E. WHISPERS FROM THE GHETTOS. Penguin Canada, 2009. 162 pages. ISBN: 978-0-14-331251-2. Middle-School, High-School. Original testimonies from survivors of the ghettos record the hardship, terror, and bravery that they experienced as young people during the Holocaust. Twelve accounts of ghetto life are included, showing the role adolescents played in securing food and necessities for their families. Very moving!

Koestler-Grack, Rachel. ELIE WIESEL: WITNESS FOR HUMANITY. Gareth Stevens, 2009. 112 pages. ISBN: 978-14339-0054-9. Middle-School. This biography covers the period from Wiesel's childhood, through his horrific experiences in concentration camps, to his life and career after the Holocaust. Following the narrative there is a conversation with the director of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum about the meaning and message for youngsters of Wiesel's life, plus reference aides.

Metselaar, Menno; van der Rol, Ruud. ANNE FRANK: HER LIFE IN WORDS AND PICTURES. Roaring Brook Press, 2009. 215 pages. ISBN: 978-1-59643-546-9. Elementary, Middle-School, High-School. First published in the Netherlands by the Anne Frank House, this draws on materials from the archives to give a history of the Frank family and their protectors, plus an account of the preserved Annex where the Frank family and others hid. The text is drawn from several sources including some adult books and Anne's diary. The testimony of Rosa de Winter, who was with the three Frank women in Westerbork and Bergen-Belsen, is also given. Many photographs of the Frank family accompany the text of a handsome keepsake.

FICTION

Clark, Kathy . GUARDIAN ANGEL HOUSE. Second Story Press, 2009. 225 pages. ISBN: 978-1-897187-58-6 . Elementary, Middle-School. Guardian Angel House is the nickname given to a convent run by the Sisters of Charity in Budapest that sheltered over 120 Jewish children during World War Two. Told from the point of view of twelve-year-old Susan, this is a story of survival, of growing up without family during childhood and adolescence, of Jewish children living in a protective and loving Catholic environment which is foreign to them, of mutual respect between people of different religions, of a young woman forced to learn courage at an early age. Based on the true story of the author's mother and aunt, it is historical fiction at its best.

Engle, Margarita. TROPICAL SECRETS: HOLOCAUST REFUGEES IN CUBA. Henry Holt, 2009. 208 pages. ISBN: 978-0805089363. Middle-School. A coming-of-age story and an unusual piece of Holocaust history, told in free verse. 13-year old Daniel, a German refugee meets and then befriends a 12 year old Cuban girl after his ship is allowed to dock in Havana. Their story is effectively told in alternating narratives. Winner of the 2010 Sydney Taylor Book Award for Teens.

Gleitzman, Morris. ONCE. Henry Holt, 2010. 176 pages. ISBN: 978-0-8050-9026-0. Elementary, Middle-School. The narrator is an imaginative and innocent Jewish child being sheltered in a convent. The son of Jewish booksellers, he believes that all of his parents' troubles are because the Nazis don't like Jewish books and want to rid the world of them. When he runs away from the convent in order to find his parents, he finds instead only devastation. Reality slowly dawns as the true horrors of the Holocaust are revealed.

Heuvel, Eric. A FAMILY SECRET. Anne Frank House, 2009. 62 pages. ISBN: 978-0-374-464554. Elementary, Middle-School.

Heuvel, Eric. THE SEARCH. Anne Frank House, 2009. 62 pages. ISBN: 978-0-374-464554. Elementary, Middle-School. Originally published in Dutch in 2007, A Family Secret and its sequel, The Search, tell overlapping stories of ordinary people during World War II. A Family Secret tells the story of Jeroen, a teenage boy, who is looking through his grandmother's attic for items to sell at a yard sale. After he comes across scrapbooks and other artifacts, his grandmother Helena tells him for the first time about her experiences as a young girl in Amsterdam during the German occupation. Her best friend was Esther, a Jewish girl whose family fled from Germany to the Netherlands hoping for safety from the Nazis. When Esther's family is sent to a concentration camp, Helena fears the worst, and assumes that Esther has died along with her parents. Years later, a chance meeting between Jeroen and Esther during a Memorial Day ceremony allows the boy to present his grandmother with her long-lost friend. Dutch artist Eric Heuvel uses pastel colors and a clear line style that has been compared to Tintin comics. The text is simplified for a younger audience. War is not glamorized in any way; neither the Nazis nor the victims are personalized. Because of the lack of violence, these two books would provide a good introduction to the topic for children as young as fifth grade.

Thor, Annika. A FARAWAY ISLAND. Delacorte Press, 2009. ISBN: 978-0385-90590-9. Elementary, Middle-School. The story of two Viennese-Jewish sisters who are sent to safety during the Holocaust to an island off the coast of Sweden. The girls' treatments by their two foster families vary but both try to convert them to Christianity. Hoping to be reunited with their parents soon, the girls' stay lasts indefinitely, and the story explores the emotions of children who endure uncertainty far from home. Translated from the Swedish, this is the first in a series of books about the sisters' life on the island.

Walfish, Miriam. THE STARS WILL GUIDE YOU. Judaica Press, 2009. 320 pages. ISBN: 978-1-60763-016-6. Middle-School, High-School. Rica Levi, 15, and her brother Lelio, 8, are instructed by their widowed father to flee their home in the Rome ghetto in 1943. In the ensuing months and years, they don't know what has happened to him and fear the worst. In four sections, the book describes the children's hiding by Catholics in Narola, Italy; the liberation of Rome by the Allies and their return to find their ransacked and defaced apartment; the search for family after the war; and, finally, their reunion with their father.

Whitney, Kim Ablon. THE OTHER HALF OF LIFE. Alfred A. Knopf, 2009. 256 pages. ISBN: 978-0-375-85219-0. Elementary, Middle-School. Based upon the true story of the MS St. Louis, the story takes place after Kristallnacht and follows closely the fateful voyage of over 900 passengers who are bound for Cuba. The main character is fifteen-year-old, Thomas, whose father has been sent to Dachau, and whose non-Jewish mother places him on the ship for safety. The ship is eventually turned away at several countries' ports, and forced to return to European cities that will soon fall under Nazi domination. Winner of a 2009 National Jewish Book Award.

AND DON’T FORGET…

Finkelstein, Norman H. REMEMBER NOT TO FORGET: A MEMORY OF THE HOLOCAUST. Illus. by Lars Hokanson and Lois Hokanson. Jewish Publication Society, 2004. 29 pages. ISBN: 0827607709. Primary, Elementary. A straight-forward presentation of anti-Semitism, the Holocaust, and its aftermath, illustrated with stark black and white pictures. Intended as an introduction for children in grades three through five, it contains background information that is essential for any teaching or understanding of the Holocaust.

Fleischman, Sid. THE ENTERTAINER AND THE DYBBUK. HarperCollins/Greenwillow, 2007. 180 pages. ISBN: 978-0-06-13445-9. Elementary, Middle-School. In post-World War II Europe, a struggling American ventriloquist called The Great Freddie gets an offer of help with his act from a dybbuk, the ghost of a boy who was killed in the Holocaust. The dybbuk speaks for Freddy so that his ineptitude as a ventriloquist isn't visible and in gaining a voice, the dybbuk is able to speak out against the murder of himself and millions of others by the Nazis. Winner of a Sydney Taylor Book Award.

Krinitz, Esther Nisenthal; Steinhardt, Bernice . MEMORIES OF SURVIVAL. Hyperion, 2005. 64 pages. ISBN: 0786851260. Elementary, Middle-School, High-School, Adult. Esther Krinitz survived the Holocaust and lived to raise a family in the United States. Years after the war, she shared her memories with her children by sewing embroidered fabric collages depicting scenes from her early life. Her daughter, Bernice Steinhardt, has taken some of these amazing embroideries, added to the comments written by her mother, and created a book that is outstanding in its immediacy and beauty.

Patz, Nancy . WHO WAS THE WOMAN WHO WORE THE HAT? Dutton, 2003. 40 pages. ISBN: 0525469990. Elementary, Middle-School, High-School, Adult. Inspired by the author-illustrator's reaction to a woman's hat she saw in a glass case in Amsterdam's Jewish Historical Museum, this is a prose poem meditating on the identity of the woman and on her probable fate during the Holocaust. The fate of other Dutch Jews and, indeed, of every human being, is implicated in the text and in the striking illustrations, which consist of somber-toned watercolors, pencil drawings, and old photographs. Winner of a Sydney Taylor Book Award.

Rogasky, Barbara. SMOKE AND ASHES, REVISED AND EXPANDED. Holiday House, 2002. 256 pages. ISBN: 0823416771. Middle-School, High-School. The first edition of this unflinching look at the Holocaust was written in 1988 and represented a significant contribution to books about the Holocaust for young people. Here, much new information has been added: the role of "ordinary" Germans in the Final Solution, the German's attempts to hide their crimes, the Allies' decision not to bomb the rail lines to Auschwitz and more. A chapter called "The Uniqueness of the Holocaust" lists recent atrocities and hate crimes. One of the very best treatments of the Holocaust for young people.

Schmidt, Gary. MARA'S STORIES: GLIMMERS IN THE DARK. Henry Holt, 2001. 152 pages. ISBN: 0805067949. Middle-School, High-School. In the night and fog of a concentration camp, women and children gather at night to listen to stories told by a prisoner named Mara, the daughter of a rabbi. The haunting stories are adapted from Jewish lore and modern Jewish literature.

Weisbarth, Bracha. TO LIVE AND FIGHT ANOTHER DAY: THE STORY OF A JEWISH PARTISAN BOY. Mazo, 2004. 158 pages. ISBN: 9659046235. Middle-School. An exciting novel based on the experiences of the author's family during the Holocaust. The main character is her brother, Benny, who led the family out of the ghetto before a Nazi "Final Aktion" and then into the forests, where they eventually joined partisans fighting the Nazis.

Zusak, Markus. THE BOOK THIEF. Random House, 2006. 553 pages. ISBN: 0-375-83100-2. High-School, Adult. Death is the omnipresent commentator in this compelling novel set in Germany during World War II. Genial as he muses on human existence, Death is sometimes frightened at the extent of human cruelty. Germany under Hitler was the epicenter of cruelty, as shown through several years in the life of a German child, the "book thief," her foster family, friends, and the town near Munich where she lives. These "good German" characters are earthy, flawed, and unforgettable. And while Death (always) has the final word, it is to say "I am haunted by humans." For high school and up and not to be missed! Winner of a Sydney Taylor Book Award.

For more titles about the Holocaust and World War II, visit the Jewish Valuesfinder at www.ajljewishvalues.org.

Linda R. Silver
April 2010
Posted in: Uncategorized
I am pleased to announce the Judaica Reference and Bibliography Awards for 2010, given yearly by the Research Libraries, Archives, and Special Collections Division of AJL.

 In the reference category, we award the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Encyclopedia of Camps and Ghettos, 1933-1945, published by Indiana University Press in association with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Led by Dr. Geoffrey Megargee from the Holocaust Memorial Museum, the complete 7-volume encyclopedia will give readers access, in English, to unpublished archival materials and information published in many other languages around the world. Volume one, published in two parts (1,659 pages, 192 photographs and 23 maps), gives details on over 1,000 early camps, youth camps, and concentration camps and sub-camps set up by the Nazis, including Auschwitz-Birkenau, Buchenwald, Dachau, and Bergen-Belsen. The six additional volumes planned in this international project will be published by 2018. More information on this outstanding resource for holocaust research may be found at http://www.ushmm.org/research/center/encyclopedia/.

              Please join me in congratulating Dr. Megargee, the Advisory Committee and all contributors of this fine scholarly work, as well as the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and Indiana University Press, for winning the prestigious 2010 Judaica Reference Award!

In the bibliography category, we give a Body-of-Work Award to Yossi Galron, Head of the Hebraica and Jewish Studies Library at The Ohio State University Libraries, in recognition of his life-long contributions to the field of Hebrew bibliography. Mr. Galron has been active in this field since the 1980s, with published print bibliographies for the writings of prominent figures in the history of Modern Hebrew literature, including Yisrael Yeshayahu (1984), Dov Sadan (1986), Yeshayahu Avrekh (1988), Nurit Govrin (2005), Dan Miron (2007), and Natan Rotenshtraikh (2010). In 2004, he established the Modern Hebrew Literature - a Bio-Bibliographical Lexicon, an online database of 2,000 entries succeeding Getzel Kressel’s magnum opus, Cyclopedia of Modern Hebrew Literature (1965-1967). Unlike Kressel’s vital but dated two volumes, this Hebrew database is updated daily with new entries and citations of secondary sources, many of them linked to reviews in Israeli dailies. This invaluable one-person project, freely available on the Internet, is heavily used by librarians, researches and the general public.

              Please join me in congratulating Yossi, a cherished AJL member, for winning the prestigious 2010 Judaica Bibliography Award!

I would like to thank the committee members for their hard work: James Rosenbloom, Daniel Rettberg, Michlean Amir, Rachel Simon, Rachel Ariel, and Philip Miller.

Rachel Leket-Mor

Chair of Judaica Reference and Bibliography Awards Committee

The Research Libraries, Archives, and Special Collections Division

Association of Jewish Libraries
Titles reviewed in AJL's Jewish ValuesFinder, selected by editor Linda Silver.

RECENT TITLES

Balsley, Tilda. LET MY PEOPLE GO! Illus. by Ilene Richard. Kar-Ben/Lerner, 2008. 32 pages. ISBN: 978-0-8225-7241-1. Preschool, PrimaryColorful, cartoon-like pictures and a humorous rhyming text tell the story of Passover and the Ten Plagues through the use of five roles: the Narrator, Moses, Pharaoh, the Egyptians and the Chorus. Each role is printed in a different color, so the story could be acted out as Readers Theater at Seders, and could also be used in classroom or library presentations.

Cohen, Deborah Bodin. NACHSHON, WHO WAS AFRAID TO SWIM: A PASSOVER STORY. Illus. by Jago. Kar-Ben/Lerner, 2009. 32 pages. ISBN: 978-0-8225-8764-4. Preschool, PrimaryYoung Nachshon is known among his fellow Hebrew slaves as brave about everything except water. When Moses confronts Pharaoh and then leads the Jews out of Egypt, Nachshon overcomes his fear of water and is the first to walk into the Red Sea. This story about courage is illustrated handsomely in rich, glowing colors and with angular shapes that evoke a desert setting.

Fireside, Bryna J. PRIVATE JOEL AND THE SEWELL MOUNTAIN SEDER. Illus. by Shawn Costello. Kar-Ben/Lerner, 2008. 48 pages. ISBN: 978-0-8225-7240-4. Primary, ElementaryBryna Fireside has transformed a true account of a Seder held by Union soldiers during the Civil War into an easy-reading and appealing story in which three former slaves who are also soldiers in the Ohio 23rd join the twenty-one Jewish soldiers and their commander, William S. Rosecrans, in preparing for and then celebrating their Seder. As the preparations ensue and the Seder begins, Passover's blessings, symbols, and meaning are extended to include the experiences of the African-American soldiers and their hope for freedom. Attractive, heavily-textured, full-color paintings adorn the story, written in a light, lively style and divided into short chapters.

Kimmelman, Leslie . THE LITTLE RED HEN AND THE PASSOVER MATZAH. Illus. by Paul Meisel. Holiday House, 2010. 32 pages. ISBN: 978-0-8234-1952-4. Preschool, PrimaryThis Yiddish-inflected Passover version of the Little Red Hen nursery tale couldn't be more fun! Those no-goodniks sheep, horse, and dog don't have a moment to spare for their friend, Little Red Hen, as she goes about first growing the wheat, then grinding it, and then baking it into matzah for her Seder. When all three have the chutzpah to show up for the Seder, she remembers the words in the Haggadah: "Let all who are hungry come and eat," and invites them in. And when it's time for clean-up afterwards, guess who says, "Not I" this time. The combination of a rollicking story, bouncy illustrations, and the take-off on a tale most children have likely heard before make this a winner! Instructions for preparing and baking matzah are given.

Portnoy, Mindy Avra. TALE OF TWO SEDERS, A. Illus. by Valeria Cis. Kar-Ben/Lerner, 2010. 32 pages. ISBN: 978-0-8225-9917-3. Preschool, PrimaryA little girl describes the two Seders she goes to each year after her parents have divorced. While expressing both wistfulness and her wish for her parents to get back together, the story's positive perspective is strong. At each Seder, she comments on the charoset and at the conclusion, her mother compares families to charoset - some sweeter than others, some stickier, but each tasty in its own way. Four charoset recipes follow the story, which is colorfully illustrated.

Weber, Elka. THE YANKEE AT THE SEDER. Illustrated by Adam Gustavson.
Tricycle Press, 2009. 40 pages. ISBN: 978-1-58246-256-1. Primary, ElementaryThe Civil War has just ended and Corporal Levy of the Union Army finds a Jewish family in Richmond, Virginia who invite him to their Seder. Having a Yankee at the Seder is shocking to the family's young son but the traditional injunction "Let all who are hungry come and eat" trumps political differences. Written with touches of humor and warmly illustrated, the story is rich in Jewish values such as peoplehood and hospitality. Like Krensky's Hanukkah at Valley Forge, it is based on "hearsay" history which may or may not have actually happened.

Ziefert, Harriet. PASSOVER: CELEBRATING NOW, REMEMBERING THEN. Illus. by Karla Gudeon. Blue Apple, 2010. 36 pages. ISBN: 978-1-60905-020-7. Preschool, PrimarySuperlative in conception, design, and content, this Passover book captures both the meaning and the observance of the holiday in the present (now) and at the time of its origins (then). The text is direct and sparse, the folk-art illustrations are expansive and captivating, many spread across fold-out pages that very creatively link Passover's contemporary and historical aspects. As a modern family prepares for Passover and then celebrates it at their Seder, each element of the Seder is connected to the Passover narrative at a level of written and visual clarity that is perfect for children of many ages, especially younger ones.

AND DON'T FORGET...

Cohen, Barbara. THE CARP IN THE BATHTUB. Illus. by Joan Halpern. Kar-Ben Copies, 1987. 48 pages. ISBN: 0930494679. Primary, ElementaryConsider this a classic for Jewish children. It is timeless in its appeal and still popular with both children and adults. The plot, the writing style, and the evocation of an earlier time when gefilte fish were made and not bought are all heartwarming. So, too, are the illustrations which capture not just the two children's well-meant attempts to keep a carp that they name Joe, after a deceased neighbor, from the cooking pot but also the characters' love and respect for one another. Set shortly before Passover during the Depression, this highlights one food custom but does not explain the holiday.

Cohen, Barbara. MAKE A WISH, MOLLY. Illus. by Jones, Jan N. Jones. Bantam Doubleday Dell, 1995. ISBN: 0440410584. PrimaryA sequel to Molly's Pilgrim, this shows Molly learning to reconcile Jewish and American traditions when a classmate's birthday party occurs during Passover. Once again, Molly's resourceful mother comes to the rescue. As in the earlier book, this is a sensitive portrayal of children's relationships with classmates.

Goetz, Bracha . WHAT DO YOU SEE ON PESACH? Judaica Press, 2007. 16 pages. ISBN: 978-1-932443-64-6. PreschoolPhotos of toddlers are matched with a concept related to Passover and with some additional photos of the objects associated with the concept. For example, the first double-page spread says: "Pesach is here. What do you see? A house so clean! How can that be?" The child is dressed in denim work clothes and objects used to clean the house are shown opposite her: a vacuum cleaner, sponge, broom, paper towels, pail, and mop. The book's other concepts are food, the Seder table, drinks, clothes, the Haggadah, and the hidden afikomen. The children adorning each one are too adorable for words alone to do justice. Virtually all of the very simple text is in English except for the words kosos (cups), kos shel Eliyahu (Elijah's cup), Seder, Hagaddah, and afikomen. However, because there is no glossary to explain these terms, this board book may have limited use. The photographs, in color, are bright, clear, and labeled.

Hanft, Josh . THE MIRACLES OF PASSOVER. Illus. by Seymour Chwast. Blue Apple/Chronicle, 2007. 28 pages. ISBN: 10: 1-59354-600-9; 13: 978-1-59354-600-7. PrimaryA cogent text, lively illustrations, and flaps to lift are the three notable features of this third book on which Hanft and Chwast have collaborated. It tells the story of the Exodus, contrasting the dignified figure of Moses with the rather effete one of Pharaoh, and concludes with scenes of two Seders, one from times past and one of today, complete with a Seder plate whose foods are discovered by lifting flaps. Chwast's illustrations are deceptively simple because they convey so much meaning so economically. The colors are muted but the palette is varied so that there is much to look at on every page. As in The Miracles of Hanukkah, the text follows the Bible without fictional details being added.

Heiligman, Deborah. CELEBRATE PASSOVER WITH MATZAH, MAROR, AND MEMORIES. National Geographic, 2007. 32 pages. ISBN: 978-1-4263-0018-9. Primary, ElementaryAnother excellent book in the Holidays Around the World series, this is by the same author as Celebrate Hanukkah with Lights, Latkes, and Dreidels and follows the same format. Engaging color photos of Jews observing Passover in different parts of the world accompany a concise text that conveys the meaning and history of the holiday, its customs, and the observance of the Seder. Appended is more information about Passover, a recipe, and some recommended books and websites. Rabbi Shira Stern's discussion of Passover concludes the book.

Kimmel, Eric A. WONDERS AND MIRACLES: A PASSOVER COMPANION. Scholastic, 2004. 136 pages. ISBN: 0439071755. Primary, Elementary, Middle-School, High-School, AdultThe traditional order of the Seder is the organizing principle of this superbly written and illustrated anthology. The lucid narrative blends history, tradition, modern practices, and Passover's timeless meaning. It is extended by a fascinating selection of poetry, stories, and song lyrics, including a K'tonton tale and another about a protest rally on behalf of Soviet Jewry. The illustrations and book design are outstanding and draw from centuries of Haggadot, manuscripts, ritual objects, sculpture and paintings. A distinguished book for a wide range of interests and ages. Winner of a National Jewish Book Award.

Lehman-Wilzig, Tami . PASSOVER AROUND THE WORLD. Illus. by Elizabeth Wolf. Kar-Ben/Lerner, 2007. 48 pages. ISBN: 978-1-58013-213-8. Primary, ElementaryPassover customs of Jews from different parts of the world are introduced to children in this brightly illustrated, well-designed book. Gibraltar, Turkey, Ethiopia, India, Israel, Iran, Morocco, and the United States are the countries whose customs are used to show each step of the Seder unfolding. A map and brief historical information about each place is also provided, along with recipes. Whereas Heiligman's book Celebrate Passover with Maror, Matzah, and Memories focused on the meaning and rituals of Passover, this book focuses on national customs. There are few books for children about Jewish customs and practices in places other than Anglophone countries so this is welcome.

Olswanger, Anna. SHLEMIEL CROOKS. Illus. by Paula Goodman Koz. JuneBug/New South Books, 2005. 32 pages. ISBN: 158838165X. Primary, Elementary This off-beat and funny story, set in St. Louis in the early 1900's, is based on the author's grandfather. It involves the attempted robbery of Reb Olschwanger's saloon by two shlemiel crooks who are instigated by the ghost of Pharaoh and foiled by a talking horse and a neighborhood "shtuss." Flavored heavily with a Yiddish inflected narration and illustrated with earthy, heavily outlined linocuts, this gem of a story requires considerable practice before reading aloud. And it’s worth the effort.

Rouss, Sylvia . SAMMY SPIDER'S FIRST HAGGADAH. Illus. by Katherine Janus Kahn. Kar-Ben/Lerner, 2007. 32 pages. ISBN: 978-1-58013-230-5. Preschool, PrimaryBeginning with a brief overview of Passover, the remainder of the book follows the traditional Passover Haggadah in abbreviated form. It is written in style that young children will understand and enhanced by clever songs that are adapted from familiar ones like "Old Macdonald Had a Farm." The illustrations are slightly less abstract than in the other Sammy Spider books and Sammy himself appears only peripherally.

Rush, Barbara and Cherie Karo Schwartz. The KIDS' CATALOG OF PASSOVER: A WORLDWIDE CELEBRATION OF STORIES, SONGS, CUSTOMS, CRAFTS, FOOD, AND FUN. Jewish Publication Society, 2000. 244 pages. ISBN: 0827606877. Primary, Elementary, Middle-SchoolOrganized in relation to the Seder, this is filled with information, stories, crafts, games, recipes and songs. A drab, black and white format is offset by lively, informal writing, photographs of Jewish children, and a haimish attitude on the authors' part.

Shulman, Lisa. THE MATZO BALL BOY. Illus. by Rosanne Litzinger. Dutton, 2005. 32 pages. ISBN: 0525471693. PrimaryIn another take-off on the Gingerbread Boy, the matzo ball boy careens through the village, evading the bubbe who created him, the yenta, the rabbi, and a sly fox with a "voice as smooth as schmaltz," but not a poor man and his wife who invite him to their Seder, where he winds up in the soup! The illustrations by Rosanne Litzinger, who also illustrated the Sydney Taylor Award winning picture book, Chicken Soup By Heart, are rich and delicious - but, they don't quite match the text in their depiction of the matzo ball boy. The use of Yiddish is a little contrived, as well. On the other hand, a group of K - Gr. 2 children to whom the story was read found it hilarious!

Shulman, Lisa. THE MATZO BALL BOY. Illus. by Rosanne Litzinger. Dutton, 2005. 32 pages. ISBN: 0525471693. PrimaryIn another take-off on the Gingerbread Boy, the matzo ball boy careens through the village, evading the bubbe who created him, the yenta, the rabbi, and a sly fox with a "voice as smooth as schmaltz," but not a poor man and his wife who invite him to their Seder, where he winds up in the soup! The illustrations by Rosanne Litzinger, who also illustrated the Sydney Taylor Award winning picture book, Chicken Soup By Heart, are rich and delicious - but, they don't quite match the text in their depiction of the matzo ball boy. The use of Yiddish is a little contrived, as well. On the other hand, a group of K - Gr. 2 children to whom the story was read found it hilarious!

For more Passover titles, visit the Valuesfinder at www.ajljewishvalues.org.
Posted in: Uncategorized

 











AJL Western Regional Conference on Jewish Literature for



Children:



Monsters and Miracles:




A Journey Through Jewish Picture Books



at the Skirball Cultural Center!





 


Celebrating the historical and cultural roots of the Jewish picture book with more than 100 original illustrations and texts from picture book classics and popular favorites. Featured authors and artists include Arnold Lobel, Daniel Pinkwater, Francine Prose, Maurice Sendak, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Lemony Snicket, Art Spiegelman, William Steig, Marc Chagall, and Ze'ev Raban.



 


 Conference Schedule:


  9 AM Registration. continental breakfast and introduction to the exhibit by curator Tal Gozani


10 AM Visit the exhibit


12 PM  Lunch at American Jewish University, 15600 Mulholland Dr.



(across the freeway from the Skirball)



1:15 PM Panel discussion with featured speakers and silent auction





2:45 PM Book sale and autographing by local authors; Tour of Ostrow Community Library



 


 

Featured speakers: Joni Sussman (publisher, KarBen Books), Richard Michelson, (Sydney Taylor Award Winner for As Good As Anybody), and


Eugene Yelchin, (illustrator and member of Jewish Artists Initiative)




e Manuscript consultations with Joni Sussman from KarBen Books available e


 


Sponsored by Sinai Temple Blumenthal Library, Association of Jewish Libraries, AJLSC,


and the Ostrow Community Library at the American Jewish University













 

 


 


For reservations and information call Susan Dubin at (818) 886-6415, send email to Lisa Silverman at lsilverman@sinaitemple.org  or return this to the address below:


 


Name___________________ Address_____________________________City/State/Zip_______________


Phone ___________________ Email___________________________ Institution____________________


 


______ $55 (includes lunch)    ______ AJL member $45 (includes lunch)      ____ $45 Manuscript consult  


               


Make check payable to Sinai Temple Blumenthal Library


Mail to:


Jewish Literature for Children Conference


Sinai Temple Blumenthal Library          


   10400 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90024










Contact us for information regarding student or group discounts.











BJE CREDIT AVAILABLE




 

For immediate release
For more info contact Heidi Estrin
pr@jewishlibraries.org


ASSOCIATION OF JEWISH LIBRARIES ANNOUNCES AFFILIATION WITH AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION

The Association of Jewish Libraries has become an affiliate of the American Library Association as of January, 2010. Among ALA's twenty-eight affiliate organizations, there are a number that, like AJL, represent religious or ethnic library services, including the American Indian Library Association, the Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association, the Catholic Library Association, the Black Caucus of ALA, and the Chinese American Librarians Association.

AJL was welcomed into the fold with a warm “Congratulations!” by ALA’s Alicia Bastl, liaison for affiliates. "AJL's mission is to support Judaic libraries and promote Jewish literacy. ALA wants to do the same for American libraries. Our goals overlap and reinforce each other. We hope that this new affiliation will help AJL grow and strengthen even as it helps ALA diversify,” said Susan Dubin, AJL President. “This is a great opportunity for us to educate the library world about AJL and its many activities."

Affiliates enjoy representation at ALA conferences and in ALA print and online publications. Benefits of membership began immediately for AJL, when the winners of its 2010 Sydney Taylor Book Award were announced on the ALA website alongside their other children's literary prizes such as the Newbery and Caldecott medals.

The Association of Jewish Libraries, established in 1966, has over 1,000 members worldwide. AJL promotes Jewish literacy through enhancement of libraries and library resources and through leadership for the profession and practitioners of Judaica librarianship. Visit the AJL website at www.jewishlibraries.org, and visit http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/affiliates/affiliates/AJL.cfm to see AJL’s presence on ALA’s website.

###

Posted in: Uncategorized


Klez4Kids: The Kugel Valley Klezmer Band
Saturday, March 6, 2010 at 3PM



Florida Atlantic University's Wimberley Library, 5th Floor
Tickets $9/Adult
Free tickets for kids under 12


Buy tickets and see the whole festival schedule at http://www.fauevents.com/kulturfest.html


Fun for the whole family! Klez4Kidz features a dramatic reading, live music and projected illustrations from the critically-acclaimed children's book, The Kugel Valley Klezmer Band by Joan Betty Stuchner (http://joanbettystuchner.blogspot.com). A little girl named Shira loves the fiddle, but is she good enough to play with her papa's band? Join narrator Riva Ginsburg and members of Klezmer Company Orchestra (http://www.klezmercompany.com/) as they bring the charming story to life. Bring your blankets to sit on the floor, and get ready to dance to the musical interludes!

This is the second year that the local AJL chapter has helped FAU to plan a children's literary/klezmer event for their Jewish Kultur Festival. In 2009, the Klezmer Company Orchestra brought to life the book Mendel's Accordian by Heidi Smith Hyde. This year's performance, at a new, more convenient time, promises to be even better!

This event is co-sponsored by the South Florida Association of Jewish Libraries, www.sfajl.org.

On our final day of the 2010 Sydney Taylor Book Award Blog Tour, we wrap up with two great interviews.

A Faraway Island is a Sydney Taylor Honor Book in the Older Readers category. Read an interview with author Annika Thor at The Little Book Room with blogger Nancy Silverrod (NOT at Nancy's Teen Reads blog, which was originally listed on the schedule - apologies for the error!).

Here's a teaser:

Nancy: Of the many stories you could have written about the Swedish rescue of Jews during the war, what inspired you to write this particular story?

Annika: Quite a few of the Jews who were rescued from the concentration camps have written down their own memories, in the form of autobiographies or fictional stories. I feel that these stories should be told by the people who experienced them, because they are beyond the imagination of us who did not. In contrast, very little had been written by or about the children who came with the Kindertransport before the war until I started to work on this theme (a doctoral theses on the subject was published in the same year as my first book, 1996), and I felt that the experiences that they went through are in a sense more universal and more suitable to interpret for someone with a different background.

Read more...

The JPS Illustrated Bible for Children is a Sydney Taylor Notable Book for All Ages. Read an interview with author Ellen Frankel at Deo Writer with blogger Jone MacCulloch.

Here's a teaser:

Jone: How did you select which stories to include? (I’m glad you included one of my favorites, “Jonah and the Whale”!) Is there a story you didn’t include and now wish it was in the book?

Ellen: It was hard to limit which stories to include in the volume, but I knew that this couldn’t be a fat book. Children’s hands had to be able to carry it and balance it on their laps. I also understood that there is much in the Hebrew Bible that is not narrative: poetry, prophecy, songs, psalms, genealogies, legal material, ritual and priestly material, wisdom literature, and folklore. I left all that out. And I did leave out some stories as being too violent, sexually explicit, complicated, or not especially dramatic. Although I think that the decision to leave out “The Rape of Dinah,” “Judah and Tamar,” and “Jephthah’s Daughter” was the right one, I wonder whether we underestimate our children’s ability to deal with such brutal realities. After all, they see and read about rapes, sexual intrigues, and domestic violence every day on television, the internet, and the news.

Read more...

Thanks so much to all the bloggers, authors, and illustrators who participated in the 2010 Sydney Taylor Book Award Blog Tour! Keep an eye on the AJL blog People of the Books, the AJL Facebook page, or the AJL Twitter feed for announcements about more Jewish literary awards. And keep an eye on the Jewish Books for Children blog hosted by Sydney Taylor Book Award committee chair Barbara Bietz, where other Sydney Taylor related authors may be interviewed in the future.
Posted in: Authors, Awards
Benjamin and the Silver Goblet is a Sydney Taylor Honor Book in the Younger Readers category. Read an interview with author Jacqueline Jules at ASHarmony with blogger Elizabeth Lipp.

Here's a teaser:

Elizabeth: What challenges do you face as a writer? Meaning: what are those things that stand in your way when you have a particular idea you want to get across?

Jacqueline: It can often take a very long time to get a story or an idea right. I often think of my first drafts as caterpillars, crawling creatures hungrily nibbling on leaves. Sometimes those first drafts need to spend months or years in the cocoon stage until they emerge as wet butterflies, ready to learn how to fly. Every time I re-write a story or a poem, I am more pleased with it. I enjoy the process of rearranging words to tell the same story in a better way. However, it can also be discouraging to re-write something for years and years, hoping that this time it will connect with an editor and have the opportunity to find readers.

Read more...

The illustrator for Benjamin and the Silver Goblet is Natascia Ugliano. You can read a profile of this artist, and an interview about Natascia's work with Joanna Sussman of Kar-Ben Publishing on The Book of Life with blogger Heidi Estrin.

Here's a teaser:
Heidi: Can you reveal any behind-the-scenes secrets about Natascia's art?

Joanna: We’re just completing work on the most recent title in this Bible series Miriam in the Desert,(coming Fall 2010) the story of Miriam’s leading the people through the wilderness and the introduction of the boy Bezalel, who becomes the artist who crafts the Holy Ark. The tricky part in working with the art for this story was deciding how the Ark should look because, of course, nobody knows what the original Ark of the Covenant looked like – was it plain or elaborate? Did it look like the one in the Indiana Jones movie? How big was it in proportion to the people? Both we and Natascia did a fair amount of research and we went back and forth on several designs before deciding on one that we thought would work.

Read more...

Nachshon Who Was Afraid to Swim is a Sydney Taylor Honor Book in the Younger Readers category. Read an interview with author Deborah Bodin Cohen at Ima on (and off) the Bima: Real-Life Jewish Parenting with blogger Phyllis Sommer. This blog is also sponsoring a giveaway! Win a copy of the book by leaving a comment before February 7!

Here's a teaser:
Phyllis: What inspired you to write Nachshon's story?

Deborah: The Midrash of Nachshon – the first Israelite to have faith to walk into the Red Sea – has always spoken to me. Because of the Nachshon’s courage, God splits the Red Sea and the Israelites walk to freedom. The Torah mentions Nachshon ben Aminadav only a couple of times. Rabbinic creativity filled in the gaps in the Biblical text and the wonderful, classic Midrash of Nachshon was born. I love the lessons of Nachshon’s story: the power of one person to make a difference, having faith in face of adversity and taking risks for the benefit of the community.

Read more...

The illustrator for Nachshon Who Was Afraid to Swim is Jago. You can read an interview with him at Jewish Books for Children with blogger (and Sydney Taylor Book Award committee chair) Barbara Bietz.

Here's a teaser:
Barbara: What was the most interesting thing you learned in the process of working on Nachshon, Who Was Afraid to Swim ?

Jago: That I quite like illustrating horses! I've always avoided them before as they're complicated to get right, but with the Pharaoh's army riding chariots there was no getting away from them. Once I'd figured them out I quite enjoyed drawing them and now I don't avoid them any more!

Read more...

Tune in tomorrow for the final day of the Blog Tour! You'll see an interview with Annika Thor (author, A Faraway Island) at Teen Reads, and an interview with Ellen Frankel (author, The JPS Illustrated Bible for Children) at Deo Writer.
Posted in: Authors, Awards
The Yankee at the Seder is a Sydney Taylor Honor Book in the Younger Readers category.  Read an interview with author Elka Weber at BewilderBlog with blogger Laurel Snyder.

Here's a teaser:
Laurel: I’m excited about all the new things happening in Jewish kidlit right now. I wonder if– as part of that trend– you you’d be willing to share a few ideas for things you’re working on, or works in progress. What’s the wackiest Jewish pickture book you can imagine wanting to write? They book you’d liketo write, but have a hard time imagining anyone would publish?

Elka: As you say, this is an exciting time in Jewish kidlit. The Jewish community in the US has always been diverse, but we’ve gotten better at reflecting that reality. Children’s literature in general grows more sophisticated and Jewish literature is part of that larger trend. I just hope we don’t get too sophisticated to have fun.

My next book (One Little Chicken, June 2011) is a retelling of a story in the Talmud, but with a slight twist. It’s about a rabbi who was so committed to returning a lost chicken that he sells the eggs, invests the proceeds and ends up with a houseful of animals before the original owner shows up to claim his one little chicken. In my telling, the story gets a little antic toward the end.

The wackiest Jewish picture book I’d love to write would be What Do You Mean, You Don’t Want Seconds? starring feisty Jewish grandmothers from different times and places defending their traditional cooking. Naturally, it would be narrated by a piece of gefilte fish and end up in an all-out food fight at the central bus station in Jerusalem.

I am also writing for adults. I’ve finished a book about the last voyage of Henry Hudson. His men mutinied and set him adrift in the Arctic in 1611 and he was never heard from again. There’s nothing explicitly Jewish in the book but the question of what drives good men to evil deeds is most definitely a religious issue.

Read more...



The illustrator for The Yankee at the Seder is Adam Gustavson. You can read an interview with him at Great Kids Books with blogger Mary Ann Scheuer.

Here's a teaser:
Great Kid Books: As a book lover, it interests me: What books or authors and/or illustrators influenced you as an early reader?

Adam G: My great loves are the old Mercer Mayer books from the 1960s and 1970s, like One Monster After Another and Professor Wormbog in Search for the Zipperump-a-Zoo. I think a lot of my cultural awareness came from these books. For example, I would see an old fashioned mailbox, and I could grasp what it was in the context of the picture.

Read more...



Naomi's Song by Selma Kritzer Silverberg is a Sydney Taylor Honor Book in the Teen Readers category. The late Selma Silverberg wrote this story many years ago, and it was recently published by JPS through the efforts of her daughter, Judy Vida. Read an interview with Judy at The Book Nosher with blogger Robin Gaphni.
Here's a teaser:

Robin: Naomi is depicted as a very independent, strong-minded woman in a time when men were in charge of virtually everything. Naomi’s Song was originally written in the late 1950’s-the very dawn of the women’s movement. Would you consider your mother an early feminist? Did she have some of the similar traits as Naomi?

Judy: Yes, I would consider her an early feminist. She was quiet about it, but she was determined to develop her own character and pursue her own interests even within the confines of a traditional 1950’s family role. It never occurred to her that there was anything she could not accomplish. She had long wanted to return to college to earn an elementary education degree. At the age of 44 she started toward that goal, taking only 1 course each semester, and completed her degree at the age of 58. Like Naomi she identified tasks and goals then persevered to complete them.

Read more...

Tune in tomorrow for features on Jacqueline Jules (author, Benjamin and the Silver Goblet) at ASHarmony, Natascia Ugliano (illustrator, Benjamin and the Silver Goblet) at The Book of Life, Deborah Bodin Cohen (author, Nachshon Who Was Afraid to Swim) at Ima On and Off the Bima, and Jago (illustrator, Nachshon Who Was Afraid to Swim) at Jewish Books for Children.
Posted in: Uncategorized
Want to know how to organize your library?

Need help choosing appropriate books?

Interested in social media tools?

Designing a library skills curriculum?

All these topics and more can be found on the AJL wiki organized and designed by our talented Technology Committee Chairs, Diane Romm and Joyce Levine. Check it out!

B'shalom,

Susan Dubin

AJL President
Posted in: Uncategorized
The Steering Committee of the Judaica Librarians' Group (AJL in Israel) had a meeting last week.

 

It was decided to have the next study day on 28 April at the National Library.  There will be 4 speakers on the following topics:

 

The Phoneteka (collection of sound recordings at NLI)

 

Europeana Judaica (JUDAICA (Jewish Urban Digital European Integrated Cultural Archive) will work with European cultural institutions to identify content demonstrating the Jewish contribution to the cities of Europe. It will digitise 10,500 photos, 1,500 postcards and 7,150 recordings as well as several million pages from books, newspapers, archives and press clippings.

 

Israeli publishers

 

Genealogical tools

 

Other decisions include establishing a blog for the discussion of problems that arise during the course of work.  Also an online publication for the dissemination of information about unique items or cataloging problems encountered in the course of work till be set up.  The director of the Rambam Library in Tel Aviv has offered to be the editor.  Now we're trying to arrange an editorial board.
Posted in: Uncategorized


It is official! AJL is now an ALA affiliate organization. ALA will be setting up a page for our organization on their website. We are invited to send 2 representatives to ALA in summer and also to Midwinter. At Midwinter we will be part of a lunch meeting with their Executive Director. At summer we can have a table with information about AJL.





ALA also announced the Sydney Taylor Awards in their newsletter.


This should give AJL much more visibility and hopefully allow us to reach many more people.





 Thanks to all who helped,


Susan Dubin


AJL President




Posted in: Uncategorized
The Importance of Wings is the Sydney Taylor Book Award winner in the Older Readers category. Read an interview with author Robin Friedman at Bildungsroman with blogger Little Willow.

Here's a teaser:
Little Willow: You are a self-proclaimed Jersey Girl, but you were born in Israel. Have you visited Israel since leaving it at the age of five?

Robin: I've been back to Israel several times, including as a college student for a junior year abroad, at the University of Haifa. In that year, I literally fell in love with the landscape and the history, and learned so much about my heritage, as well as the gaps in my family's story.

Read more...

Lost is a Sydney Taylor Honor Book in the Teen Readers category. Read an interview with author Jacqueline Davies at Biblio File with blogger Jen Rothschild.


Here's a teaser:
Jen: In your acknowledgments, you say that it took you ten years to find a way to tell the story of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire. What about this tragedy spoke to you so strongly?

Jacqueline: This book began with a sound. Back in 1999, I was watching Ric Burns’ documentary New York. I already knew the story of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire. I’d studied it years ago in college. But watching that film, I heard a sound effect that was created by the sound engineer: It was his imagining of the sound you would hear when the body of a young girl strikes the sidewalk after falling eighty feet. The sound was like a combination of an overstuffed dufflebag thrown from a great height, a stack of books dropped on a hard wooden floor, and a hand smacking a face. It’s a sound I will never forget, and it had the effect of pulling me back over a century and putting me in that place, in that fire, with those girls.

Read more...

You Never Heard of Sandy Koufax? is a Sydney Taylor Honor Book in the Younger Readers category. Read an interview with author Jonah Winter with blogger Lori Calabrese at Get in the Game: Read! or at Examiner.com.


Here's a teaser:

Lori: I read that you still have all your baseball cards from when you were a boy. How did you avert such disasters as your Mom throwing away your prized collection?

Jonah: Why would my mother have thrown away my baseball cards? She's not a sadist! I guess there are some people who, upon becoming adults, leave their cards in the attics of their parents' homes. Well, not this pig. I've always carried them around with me in my 1980 census bag (my first job out of high school was as a census taker), hauling them from one residence to the next, all 28 domiciles! (I've moved around a lot. In fact, that's what inspired me to write my book The 39 Apartments of Ludwig van Beethoven. I still have 11 to go...!)

Read more...

Tune in tomorrow for interviews with Elka Weber (author, The Yankee at the Seder) at BewilderBlog, Adam Gustavson (illustrator, The Yankee at the Seder) at Great Kids Books, and Judy Vida, (author's daughter, Naomi's Song) at The Book Nosher.
Posted in: Uncategorized
The Sydney Taylor Book Award 2010 Blog Tour begins today with three stops covering two of our gold medalists.

New Year at the Pier is the Sydney Taylor Book Award gold medalist in the Younger Readers category.

Read an interview with April Halprin Wayland (and watch a book trailer!) at Practically Paradise with blogger Diane R. Chen.

Here's a teaser:
Diane: Many teachers seem to ignore Rosh Hashanah and concentrate on incorporating Hanukkah into the curriculum in December. What advice would you offer them?

April: I’m sure that’s true for most teachers in non-Jewish schools. Many don’t realize that Hanukah, a relatively minor holiday, has been elevated by our culture to compete with Christmas. So it’s about educating our teachers.
One year, my nephew’s school district scheduled a major test on Rosh Hashanah, while he was out of school. Oy!

Read more...

Stéphane Jorisch is the illustrator of New Year at the Pier. A profile of Stéphane appears today at Frume Sarah's World with blogger Rebecca Einstein Schorr.

Here's a teaser:
I have often wondered how an artist takes an image, real or imagined, and recreates it. Is it necessary, for example, to refer often to a photograph in order to capture every finite detail? Once he starts to draw, Stéphane’s approach is to rely on his memory rather than reference materials. This freedom enables a more fluid hand. And his inspiration? His inspiration comes from everyday things, daydreams, and time spent delayed in traffic.

Read more...

Tropical Secrets: Holocaust Refugees in Cuba is the Sydney Taylor Book Award gold medalist in the Teen Readers category. Read an interview with author Margarita Engle at bookstogether with blogger Anamaria Anderson.
Here's a teaser:

Anamaria: The fictional characters of Tropical Secrets—Daniel, Paloma, David, and el Gordo—bring these unfamiliar historical events to life for your readers. When did your characters, and their personal stories, begin to reveal themselves to you?

Margarita: The characters and plot of Tropical Secrets came to me in a huge wave. It was overwhelming. I could barely scribble fast enough to keep up with the flow of words. It was as if this story had been waiting to be told, and was searching for a home.

My mother is Cuban, and was raised Catholic. My father is the American son of Ukrainian-Jewish refugees. Tropical Secrets unites the diverse branches of my ancestry.

Read more...

Tune in tomorrow for interviews with Robin Friedman (The Importance of Wings) at Bildungsroman, Jacqueline Davies (Lost) at Biblio File, and Jonah Winter (You Never Heard of Sandy Koufax?) at Get in the Game: Read!
Posted in: Authors, Awards
The Sydney Taylor Book Award will be celebrating and showcasing its 2010 gold and silver medalists and special Notable Book for All Ages with a Blog Tour, February 1-5, 2010! (A blog tour is like a virtual book tour. Instead of going to a library or bookstore to see an author speak, you go to a website on or after the advertised date to read an author's interview.) Here is a celebratory video for your enjoyment, and the schedule for the Blog Tour is posted below.




MONDAY, FEBRUARY 1, 2010



Monday, February 1, 2010
April Halprin Wayland, author of New Year at the Pier: A Rosh Hashanah Story
Sydney Taylor Book Award winner in the Younger Readers Category
at Practically Paradise



Monday, February 1, 2010
Stephane Jorisch, illustrator of New Year at the Pier: A Rosh Hashanah Story
Sydney Taylor Book Award winner in the Younger Readers Category
at Frume Sarah's World



Monday, February 1, 2010
Margarita Engle, author of Tropical Secrets: Holocaust Refugees in Cuba
Sydney Taylor Book Award winner in the Teen Readers Category
at bookstogether



TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 2, 2010



Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Robin Friedman, author of The Importance of Wings
Sydney Taylor Book Award winner in the Older Readers Category
at Little Willow's Bildungsroman



Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Jacqueline Davies, author of Lost
Sydney Taylor Honor Award winner in the Teen Readers Category
at Biblio File



Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Jonah Winter, author of You Never Heard of Sandy Koufax?
Sydney Taylor Honor Award winner in the Younger Readers Category
at Get in the Game: Read! and cross-posted at Examiner.com



WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 3, 2010



Wednesday, February 3, 2010
Elka Weber, author of The Yankee at the Seder
Sydney Taylor Honor Award winner in the Younger Readers Category
at BewilderBlog



Wednesday, February 3, 2010
Adam Gustavson, illustrator of The Yankee at the Seder
Sydney Taylor Honor Award winner in the Younger Readers Category
at Great Kids Books



Wednesday, February 3, 2010
Judy Vida, daughter of the late Selma Kritzer Silverberg, author of Naomi's Song
Sydney Taylor Honor Award winner in the Teen Readers Category
at The Book Nosher




THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 4, 2010




Thursday, February 4, 2010
Jacqueline Jules, author of Benjamin and the Silver Goblet
Sydney Taylor Honor Award winner in the Younger Readers Category
at ASHarmony



Thursday, February 4, 2010
Natascia Ugliano, illustrator of Benjamin and the Silver Goblet
Sydney Taylor Honor Award winner in the Younger Readers Category
at The Book of Life



Thursday, February 4, 2010
Deborah Bodin Cohen, author of Nachshon, Who Was Afraid to Swim
Sydney Taylor Honor Award winner in the Younger Readers Category
at Ima On and Off the Bima



Thursday, February 4, 2010
Jago, illustrator of Nachshon, Who Was Afraid to Swim
Sydney Taylor Honor Award winner in the Younger Readers Category
at Jewish Books for Children



FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 5, 2010



Friday, February 5, 2010
Annika Thor, author of A Faraway Island
Sydney Taylor Honor Award winner in the Older Readers Category
at The Little Book Room



Friday, February 5, 2010
Ellen Frankel, author of The JPS Illustrated Bible for Children
Sydney Taylor Notable Book for All Ages
at Deo Writer

Posted in: Authors, Awards

THE 2010 SYDNEY TAYLOR BOOK AWARDS
ANNOUNCED BY THE ASSOCIATION OF JEWISH LIBRARIES



The Sydney Taylor Book Award Winner for Younger Readers:
New Year at the Pier: A Rosh Hashanah Story by April Halprin Wayland with illustrations by Stéphane Jorish (Dial Books for Young Readers, a division of Penguin Young Readers Group)



The Sydney Taylor Book Award Winner for Older Readers:
The Importance of Wings by Robin Friedman
(Charlesbridge Publishing)



The Sydney Taylor Book Award Winner for Teen Readers:
Tropical Secrets: Holocaust Refugees in Cuba by Margarita Engle
(Henry Holt Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group)



Sydney Taylor Honor Books for Younger Readers:
Nachshon, Who Was Afraid to Swim: A Passover Story
by Deborah Bodin Cohen with illustrations by Jago
(Kar-Ben, imprint of Lerner)
Benjamin and the Silver Goblet by Jacqueline Jules with illustrations by Natascia Ugliano
(Kar-Ben, an imprint of Lerner)
Yankee at the Seder by Elka Weber with illustrations by Adam Gustavson
(Tricycle Press)
You Never Heard of Sandy Koufax? by Jonah Winter with illustrations by Andre Carrilho
(Schwartz & Wade Books, an imprint of Random House)



Sydney Taylor Honor Books for Older Readers:
Anne Frank: Her Life in Words and Pictures from the Archives of the Anne Frank House
by Menno Metselaar and Ruud van der Rol, translated by Arnold J. Pomerans
(Roaring Brook Press/Flash Point, an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group)
A Faraway Island by Annika Thor, translated by Linda Schenck
(Delacorte Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Random House)



Sydney Taylor Honor Books for Teen Readers:
Lost by Jacqueline Davies
(Marshall Cavendish)
Naomi’s Song by Selma Kritzer Silverberg
(Jewish Publication Society)



Notable Books for Younger Readers:
Where Is Grandpa Dennis? by Michelle Shapiro Abraham with illustrations by Janice Fried
(URJ Press)
Around the Shabbos Table by Seryl Berman with illustrations by Ari Binus
(Hachai)
The Secret Shofar of Barcelona by Jacqueline Dembar Greene with illustrations by Douglas Chyka
(Kar-Ben, an imprint of Lerner)
Menorah Under the Sea by Esther Susan Heller
(Kar-Ben, an imprint of Lerner)
Today Is the Birthday of the World by Linda Heller with illustrations by Allison Jay
(Dutton Children’s Books, an imprint of Penguin)
The Waiting Wall by Leah Braunstein Levy with illustrations by Avi Katz
(Hachai Publishers)
Sukkot Treasure Hunt by Allison Ofanansky with photographs by Eliyahu Alpern
(Kar-Ben, an imprint of Lerner)
Fox Walked Alone by Barbara Reid
(Albert Whitman & Company)



Notable Books for Older Readers:
The Champion of Children: The Story of Janusz Korczak written and illustrated by Tomek Bogacki
(Farrar Straus Giroux Books for Young Readers/Frances Foster Books, an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group)
Guardian Angel House (A Holocaust Remembrance Book for Young Readers) by Kathy Clark
(Second Story Press)
Rebecca Series (American Girl Collection)
by Jacqueline Dembar Greene with illustrations by Robert Hunt
(American Girl)
Strawberry Hill by Mary Ann Hoberman with illustrations by Wendy Anderson Halperin
(Little Brown and Company)
The Mysteries of Beethoven’s Hair by Russell Martin and Lydia Nibley
(Charlesbridge Publishing)
The Man Who Flies with Birds by Carol Garbuny Vogel and Yossi Leshem
(Kar-Ben, an imprint of Lerner)
Clay Man: The Golem of Prague by Irene N. Watts with illustrations by Kathryn E. Shoemaker
(Tundra Books)
Elvina’s Mirror by Sylvie Weil
(Jewish Publication Society)



Notable Books for Teens:
The Disappearing Dowry: an Ezra Melamed Mystery by Libi Astaire
(Zahav Press, an imprint of Targum)
A Family Secret/The Search by Eric Heuvel
(Farrar Straus Giroux Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group)
So Punk Rock (and Other Ways to Disappoint Your Mother) by Micol Ostow with art by David Ostow
(Flux)
Cursing Columbus by Eve Goldberg Tal
(Cinco Puntos Press)
Puppet by Eva Wiseman
(Tundra)
The Other Half of Life: Based on the True Story of the MS St. Louis
By Kim Ablon Whitney
(Knopf Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Random House)



NOTABLE BOOK FOR READERS OF ALL AGES:
JPS Illustrated Children’s Bible by Ellen Frankel with illustrations by Avi Katz
(Jewish Publication Society)

Posted in: Awards

MEDIA RELEASE


2010 SYDNEY TAYLOR BOOK AWARDS


ANNOUNCED BY THE ASSOCIATION OF JEWISH LIBRARIES


(New York—January 11, 2010) April Halprin Wayland and Stéphane Jorisch, author and illustrator of New Year at the Pier: A Rosh Hashanah Story, Robin Friedman, author of The Importance of Wings, and Margarita Engle, author of Tropical Secrets: Holocaust Refugees in Cuba, are the 2010 winners of the prestigious Sydney Taylor Book Award.

The Sydney Taylor Book Award honors new books for children and teens that exemplify the highest literary standards while authentically portraying the Jewish experience. The award memorializes Sydney Taylor, author of the classic All-of-a-Kind Family series. The winners will receive their awards at the Association of Jewish Libraries convention in Seattle this July.

Wayland and Jorisch will receive the 2010 gold medal in the Sydney Taylor Book Award’s Younger Readers Category for New Year at the Pier: A Rosh Hashanah Story, published by Dial Books for Young Readers, a division of Penguin Young Readers Group. The Jewish New Year is a special time of year, with a change in seasons, symbolic foods and other traditions. It is also the time for introspection and the ritual of Tashlich, when sins are symbolically cast into a body of flowing water. Izzy thinks about things for which he is sorry. He “compares Tashlich to cleaning out his toy closet, an example of the wonderful way this story conveys to children, at their own level, a contemporary version of the healthy Jewish way we start fresh at the beginning of each new year,” commented Susan Berson, a member of the Award Committee. Incoming Committee Chair Barbara Bietz noted that the “whimsical watercolor illustrations are a perfect pairing for the delightful prose.”

Friedman will receive the 2010 gold medal in the Sydney Taylor Book Award’s Older Readers Category for The Importance of Wings, published by Charlesbridge. Ah, the drama of being in eighth grade! There’s the boy you have a crush on who likes someone else. There’s getting dressed in gym class and being picked last for teams. There’s your parents, who are so unlike Mike and Carol Brady and not even like Ma and Pa Ingalls. And there’s your hair, that won’t go in the popular feathered back style that everyone else is wearing. When an Israeli girl moves next door, Liat “not only shows Roxanne how to give her hair ‘wings,’ but she helps her ‘wing’ her way toward maturity and self-esteem,” asserted Debbie Colodny, a member of the Award Committee. Another Award Committee member, Kathy Bloomfield, affirmed this praise: “With appealing and affecting writing, Ms. Friedman grabs the reader immediately and takes her on a journey of self-discovery, confidence building and empowerment that will leave her hoping for a sequel.” Friedman’s book about male bulimia, Nothing, was named an AJL Notable Book for Teen Readers last year.

Engle will receive the 2010 gold medal in the Sydney Taylor Book Award’s Teen Readers Category for Tropical Secrets: Holocaust Refugees in Cuba, published by Henry Holt, an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group. After Kristallnacht, many Jews tried to leave Germany, but other countries refused the refugees. Cuba agreed to take in some of these people, but at a price. The tension of this era is seen through the eyes of several of the people affected: Daniel, a thirteen-year-old German boy whose parents put him on a boat to “the Americas,” hoping to save his life; Paloma, the daughter of a Cuban official who prefers a dovecote to her home; David, who escaped the pogroms of Russia, sells ice creams, and helps the new refugees; and Gordo, Paloma’s father, who is profiting by charging exorbitant fees for visas to stay in Cuba. “The verse and the different perspectives make the history of Cuba during the Nazi era accessible while illustrating the complicated situations and the twists and turns of political interactions,” noted Kathe Pinchuck, Committee Chair. Ms. Engle is known to readers for her Newbery-Honor book The Surrender Tree: Poems of Cuba’s Struggle for Freedom, for which she also won the Pura Belpre Award.

Eight Sydney Taylor Honor Books were named for 2010. For Younger Readers, Honor Books are: Nachshon Who Was Afraid to Swim by Deborah Bodin Cohen with illustrations by Jago (Kar-Ben), Benjamin and the Silver Goblet by Jacqueline Jules with illustrations by Natascia Ugliano (Kar-Ben), Yankee at the Seder by Elka Weber with illustrations by Adam Gustavson (Tricycle Press) and You Never Heard of Sandy Koufax? by Jonah Winter with illustrations and an amazing lenticular cover by Andre Carrilho (Schwartz & Wade Books, an imprint of Random House). Two works in translation were named Honor Books for Older Readers: Anne Frank: Her Life in Worlds and Pictures by Menno Metselaar and Ruud van der Rol (translated by Arnold J. Pomerans) (Roaring Brook Press/Flash Point, an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group) and A Faraway Island by Annika Thor (translated by Linda Schenck) (Delacorte Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Random House). Lost, a historical novel by Jacqueline Davies (Marshall Cavendish) and Naomi’s Song, a biblical fiction by Selma Kritzer Silverberg (JPS) were named Honor Books in the Teen Reader Category.

The JPS Illustrated Children’s Bible by Ellen Frankel with illustrations by Avi Katz (JPS) was named a Notable Book for All Ages. The Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee was very impressed Ms. Frankel’s retelling of biblical stories. “She succeeds in creating an age-appropriate interpretation of the most intriguing and familiar stories that allow families to gleen the essence of Jewish teachings, ethics, and history,” commented Rita Soltan, Award Committee member. “Readability, faithfulness to ‘idiomatic nuances of biblical Hebrew,’ and softly rendered color illustrations are the main features of this compilation,” noted Susan Berson, Award Committee member.

We will be promoting an author and illustrator blog tour as a way to spread the word and generate interest in these books. The tour will take place February 1st – February 5th, and the schedule will be posted at here on the People of the Books blog at jewishlibraries.org/blog.

In addition to the medal-winners, the Award Committee designated twenty-two Notable Books of Jewish Content for 2010: eight in the Younger Readers Category, eight in the Older Readers Category, and six for Teens. Notable titles, and more information about the Sydney Taylor Book Award, may be found online at www.SydneyTaylorBookAward.org. A blog about the awards can be found at www.sydneytaylorbookaward.blogspot.com.
Posted in: Awards
The Association of Jewish Libraries will hold its annual Midwinter Board and Council meetings January 10 and 11 in New York at the Affinia Hotel Manhattan. All Board and Council members are asked to attend. It is during these meetings that new business is discussed and policy decisions are made. This year's Sydney Taylor Award winners will be announced at the Council meeting on Monday.

In addition, plans for the upcoming annual convention in Seattle will be shared. Since the convention is being planned by a national as well as a local committee, the Council meeting should be a roll-up-your-sleeves and get busy work session. Other business to be discussed is the idea of giving an award to a publisher or bookseller who has benefited Judaica Librarianship. The idea voted on at the last Council meeting is to change the Doris Orenstein Fund to this award since Doris was a vendor at early AJL programs. The money in the Orenstein Fund which had formerly been earmarked for newcomers to convention would be mingled with other funds in the Convention stipend account. Last Council meeting it was decided that all first time convention attendees should get a stipend to encourage their attendance.

AJL has applied to ALA for affiliate status. Hopefully, we will hear after ALA Midwinter whether it has been approved. Once we are an ALA affiliate, we can announce our awards on the ALA page. This should give AJL much more visibility.

Plans are moving ahead to hire an administrative consultant. We are also looking for someone or some company to help with a redesign of our webpage. Many thanks to our hardworking Task Force members and the Technology Chairs for helping with this important move in moving our organization forward.

Here's wishing everyone a happy, healthy, successful, and peaceful 2010!

B'shalom,

Susan Dubin

AJL President
Posted in: Uncategorized
The Association of Jewish Libraries is seeking a consultant who can help on a part time basis with administrative and web 2.0 tasks.
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Some sample duties would be:
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1. Create an AJL presence on appropriate social networking sites such as Twittter, LinkedIn,\nShmooze, LibraryThing, SecondLife.
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2. Establish a mechanism for the ongoing maintenance of these sites.\n3. Work with a professional web design service to enhance the AJL website.\n4. Advise officers and committee chairs on the creation and maintenance of Judaica information\nservices and resources that demonstrate AJL's knowledge and leadership.\n5. Advise the president on the creation of a system for responding quickly and effectively to\nrelevant issues raised on AJL's listserv and in other online and print media.\n6. Implement plans to promote AJL in additional ways. Some examples are: creating AJL-sponsored exhibits, either actual traveling exhibits or virtual exhibits; establishing a supportive\nadministrator's award to strengthen contacts between AJL and the Jewish community.\n7. Investigate external resources and the use of already established AJL committees to maintain\nthese activities on an ongoing basis.
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Qualifications:
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--College degree, preferably with graduate MLS degree or business-related degree
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--Extensive knowledge of and experience with libraries\n--Familiarity and skill with relevant computer applications and Web 2.0 technologies\n--Excellent interpersonal, communication, organizational and analytical skills
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All applications will be reviewed by a committee and the two top candidates will be asked to interview in person at the AJL Midwinter Board and Council meeting January 10-11, 2010 in New York City. AJL wil cover the expense of travel to New York.
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Please write for more information or submit resume or CV and a cover letter to Susan Dubin at ajlpresident@jewishlibraries.org

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