"People of the Books" Blog

2015 Conference Preliminary Program

Please note that this is a work in progress and is subject to change. A more detailed list of panels, participants, and paper titles will be posted at a later date.

2015 Sydney Taylor Book Awards Announced

For more information contact:
Diane Rauchwerger, Chair Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee
Association of Jewish Libraries

January 20, 2015
For immediate release


Jim Aylesworth and Barbara McClintock, author and illustrator of My Grandfather’s Coat, Loic Dauvillier, Marc Lizano and Greg Salsedo, authors and illustrators of Hidden: A Child's Story of the Holocaust, and Donna Jo Napoli, author of Storm, are the 2015 winners of the 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 Conference in Washington, D.C. this June.


Aylesworth and McClintock will receive the 2015 gold medal in the Sydney Taylor Book Award’s Younger Reader category for My Grandfather’s Coat, published by Scholastic Press. This retelling of the classic tale celebrates the clever recycling of a beloved coat that lasts through four generations until it becomes its own story. The illustrations are heartwarming and add much charm to the story. Dauvillier, Lizano and Salsedo will receiver the 2015 gold medal in the Sydney Taylor Book Award’s Older Reader’s category for Hidden: A Child's Story of the Holocaust, published by First Second, an imprint of Roaring Brook Press. In this sensitive graphic novel, a French grandmother tells her granddaughter the story of how she and her mother survived the Holocaust with the help of several righteous gentiles. Donna Jo Napoli will receive the 2015 gold medal in the Sydney Taylor Book Award’s Teen category for Storm, a Paula Wiseman Book, published by Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers. This clever retelling of the Noah story features a sixteen year old girl who stows away on the ark and witnesses the dynamics of Noah and his family as they struggle to care for the animals under the stress of living together in close quarters.


Six Sydney Taylor Honor Books were named for 2015. For Younger Readers, Goldie Takes a Stand, written by Barbara Krasner and illustrated by Kelsey Garrity-Riley, published by Kar-Ben, a division of Lerner Publishing Group, and Never Say a Mean Word Again: A Tale from Medieval Spain, written by Jacqueline Jules and illustrated by Durga Yael Bernhard, published by Wisdom Tales, were selected. Death by Toilet Paper by Donna Gephart, published by Delacorte Press, and Whispering Town by Jennifer Elvgren, illustrated by Fabio Santomauro, published by Kar-Ben, are Honor books in the Older Readers category. For Teen Readers, the Honor books are Isabel’s War by Lila Perl, published by Lizzie Skurnick Books, an imprint of Ig Publishing and Like No Other by Una LaMarche, published by Razor Bill, an imprint of Penguin Group.


Winners and Honor recipients will be participating in a blog tour February 8-13, 2015. A schedule for the blog tour will be posted at www.jewishlibraries.org/blog.


In addition to the medal winners, the Award Committee designated sixteen Notable Books of Jewish content for 2015. More information about the Sydney Taylor Book Award can be found at www.SydneyTaylorBookAward.org.


The complete list of 2015 winners, honors, and notable books can be found here.


2015 Sydney Taylor Manuscript Award Announced

For immediate release:
January 15, 2015
Aileen Grossberg, Chair
Sydney Taylor Manuscript Award Committee Association of Jewish Libraries



Susan Krawitz Wins 2015 Sydney Taylor Manuscript Award

Susan Krawitz of Stone Ridge, NY is the winner of the 2015 Sydney Taylor Manuscript Award for her middle-grade novel Viva, Rose.
The Sydney Taylor Manuscript Award honors an unpublished manuscript for readers aged 8-13 that presents Jewish life in a positive light. The award memorializes Sydney Taylor, author of the classic All-of-a-Kind Family series. Krawitz will receive the award at the 50th annual conference of the Association of Jewish Libraries in Washington, D.C. this June.

Set in El Paso, Texas in 1915, Viva, Rose tells the story of Rose Solomon’s older brother Abraham who runs off to join Pancho Villa's revolutionary group. When Rose tries to find Abraham and convince him to come home, she is kidnapped and taken to Villa's hideout.  There she meets a cast of characters based on real people who traveled with Villa and the fictional, spoiled Dorotea, Villa's young charge. The feisty Rose learns to ride a horse, to stand up for herself and, along the way, discovers her brother's secret.

The story is based on the history of Villa's gang, as well as Krawitz’s family truth and tales. Viva, Rose was inspired by a  family story of  Abraham Solomon of San Antonio, Texas, a soldier of fortune who fought with Pancho Villa, sailed the South Seas on a pearl fishing fleet, and was a plantation owner in a nameless tropical country. Rose, the story’s heroine, became a singer and reportedly popularized “La Cucaracha,” a song that plays a role in the novel. The manuscript is infused with Jewish feeling as new Americans struggle with the freedoms of their adopted country, the younger generation struggles to find its place and the characters strive to keep their Jewish values and customs.

Krawitz, a freelance writer, editor and ghostwriter, is the author of many feature articles, essays and book reviews for a variety of local and regional newspapers, websites, and magazines. Viva, Rose is her first novel for young readers. Her previous awards include recognition from Scholastic, Highlights Magazine, National League of American Pen Women Literary Competition, and the BlueCat screenplay contest.

In an unusually strong competition year, the competition’s judges felt that Viva, Rose, with its unique plot and setting, eloquent writing, balanced mix of action and mystery, believable characters and strong thread of positive Jewish values best fit the award’s criteria. More information about the Sydney Taylor Manuscript Award may be found at www.jewishlibraries.org.


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