Tuesday, January 21, 2014

2014 Sydney Taylor Book Awards Announced by AJL

 

Laurel Snyder and Catia Chien, author and illustrator of The Longest Night: A Passover Story, Patricia Polacco, author and illustrator of The Blessing Cup, and Neal Bascomb, author of The Nazi Hunters: How a Team of Spies and Survivors Captured the World’s Most Notorious Nazi, are the 2014 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 Las Vegas, Nevada this June. 

Snyder and Chien will receive the 2014 gold medal in the Sydney Taylor Book Award’s Younger Readers category for The Longest Night: A Passover Story, published by Schwartz & Wade, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books. Written in gentle verse, the tumultuous days leading up to the Jews’ flight from Egypt are described from the perspective of an unnamed slave girl in this beautifully illustrated story. It provides a unique introduction to the Passover holiday for young readers in an honest, but age-appropriate way. 

 
The gold medal in the Older Readers category will be presented to Patricia Polacco for The Blessing Cup, a Paula Wiseman Book, published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster. In this prequel to The Keeping Quilt, Polacco shares the story of a treasured family heirloom. The miraculous journey from the shtetl to America of the remaining teacup from a china tea set, deliberately left behind when her Jewish ancestors were forced to leave Czarist Russia, will strike an emotional chord with readers. In 1988, The Keeping Quilt was the Sydney Taylor Book Award Winner for Younger Readers. 

Neal Bascomb will receive the 2014 gold medal in the Sydney Taylor Book Award’s Teen Readers category for The Nazi Hunters: How a Team of Spies and Survivors Captured the World’s Most Notorious Nazi, published by Arthur A. Levine Books, an imprint of Scholastic. A stunning account of the mission to capture Adolf Eichmann by an elite team of Israeli spies is dramatically brought to life by Neal Bascomb.


  

Sydney Taylor Honor Books Selected for 2014:

Younger Readers:
  • Stones for Grandpa by Renee Londoner with illustrations by Martha Avilés 
  • Rifka Takes a Bow by Betty Rosenberg Perlov with illustrations by Cosei Kawa. (both by Kar-Ben, a division of Lerner Publishing Group)
Older Readers:
  • The Boy on the Wooden Box: How the Impossible Became Possible...on Schindler’s List by Leon Leyson with Marilyn J. Harran and Elisabeth B. Leyson (Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division) 
  • Dear Canada: Pieces of the Past: The Holocaust Diary of Rose Rabinowitz, Winnipeg, Manitoba, 1948 by Carol Matas (Scholastic Canada)
Teen Readers:
  • Dancing in the Dark by Robyn Bavati (Flux, an imprint of Llewellyn Worldwide) 
  • The War Within These Walls by Aline Sax with illustrations by Caryl Strzelecki and translated by Laura Watkinson (Eerdmans Books for Young Readers)
Gold and silver medalists will be participating in a blog tour beginning February 16, 2014. 

In addition to the medal winners, the Award Committee designated thirteen Notable Books of Jewish Content for 2014




Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee Call for Submissions

If you are an author, editor, or publisher of Jewish books for children or teens please submit your 2010 titles for consideration. For more information visit www.jewishlibraries.org or e-mail Chair@SydneyTaylorBookAward.org.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Blog Tour: Day 5

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.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Blog Tour: Day 4

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.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Blog Tour: Day 3


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.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Blog Tour: Day 2

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.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Blog Tour: Day 1

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!