"People of the Books" Blog

Judaica Reference award winner 2016

The Association of Jewish Libraries Announces the 2016 Judaica Reference and Bibliography Award Winners

The Association of Jewish Libraries encourages the publication of outstanding works of Judaica reference and bibliography through its annual awards. We are pleased to announce that the Judaica Reference award winner for titles published in 2016 was given to Comprehensive English-Yiddish Dictionary (based on the lexical research of Mordkhe Schaechter) edited by Gitl Schaechter-Viswanath, Paul Glasser (editors in chief) and  Chava Lapin (associate editor), published by the Indiana University Press, 2016.

Cover of Comprehensive English-Yiddish DictionaryThis dictionary is a most valuable comprehensive reference tool for a major Jewish language. It brings Yiddish to the 21st century, emphasizing Yiddish as a living language that is spoken in many places around the world. It has substantially more entries than previous standard Yiddish dictionaries with close to 50,000 entries and 33,000 subentries. The richness of dialect differences and historical developments are noted in words and expressions, phrases and sayings that can be found in classic and contemporary literature, newspapers, and other sources of the written word and have long been used by professionals and tradesmen, in synagogues, at home, in intimate life, and wherever Yiddish-speaking Jews have lived and worked. It fills in huge numbers of gaps in the older volumes, adds up-to-date terminology, and gives more accurate and much more complete translations. Thus, even though it is geared to the present and future it does not neglect traditional Jewish content.  AJL Reference Award Committee members expressed their admiration for this work, describing it as a monumental achievement, a product of many years of intensive research, with a clear introduction, bibliography guidelines, tables, and abbreviations.  It is useful not only for those who want to express themselves in Yiddish, but also for those who are translating from Yiddish into English and want to explore the nuances of different Yiddish words by looking up the corresponding English entries. The award committee agreed that this work is a must for anyone who has anything to do with Yiddish or with translation in either direction.

 

 

SSC Resources for Troubled Times

The Association of Jewish Libraries is greatly concerned about the rise in anti-Semitic acts within the United States and around the world. Newspapers everywhere are covering stories daily about hate speech, vandalism, bomb threats and the desecration of cemeteries. Both personally and professionally, the AJL Librarians in our Day Schools, Synagogues and Community Centers are most at risk as these behaviors escalate. In addition, racism and bigotry directed at target populations–Muslims, LGBTQ, African Americans and anyone perceived as “other”–is also on the rise. No matter who the perpetrators of these illegal acts are, many of our Jewish institutions are feeling fearful. As Judaic librarians, the custodians of Jewish knowledge, we feel we can no longer keep silent. We believe we need to respond with what we know best:  literary suggestions for children that affirm the values of kindness and acceptance of others. 

Studies are showing that reading stories can assist in the development of empathy. Our rabbis, knowing the importance of a good story to enhance a lesson, developed the Midrashic tradition to “fill in the spaces” in the Torah. Stories are also important in the development of an internal moral compass.

While there are many letters, blogs and reports being written on who to call, what to do and how to discuss these trends with our children and teens, as librarians we think it important that we “go to the source.” What books can help parents and caregivers support and educate children about how to deal with a harsh new reality? Toward that end, please visit the Association of Jewish Libraries website for a list of books covering a myriad of topics from Hospitality and Manners to Acts of Kindness and Helping the Stranger. Each of these titles has been recommended by a Judaic Librarian to be included on this list. Each of these books has an important value to teach readers of all ages. The book list can be found here: http://jewishlibraries.org/images/downloads/Bibliographies/ajlbooklistapril17.pdf

It is our hope that reading and discussing these books will open eyes, encourage conversation and foster the development of creative ways for ameliorating this terrible trend.

L’shalom,

Amalia Warshenbrot                 Kathleen M. Bloomfield

President                                 President-Schools, Synagogues & Centers Division

 

 

2017 Conference Schedule

The national committee is thrilled to present this year's conference schedule. As you can see it is jam packed with sessions for RAS and SSC members as well as for libraries and bibliophiles of all sorts. See the upcoming conference page for more information.

AJL Announces New Jewish Fiction Prize

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 2017
 
CONTACT:
Yermiyahu Ahron Taub
ajljewishfictionaward@gmail.com
 

The Association of Jewish Libraries Announces New Jewish Fiction Prize


The Association of Jewish Libraries (AJL) is pleased to announce a new Jewish fiction award for adult readers.  The award will include a $1,000 cash prize as well as support to attend the AJL conference to receive the award.  Books published in 2017 will be eligible for the 2018 award, and the award winner will be announced in late February or early March 2018. The Association of Jewish Libraries gratefully acknowledges the generous support of Dan Wyman Books for underwriting this new award.

All works of fiction with significant Jewish thematic content written in English--novels, short story and flash fiction collections--by a single author published and available for purchase in the United States during 2017 are eligible for the award.  Jewish thematic content means an extended grappling with Jewish themes throughout the book, including Judaism, Jewish history and culture, Jewish identity, etc.  Please see the Submission Guidelines for more details.

Amalia Warshenbrot, President of Association of Jewish Libraries, notes: “In recent years, fiction featuring Jewish themes has become more prevalent than ever before.  AJL is proud to support authors incorporating Jewish topics into their work and to elevate the quality of Jewish fiction in the literary landscape.”

The Association of Jewish Libraries promotes Jewish literacy through enhancement of libraries and library resources and through leadership for the profession and practitioners of Judaica librarianship. The Association fosters access to information, learning, teaching and research relating to Jews, Judaism, the Jewish experience and Israel.  For more information, please visit www.jewishlibraries.org.
 

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2017 Sydney Taylor Book Award Winners Announced

For More Information Contact:

Ellen Tilman, Chair
Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee
Association of Jewish Libraries
(215) 906-4657
chair@sydneytaylorbookaward.org

January 11, 2017

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

2017 SYDNEY TAYLOR BOOK AWARD WINNERS ANNOUNCED

Winners of the annual Sydney Taylor Book Award were announced by the Association of Jewish Libraries today. Named in memory of Sydney Taylor, author of the classic All-of-a-Kind Family series, the award recognizes books for children and teens that exemplify high literary standards while authentically portraying the Jewish experience.

GOLD MEDALISTS

I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark by Debbie Levy with illustrations by Elizabeth Baddeley, published by Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers, won the Sydney Taylor Book Award in the Younger Readers category. This delightful biography of the Supreme Court Justice teaches children that dissent does not make a person disagreeable, and can even help change the world. The grab-your-attention illustrations help explain the text.

The Inquisitor’s Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog by Adam Gidwitz, illustrated by Hatem Aly, published by Dutton Children’s Books/Penguin Random House, won the Sydney Taylor Book Award in the Older Readers category. Part fantasy and part adventure, this is the tale of strangers who become friends while on a quest to save thousands of volumes of Talmud. The beautiful illuminations reflect the medieval flavor of the book.

Anna and the Swallow Man by Gavriel Savit, published by Alfred A. Knopf/Penguin Random House, won the Sydney Taylor Book Award in the Teen Readers category. Anna is left alone in 1939 Krakow when the Nazis take her father away. She meets the mysterious Swallow Man who is able to speak “bird,” and travels with him in the forests of Poland, where they spend four years hiding and eluding capture. This is a haunting story that may be allegory or folktale or perhaps both.

SILVER MEDALISTS

Four Sydney Taylor Honor Books were also recognized. For Younger Readers, the Honor Books are Fascinating: The Life of Leonard Nimoy by Richard Michelson with illustrations by Edel Rodriguez, published by Alfred A. Knopf/Penguin Random House, and A Hat For Mrs. Goldman: A Story About Knitting and Love written by Michelle Edwards with illustrations by G. Brian Karas, published by Schwartz and Wade Books/Penguin Random House.

Dreidels on the Brain written by Joel Ben Izzy and published by Dial Books for Young Readers/Penguin Random House, and A Poem For Peter: The Story of Ezra Jack Keats and the Creation of The Snowy Day by Andrea Davis Pinkney with illustrations by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher, published by Viking Children’s Books/Penguin Random House, are the Honor books in the Older Readers Category.

In addition to the medal winners, the Award Committee designated ten Notable Books of Jewish Content for 2017. More information about the Sydney Taylor Book Award and a complete listing of the award winners and notables can be found at www.SydneyTaylorBookAward.org.

Winning authors and illustrators will receive their awards at the Annual Conference of the Association of Jewish Libraries, to be held in New York City in June. Gold and silver recipients will also participate in a blog tour during February. For more information about the blog tour please visit www.jewishlibraries.org/blog.

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 THE 2017 SYDNEY TAYLOR BOOK AWARDS
ANNOUNCED BY THE ASSOCIATION OF JEWISH LIBRARIES

The Sydney Taylor Book Award Winner for Younger Readers
I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark
by Debbie Levy with illustrations by Elizabeth Baddeley
(Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers)

The Sydney Taylor Book Award Winner for Older Readers
The Inquisitor’s Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog
by Adam Gidwitz with illustrations by Hatem Aly
(Dutton Children’s Books/Penguin Random House)

The Sydney Taylor Book Award Winner for Teen Readers
Anna and the Swallow Man by Gavriel Savit
(Alfred A. Knopf/Penguin Random House)

Sydney Taylor Honor Books for Younger Readers
Fascinating: The Life of Leonard Nimoy
by Richard Michelson with illustrations by Edel Rodriguez
(Alfred A. Knopf/Penguin Random House)
A Hat For Mrs. Goldman: A Story About Knitting and Love
by Michelle Edwards with illustrations by G. Brian Karas
(Schwartz and Wade Books/ Penguin Random House)

Sydney Taylor Honor Books for Older Readers
Dreidels on the Brain by Joel Ben Izzy
(Dial Books for Young Readers/Penguin Random House)
A Poem for Peter: The Story of Ezra Jack Keats and the Creation of the Snowy Day
by Andrea Davis Pinkney with illustrations by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher
(Viking Children’s Books/Penguin Random House)

Notable Books for Younger Readers
Chicken Soup, Chicken Soup by Pamela Mayer with illustrations by Deborah Melmon
(Kar-Ben Publishing)
Gabriel’s Horn by Eric Kimmel with illustrations by Maria Surducan
(Kar-Ben Publishing)
Not This Turkey by Jessica Steinberg with illustrations by Amanda Pike
(Albert Whitman & Company)
On One Foot by Linda Glaser with illustrations by Nuria Balaguer
(Kar-Ben Publishing)
The Sundown Kid: A Southwestern Shabbat by Barbara Bietz with illustrations by John Kanzler
(August House)
The Tree in the Courtyard: Looking Through Anne Frank’s Window
by Jeff Gottesfeld with illustrations by Peter McCarty
(Alfred A. Knopf/Penguin Random House)

Notable Books for Older Readers
The Bicycle Spy by Yona Zeldis McDonough
(Scholastic Books)
Irena’s Children: Young Readers Edition: A True Story of Courage
by Tilar J. Mazzeo and adapted by Mary Cronk Farrell
(Margaret McElderry Books/Simon and Schuster)
The Ship to Nowhere by Rona Arato
(Second Story Press)
Skating with the Statue of Liberty by Susan Lynn Meyer
(Delacorte Press/Penguin Random House)

No Honor or Notable Books were designated for Teen Readers in 2017.