"People of the Books" Blog

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 Bookswith 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 Anotherand 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) atJewish Books for Children.

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 atBiblio 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.

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 Worldwith 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!

Sydney Taylor Book Award Blog Tour 2010

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

And the winners are...

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)