Winners of the annual Sydney Taylor Book Award were announced by the Association of Jewish Libraries on January 30, 2023 at the Youth Media Awards press conference during LibLearnX. 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.
The Tower of Life: How Yaffa Eliach Rebuilt Her Town in Stories and Photographs by Chana Stiefel, illustrated by Susan Gal, published by Scholastic Press, an imprint of Scholastic Inc., is the winner in the Picture Book category.
Thirty-five years after Nazis destroyed her beloved shtetl of Eishyshok, Poland, Yaffa Eliach
recovered thousands of precious photographs preserved by relatives and survivors to recreate her community at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC. Susan Gal’s expressive illustrations bring to life this true story of love and remembrance.
Aviva vs. the Dybbuk by Mari Lowe, published by Arthur A. Levine, an imprint of Levine
Querido, won the Sydney Taylor Book Award in the Middle Grade category.
Aviva and her widowed mother live next door to their synagogue in rooms above the mikvah,
rumored to be haunted by a dybbuk only Aviva can see. This inside look at a close-knit
Orthodox community explores changing friendships, antisemitic vandalism, and the many ways of dealing with grief.
When the Angels Left the Old Country by Sacha Lamb, published by Arthur A. Levine, an
imprint of Levine Querido, won the Sydney Taylor Book Award in the Young Adult category.
Uriel the angel and Little Ash the demon have been Talmud study partners for centuries. When a shtetl girl goes missing, they journey to America to find her. Brimming with Yiddishkeit, this brilliant, queer historical fantasy novel richly depicts the immigrant experience and tells an ageless tale of love, justice, and friendship.
Nine Sydney Taylor Honor Books were recognized for 2023.
For Picture Books, the Honor Books are Big Dreams, Small Fish by Paula Cohen, illustrated
by Paula Cohen, published by Arthur A. Levine, an imprint of Levine Querido; The Very Best
Sukkah: A Story from Uganda by Shoshana Nambi, illustrated by Moran Yogev, published by
Kalaniot Books, an imprint of Endless Mountains Publishing Company; and Sitting Shiva by
Erin Silver, illustrated by Michelle Theodore, published by Orca Book Publishers.
For Middle Grade, the Honor Books are: Honey and Me by Meira Drazin, published by
Scholastic Press, an imprint of Scholastic Inc.; Black Bird, Blue Road by Sofiya Pasternack,
published by Versify, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers; and Ellen Outside the Lines by
A. J. Sass, published by Little, Brown and Company, an imprint of Hachette Book Group, Inc.
For Young Adult, the Honor Books are: My Fine Fellow: A Delicious Entanglement by Jennieke Cohen, published by HarperTeen, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers; Some Kind of Hate by Sarah Darer Littman, published by Scholastic Press, an imprint of Scholastic Inc.; and Eight Nights of Flirting by Hannah Reynolds, published by Razorbill, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.
In addition to the medal winners, the Award Committee designated nine Notable Books of
The Notable Picture Books are Tía Fortuna’s New Home: A Jewish Cuban Journey by Ruth
Behar, illustrated by Devon Holzwarth, Alfred A. Knopf, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Penguin Random House LLC; Madame Alexander: The Creator of the Iconic American Doll by Susan Goldman Rubin, illustrated by Sarah Dvojack, Feiwel and Friends, an imprint of Macmillan Publishing Group LLC; Shoham’s Bangle by Sarah Sassoon, illustrated by Noa Kelner, Kar-Ben Publishing, an imprint of Lerner Publishing Group; and Raquela’s Seder by Joel Edward Stein, illustrated by Sara Ugolotti, Kar-Ben Publishing, an imprint of Lerner Publishing Group.
The Notable Middle Grade Books are Alias Anna: A True Story of Outwitting the Nazis by
Susan Hood with Greg Dawson, Harper, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers; The Woman Who Split the Atom: The Life of Lise Meitner by Marissa Moss, illustrated by Marissa Moss, Abrams Books for Young Readers, an imprint of ABRAMS; and The Prince of Steel Pier by Stacy Nockowitz, Kar-Ben Publishing, an imprint of Lerner Publishing Group.
The Notable Young Adult Books are Ethel’s Song: Ethel Rosenberg’s Life in Poems by
Barbara Krasner, Calkins Creek, an imprint of Astra Books for Young Readers; and The Ghosts of Rose Hill by R. M. Romero, Peachtree Teen, an imprint of Peachtree Publishing, Inc.
More information about the Sydney Taylor Book Award, a complete annotated listing of the
award winners and notables, and seals for purchase can be found at
The Sydney Taylor Manuscript Award was established to encourage the publication of
outstanding new books in the genre of Jewish children’s literature. The Sydney Taylor
Manuscript Award Committee will make no award for 2023.
Winning authors and illustrators will be honored at the Association of Jewish Libraries Digital Conference: A World of Possibilities, to be held June 19 to June 22, 2023.
To hear an exclusive interview with the Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee Chair, please visit The Book of Life podcast at www.bookoflifepodcast.com.
Gold and silver medalists will participate in a blog tour February 6 to 10, 2023. For more
Members of the 2023 Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee are Martha Simpson (Chair),
Stratford Library, Stratford, Connecticut, retired; Debra S. Gold, Cuyahoga County Library,
Cleveland, Ohio, retired; Carla Kozak, San Francisco Public Library, retired; Aviva Rosenberg,
Ridgefield Free Public Library, Ridgefield, New Jersey; Talya Sokoll, Noble and Greenough
School, Dedham, Massachusetts; Arielle Vishny, freelance writer, New York, New York; and Kay Weisman, Booklist, Vancouver, British Columbia.
About the Association of Jewish Libraries
The Association of Jewish Libraries, the leading authority on Judaic librarianship, is an
international professional organization that fosters access to information and research in all forms of media relating to all things Jewish. The Association promotes Jewish literacy and scholarship and provides a community for peer support and professional development.