"People of the Books" Blog

2015 Sydney Taylor Manuscript Award Announced

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



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The Sydney Taylor Manuscript Award honors an unpublished manuscript for readers aged 8-13 that presents Jewish life in a positive light.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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