"People of the Books" Blog

Announcement: Openings on Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee

The Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee has multiple positions available for the upcoming year. 

Applicants should be members of AJL, familiar with the scope of Judaic children’s literature, experienced in writing critical reviews, willing and able to read and review over 100 books during the course of a year, and able to meet deadlines.

Committee members are expected to attend the annual conference and committee meetings, and to participate in committee-sponsored events, including speaking at the Committee’s annual presentation.  The term of membership on the Committee is two years.   

Membership on the Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee is both fun and intellectually challenging. It also requires a substantial commitment in terms of time and energy. 

Members must be able to submit reviews electronically and correspond with the committee members through regular e-mail.  Familiarity with Google Docs is helpful but not required. 

To apply, send a letter indicating the reasons for your interest, a resume, and several examples of your recent reviews of Jewish children’s books to Rebecca Levitan, Committee Chair, at [email protected]  

Applications will be accepted through November 15, 2019.

Rebecca Levitan, Chair
Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee
The Association of Jewish Libraries​

Selected Holocaust Literature for Youth

Recommended by the Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee of the Association of Jewish Libraries
Compiled by Heidi Rabinowitz & Chava Pinchuck, 2019

In July 2019, The Palm Beach Post ran a story about the principal of a Boca Raton, Florida high school who refused to call the Holocaust a historical fact. The story was met with public fury that led to his removal (though at the time of writing, he has not been fired). In the wake of this event, it seems appropriate to highlight Holocaust resources that can help educators and families raise children who understand this crucial period of history, and ensure their ability to apply the lessons of the Holocaust to our own times. 

Here, then, are a few selections from the 200+ Holocaust titles that have been recognized by the Association of Jewish Libraries’ Sydney Taylor Book Award committee over the years. There are fiction and nonfiction titles for children and teen readers. Each title’s recognition status and age range is provided at the end of the annotation. For your convenience, this selected list is available in PDF format here.


Bartoletti, Susan Campbell. Hitler Youth: Growing Up in Hitler's Shadow. New York: Scholastic Press, 2005. ISBN: 0439353793 This well-researched, large format book describes the rise of Hitler and the Nazi Party, and World War II and its aftermath, through the eyes of twelve ordinary young people in Germany including those who participated in the Hitler Youth movement and those who resisted. In The Boy Who Dared, a 2009 Notable Book for Older Readers, Bartoletti takes one episode from Hitler Youth and turns it into a thought-provoking novel. (Nonfiction, 2006 Notable Book for Older Readers) 

Bascomb, Neal. The Nazi Hunters: How a Team of Spies and Survivors Captured the World's Most Notorious Nazi. New York: Arthur A. Levine Books, 2013. ISBN: 9780545430999 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. (Nonfiction, 2014 Award Winner for Teen Readers)

Bitton-Jackson, Livia. I Have Lived a Thousand Years: Growing Up in the Holocaust. New York: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 1997. ISBN: 0689823959 pbk The author describes her experiences during World War II when she and her family were sent to the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz. Bitton-Jackson continues her story in My Bridges of Hope: Searching for Life and Love After Auschwitz, a 1999 Notable Book for Older Readers, and Hello, America: A Refugee's Journey from Auschwitz to the New World. (Nonfiction, 1997 Honor Book for Older Readers) 

Dauvillier, Loïc. Hidden: A Child's Story of the Holocaust. Illustrated by Marc Lizano. Color by Greg Salsedo. Translated by Alexis Siege. New York: First Second, 2014. ISBN: 9781596438736 In graphic novel format, a grandmother recounts to her granddaughter her experiences as a hidden Jewish child in Nazi-occupied France during the Holocaust. The grey and brown-tinted illustrations portray a dark and scary time. However, the text and images provide a gentle introduction to the Holocaust for elementary grade and middle grade readers. (Fiction, 2015 Award Winner for Older Readers)

Frank, Anne. Anne Frank’s Diary: The Graphic Adaptation. Adapted by Ari Folman. Illustrated by David Polonsky. New York: Pantheon Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House, 2018. ISBN: 9781101871799 This graphic adaptation brings Anne Frank and the other residents of the Secret Annex to life. Though it makes the fear inherent in their situation clear, it also conveys plenty of ordinary, even humorous moments, reminding readers just how real the people were. (Nonfiction, 2019 Notable Book for Older Readers)

Iturbe, Antonio. The Librarian of Auschwitz.Translated by Lilit Thwaites. New York: Godwin Books, an imprint of Henry Holt and Company, 2017. ISBN: 9781627796187 This powerful story is based on the life of Dita Kraus and her protection of a handful of books in the Auschwitz concentration camp. It shows the importance of hope in the darkest of times. (Fiction, 2018 Award Winner for Teen Readers)

Kacer, Kathy with Jordana Lebowitz. To Look a Nazi in the Eye: A Teen's Account of a War Criminal Trial. Toronto: Second Story Press, 2017. ISBN: 9781772600407 Lebowitz attended the first week of the trial of Oskar Groening, known as "the bookkeeper of Auschwitz." She blogged about her experience, and as the granddaughter of Holocaust survivors, went through a myriad of emotions. Kacer chronicles both her account and the trial testimony. (Nonfiction, 2018 Honor Book for Teen Readers)

Leyson, Leon with Marilyn J. Harran and Elisabeth B. Leyson. The Boy on the Wooden Box: How the Impossible Became Possible...on Schindler's List. New York: Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2013. ISBN: 9781442497818 The late Leon Leyson has created an inspiring memoir about his experiences during the Holocaust. He was one of the youngest children on Oskar Schindler’s list. (Nonfiction, 2014 Honor Book for Older Readers)

Mazzeo, Tilar J. Irena’s Children: Young Readers Edition: A True Story of Courage. Adapted by Mary Cronk Farrell. New York, NY: Margaret K. McElderry Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, 2016. ISBN: 9781481449915 Irena Sendler was a brave Christian Polish woman who rescued thousands of Jewish children during World War II.  Her story is also portrayed in two excellent picture books, Irena Sendler and the Children of the Warsaw Ghetto, a 2012 Notable Book for Older Readers by Susan Goldman Rubin, illustrated by Bill Farnsworth, and Irena's Jars of Secrets, a 2012 Honor Book for Older Readers by  Marcia Vaughan, illustrated by Ron Mazellan. (Nonfiction, 2017 Notable Book for Older Readers)

Nielsen, Jennifer. Resistance. New York: Scholastic, 2018. ISBN: 9781338148473 When her family is upended in Nazi-occupied Poland, teenager Chaya Linder is determined to make a difference. Circumstances send her from being a courier, to raiding Nazi supplies, to finally the biggest mission of all, the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. (Fiction, 2019 Notable Book for Teen Readers)

Rappaport, Doreen. Beyond Courage: The Untold Story of Jewish Resistance During the Holocaust. Somerville, MA: Candlewick Press, 2012. ISBN: 9780763629762 The authors presents a sampling of actions, efforts, and heroism with the hope that they can play a role in helping to correct the damaging and persistent belief that Jews ‘went like sheep to the slaughter.’ Five years of research results in an important informational book, with back matter that includes a pronunciation guide, chronology, source notes, detailed bibliography, and an index. (Nonfiction, 2013 Honor Book for Teen Readers)

Roy, Jennifer. Yellow Star. Tarrytown, NY: Marshall Cavendish, 2006. ISBN 076145277X Told in verse, this is the story of Syvia Perlmutter, one of twelve surviving children, who hid in the Lodz Ghetto with her family. (Fiction, 2007 Honor Book for Older Readers)

Sharenow, Robert. The Berlin Boxing Club. New York: Harper Teen, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, 2011. ISBN: 9780061579684 Karl Stern, an assimilated fourteen-year-old Jew living in 1930s Berlin, becomes the unlikely student of boxing champion and source of German pride, Max Schmeling. A coming of age novel that entwines Karl’s personal struggles with the historical ones of the period including “degenerate” art and the Nazi menace, well-developed characters and a tense plot propel this page turner. (Fiction, Award Winner for Teen Readers) 

Stamper, Vesper. What the Night Sings. Illustrated by the author. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, 2018. ISBN: 9781524700386 This beautifully illustrated novel tells the story of teen Holocaust survivor Gerta as she struggles to reconcile her identity and desires in the wake of tragedy. (Fiction, 2019 Award Winner for Teen Readers)

Zusak, Markus. The Book Thief. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2006. ISBN: 0375831002 Death narrates the story of Leisl Meminger, a Lutheran girl in Nazi Germany who sustains herself and those close to her, including the Jewish man hidden in her basement, with her love of books and reading. An engaging story that resonates with the full spectrum of human emotions and experiences. (Fiction, 2007 Award Winner for Teen Readers)

Book cover of Ann Frank Book cover of Hitler youth Book cover of Irena's Children Book cover of Berlin Boxing Club

AJL Seeks Editor-in-Chief

VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITY: AJL News and AJL Reviews Editor-in-chief (last update April 30, 2019)

This position has been filled.

Reports to Chair for Publications.


The AJL Newsletter was published in print until December 2010. As of January 2011, that publication was split into two separate electronic publications (in PDF format) – AJL News and AJL Reviews. All correspondence and production of the News and Reviews sections are done electronically. The News and Reviews staff consists of adult literature co-editors (2), children and teen literature co-editors (2), advertising manager, layout editor, and the editor-in-chief.


  • Oversees the creation and completion of News and Reviews
  • Maintains News and Reviews budget, keeping track of mailing expenses, as well as reimbursements to the News and Reviews staff for out-of-pocket expenses.
  • Upon consultation with co-editors, keeps current the policies and guidelines for reviewers and publishers
  • Updates and keeps current News and Reviews webpage on the AJL website
  • Secure reviewers’ permissions for AJL to distribute their published reviews to other sources
  • Receives contributions to News and edits the text for grammar, style, and space
  • Sends all edited contributions to the layout editor
  • Posts completed files on the AJL website through StarChapter
  • Sends an announcement to members, as well as to ha-Safran, with the appropriate link
  • Makes sure that the ‘archive’ and ‘current’ areas on the News & Reviews sections are modified appropriately
  • Sends the appropriate content to CLCD (Children’s Literature Comprehensive Database).


  • Recruit reviewers and assign books for review
  • Distribute review copies and guidelines to reviewers by mail
  • Receives contributions to Reviews and edits the text for grammar, style, and space
  • Edit reviews and prepare manuscript for publication
  • Correspond as needed with publishers to request review copies
  • Correspond as needed with reviewers and authors
  • Maintain a database of titles and reviewers, as well as files of other necessary records
  • Send printed reviews to publishers
  • Work closely with editor-in-chief
  • Co-editors must have an extensive knowledge of the literature reviewed in the section they edit, excellent command of written and spoken English; knowledge of written English style; familiarity with the conventions of editing and proofreading; ability to use word processing, database management, and e-mail programs; ability to meet deadlines; and good interpersonal skills.

Advertising manager:

  • Maintains a current database of Judaica publishers, solicits ads from them, and sends the ‘camera-ready’ digital files to the layout editor, and payment to the treasurer.

Layout editor:

  • Works on the layout of the two documents (News and Reviews) on dedicated software (currently In-Design by Adobe)
  • Produces the two PDF documents. All images appear in color (if available)
  • Makes sure that some of the content is linked appropriately (i.e. email addresses, URLs)
  • Sends the final versions to the editor-in-chief for approval.


2019 Program Book

It's arrived! Here is the 2019 AJL Conference Book

Job Opportunity - AJL Development

This position has been filled, effective 8/1/2019

At the direction of the AJL Board following the January 2019 mid-winter meeting, a committee was established with the charge to investigate the hiring of an Executive Director for the AJL. After much deliberation, it was decided that because fund raising needed to be our number one goal, a search for a part-time, contract Development Associate would be started.

The committee developed the following job description and request for proposal for the position. We encourage all AJL members to reach out to colleagues, friends and family who may be interested in applying for this job. Our hope is to have candidates available for interviewing at the AJL Board and Council Meetings in June.

If you have any questions regarding this matter, please contact Kathy Bloomfield at [email protected]

Committee Members:Kathy Bloomfield (Chair), Dina Herbert, Jacqueline Benefraim, Emily Bergman, Michelle Chesner, Rebecca Jefferson, Judy Weidman, Holly ZImmerman

 Association of Jewish Libraries (AJL) Development Associate


The Association of Jewish Libraries 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.

Job Description

The AJL, an historically all-volunteer organization, is looking for a contract relationship with a part-time Development Associate. This position calls for a passionate, engaged, high-energy individual to assist the organization in its fundraising and grantsmanship efforts with the goals of increasing membership, creating a Case for Giving, and establishing an endowment that will support our ongoing projects for and with our membership.

This position will involve communications with the AJL membership along with outreach to individuals and foundations who have a desire to support our work. In addition, we are looking for someone who can research and develop partnerships with organizations that have similar visions. Finally, this individual would assist AJL leadership in developing creative initiatives and programming to provide ongoing support of our fundraising efforts.

This position reports to the AJL President and will be supported by a committee of active and engaged AJL members. There is no physical AJL office, therefore the Development Associate is contracted as a consultant and provides their own access to the space and technology necessary to perform the administrative work involved with this position.

Job Responsibilities

The AJL Development Associate will represent AJL within its membership as well as in the funder community, including with foundations, major individual donors, and corporate and other non-profit institutions. Specific responsibilities include:

  • Assist the AJL Board/Council in brainstorming and creating new methods to increase AJL membership, create a Case for Giving to AJL, and establish an endowment
  • Raise funds for AJL and regularly meet or surpass fundraising targets
  • Research potential donors to gain insight into needs, beliefs and donation habits to understand how best to represent AJL
  • Work with AJL’s Social Media team to leverage technology and social media where possible to improve AJL’s name recognition and fundraising activities
  • Build upon existing donor relationships and form new donor relationships on a regular basis and network with the funding community by attending conferences and events.
  • Develop and manage grants raised for the AJL, including monitoring project progress and reporting to the funding body
  • Travel to Mid-Winter and Annual AJL Conferences

Job Skills & Qualifications


  • Minimum of a Bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience
  • A passion for libraries
  • A laser focus on fundraising and the ability to start up quickly
  • Exemplary oral and written communication skills
  • Outstanding organizational abilities and attention to detail
  • At least one year of demonstrated successful, creative fundraising experience
  • Experience with Jewish institutions, libraries or non-profit associations
  • Demonstrated ability to exercise creative, independent judgment and discretion in solving problems, as well as take direction and work as part of a team
  • Flexibility, willingness to embrace new challenges, a can-do attitude and a strong work ethic


  • Master’s degree in nonprofit administration or equivalent experience
  • Two years of successful fundraising experience


As stated previously, there is no AJL office, so location is flexible


This is a time-limited, part-time, contract position. Annual compensation is $36,000. Renewal of contract tied to performance.

To Apply

Submit your proposal to [email protected] . If we are interested in interviewing you for the position, we will get back to you within a week.

Visit https://jewishlibraries.org to learn about AJL before you apply.

The Association of Jewish Libraries is an equal opportunity employer and will not discriminate against any employee or applicant on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin, religion, age, sex, gender (including pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions), sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, disability, veteran status or any other applicable legally protected characteristics.