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August 23, 2022

Heidi Rabinowitz & Susan Kusel
Co-Chairs, AJL Holiday Highlights Committee


For immediate release, August 23, 2022 — The Association of Jewish Libraries is pleased to announce that nine titles have been selected for its seasonal AJL Holiday Highlights list, celebrating Shabbat, Rosh Hashanah, Sukkot, and Hanukkah, as well as a story that honors the full year of Jewish holidays. In addition, this is the first Holiday Highlights list to include a book for young adults. These titles are AJL’s picks for the best Jewish holiday children’s and teen books of Fall 2022.

Titles that are selected as Holiday Highlights exemplify the highest standards of authentic Jewish representation and holiday spirit in both writing and illustration. A committee of expert judges recommends these books for use by families, in schools, and in libraries. AJL hopes that the publishing world will look to the quality of these examples when creating new children’s books about Jewish holidays.

Holiday Highlights titles are named twice a year, for the spring and fall publishing seasons. Submissions are being accepted now for the Spring 2023 list. Please email to send digital review copies or to request instructions for sending print review copies.

An annotated list of the Fall 2022 AJL Holiday Highlights can be found HERE.

For a celebration of Jewish holidays year round, the committee recognizes Apples, Apples, All Year Round: A Celebration of Jewish Holidays by Barbara Bietz and June Sobel, illustrated by Ruth Waters, published by Apples & Honey Press.

The committee has selected two picture books about Shabbat: A Synagogue Just Like Home by Alice Blumenthal McGinty, illustrated by Laurel Molk; and Shoshi’s Shabbat by Caryn Yacowitz, illustrated by Kevin Hawkes, both published by Candlewick Press.

Two picture books about Rosh Hashanah were named to the list: Miriam and the Sasquatch by Eric A. Kimmel, illustrated by Tamara Anegon, published by Apples & Honey Press; and Measuring a Year: A Rosh Hashanah Story by Linda Elovitz Marshall, illustrated by Zara González Hoang, published by Abrams Books.

Two picture books celebrating Sukkot were listed as well: The Stars Will Be My Nightlight: A Sukkot Story by Jen Halpern, illustrated by Chiara Fedele, published by Kar-Ben Publishing; and The Very Best Sukkah: A Story from Uganda by Shoshana Nambi, illustrated by Moran Yogev, published by Kalaniot Books.

In celebration of Hanukkah, the committee listed one picture book and one young adult novel: Hanukkah in Little Havana by Julie Anna Blank, illustrated by Carlos Vélez Aguilera, published by Kar-Ben Publishing; and Eight Nights of Flirting by Hannah Reynolds, published by Razorbill.

AJL’s Holiday Highlights judges are experts in their field:

Robbin Friedman is the head of children’s services at the Chappaqua Library in Chappaqua, NY. She has served on ALSC’s Newbery committee, written for School Library Journal, The Horn Book and Guessing Geisel, and taught Hebrew school once upon a time.

Amy Lilien-Harper is the head of the children’s library at the Wilton Library Association in Wilton, Connecticut.  She has been a professional children’s librarian since 1995. She has served on the Newbery committee, the Caldecott committee and the ALA Notable children’s recordings committees. She reviews picture books for School Library Journal, and has served four times on the Nutmeg Committee, which chooses books for the Connecticut Children’s choice awards.

Sylvie Shaffer is the PreK-8 librarian at the Capitol Hill Day School in Washington, DC and is active in several overlapping kidlit-focused communities including ALSC, YALSA, and Capitol Choices. Sylvie served on AJL’s 2019 and 2020 Sydney Taylor Book Awards as well as on ALSC’s 2018 Geisel Committee.

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. For more information on AJL, visit For more information about Holiday Highlights, visit