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Literary Awards

AJL offers four annual literary prizes. Winning authors and illustrators receive accolades and honoraria at the Association’s annual conference. AJL’s awards draw attention to the best in Jewish literature and scholarship each year, encouraging publication and purchase of high-quality Jewish writing.

The Sydney Taylor Book Award for children’s and teen literature. The Sydney Taylor Book Award is presented annually to outstanding books for children and teens that authentically portray the Jewish experience. Presented by the Association of Jewish Libraries since 1968, the award encourages the publication and widespread use of quality Judaic literature. Gold medals are presented in three categories: Younger ReadersOlder Readers, and Teen Readers. Honor Books are awarded silver medals, and Notable Books are named in each category.

The Sydney Taylor Manuscript Award for unpublished manuscripts targeting ages 8-13. The Sydney Taylor Manuscript Award was established by her husband Ralph Taylor to encourage aspiring authors of Jewish children’s books. It was first awarded in 1985. Many of the manuscripts have been subsequently published.

The Judaica Reference & Bibliography Awards for academic scholarship. The AJL Judaica Reference Award, funded by Dr. Greta Silver of New York City, was established to encourage the publication of outstanding Judaica reference books. The AJL Judaica Bibliography Award, funded by Eric Chaim Kline of Los Angeles, was established to encourage the publication of outstanding Judaica bibliographies.

The AJL Jewish Fiction Award for adult readers. The AJL Jewish Fiction Award was established in 2017 with generous underwriting from Dan Wyman Books. All works of fiction with significant Jewish thematic content written in English–novels, short story and flash fiction collections–by a single author published and available for purchase in the United States during the award year are eligible for the award. Jewish thematic content means an extended grappling with Jewish themes throughout the book, including Judaism, Jewish history and culture, Jewish identity, etc.