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Klez4Kids: The Kugel Valley Klezmer Band
Saturday, March 6, 2010 at 3PM



Florida Atlantic University's Wimberley Library, 5th Floor
Tickets $9/Adult
Free tickets for kids under 12


Buy tickets and see the whole festival schedule at http://www.fauevents.com/kulturfest.html


Fun for the whole family! Klez4Kidz features a dramatic reading, live music and projected illustrations from the critically-acclaimed children's book, The Kugel Valley Klezmer Band by Joan Betty Stuchner (http://joanbettystuchner.blogspot.com). A little girl named Shira loves the fiddle, but is she good enough to play with her papa's band? Join narrator Riva Ginsburg and members of Klezmer Company Orchestra (http://www.klezmercompany.com/) as they bring the charming story to life. Bring your blankets to sit on the floor, and get ready to dance to the musical interludes!

This is the second year that the local AJL chapter has helped FAU to plan a children's literary/klezmer event for their Jewish Kultur Festival. In 2009, the Klezmer Company Orchestra brought to life the book Mendel's Accordian by Heidi Smith Hyde. This year's performance, at a new, more convenient time, promises to be even better!

This event is co-sponsored by the South Florida Association of Jewish Libraries, www.sfajl.org.

On our final day of the 2010 Sydney Taylor Book Award Blog Tour, we wrap up with two great interviews.

A Faraway Island is a Sydney Taylor Honor Book in the Older Readers category. Read an interview with author Annika Thor at The Little Book Room with blogger Nancy Silverrod (NOT at Nancy's Teen Reads blog, which was originally listed on the schedule - apologies for the error!).

Here's a teaser:

Nancy: Of the many stories you could have written about the Swedish rescue of Jews during the war, what inspired you to write this particular story?

Annika: Quite a few of the Jews who were rescued from the concentration camps have written down their own memories, in the form of autobiographies or fictional stories. I feel that these stories should be told by the people who experienced them, because they are beyond the imagination of us who did not. In contrast, very little had been written by or about the children who came with the Kindertransport before the war until I started to work on this theme (a doctoral theses on the subject was published in the same year as my first book, 1996), and I felt that the experiences that they went through are in a sense more universal and more suitable to interpret for someone with a different background.

Read more...

The JPS Illustrated Bible for Children is a Sydney Taylor Notable Book for All Ages. Read an interview with author Ellen Frankel at Deo Writer with blogger Jone MacCulloch.

Here's a teaser:

Jone: How did you select which stories to include? (I’m glad you included one of my favorites, “Jonah and the Whale”!) Is there a story you didn’t include and now wish it was in the book?

Ellen: It was hard to limit which stories to include in the volume, but I knew that this couldn’t be a fat book. Children’s hands had to be able to carry it and balance it on their laps. I also understood that there is much in the Hebrew Bible that is not narrative: poetry, prophecy, songs, psalms, genealogies, legal material, ritual and priestly material, wisdom literature, and folklore. I left all that out. And I did leave out some stories as being too violent, sexually explicit, complicated, or not especially dramatic. Although I think that the decision to leave out “The Rape of Dinah,” “Judah and Tamar,” and “Jephthah’s Daughter” was the right one, I wonder whether we underestimate our children’s ability to deal with such brutal realities. After all, they see and read about rapes, sexual intrigues, and domestic violence every day on television, the internet, and the news.

Read more...

Thanks so much to all the bloggers, authors, and illustrators who participated in the 2010 Sydney Taylor Book Award Blog Tour! Keep an eye on the AJL blog People of the Books, the AJL Facebook page, or the AJL Twitter feed for announcements about more Jewish literary awards. And keep an eye on the Jewish Books for Children blog hosted by Sydney Taylor Book Award committee chair Barbara Bietz, where other Sydney Taylor related authors may be interviewed in the future.
Posted in: Authors, Awards
Benjamin and the Silver Goblet is a Sydney Taylor Honor Book in the Younger Readers category. Read an interview with author Jacqueline Jules at ASHarmony with blogger Elizabeth Lipp.

Here's a teaser:

Elizabeth: What challenges do you face as a writer? Meaning: what are those things that stand in your way when you have a particular idea you want to get across?

Jacqueline: It can often take a very long time to get a story or an idea right. I often think of my first drafts as caterpillars, crawling creatures hungrily nibbling on leaves. Sometimes those first drafts need to spend months or years in the cocoon stage until they emerge as wet butterflies, ready to learn how to fly. Every time I re-write a story or a poem, I am more pleased with it. I enjoy the process of rearranging words to tell the same story in a better way. However, it can also be discouraging to re-write something for years and years, hoping that this time it will connect with an editor and have the opportunity to find readers.

Read more...

The illustrator for Benjamin and the Silver Goblet is Natascia Ugliano. You can read a profile of this artist, and an interview about Natascia's work with Joanna Sussman of Kar-Ben Publishing on The Book of Life with blogger Heidi Estrin.

Here's a teaser:
Heidi: Can you reveal any behind-the-scenes secrets about Natascia's art?

Joanna: We’re just completing work on the most recent title in this Bible series Miriam in the Desert,(coming Fall 2010) the story of Miriam’s leading the people through the wilderness and the introduction of the boy Bezalel, who becomes the artist who crafts the Holy Ark. The tricky part in working with the art for this story was deciding how the Ark should look because, of course, nobody knows what the original Ark of the Covenant looked like – was it plain or elaborate? Did it look like the one in the Indiana Jones movie? How big was it in proportion to the people? Both we and Natascia did a fair amount of research and we went back and forth on several designs before deciding on one that we thought would work.

Read more...

Nachshon Who Was Afraid to Swim is a Sydney Taylor Honor Book in the Younger Readers category. Read an interview with author Deborah Bodin Cohen at Ima on (and off) the Bima: Real-Life Jewish Parenting with blogger Phyllis Sommer. This blog is also sponsoring a giveaway! Win a copy of the book by leaving a comment before February 7!

Here's a teaser:
Phyllis: What inspired you to write Nachshon's story?

Deborah: The Midrash of Nachshon – the first Israelite to have faith to walk into the Red Sea – has always spoken to me. Because of the Nachshon’s courage, God splits the Red Sea and the Israelites walk to freedom. The Torah mentions Nachshon ben Aminadav only a couple of times. Rabbinic creativity filled in the gaps in the Biblical text and the wonderful, classic Midrash of Nachshon was born. I love the lessons of Nachshon’s story: the power of one person to make a difference, having faith in face of adversity and taking risks for the benefit of the community.

Read more...

The illustrator for Nachshon Who Was Afraid to Swim is Jago. You can read an interview with him at Jewish Books for Children with blogger (and Sydney Taylor Book Award committee chair) Barbara Bietz.

Here's a teaser:
Barbara: What was the most interesting thing you learned in the process of working on Nachshon, Who Was Afraid to Swim ?

Jago: That I quite like illustrating horses! I've always avoided them before as they're complicated to get right, but with the Pharaoh's army riding chariots there was no getting away from them. Once I'd figured them out I quite enjoyed drawing them and now I don't avoid them any more!

Read more...

Tune in tomorrow for the final day of the Blog Tour! You'll see an interview with Annika Thor (author, A Faraway Island) at Teen Reads, and an interview with Ellen Frankel (author, The JPS Illustrated Bible for Children) at Deo Writer.
Posted in: Authors, Awards
The Yankee at the Seder is a Sydney Taylor Honor Book in the Younger Readers category.  Read an interview with author Elka Weber at BewilderBlog with blogger Laurel Snyder.

Here's a teaser:
Laurel: I’m excited about all the new things happening in Jewish kidlit right now. I wonder if– as part of that trend– you you’d be willing to share a few ideas for things you’re working on, or works in progress. What’s the wackiest Jewish pickture book you can imagine wanting to write? They book you’d liketo write, but have a hard time imagining anyone would publish?

Elka: As you say, this is an exciting time in Jewish kidlit. The Jewish community in the US has always been diverse, but we’ve gotten better at reflecting that reality. Children’s literature in general grows more sophisticated and Jewish literature is part of that larger trend. I just hope we don’t get too sophisticated to have fun.

My next book (One Little Chicken, June 2011) is a retelling of a story in the Talmud, but with a slight twist. It’s about a rabbi who was so committed to returning a lost chicken that he sells the eggs, invests the proceeds and ends up with a houseful of animals before the original owner shows up to claim his one little chicken. In my telling, the story gets a little antic toward the end.

The wackiest Jewish picture book I’d love to write would be What Do You Mean, You Don’t Want Seconds? starring feisty Jewish grandmothers from different times and places defending their traditional cooking. Naturally, it would be narrated by a piece of gefilte fish and end up in an all-out food fight at the central bus station in Jerusalem.

I am also writing for adults. I’ve finished a book about the last voyage of Henry Hudson. His men mutinied and set him adrift in the Arctic in 1611 and he was never heard from again. There’s nothing explicitly Jewish in the book but the question of what drives good men to evil deeds is most definitely a religious issue.

Read more...



The illustrator for The Yankee at the Seder is Adam Gustavson. You can read an interview with him at Great Kids Books with blogger Mary Ann Scheuer.

Here's a teaser:
Great Kid Books: As a book lover, it interests me: What books or authors and/or illustrators influenced you as an early reader?

Adam G: My great loves are the old Mercer Mayer books from the 1960s and 1970s, like One Monster After Another and Professor Wormbog in Search for the Zipperump-a-Zoo. I think a lot of my cultural awareness came from these books. For example, I would see an old fashioned mailbox, and I could grasp what it was in the context of the picture.

Read more...



Naomi's Song by Selma Kritzer Silverberg is a Sydney Taylor Honor Book in the Teen Readers category. The late Selma Silverberg wrote this story many years ago, and it was recently published by JPS through the efforts of her daughter, Judy Vida. Read an interview with Judy at The Book Nosher with blogger Robin Gaphni.
Here's a teaser:

Robin: Naomi is depicted as a very independent, strong-minded woman in a time when men were in charge of virtually everything. Naomi’s Song was originally written in the late 1950’s-the very dawn of the women’s movement. Would you consider your mother an early feminist? Did she have some of the similar traits as Naomi?

Judy: Yes, I would consider her an early feminist. She was quiet about it, but she was determined to develop her own character and pursue her own interests even within the confines of a traditional 1950’s family role. It never occurred to her that there was anything she could not accomplish. She had long wanted to return to college to earn an elementary education degree. At the age of 44 she started toward that goal, taking only 1 course each semester, and completed her degree at the age of 58. Like Naomi she identified tasks and goals then persevered to complete them.

Read more...

Tune in tomorrow for features on Jacqueline Jules (author, Benjamin and the Silver Goblet) at ASHarmony, Natascia Ugliano (illustrator, Benjamin and the Silver Goblet) at The Book of Life, Deborah Bodin Cohen (author, Nachshon Who Was Afraid to Swim) at Ima On and Off the Bima, and Jago (illustrator, Nachshon Who Was Afraid to Swim) at Jewish Books for Children.
Posted in: Uncategorized
Want to know how to organize your library?

Need help choosing appropriate books?

Interested in social media tools?

Designing a library skills curriculum?

All these topics and more can be found on the AJL wiki organized and designed by our talented Technology Committee Chairs, Diane Romm and Joyce Levine. Check it out!

B'shalom,

Susan Dubin

AJL President
Posted in: Uncategorized
The Steering Committee of the Judaica Librarians' Group (AJL in Israel) had a meeting last week.

 

It was decided to have the next study day on 28 April at the National Library.  There will be 4 speakers on the following topics:

 

The Phoneteka (collection of sound recordings at NLI)

 

Europeana Judaica (JUDAICA (Jewish Urban Digital European Integrated Cultural Archive) will work with European cultural institutions to identify content demonstrating the Jewish contribution to the cities of Europe. It will digitise 10,500 photos, 1,500 postcards and 7,150 recordings as well as several million pages from books, newspapers, archives and press clippings.

 

Israeli publishers

 

Genealogical tools

 

Other decisions include establishing a blog for the discussion of problems that arise during the course of work.  Also an online publication for the dissemination of information about unique items or cataloging problems encountered in the course of work till be set up.  The director of the Rambam Library in Tel Aviv has offered to be the editor.  Now we're trying to arrange an editorial board.
Posted in: Uncategorized


It is official! AJL is now an ALA affiliate organization. ALA will be setting up a page for our organization on their website. We are invited to send 2 representatives to ALA in summer and also to Midwinter. At Midwinter we will be part of a lunch meeting with their Executive Director. At summer we can have a table with information about AJL.





ALA also announced the Sydney Taylor Awards in their newsletter.


This should give AJL much more visibility and hopefully allow us to reach many more people.





 Thanks to all who helped,


Susan Dubin


AJL President




Posted in: Uncategorized
The Importance of Wings is the Sydney Taylor Book Award winner in the Older Readers category. Read an interview with author Robin Friedman at Bildungsroman with blogger Little Willow.

Here's a teaser:
Little Willow: You are a self-proclaimed Jersey Girl, but you were born in Israel. Have you visited Israel since leaving it at the age of five?

Robin: I've been back to Israel several times, including as a college student for a junior year abroad, at the University of Haifa. In that year, I literally fell in love with the landscape and the history, and learned so much about my heritage, as well as the gaps in my family's story.

Read more...

Lost is a Sydney Taylor Honor Book in the Teen Readers category. Read an interview with author Jacqueline Davies at Biblio File with blogger Jen Rothschild.


Here's a teaser:
Jen: In your acknowledgments, you say that it took you ten years to find a way to tell the story of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire. What about this tragedy spoke to you so strongly?

Jacqueline: This book began with a sound. Back in 1999, I was watching Ric Burns’ documentary New York. I already knew the story of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire. I’d studied it years ago in college. But watching that film, I heard a sound effect that was created by the sound engineer: It was his imagining of the sound you would hear when the body of a young girl strikes the sidewalk after falling eighty feet. The sound was like a combination of an overstuffed dufflebag thrown from a great height, a stack of books dropped on a hard wooden floor, and a hand smacking a face. It’s a sound I will never forget, and it had the effect of pulling me back over a century and putting me in that place, in that fire, with those girls.

Read more...

You Never Heard of Sandy Koufax? is a Sydney Taylor Honor Book in the Younger Readers category. Read an interview with author Jonah Winter with blogger Lori Calabrese at Get in the Game: Read! or at Examiner.com.


Here's a teaser:

Lori: I read that you still have all your baseball cards from when you were a boy. How did you avert such disasters as your Mom throwing away your prized collection?

Jonah: Why would my mother have thrown away my baseball cards? She's not a sadist! I guess there are some people who, upon becoming adults, leave their cards in the attics of their parents' homes. Well, not this pig. I've always carried them around with me in my 1980 census bag (my first job out of high school was as a census taker), hauling them from one residence to the next, all 28 domiciles! (I've moved around a lot. In fact, that's what inspired me to write my book The 39 Apartments of Ludwig van Beethoven. I still have 11 to go...!)

Read more...

Tune in tomorrow for interviews with Elka Weber (author, The Yankee at the Seder) at BewilderBlog, Adam Gustavson (illustrator, The Yankee at the Seder) at Great Kids Books, and Judy Vida, (author's daughter, Naomi's Song) at The Book Nosher.
Posted in: Uncategorized
The Sydney Taylor Book Award 2010 Blog Tour begins today with three stops covering two of our gold medalists.

New Year at the Pier is the Sydney Taylor Book Award gold medalist in the Younger Readers category.

Read an interview with April Halprin Wayland (and watch a book trailer!) at Practically Paradise with blogger Diane R. Chen.

Here's a teaser:
Diane: Many teachers seem to ignore Rosh Hashanah and concentrate on incorporating Hanukkah into the curriculum in December. What advice would you offer them?

April: I’m sure that’s true for most teachers in non-Jewish schools. Many don’t realize that Hanukah, a relatively minor holiday, has been elevated by our culture to compete with Christmas. So it’s about educating our teachers.
One year, my nephew’s school district scheduled a major test on Rosh Hashanah, while he was out of school. Oy!

Read more...

Stéphane Jorisch is the illustrator of New Year at the Pier. A profile of Stéphane appears today at Frume Sarah's World with blogger Rebecca Einstein Schorr.

Here's a teaser:
I have often wondered how an artist takes an image, real or imagined, and recreates it. Is it necessary, for example, to refer often to a photograph in order to capture every finite detail? Once he starts to draw, Stéphane’s approach is to rely on his memory rather than reference materials. This freedom enables a more fluid hand. And his inspiration? His inspiration comes from everyday things, daydreams, and time spent delayed in traffic.

Read more...

Tropical Secrets: Holocaust Refugees in Cuba is the Sydney Taylor Book Award gold medalist in the Teen Readers category. Read an interview with author Margarita Engle at bookstogether with blogger Anamaria Anderson.
Here's a teaser:

Anamaria: The fictional characters of Tropical Secrets—Daniel, Paloma, David, and el Gordo—bring these unfamiliar historical events to life for your readers. When did your characters, and their personal stories, begin to reveal themselves to you?

Margarita: The characters and plot of Tropical Secrets came to me in a huge wave. It was overwhelming. I could barely scribble fast enough to keep up with the flow of words. It was as if this story had been waiting to be told, and was searching for a home.

My mother is Cuban, and was raised Catholic. My father is the American son of Ukrainian-Jewish refugees. Tropical Secrets unites the diverse branches of my ancestry.

Read more...

Tune in tomorrow for interviews with Robin Friedman (The Importance of Wings) at Bildungsroman, Jacqueline Davies (Lost) at Biblio File, and Jonah Winter (You Never Heard of Sandy Koufax?) at Get in the Game: Read!
Posted in: Authors, Awards
The Sydney Taylor Book Award will be celebrating and showcasing its 2010 gold and silver medalists and special Notable Book for All Ages with a Blog Tour, February 1-5, 2010! (A blog tour is like a virtual book tour. Instead of going to a library or bookstore to see an author speak, you go to a website on or after the advertised date to read an author's interview.) Here is a celebratory video for your enjoyment, and the schedule for the Blog Tour is posted below.




MONDAY, FEBRUARY 1, 2010



Monday, February 1, 2010
April Halprin Wayland, author of New Year at the Pier: A Rosh Hashanah Story
Sydney Taylor Book Award winner in the Younger Readers Category
at Practically Paradise



Monday, February 1, 2010
Stephane Jorisch, illustrator of New Year at the Pier: A Rosh Hashanah Story
Sydney Taylor Book Award winner in the Younger Readers Category
at Frume Sarah's World



Monday, February 1, 2010
Margarita Engle, author of Tropical Secrets: Holocaust Refugees in Cuba
Sydney Taylor Book Award winner in the Teen Readers Category
at bookstogether



TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 2, 2010



Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Robin Friedman, author of The Importance of Wings
Sydney Taylor Book Award winner in the Older Readers Category
at Little Willow's Bildungsroman



Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Jacqueline Davies, author of Lost
Sydney Taylor Honor Award winner in the Teen Readers Category
at Biblio File



Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Jonah Winter, author of You Never Heard of Sandy Koufax?
Sydney Taylor Honor Award winner in the Younger Readers Category
at Get in the Game: Read! and cross-posted at Examiner.com



WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 3, 2010



Wednesday, February 3, 2010
Elka Weber, author of The Yankee at the Seder
Sydney Taylor Honor Award winner in the Younger Readers Category
at BewilderBlog



Wednesday, February 3, 2010
Adam Gustavson, illustrator of The Yankee at the Seder
Sydney Taylor Honor Award winner in the Younger Readers Category
at Great Kids Books



Wednesday, February 3, 2010
Judy Vida, daughter of the late Selma Kritzer Silverberg, author of Naomi's Song
Sydney Taylor Honor Award winner in the Teen Readers Category
at The Book Nosher




THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 4, 2010




Thursday, February 4, 2010
Jacqueline Jules, author of Benjamin and the Silver Goblet
Sydney Taylor Honor Award winner in the Younger Readers Category
at ASHarmony



Thursday, February 4, 2010
Natascia Ugliano, illustrator of Benjamin and the Silver Goblet
Sydney Taylor Honor Award winner in the Younger Readers Category
at The Book of Life



Thursday, February 4, 2010
Deborah Bodin Cohen, author of Nachshon, Who Was Afraid to Swim
Sydney Taylor Honor Award winner in the Younger Readers Category
at Ima On and Off the Bima



Thursday, February 4, 2010
Jago, illustrator of Nachshon, Who Was Afraid to Swim
Sydney Taylor Honor Award winner in the Younger Readers Category
at Jewish Books for Children



FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 5, 2010



Friday, February 5, 2010
Annika Thor, author of A Faraway Island
Sydney Taylor Honor Award winner in the Older Readers Category
at The Little Book Room



Friday, February 5, 2010
Ellen Frankel, author of The JPS Illustrated Bible for Children
Sydney Taylor Notable Book for All Ages
at Deo Writer

Posted in: Authors, Awards

THE 2010 SYDNEY TAYLOR BOOK AWARDS
ANNOUNCED BY THE ASSOCIATION OF JEWISH LIBRARIES



The Sydney Taylor Book Award Winner for Younger Readers:
New Year at the Pier: A Rosh Hashanah Story by April Halprin Wayland with illustrations by Stéphane Jorish (Dial Books for Young Readers, a division of Penguin Young Readers Group)



The Sydney Taylor Book Award Winner for Older Readers:
The Importance of Wings by Robin Friedman
(Charlesbridge Publishing)



The Sydney Taylor Book Award Winner for Teen Readers:
Tropical Secrets: Holocaust Refugees in Cuba by Margarita Engle
(Henry Holt Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group)



Sydney Taylor Honor Books for Younger Readers:
Nachshon, Who Was Afraid to Swim: A Passover Story
by Deborah Bodin Cohen with illustrations by Jago
(Kar-Ben, imprint of Lerner)
Benjamin and the Silver Goblet by Jacqueline Jules with illustrations by Natascia Ugliano
(Kar-Ben, an imprint of Lerner)
Yankee at the Seder by Elka Weber with illustrations by Adam Gustavson
(Tricycle Press)
You Never Heard of Sandy Koufax? by Jonah Winter with illustrations by Andre Carrilho
(Schwartz & Wade Books, an imprint of Random House)



Sydney Taylor Honor Books for Older Readers:
Anne Frank: Her Life in Words and Pictures from the Archives of the Anne Frank House
by Menno Metselaar and Ruud van der Rol, translated by Arnold J. Pomerans
(Roaring Brook Press/Flash Point, an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group)
A Faraway Island by Annika Thor, translated by Linda Schenck
(Delacorte Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Random House)



Sydney Taylor Honor Books for Teen Readers:
Lost by Jacqueline Davies
(Marshall Cavendish)
Naomi’s Song by Selma Kritzer Silverberg
(Jewish Publication Society)



Notable Books for Younger Readers:
Where Is Grandpa Dennis? by Michelle Shapiro Abraham with illustrations by Janice Fried
(URJ Press)
Around the Shabbos Table by Seryl Berman with illustrations by Ari Binus
(Hachai)
The Secret Shofar of Barcelona by Jacqueline Dembar Greene with illustrations by Douglas Chyka
(Kar-Ben, an imprint of Lerner)
Menorah Under the Sea by Esther Susan Heller
(Kar-Ben, an imprint of Lerner)
Today Is the Birthday of the World by Linda Heller with illustrations by Allison Jay
(Dutton Children’s Books, an imprint of Penguin)
The Waiting Wall by Leah Braunstein Levy with illustrations by Avi Katz
(Hachai Publishers)
Sukkot Treasure Hunt by Allison Ofanansky with photographs by Eliyahu Alpern
(Kar-Ben, an imprint of Lerner)
Fox Walked Alone by Barbara Reid
(Albert Whitman & Company)



Notable Books for Older Readers:
The Champion of Children: The Story of Janusz Korczak written and illustrated by Tomek Bogacki
(Farrar Straus Giroux Books for Young Readers/Frances Foster Books, an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group)
Guardian Angel House (A Holocaust Remembrance Book for Young Readers) by Kathy Clark
(Second Story Press)
Rebecca Series (American Girl Collection)
by Jacqueline Dembar Greene with illustrations by Robert Hunt
(American Girl)
Strawberry Hill by Mary Ann Hoberman with illustrations by Wendy Anderson Halperin
(Little Brown and Company)
The Mysteries of Beethoven’s Hair by Russell Martin and Lydia Nibley
(Charlesbridge Publishing)
The Man Who Flies with Birds by Carol Garbuny Vogel and Yossi Leshem
(Kar-Ben, an imprint of Lerner)
Clay Man: The Golem of Prague by Irene N. Watts with illustrations by Kathryn E. Shoemaker
(Tundra Books)
Elvina’s Mirror by Sylvie Weil
(Jewish Publication Society)



Notable Books for Teens:
The Disappearing Dowry: an Ezra Melamed Mystery by Libi Astaire
(Zahav Press, an imprint of Targum)
A Family Secret/The Search by Eric Heuvel
(Farrar Straus Giroux Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group)
So Punk Rock (and Other Ways to Disappoint Your Mother) by Micol Ostow with art by David Ostow
(Flux)
Cursing Columbus by Eve Goldberg Tal
(Cinco Puntos Press)
Puppet by Eva Wiseman
(Tundra)
The Other Half of Life: Based on the True Story of the MS St. Louis
By Kim Ablon Whitney
(Knopf Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Random House)



NOTABLE BOOK FOR READERS OF ALL AGES:
JPS Illustrated Children’s Bible by Ellen Frankel with illustrations by Avi Katz
(Jewish Publication Society)

Posted in: Awards

MEDIA RELEASE


2010 SYDNEY TAYLOR BOOK AWARDS


ANNOUNCED BY THE ASSOCIATION OF JEWISH LIBRARIES


(New York—January 11, 2010) April Halprin Wayland and Stéphane Jorisch, author and illustrator of New Year at the Pier: A Rosh Hashanah Story, Robin Friedman, author of The Importance of Wings, and Margarita Engle, author of Tropical Secrets: Holocaust Refugees in Cuba, are the 2010 winners of the prestigious Sydney Taylor Book Award.

The Sydney Taylor Book Award honors new books for children and teens that exemplify the highest literary standards while authentically portraying the Jewish experience. The award memorializes Sydney Taylor, author of the classic All-of-a-Kind Family series. The winners will receive their awards at the Association of Jewish Libraries convention in Seattle this July.

Wayland and Jorisch will receive the 2010 gold medal in the Sydney Taylor Book Award’s Younger Readers Category for New Year at the Pier: A Rosh Hashanah Story, published by Dial Books for Young Readers, a division of Penguin Young Readers Group. The Jewish New Year is a special time of year, with a change in seasons, symbolic foods and other traditions. It is also the time for introspection and the ritual of Tashlich, when sins are symbolically cast into a body of flowing water. Izzy thinks about things for which he is sorry. He “compares Tashlich to cleaning out his toy closet, an example of the wonderful way this story conveys to children, at their own level, a contemporary version of the healthy Jewish way we start fresh at the beginning of each new year,” commented Susan Berson, a member of the Award Committee. Incoming Committee Chair Barbara Bietz noted that the “whimsical watercolor illustrations are a perfect pairing for the delightful prose.”

Friedman will receive the 2010 gold medal in the Sydney Taylor Book Award’s Older Readers Category for The Importance of Wings, published by Charlesbridge. Ah, the drama of being in eighth grade! There’s the boy you have a crush on who likes someone else. There’s getting dressed in gym class and being picked last for teams. There’s your parents, who are so unlike Mike and Carol Brady and not even like Ma and Pa Ingalls. And there’s your hair, that won’t go in the popular feathered back style that everyone else is wearing. When an Israeli girl moves next door, Liat “not only shows Roxanne how to give her hair ‘wings,’ but she helps her ‘wing’ her way toward maturity and self-esteem,” asserted Debbie Colodny, a member of the Award Committee. Another Award Committee member, Kathy Bloomfield, affirmed this praise: “With appealing and affecting writing, Ms. Friedman grabs the reader immediately and takes her on a journey of self-discovery, confidence building and empowerment that will leave her hoping for a sequel.” Friedman’s book about male bulimia, Nothing, was named an AJL Notable Book for Teen Readers last year.

Engle will receive the 2010 gold medal in the Sydney Taylor Book Award’s Teen Readers Category for Tropical Secrets: Holocaust Refugees in Cuba, published by Henry Holt, an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group. After Kristallnacht, many Jews tried to leave Germany, but other countries refused the refugees. Cuba agreed to take in some of these people, but at a price. The tension of this era is seen through the eyes of several of the people affected: Daniel, a thirteen-year-old German boy whose parents put him on a boat to “the Americas,” hoping to save his life; Paloma, the daughter of a Cuban official who prefers a dovecote to her home; David, who escaped the pogroms of Russia, sells ice creams, and helps the new refugees; and Gordo, Paloma’s father, who is profiting by charging exorbitant fees for visas to stay in Cuba. “The verse and the different perspectives make the history of Cuba during the Nazi era accessible while illustrating the complicated situations and the twists and turns of political interactions,” noted Kathe Pinchuck, Committee Chair. Ms. Engle is known to readers for her Newbery-Honor book The Surrender Tree: Poems of Cuba’s Struggle for Freedom, for which she also won the Pura Belpre Award.

Eight Sydney Taylor Honor Books were named for 2010. For Younger Readers, Honor Books are: Nachshon Who Was Afraid to Swim by Deborah Bodin Cohen with illustrations by Jago (Kar-Ben), Benjamin and the Silver Goblet by Jacqueline Jules with illustrations by Natascia Ugliano (Kar-Ben), Yankee at the Seder by Elka Weber with illustrations by Adam Gustavson (Tricycle Press) and You Never Heard of Sandy Koufax? by Jonah Winter with illustrations and an amazing lenticular cover by Andre Carrilho (Schwartz & Wade Books, an imprint of Random House). Two works in translation were named Honor Books for Older Readers: Anne Frank: Her Life in Worlds and Pictures by Menno Metselaar and Ruud van der Rol (translated by Arnold J. Pomerans) (Roaring Brook Press/Flash Point, an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group) and A Faraway Island by Annika Thor (translated by Linda Schenck) (Delacorte Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Random House). Lost, a historical novel by Jacqueline Davies (Marshall Cavendish) and Naomi’s Song, a biblical fiction by Selma Kritzer Silverberg (JPS) were named Honor Books in the Teen Reader Category.

The JPS Illustrated Children’s Bible by Ellen Frankel with illustrations by Avi Katz (JPS) was named a Notable Book for All Ages. The Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee was very impressed Ms. Frankel’s retelling of biblical stories. “She succeeds in creating an age-appropriate interpretation of the most intriguing and familiar stories that allow families to gleen the essence of Jewish teachings, ethics, and history,” commented Rita Soltan, Award Committee member. “Readability, faithfulness to ‘idiomatic nuances of biblical Hebrew,’ and softly rendered color illustrations are the main features of this compilation,” noted Susan Berson, Award Committee member.

We will be promoting an author and illustrator blog tour as a way to spread the word and generate interest in these books. The tour will take place February 1st – February 5th, and the schedule will be posted at here on the People of the Books blog at jewishlibraries.org/blog.

In addition to the medal-winners, the Award Committee designated twenty-two Notable Books of Jewish Content for 2010: eight in the Younger Readers Category, eight in the Older Readers Category, and six for Teens. Notable titles, and more information about the Sydney Taylor Book Award, may be found online at www.SydneyTaylorBookAward.org. A blog about the awards can be found at www.sydneytaylorbookaward.blogspot.com.
Posted in: Awards
The Association of Jewish Libraries will hold its annual Midwinter Board and Council meetings January 10 and 11 in New York at the Affinia Hotel Manhattan. All Board and Council members are asked to attend. It is during these meetings that new business is discussed and policy decisions are made. This year's Sydney Taylor Award winners will be announced at the Council meeting on Monday.

In addition, plans for the upcoming annual convention in Seattle will be shared. Since the convention is being planned by a national as well as a local committee, the Council meeting should be a roll-up-your-sleeves and get busy work session. Other business to be discussed is the idea of giving an award to a publisher or bookseller who has benefited Judaica Librarianship. The idea voted on at the last Council meeting is to change the Doris Orenstein Fund to this award since Doris was a vendor at early AJL programs. The money in the Orenstein Fund which had formerly been earmarked for newcomers to convention would be mingled with other funds in the Convention stipend account. Last Council meeting it was decided that all first time convention attendees should get a stipend to encourage their attendance.

AJL has applied to ALA for affiliate status. Hopefully, we will hear after ALA Midwinter whether it has been approved. Once we are an ALA affiliate, we can announce our awards on the ALA page. This should give AJL much more visibility.

Plans are moving ahead to hire an administrative consultant. We are also looking for someone or some company to help with a redesign of our webpage. Many thanks to our hardworking Task Force members and the Technology Chairs for helping with this important move in moving our organization forward.

Here's wishing everyone a happy, healthy, successful, and peaceful 2010!

B'shalom,

Susan Dubin

AJL President
Posted in: Uncategorized
The Association of Jewish Libraries is seeking a consultant who can help on a part time basis with administrative and web 2.0 tasks.
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Some sample duties would be:
\n
1. Create an AJL presence on appropriate social networking sites such as Twittter, LinkedIn,\nShmooze, LibraryThing, SecondLife.
\n
2. Establish a mechanism for the ongoing maintenance of these sites.\n3. Work with a professional web design service to enhance the AJL website.\n4. Advise officers and committee chairs on the creation and maintenance of Judaica information\nservices and resources that demonstrate AJL's knowledge and leadership.\n5. Advise the president on the creation of a system for responding quickly and effectively to\nrelevant issues raised on AJL's listserv and in other online and print media.\n6. Implement plans to promote AJL in additional ways. Some examples are: creating AJL-sponsored exhibits, either actual traveling exhibits or virtual exhibits; establishing a supportive\nadministrator's award to strengthen contacts between AJL and the Jewish community.\n7. Investigate external resources and the use of already established AJL committees to maintain\nthese activities on an ongoing basis.
\n
 
\n
Qualifications:
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--College degree, preferably with graduate MLS degree or business-related degree
\n
--Extensive knowledge of and experience with libraries\n--Familiarity and skill with relevant computer applications and Web 2.0 technologies\n--Excellent interpersonal, communication, organizational and analytical skills
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All applications will be reviewed by a committee and the two top candidates will be asked to interview in person at the AJL Midwinter Board and Council meeting January 10-11, 2010 in New York City. AJL wil cover the expense of travel to New York.
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Please write for more information or submit resume or CV and a cover letter to Susan Dubin at ajlpresident@jewishlibraries.org

AJL Regional Conference in Israel

AJL presented a regional conference in Israel at Bar Ilan University on November 5, 2009. On the program were four speakers:  

Shmuel Har Noy, Administrative Director of  the
National Library of Israel, whose topic was Challenges of the New National Library of Israel.

Professor Aaron Demsky from
Bar Ilan University, spoke on The Cultural Significance of Jewish Names.

Professor Elhanan Adler, Deputy Director for Information Technology of the NLI,  reported on
Ten Years of Digitization at NLI .

Moshe Rosenfeld, talked about Discoveries of Hebrew Materials in Christian Repositories.

Some of the sessions at the conference were recorded and will be posted as podcasts on the
AJL website.



According to Ya'akov Aronson, the organizer of this event, there were more than 50 participants from 12 different institutions. At the conference, Shmuel Har Noy, the Administrative Director of the National Library, invited the group to plan the next program at NLI. Seven people from five institutions volunteered to be on a steering committee to plan future events.



Hopefully, this is the beginning of a new branch of AJL in Israel. We are also planning to hold two simultaneous sessions in Israel and Seattle during our 2010 Annual Convention.





B'shalom,

Susan Dubin

AJL President

 





 
Posted in: Uncategorized
Thanks to the hard work of Ya'Akov Aaronson, we will have a regional conference in Israel on November 5, 2010. We have 4 speakers, Shmuel Har Noy, Administrative Director of  NLI on the Challenges of the New National Library of Israel, a professor from Bar Ilan on The cultural significance of Jewish names, Elhanan Adler on 10 years of digitization at NLI and the last one on Discoveries of Hebrew materials in Christian locations.  This is about discovering Hebrew manuscripts in monasteries in Europe. The fellow, Moshe Rosenfeld, is authorized by the Catholic Church to search in monasteries for Hebrew materials.  He has found some amazing things.

Sessions at the conference will be recorded to post as a podcast on the AJL website.

At the conference, Ya'Akov will also look for people who would like to help organize an AJL group in Israel.

 For information about the conference, contact Ya'Akov Aaronson.

 
Posted in: Uncategorized
Now that the fall holidays are over, we have a lot to do! I hope that everyone had a happy Sukkot and a sweet and meaningful Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur. Since this week we read B'resheet, it is appropriate to begin on our new tasks.

Several of our committees need help --

Mentoring needs volunteers to help organize the mentor program as well as to be mentors. If you would like to find a mentor to help with a new job, different responsibilities, or some as pect of librarianship, contact Stephanie (Sara Leah) Gross. The information is on the AJL web page.

Accreditation Committee is looking for a co-chair who lives in the New York City area. Michal is the Chai and she can use some help with some of the tasks. If you would like to be considered for co-chair, contact AJL President Susan Dubin. If you would like to serve on the committee, contact Michal.

All the AJL committees are open to participation by our members. Look at the AJL web page to see which committee you would like to work with. We welcome your participation and help!

Our new Technology Committee is working with our Professional Development and Continuing Education Committee to prepare a webinar on using wikis. The webinar will be free to our members. We are asking all Committee Chairs and Co-Chairs to sign up for the webinar . We would like to encourage our committees to use wikis to facilitate communication between members. It is an easy way to stay in touch over the miles and ime differences! Watch for information on the webinar on HaSafran and through this blog.

Many thanks to our hard-working PR CHair, Heidi, who has mounted several of our convention podcasts on the website. Take advantage of this opportunity to share in the tremendous amount of learning that takes place at our conventions. It is one of the many reasons to be an AJL member!

Our Newsletter just arrived at my house on Saturday. (California is a little slow.) What a fabulous resource. I found at least 15 new books we need to buy for our library. The articles were outstanding and I love the new column about Israeli authors! Great job Libby, Nancy, and review editors!

Watch this space for more AJL news and thoughts...

B'shalom,

Susan Dubin

AJL President

NEW MEMBERS APPOINTED TO THE SYDNEY TAYLOR BOOK AWARD COMMITTEE


Kathe Pinchuck, Chair


Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee


 


 


The Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee appointed three new members.  Their four-year terms will begin in January 2010. The committee benefits from the diverse membership of AJL, and with the unique talents and experience of the incoming members, we are confident the high standards of the committee will continue.


 


 


 


Debbie Feder is the Director of the Library Resource Center at Ida Crown Jewish Academy in Chicago. An active member of the Chicago AJL Chapter, Debbie holds a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education and earned her MLS from Dominican University. Debbie, who also worked at the Skokie Public Library, is a lover of children’s literature, first enthralled by All-of-a-Kind-Family.


 


Aimee Lurie comes to the committee with experience in a variety of Jewish libraries, including the Temple-Tifereth Israel, the Fairmount Temple and the Agnon School, as well as public libraries. Amy has reviewed books for the AJL Newsletter and VOYA and feels that “reviewing books is every librarian’s professional responsibility and it has always played a critical role in my personal professional development.  Not only does it play an invaluable role in collection development, I have found it is the best way to keep your finger on the pulse of publishing trends.” Aimee is active in the Cleveland chapter of AJL and holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Ohio State and an MLS from Kent State University.


 


Nancy Silverrod is a librarian at San Francisco Public Library. Nancy graduated summa cum laude from Eastern Michigan University and earned her MILS at the University of Michigan. Nancy states that “My reading over the years led me to a deeper connection and involvement with Judaism, and the opportunity to recommend high quality books to interested readers is one of the things I most enjoy about my work” – a great combination.


 


 


Barbara Bietz of Oak Park, California will assume the chairmanship. She is the author of Like a Maccabee (Yaldah Publishing, 2006).  As a freelance writer, her work has appeared in numerous publications, and she is a frequent reviewer for Jewish Book World and the AJL Newsletter. 


 


 


The 2009-2010 Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee will also include Debbie Colodny (Libertyville, Illinois), Rita Soltan (West Bloomfield, Michigan); Kathe Pinchuck (Clifton, New Jersey), past chair; and Rachel Kamin (Chicago, Illinois), compiler. Heidi Estrin (Boca Raton, Florida) will assist the committee as AJL Public Relations Liason.


 


Tremendous Harkaras Hatov (appreciation) to Susan Berson (Denver, Colorado and Kathy Bloomfield (Wellesley, Massachusetts)  who have served their four-year terms on the committee with distinction.  



Posted for Kathe Pinchuk, outgoing Chair by


Susan Dubin


AJL President

Posted in: Authors, Awards



















"Why Be Social?" Launches Podcast
on Jewish Social Media


September, 2009 -

"Why Be Social?" is a four-part podcast mini-series created to encourage lovers of Jewish literature to engage in social media in order to promote and support the genre. The project was inspired by a social media workshop at the Association of Jewish Libraries convention in June 2009 in Chicago, arranged by podcaster Heidi Estrin (bookoflifepodcast.com) and led by podcaster Mark Blevis (canadianpodcastbuffet.ca, justonemorebook.com.)

"Mark's session at the convention opened the floodgates of attendees' curiosity about blogs and podcasts, and how these websites can be used to promote Jewish publishing, library use, and reading. I created the 'Why Be Social?' podcast as a way to continue the conversation beyond the convention," says Estrin.

Part 1 of "Why Be Social?" addresses philosophical aspects of the human relationship with technology. Part 2 offers definitions for "blogging" and "podcasting." In Part 3, host Heidi Estrin and guest Alx Block of the Jewish Publication Society suggest relevant blogs and podcasts for Jewish book lovers. Part 4 wraps up by bringing back Mark Blevis to discuss social media participation, or as he calls it, "create, consume, contribute." All four podcast episodes offer extensive show notes, and the series is an excellent resource on getting started in social media engagement.

The four episodes of "Why Be Social?" were posted to Estrin's regular podcast, The Book of Life, a show about Jewish books, music, film and web that has been online since 2005. Visit www.bookoflifepodcast.com to listen to the "Why Be Social?" series, and to check out earlier episodes featuring interviews with Jewish authors, musicians, and other creative people.








About The Book of Life

The Book of Life (www.bookoflifepodcast.com) has been bringing Jewish arts and culture to a self-selected audience of Judaica lovers since 2005, with regular podcasts covering Jewish books, music, film and web. The Book of Life is a service of Congregation B'nai Israel of Boca Raton, Florida and is supported in part by the Association of Jewish Libraries.

 

About the Association of Jewish Libraries

The Association of Jewish Libraries (www.jewishlibraries.org) promotes Jewish literacy through enhancement of libraries and library resources and through leadership for the profession and practitioners of Judaica librarianship. AJL fosters access to information, learning, teaching and research relating to Jews, Judaism, the Jewish experience and Israel.
















Heidi Estrin
Host, The Book of Life
PR Chair, Association of Jewish Libraries



 

 
Posted in: Uncategorized
Association of Jewish Libraries' Vice President of Publications, Deborah Stern, attended a celebration marking Jewish Publication Society's (JPS) 120th birthday.

Here is what Deborah Stern, librarian at Mordecai M. Kaplan Memorial Library of Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, said about the event:

"Founded in 1888, The Jewish Publication Society is the oldest nonprofit, nondenominational publisher of Jewish works in English, especially well known for its English translation of the Hebrew Bible, regarded worldwide as the authoritative Jewish translation. Its publications aim to make the rich Jewish literary legacy accessible to all and run the gamut from collaborative, scholarly projects to books for youngsters to enjoy.

 


Recognizing that the goals of JPS and of AJL have so much in common, the organizations joined forces last year to help readers find the best Jewish resources available among JPS’ own books and those published by others. A link was placed on the JPS home page to a site displaying samples from some of AJL’s annotated bibliographies: http://www.jewishpub.org/about/bibliographies.php


 


This year AJL is pleased to be able to salute JPS on its 120th birthday by being an official sponsor of its birthday celebration. We look forward to continued collaboration with them in our joint efforts to bring Jewish literacy to everyone interested in learning more about the Jewish heritage. L’chaim!"


Birthday cake

Posted in: Uncategorized

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