The Valuesfinder is a selective guide and not every book of Jewish content is included. To be included in this guide, a book must meet the following criteria:
It is written for children from preschool through high school. Age levels for each book are given: PS (Preschool), PRI (Kindergarten – Grade 2), ELE (Grades 3 – 5), MS (Grades 6 – 8), HS (Grades 9 – 12). The designation ADULT is given when the audience for the book includes adult family members.
It meets recognized standards of literary and artistic quality within a range from outstanding to acceptable. Annotations will point out weaknesses in literary or artistic quality when appropriate.
It has Jewish content exemplified by character, time, place, or theme, or it was originally written in Hebrew. The Jewish content is presented accurately, authentically, and with sensitivity to Jewish concerns.
To be fully appreciated by children, it merits introduction by a knowledgeable librarian, teacher, or parent.
It has potential for use in the curricula of Jewish day schools and supplementary schools in one or more denominations of North American Judaism.
It is not a textbook.
In rare cases, titles that do not meet the above criteria are included because of their relevance to Jewish issues or their current importance.
Books of Jewish content that meet the above criteria are or will be included in the database. Most of the books are in English, but Hebrew-English or English-Yiddish works and translations from Hebrew or Yiddish into English are included as well. Picture books, fiction, non-fiction, and biography are considered for inclusion but not reference works such as encyclopedias or almanacs. If users have questions about a particular title or about any aspect of the Valuesfinder, they are invited to contact the editor.
Each book entry contains the following fields: author, title, illustrator, publisher, date of publication, number of pages, ISBN, an annotation, age level(s), its Jewish values, its subjects, and if it won a Sydney Taylor Book Award. Each of the fields is searchable.
The entry of books into the Valuesfinder database has been a rather slow process. The editor gives priority to newly published books that are reviewed in the AJL Newsletter and included in various AJL-sponsored bibliographies. Older titles are entered as time permits. Failing to find a title in the Valuesfinder does not necessarily mean that it was excluded; it may mean that it simply hasn’t been entered yet. When questions about the absence of specific titles arise, contact the editor.