The Looking Glass : New Perspectives on Children's Literature, Vol 11, No 2 (2007)

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Taylor The Caucus
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Association of Jewish Libraries Book Awards
January 2007

Greetings! The Association of Jewish Libraries is pleased to announce the 2007 winners of our book awards for young readers!

Stephen Krensky and Greg Harlin, author and illustrator of Hanukkah at Valley Forge, and Brenda Ferber, author of Julia's Kitchen, are the 2007 winners of the prestigious Sydney Taylor Book Award. Markus Zusak, author of The Book Thief is the winner of the 2007 Association of Jewish Libraries Teen Book Award.

The winners were announced on January 8 at the Midwinter Meeting of the Association of Jewish Libraries in Manhattan. AJL's Sydney Taylor Book Award honors new books for children 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 new Teen Book Award honors books for young adults. The winners will receive their awards at the Association of Jewish Libraries convention in Scottsdale, Arizona this June. Please read below to learn more about our winning titles!

Rachel Kamin
Awards Committee Chair

For Younger Readers

Stephen Krensky and Greg Harlin will receive the 2007 gold medal in the Sydney Taylor Book Award's Younger Readers Category for Hanukkah at Valley Forge, published by Dutton. During the grim winter at Valley Forge, a Polish-born soldier tells General Washington about Hanukkah, who draws a parallel between the Macabbee's war against their foes with the American war against the British oppressors. "Beautiful watercolor illustrations of both the Revolutionary War period and the Macabeean period, including the rededication of the Jewish Temple, add immeasurably to a delightful and inspirational account of this legendary encounter," comments Susan Berson, a member of the Award Committee. The book is recommended for grades 1-5.

For Older Readers

Brenda Ferber will receive the 2007 gold medal in the Sydney Taylor Book Award's Older Readers Category for Julia's Kitchen, published by Farrar Straus and Giroux. When Cara Segal loses her mother and younger sister in a house fire, she questions her belief in God, struggles with her relationship with her father, and tries to find ways to hold onto the memories of her family in this deeply moving novel that will touch the hearts of all readers. First-time author Ferber, winner of the 2004 Sydney Taylor Manuscript Award, "authentically captures the voice of a contemporary 11-year-old girl and despite the tragic premise, manages to keep the book up- beat, refreshing, and inspiring" notes Rachel Kamin, Chair of the Award Committee. The book is recommended for grades 4-8.

For Teen Readers

For the first time, the Association is recognizing the best books of Jewish content for teen readers. Markus Zusak will receive the 2007 Association of Jewish Libraries Teen Book Award for The Book Thief, published by Alfred A. Knopf/Random House. Death narrates this story of Leisl Meminger, a Lutheran girl in Nazi Germany who sustains herself and those close to her with her love of books and reading. "Enveloping the engaging story is the beauty of Zuzak's descriptive language and his unique literary style," remarks Nancy Austein, a member of the Award Committee. "It is a story that resonates with the full spectrum of human emotions and experiences - a unique and masterfully written book." The book is recommended for grades 9-12.

Silver Medalists and Notable Books

Eight Sydney Taylor Honor Books were named for 2007: four in each the Younger Readers' and Older Readers' categories. For Younger Readers, Honor Books are:

The White Ram by Mordicai Gerstein (Holiday House)
I Am Marc Chagall by Bimba Landmann (Eerdmans Books for Young Readers)
Shlemazel and the Remarkable Spoon of Pohost by Ann Redisch Stampler with illustrations by Jacqueline M. Cohen (Clarion)
Rebecca's Journey Home by Brynn O. Sugarman with illustrations by Michelle Shapiro (Kar Ben/Lerner).

For Older Readers, the Honor Books are:

Vive La Paris! by Esme Raji Codell (Hyperion/Disney)
Solomon and the Ant: And Other Jewish Folktales by Sheldon Oberman (Boyds Mills Press)
Yellow Star by Jennifer Rozines Roy (Marshall Cavendish Children's Books)
Night of the Burning: Devorah's Story by Linda Press Wulf (Farrar Straus and Giroux).

Two honor books for teens were also recognized:

Incantation by Alice Hoffman (Little, Brown and Company)
A Brief Chapter In My Impossible Life by Dana Reinhardt (Wendy Lamb/Random House).

In addition to the medal-winners, the Award Committee designated twenty-five Notable Books of Jewish Content for 2007: eight in the Older Reader' Category, fourteen in the Younger Readers' Category, and three for Teens. Click here to see the FULL LIST of winners, honor books, and notable books.

An interview with awards chair Rachel Kamin may be heard on the podcast The Book of Life.

Quick Links...

Official Book Awards Press Release
The Association of Jewish Libraries
List of All Winners, Honors and Notable Books
The Book of Life Podcast: Interviews with Awards Chair, Winners
• Additional Information about the Sydney Taylor Book Award

email: rkamin@temple-israel.org
phone: 248-661-5700
web: http://www.SydneyTaylorBookAward.org

 


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The Looking Glass: new perspectives on children's literature

ISBN 1551-5680