Caucus Race 8.3.1

The Caucus Race
News, Announcements and Paper Calls

The Association of Jewish Libraries Jewish ValuesFinder

The Association of Jewish Libraries announces a new, efficient way of finding books that teach Jewish values to children and teens: the Jewish Valuesfinder, This free and professionally edited online database enables you, with just a few clicks of the mouse, to find an age-appropriate story or factual book that imparts the values you wish to teach. All of the titles in the Valuesfinder database are of Jewish content and are recommended for use with Jewish children. More titles are added continuously. No more time-consuming searching through the juvenile book collection of your school, synagogue or public library looking for the "right" book. The Jewish Valuesfinder does that for you. After entering the criteria you need-value and age level, for example - the Valuesfinder will present you with a list of books that meet those parameters. A click on one of the book titles fills your screen with information about the book, a brief critical annotation, and whether or not the book won a Sydney Taylor Award. The annotations describe what the book is about and point out strengths and weaknesses in literary or artistic quality when appropriate. A Book Bag feature allows you to select, compile, and print lists of books of your choice. The Valuesfinder is edited by Linda R. Silver, the librarian of the Jewish Education Center of Cleveland.

With the Jewish Valuesfinder, you can also search for books by author, title, illustrator, subject, publisher and date of publication. In addition, the Valuesfinder contains news about Jewish children's literature and is linked to many other related databases. It will tell you, for example, whether the book won any other honors beside the Sydney Taylor Award or if a teaching guide is available. So as you plan your lessons for the coming year, take advantage of the new Jewish Valuesfinder,, to locate children's books that illustrate the values you wish to instill. Now it's easier than ever.

For more information, contact Linda R. Silver at

The Association of Jewish Libraries Sydney Taylor Manuscript Competition

The Association of Jewish Libraries announces the twentieth annual Sydney Taylor Manuscript Competition for aspiring authors of children's books. A cash award of $1,000 will be given for the best fiction manuscript appropriate for readers ages 8-11, written by an unpublished author. The story should have universal appeal, yet serve to deepen the understanding of Judaism and reveal positive aspects of Jewish life.

For entry forms and rules, please consult the AJL website at, then click on Awards, then click on Sydney Taylor Manuscript Award. Questions can be referred to Rachel Glasser, Coordinator at Deadline for submission of manuscripts is December 31, 2004. The award will be announced on or before April 15, 2005, and will be presented at the 40th Annual Convention of the Association of Jewish Libraries in Oakland, CA on June 21, 2005.

Newbery-Winner Linda Sue Park Remembers All-of-a-Kind Family

One autumn morning, young Linda Sue Park came down to breakfast and told her mother she was fasting for Yom Kippur. "I then had to explain to her that Yom Kippur is a Jewish holiday," says Park, whose family is Korean-American--and Presbyterian.

"I wanted to emulate the characters from one of my favorite books, All-of-a-Kind Family by Sydney Taylor," explains Park, author of the 2002 Newbery Medal winner A Single Shard, a historical novel set in 12th century Korea. "The All-of-a-Kind Family series brought Jewish customs and holidays to life for me and I felt that the girls in the stories were my friends. Mom finally called her friend, Mrs. Kaplan, who convinced me it was okay to eat."

A book-lover from an early age, Park always sought out stories about other cultures. Some of her favorites were Roosevelt Grady by Louisa Shotwell and What Then, Raman? by Shirley Arora. The All-of-a-Kind Family books had a strong impact on her too. "After reading them, I wanted to be Jewish and even asked my mother how I could convert to Judaism."

Many people feel strongly about All-of-a-Kind Family, and the author of this beloved series has been memorialized with a medal, the "Sydney Taylor Book Award," by the Association of Jewish Libraries. The award promotes excellence in Jewish children's literature by recognizing authentic portrayals of Jewish life in novels, picture books, and even non-fiction. "Taylor's were the first Jewish books to really attract an audience outside the Jewish community, the first to go mainstream," says Heidi Estrin, Chair of the Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee. "To honor her legacy, we seek out titles with that same emotional pull, stories that connect Jewish and universal human traits to create a truly interesting read."

"When I heard Linda Sue Park speak about her writing, and about the effect All-of-a-Kind Family had on her, I was stunned," says Rachel Kamin, a member of the Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee. "It brought home to me the importance of recognizing great Jewish children's literature, not only for Jewish readers but also for others, for whom literature might help them feel comfortable with another a different ethnicity outside their own sphere."

The 2003 winner of the Sydney Taylor Book Award in the Younger Readers category, Bagels From Benny by Aubrey Davis, tells of a young boy who tries to thank God for his bounty and finds that reaching out to other people is a way of reaching out to God. The 2003 winner in the Older Readers category, Who Was the Woman Who Wore the Hat? by Nancy Patz, poetically imagines the individuality of an anonymous Holocaust victim, and puts the reader into her shoes, or more literally, her hat. "Both of these titles stress the importance of each person's life, and emphasize what a blessing life is," says Estrin. "Both are about Jewish values and Jewish experiences, but also express universal values and ideas to which any reader can relate."

"The danger of ethnic book awards is ghettoization," says Linda Sue Park. "If we put books with Jewish characters aside and label them 'Jewish books for Jewish children' that would be a real shame. Ethnic book awards should create connections, not limitations. The best literature, and I consider the All-of-a-Kind Family books to be among the best, should have the ability to speak to a large number of people without limits based on race, ethnicity, culture, or religion."

The Association of Jewish Libraries lists past and present Sydney Taylor Book Award winners online at so that all readers can have access to them. "The Award engenders Jewish pride, and helps build bridges of understanding at the same time," says Estrin. "It really honors the all-American spirit of Sydney Taylor's All-of-a-Kind Family books."

The Books and Press for Youth Fair in Seine-Saint-Denis organizes the 9th edition of Figures Futur International Illustration Contest

A unique occasion for novice illustrators to confront their viewpoint, their personality and their sensibility.

Theme : The Little Red Riding Hood by Perrault and Grimm or any other version.

Contributors are asked to produced a front cover and a double page or a multimedia creation.

Deadline for receiving images: September 21st, 2004.

The most innovative works will be selected by an international jury.

An exhibition presented at the The Books and Press for Youth Fair in Seine-Saint-Denis from November 24th to 29th will travel around France and abroad.

A bilingual catalogue will accompany the exhibition (distribution to art directors and in bookshops).

Regulation, entry form and images of previous winners on the website :

For more information:
Denis-Luc Panthin - 01 55 86 86 57
Julie Bellanger - 01 55 86 86 66

Press contact:
Anita Le Van

This contest is a biennal event and it has several originalities. Candidates are invited to illustrate literary texts. A theme is chosen for each contest and a selection of text is proposed (candidates can also propose other texts on the same theme). The search for new forms is the second specificity of this contest. It is actually an occasion to open new tracks for youth illustration. The contest is open only to novice illustrators in order to favour the emergence of new talents. Figures Futur is really a springboard for young illustrators. It is an opportunity for confrontations, proposals, meetings and exchanges amongst themselves as well as with the publishing world. The adventure has started in 1989. 743 illustrators coming from 56 countries took part in Figures Futur 2002 (319 students steming from 179 schools).

Volume 8, Issue 3, The Looking Glass, September 2004

Site design and content, except where noted, ©The Looking Glass 2009.
Send general correspondence regardingThe Looking Glass c/o The Editor.

The Looking Glass: new perspectives on children's literature

ISBN 1551-5680