Curiouser & Curiouser

Sydney Taylor Book Award Winners for 2003 Announced by the Association of Jewish Libraries

Association of Jewish Libraries Press Release - 6 January 2004

Patz, Davis, and Petricic are Honored

Who Was the Woman Who Wore the Hat?, a meditation on the Holocaust written and illustrated by Nancy Patz and published by Dutton, is the winner of the Sydney Taylor Book Award for Older Readers. An unknown woman's hat, on display in Amsterdam's Jewish Historical Museum, inspired this spare and powerful reflection on identity, memory, life and death. It is appropriate for grades 4 through adults.

Who was tha woman cover

Bagels From Benny, written by Aubrey Davis, illustrated by Dusan Petricic, and published by Kids Can Press, is the winner of the Sydney Taylor Book Award for Younger Readers . The story of a little boy who tries to thank God for the wonderful bagels his grandpa bakes is based on a rich tradition of tales about the performance of mitzvot or good deeds. Lively illustrations, colored mainly in shades of warmly baked brown, enhance this fresh expression of Jewish values for Kindergarten -- Grade 3.

Bagels from Benny cover

The Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee selected three Honor Books for Older Readers . Marion Broida's The Ancient Israelites and Their Neighbors (Chicago Review Press) uses archaeological discoveries and biblical scholarship to give children a taste of the food, crafts, and cultures of the Israelites, Philistines, and Phoenicians. Tough Questions Jews Ask: A Young Adult's Guide to Building a Jewish Life by Rabbi Edward Feinstein (Jewish Lights) puts Jewish commitment into a framework of young people's spiritual development. Birdland by Tracy Mack (Scholastic Press) places a moving story about a grieving family in a hip urban setting, filled with jazz, action and diversity.

The committee also selected three Honor Books for Younger Readers. Chanukah On the Prairie by Burt Schuman, illustrated by Rosalind Charney Kaye (UAHC Press), is a story about immigrants who make their way to a real Jewish community in North Dakota around the turn of the 20thcentury. The Moses Basket by Jenny Koralek, illustrated by Pauline Baynes (Eerdmans), features Moses's mother and sister, Miriam, as brave and resourceful main characters. An adaptation of a Sholem Aleichem story entitled When the Chickens Went On Strike: A Rosh Hashanah Tale, written by Erica Silverman and illustrated by Matthew Trueman (Dutton), casts a wise and witty glance at the meaning of repentance.

The Sydney Taylor Book Award is given annually to outstanding children's books of Jewish content. It is sponsored by the Association of Jewish Libraries (AJL) and is named in honor of the late Sydney Taylor, author of the classic All-of- a- Kind Family books about a Jewish immigrant family at the turn of the 20thcentury. The Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee's selection of Notable Children's Books of Jewish Content: the Best of the Bunch from 2003 will be announced in mid-January. For more information, visit the Association of Jewish Libraries' website at and AJL's New Jewish Valuesfinder at or contact committee chair, Heidi Estrin, at

Volume 8, Issue 2, The Looking Glass, April, 2004

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