Curiouser-Taylor - 15-1

Curiouser & Curiouser

The Sydney Taylor Book Awards - 2012

Michael J. Rosen and Robert Sabuda, author and artist of Chanukah Lights, Susan Goldman Rubin, author of Music Was It: Young Leonard Bernstein, and Robert Sharenow, author of The Berlin Boxing Club, are the 2012 winners of the prestigious Sydney Taylor Book Award. The awards were announced at the mid-winter meeting of the School, Synagogue and Community Center Division of the Association of Jewish Libraries.
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 Pasadena, California this June

For Younger Readers

Rosen and Sabuda will receive the 2012 gold medal in the Sydney Taylor Book Award's Younger Readers Category for Chanukah Lights, published by Candlewick Press. This exquisite book celebrates Jewish history by pairing poetic prose with intricate paper cut pop-up art. Barbara Bietz, Chair of the Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee, said: "From the shtetl to skyscrapers, the white pop-up scenes against a background of deep rainbow colors illuminate Jewish life for the eight nights of Chanukah. Together, children and adults will marvel at the stunning scenes that magically unfold with each turn of the page." 

For Older Readers

The gold medal in the Sydney Taylor Book Award's Older Readers Category will be presented to Susan Goldman Rubin for Music Was It: Young Leonard Bernstein, published by Charlesbridge Publishing. This biography shares the inspiring story of the young musician and his commitment to succeed in spite of his family's opposition. Through hard work, determination and a spirit that won't quit, Bernstein's dream is realized as he takes the stage as a conductor at Carnegie Hall. Numerous photos help bring Bernstein's journey to life. Committee member Barbara Krasner commented: "Music Was It shows the struggle between the old and new worlds - the immigrant generation and the American generation. Susan Goldman Rubin's well-researched and polished narrative was filled with tension that today's kids can relate to."

In 2000, Goldman Rubin received the Sydney Taylor Honor Award for Fireflies in the Dark: The Story of Friedl Dicker-Brandeis. Her book, The Cat with the Yellow Star: Coming of Age in Terezin, was a 2006 Sydney Taylor Honor Book.

For Teen Readers

Robert Sharenow will receive the 2012 gold medal in the Sydney Taylor Book Award's Teen Readers Category for The Berlin Boxing Club, published by HarperTeen, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishing. This historical novel reveals the history of Nazi Germany through the eyes of Karl Stern, a typical 14-year-old German boy. Karl never gave much thought to being Jewish and had little connection with any religious life. When classmates bully Karl, he is forced to face the dangers in his own community. Given the opportunity to learn boxing from German champion Max Schmeling, Karl jumps at the chance. He grows strong and learns to defend himself. But as the Nazis gain power and his family is in peril, Karl questions who he can trust. Aimee Lurie, incoming Chair of the Award Committee noted: "The superb writing, meticulous research, and dramatic look into the world of boxing pack a punch that will leave teens mesmerized! Readers will be captivated and inspired by Karl's transformation from being the victim of anti-semitic violence to a strong, confident young man who is able to protect his family."

Honor Books & Notable Books

Eight Sydney Taylor Honor Books were named for 2012.

Naamah and the Ark at Night by Susan Campbell Bartoletti with illustrations by Holly Meade (Candlewick Press) and Around the World in One Shabbat written and illustrated by Durga Yael Bernhard (Jewish Lights Publishing) are recognized in the Younger Readers Category.

Sydney Taylor Honor Books for Older Readers include: Lily Renee, Escape Artist: from Holocaust Survivor to Comic Book Pioneer by Trina Robbins with illustrations by Anne Timmons and Mo Oh (Graphic Universe, an imprint of Lerner Publishing Group, Inc.), Hammerin' Hank Greenberg: Baseball Pioneer by Shelley Sommer (Calkins Creek, an imprint Boyds Mills Press), and Irena's Jars of Secrets by Marcia Vaughan with illustrations by Ron Mazellan (Lee & Low Books).

For teen readers, the Honor Books are Then by Morris Gleitzman (Henry Holt and Company) and The Blood Lie by Shirley Reva Vernick (Cinco Puntos Press).

In addition to the medal-winners, the Award Committee designated eighteen Notable Books of Jewish Content for 2012. Notable titles, and more information about the Sydney Taylor Book Award, may be found online at

Volume 16, Issue 1 The Looking Glass, January/February, 2012

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