This year marks the fifth time the Sydney Taylor Book Awards have been presented at the Youth Media Awards, giving books with Jewish content a broader spotlight.
The long-awaited world of children’s literature With Monday’s announcement of the 2023 Caldecott, Newbery and Printz awards, there are more at the Youth Media Awards than the Big Three. Among other awards of the day, the Sydney Taylor Book Award marks his fifth year. The awards ceremony has become a “game-changer” platform for awards honoring “outstanding books for children and teens that faithfully portray the Jewish experience.”
Susan Cousel, who chaired the Awards Committee in 2019 when the Taylor family first joined the lineup for the ceremony, said:. “People know who we are, but they didn’t before. They take us seriously.”
The Sydney Taylor Book Awards are organized by the Jewish Library Association and named after the author of the “All-of-a-Kind Family” series. It was funded by his daughter, Joe Taylor Marshall. Awards will be given in the Picture Book, Intermediate, and Young Adult categories. Creators do not have to be Jewish to earn the honor, but their books must accurately portray the Jewish experience. was a silver medalist. A Poem for Peter: The Story of Ezra Jack Keats and the Creation of Snow Day.
The award has been around since 1968, but its inclusion in the YMA ceremony “changed everything,” says Kusel, who won last year’s picture book category. Passover guestWhen her book was announced as the winner at last year’s virtual ceremony, she immediately started getting congratulatory messages.
“What I couldn’t believe was that it wasn’t just Jews and my friends,” she says. “It was a famous illustrator. It was an editor. It was a sales rep. The industry blessed me.”
Honoring Jewish books, along with other books from marginalized communities, has received awards such as the Asia/Pacific American Award, the American Indian Youth Award, the Stonewall Book Award, and the Coretta Scott King Award. feel particularly important in the context of censorship and rising hate crimes. Country.
“In this atmosphere, it is more important than ever to ensure that all minority groups are supported, validated, noticed and celebrated,” said former president of the Jewish Library Association. , The Book of Life: A podcast about Jewish Kidlits (mainly). “Partly because I want as many readers as possible to understand how normal we are, that we have nothing to fear, almost nothing. [as] A kind of protest—when people try to suppress you, a good way to resist it is to stand up and be proud of your identity that they are slandering. I think books are very important. And Jewish books are diverse books. ”
[READ: Authors Explore Jewish Identity]
new story is published It demonstrates the diversity of life within the Jewish community, and their stories are shared in previously untapped genres such as fantasy.
Rabinowitz says: “It’s really diverse within Judaism, a very wide range of Jews of color, Jews of different backgrounds, Mizrahi Jews, Sephardi Jews, neurodiverse Jews, queer Jews. It shows diversity and intersectionality.”
Books with Jewish content are published each year, and the inclusion of this award in the YMA is undeniable, not only to inspire writers and illustrators to tell these stories, but also to encourage the industry to It helps you get to know your audience.
“I feel like an editor or an agent [are] They’re looking at it right before Newbury, so they’re more likely to take their chances,” says Cousel.
In addition to being an author, Kusel works as a synagogue librarian for a collection that holds only Jewish books. Focusing on this category makes her keenly aware of the lack of titles with Jewish content and the accelerating “glacially slow” pace of publication. It seems that there were about 200 books this year. It may be progressing more slowly than Kusel would like, but her book count is growing every year. Rabinowitz calls it the “Golden Age of Jewish Publishing”.
“It just keeps getting better,” she says. “Every year we get more and more books.”
And on Monday, the publishing world celebrates the best of the best remaining books in children’s literature.