(JTA) — A moving picture book about Holocaust survivors and two fantasy works featuring Dybbuk and Jewish demons won this year’s award for best Jewish children’s literature.
of Sydney Taylor Book Awards As part of the American Library Association’s Youth Media Awards, and jointly with the Jewish Library Association, it is awarded annually to outstanding works of Jewish literature for children.
This year’s top prize in the picture book category was Chana Stiefel’s Tower of Life: How Jaffa Eliak Rebuilt the City Through Story and Photography, illustrated by Susan Gull. Mari Lowe’s ‘Aviva vs. the Dybbuk’ won the middle school level. And Sasha Lam’s debut novel, When Angels Left the Old Nation, won the Young Adult Award.
Named in honor of Sidney Taylor, author of the forthcoming television adaptation of the All-of-a-Kind-Family series, this prestigious award is intended to “represent the Jewish experience faithfully. , which honors books that demonstrate high literary standards, according to an award committee announcement.
Martha Simpson, who has chaired the Sydney Taylor Prize Committee for the past three years, sees a growing diversity of Jewish children’s books. This year, they’re considering a series of new titles depicting Jewish life around the world, including one featuring a neurodiverse character and her LGBTQ children, and another set in the Orthodox community. have considered, she wrote in her email.
“There are many ways to live a Jewish life,” Simpson said. “It’s great that these stories are finally written and published so that readers can see themselves and learn about other experiences as well.”
The top picture book tells the story of Jaffa Eliach, who survived the Holocaust and survived with his family in hiding. She was exiled from her hometown of Ayszshok in Sztetl, Poland (now Lithuania). She is a Jewish villager.
After immigrating to the United States and becoming a historian, Eliach traveled the world searching for thousands of photographs and memories of Eishyshok Jewish families. Her ambitious project is now the centerpiece of a central exhibit at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC. She passed away in 2016.
A former winner of Sidney Taylor and a past winner of the National Jewish Book Award, Gal brings Eliac’s story to life through richly colored illustrations interspersed with Eliac’s photographs.
Lowe’s Aviva vs. the Dybbuk, a suspenseful coming-of-age novel about an introspective 11-year-old girl, opens a window into the daily life of New York’s tight-knit Orthodox Jewish community. After the traumatic and accidental death of her father, Aviva and her increasingly withdrawn mother live in a small apartment above the old Mikveh, a ceremonial bathing complex where Aviva’s mother is the caretaker. I’m moving. The supernatural and trouble-making Dybbuk, whom only Aviva can see, becomes Aviva’s best friend. The story of resilience deals with grief, memory, the ups and downs of teenage friendships, anti-Semitic violence, and the healing power of love and community.
A demon named Little Ash and an angel named Uriel are otherworldly characters who are compelling at center stage in Ram’s lyrically written historical fantasy, When the Angels Left the Old Land. . As the page-turning drama unfolds, an unlikely pair of centuries-old Talmudic research partners with human-like appearances depart from their small hamlet of Peilhi stetl, Head to New York City to find a village. Baker’s missing daughter.
On their journey, they confront the dangers faced by Jewish immigrants — deceitful rabbis, investigations of Ellis Island officials, exploitative sweatshop bosses, the push and pull of Jewish assimilation. . Her 2018 Lambda Literary Fellow in Young Adult Fiction, Lam writes emotionally witty stories steeped in Jewish culture that explore the bonds of gender, her identity and friendship.
“Angels” won two other ALA awards, including the Stonewall Book Award for LGBTQ Work for Young Readers.
In addition to the top winners, the Sydney Taylor Commission named nine books silver medalists and nine notable Jewish content titles. Winners will be honored at AJL’s digital conference in June. https://jewishlibraries.org/2023-digital-conference.
Other books with Jewish characters and themes have also won several ALA Awards, including Isaac Bloom’s The Life and Crime of Hoodie Rosen, which won the Young Adult Debut Award for William C. Morris. Leah Levy’s Just a Girl: The True Story of World War II, illustrated by Jeff Mason, Batchelder Award-winning, edited for young readers and translated from the original in Italian.
Jewish children’s books Recently recognized by the Jewish Book Council’s National Jewish Book Award it was “The Very Best Sukkah: A Story from Uganda” by Shoshana NambiStacey Nokowitz’s intermediate novel The Prince of Steel Piers, illustrated by Moran Yogef.
Last week, the Jewish Library Association announced that Omer Friedlander won the organization’s fiction award A collection of short stories set in Israel, The Man Who Sold Air in the Holy Land.