Tuesday, May 20, 2008

See You at Book Expo!

I will be attending Book Expo America 2008 in Los Angeles, to promote the Sydney Taylor Book Award and to record material for my podcast, The Book of Life.

I will be wandering the exhibit hall, giving Sydney Taylor Book Award media kits to publishers and inquiring about potentially eligible new books. If you are a publisher, librarian, bookseller, blogger, author, or anyone with an interest in Judaic literature for kids and teens, I would be glad to meet up with you to share info about the award, and to give you a shiny gold Sydney Taylor Book Award lapel pin!

If YOU will be at Book Expo, drop me a line at bookoflifepodcast@gmail.com!

Click the play button to hear about Heidi's plans for Book Expo:

Thursday, May 15, 2008

40th Anniversary of the Sydney Taylor Book Award

A press release from the Association of Jewish Libraries:

Association of Jewish Libraries Post-Conference Brings Speakers, Authors

A Jewish Literary Milestone

Cleveland, OH - May 2008 - The Sydney Taylor Book Award, established in 1968 by the Association of Jewish Libraries (AJL), commemorates its fortieth anniversary this year. Authors, publishers, and librarians will gather to celebrate Taylor's legacy during the Association's annual convention in Cleveland, Ohio.

Named in memory of Sydney Taylor, author of the classic All-of-a-Kind Family series, the Sydney Taylor Book Award recognizes the best in Judaic literature for children and teens. Medals are awarded annually for outstanding books that authentically portray the Jewish experience.

Celebration Planned

The celebration will kick off on the evening of Tuesday, June 24 with the presentation of the 2008 Sydney Taylor Book Awards during the convention's annual banquet. Winners Sonia Levitin (Strange Relations), Sid Fleischman (The Entertainer and the Dybbuk), and Sarah Gershman and Kristina Swarner (The Bedtime Sh'ma) will be honored at the banquet. Honor Award winners will also be recognized. A full-day program on Wednesday, June 25 includes panels on the history of Jewish children's literature, teen fiction, picture books, illustrated non-fiction, trends in publishing, and a keynote address by Sid Fleischman. A book signing and dessert reception will conclude the festivities.

More Info Available

Organizer Rachel Kamin says "Sydney Taylor's All-of-a-Kind Family books changed the way American readers viewed Jewish literature. Readers of all backgrounds embraced these characters, and continue to connect with the Jewish characters in our award-winning books. It's so exciting to have reached the forty year milestone, and we look forward to another forty years of top quality Jewish literature!"

Click here for a full-color PDF listing of the 2008 Sydney Taylor Book Award winners. Additional information about the award and the celebration may be found at www.jewishlibraries.org, or contact Rachel Kamin at rachel@sydneytaylorbookaward.org.

Authors who will be at the celebration include:

Deborah DaCosta
Sid Fleischman
Evelyn Freeman
Sarah Gershman
Deborah Heiligman
Sarah Lamstein
Sonia Levitin
Carol Matas
Christos Nicola
Hara Person
Margo Rabb
Dina Rosenfeld
William Rubin
Linda Silver
Rita Soltan
Kristina Swarner
Jane Breskin Zalben

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Those Shiny Gold and Silver Stickers

At the synagogue preschool where I serve as librarian, we have a special springtime tradition. Each year, we give all graduating Pre-K children the gift of a hardcover Jewish book. The idea is to jump-start or add to their own personal Jewish home libraries with high-quality titles. We also hope the gift will encourage them to continue their Jewish involvement beyond preschool.

This year we'll be giving the children their own copies of The Bedtime Sh'ma by Sarah Gershman, the 2008 Sydney Taylor Book Award winner. We don't always choose the Sydney Taylor winner as our gift book - some years the winner isn't the right reading level for Pre-K kids. For instance, last year's Sydney Taylor winner in the Younger Readers Category was Hanukkah at Valley Forge by Stephen Krensky, too long and complex for Pre-K. Instead, we gave our kids Much, Much Better by Chaim Kosofsky, which had been a 2007 AJL Notable Book.

I ordered plenty of copies of The Bedtime Sh'ma, and when I opened the boxes I was so very, very pleased to see that the Sydney Taylor Book Award gold seals were already on the covers! Thanks, EKS Publishing! This may not sound like a big deal, but you would be surprised at how few publishers add book award seals to their books. It's a task that must be done by hand, and publishers sometimes have to pay a service to add the seals for them. I've even heard of publishers creating policies that restrict their use of seals to the best-known ALA awards (Caldecott, Newbery, etc.), just to simplify their lives and keep expenses down!

Of course, the publishing house is not the only place where books can receive the seals that are their due. The Association of Jewish Libraries sells Sydney Taylor Book Award seals so that librarians, booksellers, or other individuals can add them to the books at any time.

AJL also offers digital images of the gold and silver Sydney Taylor medals, so that publishers can simply add an image of the seal to the cover of a winner that is being reprinted. For example, here's the paperback edition of Real Time by Pnina Moed Kass, the 2005 winner in the Older Readers Category, with the seal imprinted right on it. This is an easy and cheap way to give winning books the credit they deserve!

If you need images of the gold or silver seals, here they are! Publishers, please use them on your books or your publicity materials. Anyone is welcome to use them on websites or blogs, booklists, posters, flyers... anything that helps spread the word about these terrific books! These are JPG's, but there are TIFF's available too at the AJL website.

Thanks again to EKS for taking the initiative to put medals onto their books! I can't wait to give them to the kids!