Friday, June 20, 2008

Sydney Taylor Manuscript Award Announced

The Sydney Taylor Book Award has a sister award, the Sydney Taylor Manuscript Award, which recognizes the best manuscript by an unpublished author for Judaic children's literature. The Manuscript Award was established by Sydney's husband, Ralph Taylor, because Sydney's own All-of-a-Kind Family series first came to light as the winner of a manuscript contest. Ralph knew how important it was to encourage writers, and that is what the Manuscript Award does. Several past winners of the Sydney Taylor Manuscript Award have gone on to be published, and some have even received further awards; think of Julia's Kitchen by Brenda Ferber, Night of the Burning by Linda Press Wulf, or A Pickpocket's Tale by Karen Schwabach.

Here is the press release announcing the most recent winner of the Sydney Taylor Manuscript Award!

2008 Sydney Taylor Book Award Announced

An Unpublished Gem
Margaret Chaiken has won the 2008 Sydney Taylor Manuscript Award from the Association of Jewish Libraries for her unpublished novel Stealing the Show. The award is presented annually for the best unpublished manuscript of Jewish content written for children 8-11 years old. The winner receives a cash award of $1000.

This year's winner, Stealing the Show, is a historical novel. Ten-year-old Ana, upset that she cannot attend a soccer award dinner that falls on the evening of the first Passover seder, is transported back to 16th century Antwerp and a family of conversos. Through her experience of literally walking in someone else's shoes, Ana learns to appreciate Judaism and understand the importance of one's convictions. A meeting with historical figure of Dona Gracia Nasi and the perils of the Inquisition bring excitement to the story.

Chaikin was inspired to write her novel while teaching fourth grade at Park East Day School in New York. She wanted to convey the story of Dona Gracia Nasi's exciting life to her students, but found nothing suitable.

She decided to write her own book, using historical fiction as her vehicle. Aileen Grossberg, chair of the Sydney Taylor Manuscript Award Committee, says "The time travel that forms the framework of the novel will immediately draw the reader into the story, and the tense situations that the characters face will make the reader want to find out what happens. The Committee was overjoyed to find such a wonderful historical story brought to light for modern readers!"

More Info Available
The Sydney Taylor Manuscript Award will be presented at the annual convention of the Association of Jewish Libraries this June in Cleveland, Ohio. Submissions for next year's Manuscript Award are being accepted through December 15, 2008; more information is available at

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