Sunday, January 18, 2009

Blog Tour Begins: Hesse & Siegal

The Sydney Taylor Blog Tour got off to a good start today with interviews on the winners in the award's Older Readers Category: Karen Hesse and Aranka Siegal.

Brooklyn Bridge is the Sydney Taylor Book Award gold medalist in the Older Readers Category. Read an interview with author Karen Hesse at Jewish Books for Children with blogger Barbara Bietz.

Here's a sampling of the interview:

BARBARA: In Brooklyn Bridge you tell the story of Joe Michtom and his parents who created the Teddy Bear. What about their story inspired you?

KAREN: I’m always interested in exploring stories with Jewish themes. So when I came across the teddy bear entry in Bill Slaven’s book I was taken not only with the step-by-step description of the construction of a teddy bear (I really am fascinated by how things work, how things are made, etc), but with the back story, the story about how this beloved toy came into creation as a result of the inspired vision of an immigrant Jewish couple struggling to make a living in America. There are millions of immigrant stories and each one is a testament to individual courage and hope. I’m so fortunate that twice now immigrant stories have come to me at a time and in a way that I was able to receive them and make literature out of them.


Memories of Babi is the Sydney Taylor Honor Book silver medalist in the Older Readers Category. Read an interview with author Aranka Siegal at The Book of Life with blogger/podcaster Heidi Estrin.

Here's a sampling of the interview:

HEIDI: It's remarkable how clearly you are able to recall Babi and your childhood. Why do you think these early memories live on so strongly for you?

ARANKA: All through my internment in concentration camps I held on to my memories. These were my only identity left after all other recognition was stripped away. I would revisit Babi, listen to her voice and remember her teaching me the laws she had lived by and the things we did together. I would go over them often until, in my moments of fantasy I was back in the countryside of Komyat and be myself, instead of the skeletal figure with head shaved in a dirty, shapeless gray sack, wooden shoes, starving with hunger pains in Auschwitz, a place devoid of nature, surrounded by death.


Tune in tomorrow for interviews with Richard Michelson (author of As Good As Anybody; A is for Abraham) at The Well-Read Child, and Ron Mazellan (illustrator of A is for Abraham) at Tales from the Rushmore Kid.

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