Thursday, February 26, 2009

Sonia Levitin's Return

Sonia Levitin, author of over 40 books for children and teens, has turned her Sydney Taylor Book Award-winning 1987 novel The Return into a a musical stage play. RETURN chronicles an Ethiopian Jewish girl's walk to freedom in Israel via Operation Moses. In this interview from The Book of Life podcast, Sonia describes the metamorphosis from book to play.

Press PLAY

P.S. Sonia Levitin also received the Sydney Taylor Book Award for Strange Relations in 2008, and two Sydney Taylor Honor Awards, for The Singing Mountain in 1998 and for Silver Days in 1989.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Interview with Esther Takac

Barbara Bietz, author, blogger, and member of the Sydney Taylor Book Award committee, has interviewed Esther Takac. Esther the National Jewish Book Award and Sydney Taylor Notable status for her book Genesis -- The Book with Seventy Faces.

Esther is an Australian children's author and psychologist living in Melbourne. Her story Loni and the Moon (Lothian, 2003) was placed on the Victorian Premier's Reading List.

Here's an excerpt from Barbara's interview with Esther:

BARBARA: What was the most interesting part of the process of writing the book?

ESTHER: The process of writing the book was a fascinating one. It was my pleasure and privilege to spend many hours reading the works of our traditional and contemporary scholars, many of whose insights on Genesis, and life in general, I found to be full of wisdom, moving and inspiring. It was also very interesting to think about ways of conveying these different approaches, the concept of multiple meanings or seventy faces, to the reader, in ways that invite the reader to actively engage and struggle with the issues raised.
Click here to read the entire interview!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Black History Month, Jewish Style

Richard Michelson, author of 2009 Sydney Taylor Book Award winner (Younger Readers Category) As Good As Anybody, speaks about his work on The Book of Life podcast. In the same interview, graphologist Arlyn Imberman analyzes Richard's handwriting, along with King's and Heschel's.

Press PLAY

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Great Minds Think Alike

The Jewish Book Council has announced its new crop of National Jewish Book Award winners and finalists, and it looks like they're in agreement with the Sydney Taylor Book Award committee about some of the year's top books. Take a look at our shared opinions below!

The Mysterious Guests: A Sukkot Story by Eric Kimmel, illustrated by Katya Krenina
  • Sydney Taylor Notable Book, Younger Readers Category
  • National Jewish Book Award Winner, Illustrated Children's Books Category

As Good As Anybody: Martin Luther King Jr and Abraham Joshua Heschel's Amazing March Toward Freedom by Richard Michelson, illustrated by Raul Colon
  • Sydney Taylor Book Award Winner, Younger Readers Category
  • National Jewish Book Award Finalist, Illustrated Children's Books Category

Hanukkah Haiku by Harriet Ziefert, illustrated by Karla Gudeon
  • Sydney Taylor Notable Book, Younger Readers Category
  • National Jewish Book Award Finalist, Illustrated Children's Books Category

Memories of Babi by Aranka Siegal
  • Sydney Taylor Honor Book, Older Readers Category
  • National Jewish Book Award Finalist, Childrens & Young Adult Literature

Genesis: The Book with Seventy Faces, A Guide for the Family by Esther Takac, illustrated by Anna Pignataro
  • Sydney Taylor Notable Book, All Ages
  • National Jewish Book Award Winner, Jewish Family Literature, in Memory of Dorothy Kripke