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1. The Jewish Book Carnival: April 2016


The Jewish Book Carnival is a monthly roundup of Jewish literary links from across the blogosphere. Each month, a different blog hosts the Carnival, and any blogger is welcome to participate by submitting links from their own blog to that month's host.

This month, I am pleased to host the Jewish Book Carnival here at The Book of Life. In May, the Carnival will be hosted by Jennifer Tzivia MacLeod on her blog, Adventures in MamaLand. We've got a great line-up of blogs for the upcoming months, but are still seeking hosts for September through November, 2016. See the Jewish Book Carnival HQ to learn how the whole thing works, and let us know if you want to participate!

And now, this month's links...

Batya Medad at A Jewish Grandmother says "Wonderful book!! Total inspiration!!" about Miriam's Song: The Story of Miriam Peretz by Smadar Shir.

In March, Jill at Rhapsody in Books reviewed Anna and the Swallow Man by Gavriel Savit, which she rated as superlative. It is a stunning story set during the Holocaust, but without explicitness; rather, metaphor and allusion convey much of the story.

Deborah Kalb interviews a wide variety of authors on her blog, Book Q&As with Deborah Kalb. She recently interviewed Rochelle Wisoff-Fields about her historical novels Please Say Kaddish for Me and From Silt and Ashes, which focus on members of a Jewish family who escape the pogroms of Eastern Europe and make their way to Kansas City.

Have you been wondering what author Maggie Anton has been up to? The Fig Tree Books blog has that covered.

From My Machberet: Having recently re-read Julie Orringer's The Invisible Bridge, Erika Dreifus pauses over one critic's especially insightful take on the book, and on literature written by grandchildren of Holocaust survivors more broadly.

In God and Politics in Esther: A political parable for our time, Yoram Hazony draws political lesson from the Book of Esther, some of which are harrowingly relevant to the increasingly polarized American political landscape, and to other nations facing the politics of pessimism.

Lorri M. Writings reviews The Coffee Trader by David Liss.

Over on the Jewish Book Review, Rivka Levy gets to grip with a new book on the history and holiness of Hebrew, called Lashon HaKodesh: History, Holiness, and Hebrew.

The 2017 Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee is accepting submissions of Jewish kidlit published during 2016. Read about it on the Association of Jewish Libraries blog, People of the Books.

And in our Passover section, author April Halprin Wayland is getting a lot of attention!

April Halprin Wayland at Teaching Authors shares behind the scenes stories of the creation of her new picture book, More Than Enough: A Passover Story.

At YA & Kids Books Central, Jill Ratzan highlights (chai lights) recent Passover picture books (including More Than Enough by April Halprin Wayland).

Jama Rattigan interviews April about More Than Enough at her blog, Jama's Alphabet Soup: An Eclectic Feast of Food, Fiction, Folderol and Chewy Culinary Verse.

Barbara Krasner at The Whole Megillah | The Writer's Resource for Jewish Story interviews April Halprin Wayland about her newest picture book, More Than Enough, a Passover Story.

On the Multicultural Kid Blogs site, I (Heidi Estrin) posted a roundup of Passover Books for Kids. The site is "For families and educators raising world citizens, through arts, activities, crafts, food, language, and love." The roundup happens to include More Than Enough.

And finally, on this blog, The Book of Life, I recorded a podcast interview with April about More Than Enough and about mindfulness and gratitude. April played Dayenu on the fiddle and I sang along!


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2. More Than Enough


April Halprin Wayland's new picture book is More Than Enough: A Passover Story. April won the 2010 Sydney Taylor Book Award for New Year at the Pier: A Rosh Hashanah Story. Here is my 2009 interview with her about New Year at the Pier.

Our wide-ranging conversation touched upon so many interesting resources that I've compiled a list of links for you here. You'll understand after you listen to the podcast!



AUDIO:


Or click Mp3 File (40:12)


VIDEO:

The Yiddish Swing Sextet peform Dayenu, just because it amuses me.


CREDITS:

Produced by: Feldman Children's Library at Congregation B'nai Israel 
Supported in part by: Association of Jewish Libraries  
Theme music: The Freilachmakers Klezmer String Band  
Facebook: facebook.com/bookoflifepodcast  
Twitter: @bookoflifepod 
 
Support The Book of Life by becoming a patron at Patreon.com/bookoflife!
 
Your feedback is appreciated! Please write to bookoflifepodcast@gmail.com or call our voicemail number at 561-206-2473.




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3. Passover Books for Kids


I wrote an article for Multicultural Kid Blogs about Passover books for kids, and you can read it here.

I recommended books about different aspects of Passover: the Exodus, the seder, matzah, music, history, and nonfiction. I hope by sharing this info on a multicultural page, it will reach non-Jewish readers as well as those already familiar with the holiday.

The post is part of a Passover "Blog Hop" so check out the other participating blogs too. You can also add your own Passover posts using the Add Your Link button at the bottom of the article.


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4. The Yiddish Fish

The Yiddish Fish is a quirky picture book by author/illustrator Santiago Cohen, based on a true story from the New York Times, "Miracle? Dream? Prank? Fish Talks, Town Buzzes."

AUDIO:


Or click Mp3 File (10:09)


VIDEO:


The entire story, read by the author.

 
CREDITS:

Produced by: Feldman Children's Library at Congregation B'nai Israel 
Supported in part by: Association of Jewish Libraries  
Theme music: The Freilachmakers Klezmer String Band  
Facebook: facebook.com/bookoflifepodcast  
Twitter: @bookoflifepod 
 
Support The Book of Life by becoming a patron at Patreon.com/bookoflife!
 
Your feedback is appreciated! Please write to bookoflifepodcast@gmail.com or call our voicemail number at 561-206-2473.




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5. #STBAblogtour16 DAY FIVE


 The "grand finale" of the 2016 Sydney Taylor Book Award Blog Tour is a virtual panel discussion amongst the various winning authors and illustrators. As always, this roundup is hosted by Barbara Krasner at The Whole Megillah.


The participants made comments about the experience like "Always inspiring to be included in a group of such accomplished, thoughtful authors and illustrators!" (Leslie Kimmelman), "It's wonderful to read all the blogs!" (Kathy Kacer), and "It has been an honor and a privilege getting to know all of you. See you in Charleston!" (Heidi Smith Hyde). We hope to see you as well, dear reader, in Charleston at the 51st Annual Association of Jewish Libraries conference where the Sydney Taylor winners will receive their awards!

The entire blog tour may be found here.


 

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6. #STBAblogtour16 DAY FOUR

A little catch-up today with the Shanghai Sukkah interviews, and two new Blog Tour stops: Everybody Says Shalom and Stones on a Grave.

Be sure to check out yesterday's interview on The Hired Girl, and get the rest of the blog tour schedule here.

Catching up from WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 10, 2016
 
Shanghai Sukkah by Heidi Smith Hyde, illustrated by Jing Jing Tsong
Sydney Taylor Honor Award winner in the Younger Readers Category
At Kristi's Book Nook
Author & Illustrator Interviews  


THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 11, 2016
 
 
Everybody Says Shalom by Leslie Kimmelman, illustrated by Talitha Shipman
Sydney Taylor Honor Award winner in the Younger Readers Category
At Book Q&A's with Deborah Kalb
Author Interview

   
Stones on a Grave by Kathy Kacer
Sydney Taylor Honor Award winner in the Teen Readers Category
At Randomly Reading
Author Interview and Book review


 

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7. #STBAblogtour16 DAY THREE

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 10, 2016




The Hired Girl by Laura Amy Schlitz
Sydney Taylor Book Award winner in the Teen Readers Category
At The Prosen People
Author interview

We're not sure what happened to the the interview on Shanghai Sukkah that was supposed to appear at Kristi's Book Nook today - we hope Kristi is okay and we'll bring you the interview ASAP. In the meantime, here is the Jewish Book Council's interview on The Hired Girl!

Be sure to check out yesterday's interviews on Adam and Thomas and Hereville, and get the rest of the blog tour schedule here.


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8. #STBAblogtour16 DAY TWO

Two more stops on the Sydney Taylor Book Award Blog Tour today, another gold medalist and another silver. Be sure to check out yesterday's interviews on Ketzel, the Cat Who Composed and Serendipity's Footsteps, and get the rest of the blog tour schedule here.  

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 9, 2016  


Adam & Thomas by Aharon Appelfeld, translated by Jeffrey M. Green, illustrated by Philippe Dumas
Sydney Taylor Book Award winner in the Older Readers Category
At Jewish Books for Kids with Barbara Bietz
Translator Interview
   
Hereville by Barry Deutsch
Sydney Taylor Honor Award winner in the Older Readers Category
At Jewish Comics
Author-illustrator interview
 

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9. #STBAblogtour16 DAY ONE

Today kicks off the 2016 Sydney Taylor Book Award Blog Tour, a virtual book tour for authors and illustrators of this year's gold and silver medalists. Check back each day for new interviews, or wait until the end and read all the interviews at once! Find the entire blog tour schedule here.

MONDAY, FEBRUARY 8, 2016



Ketzel the Cat Who Composed by Lesléa Newman, illustrated by Amy June Bates
Sydney Taylor Book Award winner in the Younger Readers Category
At Ann Koffsky's Blog

Author Interview
Illustrator Interview



Serendipity's Footsteps by Suzanne Nelson
Sydney Taylor Honor Award winner in the Teen Readers Category
At Bildungsroman
Author Interview


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10. Hare and Tortoise Race Across Israel #ReadYourWorld


Today, January 27, 2016, is Multicultural Children's Book Day, a celebration of diversity in kidlit. Check out multiculturalchildrensbookday.com to find diversity booklists for kids and a Linky where you can suggest resources yourself (perhaps Jewish resources). And be sure to Google #ReadYourWorld to find links to multicultural children's book reviews and reading suggestions.

In the spirit of the Day's hashtag, #ReadYourWorld, I'm posting my interview with Laura Gehl about the picture book Hare and Tortoise Race Across Israel, a story that showcases the diversity of Israel's geography and people (including anthropomorphic animals among humans), and imagines a world in which friendliness prevails.

I met Laura at the 2015 Association of Jewish Libraries conference in Silver Spring, MD.


AUDIO:


Or click Mp3 File (15:46)


 
CREDITS:

Produced by: Feldman Children's Library at Congregation B'nai Israel 
Supported in part by: Association of Jewish Libraries  
Theme music: The Freilachmakers Klezmer String Band  
Facebook: facebook.com/bookoflifepodcast  
Twitter: @bookoflifepod 
 
Support The Book of Life by becoming a patron at Patreon.com/bookoflife!
 
Your feedback is appreciated! Please write to bookoflifepodcast@gmail.com or call our voicemail number at 561-206-2473.


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11. The 2016 Sydney Taylor Book Award Blog Tour

The Sydney Taylor Book Award will be celebrating and showcasing its 2016 gold and silver medalists with a Blog Tour, February 8-12, 2016! Interviews with winning authors and illustrators will appear on a wide variety of Jewish and kidlit blogs. For those of you who have not yet experienced a Blog Tour, it’s basically a virtual book tour. Instead of going to a library or bookstore to see an author or illustrator speak, you go to a website on or after the advertised date to read an author’s or illustrator’s interview.

Below is the schedule for the 2016 Sydney Taylor Book Award Blog Tour. Please follow the links to visit the hosting blogs on or after their tour dates, and be sure to leave them plenty of comments!

MONDAY, FEBRUARY 8, 2016

Ketzel the Cat by Lesléa Newman, illustrated by Amy June Bates
Sydney Taylor Book Award winner in the Younger Readers Category
At Ann Koffsky's Blog

Serendipity's Footsteps by Suzanne Nelson
Sydney Taylor Honor Award winner in the Teen Readers Category
At Bildungsroman

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 9, 2016

Adam & Thomas by Aharon Appelfeld, translated by Jeffrey M. Green, illustrated by Philippe Dumas
Sydney Taylor Book Award winner in the Older Readers Category
At Jewish Books for Kids with Barbara Bietz

Hereville by Barry Deutsch
Sydney Taylor Honor Award winner in the Older Readers Category
At Jewish Comics

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 10, 2016

The Hired Girl by Laura Amy Schlitz
Sydney Taylor Book Award winner in the Teen Readers Category
At The Prosen People

Shanghai Sukkah by Heidi Smith Hyde, illustrated by Jing Jing Tsong
Sydney Taylor Honor Award winner in the Younger Readers Category
At Kristi's Book Nook

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 11, 2016

Everybody Says Shalom by Leslie Kimmelman, illustrated by Talitha Shipman
Sydney Taylor Honor Award winner in the Younger Readers Category
At Book Q&A's with Deborah Kalb

Stones on a Grave by Kathy Kacer
Sydney Taylor Honor Award winner in the Teen Readers Category
At Randomly Reading

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 12, 2016

Blog Tour Wrap-Up with all authors and illustrators
At The Whole Megillah

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12. The 2016 Sydney Taylor Book Awards Are Announced!


Lesléa Newman and Amy June Bates, author and illustrator of Ketzel, the Cat who Composed, Aharon Appelfeld, Philippe Dumas and Jeffrey M. Green, author, illustrator and translator of Adam and Thomas, and Laura Amy Schlitz, author of The Hired Girl, are the 2016 winners of the Sydney Taylor Book Award.

The Sydney Taylor Book Award honors new books for children and teens that exemplify the highest literary standards while authentically portraying the Jewish experience.  The award memorializes Sydney Taylor, author of the classic All-of-a-Kind Family series.  The winners will receive their awards at the Association of Jewish Libraries Conference in Charleston, South Carolina this June.

Newman and Bates will receive the 2016 gold medal in the Sydney Taylor Book Award’s Younger Reader category for Ketzel, the Cat Who Composed, published by Candlewick Press.  This delightful picture book tells the true story of musician Morris Moshe Cotel, whose cat helped him compose a one-minute composition that received an honorable mention in the Paris New Music Review competition.  The illustrations are heartwarming and add much charm to the story.  Appelfeld, Dumas and Green will receive the 2016 gold medal in the Sydney Taylor Book Award’s Older Readers category for Adam and Thomas, published by Seven Stories Press.  This sweet story tells of two nine-year-old Jewish boys who survive the last winter of World War II, helping each other so that one grows physically stronger and braver and the other grows spiritually.  Laura Amy Schlitz will receive the 2016 gold medal in the Sydney Taylor Book Award’s Teen category for The Hired Girl, published by Candlewick Press. This sensitive story tells how fourteen-year-old Catholic Joan Skraggs becomes a hired girl to a Jewish family where she learns and grows in unexpected ways.

Five Sydney Taylor Honor Books were named for 2016.  For Younger Readers, the Honor Books are Everybody Says Shalom written by Leslie Kimmelman and illustrated by Talitha Shipman, published by Random House, and Shanghai Sukkah written by Heidi Smith Hyde and illustrated by Jing Jing Tsong, published by Kar-Ben Publishing.  Hereville:  How Mirka Caught a Fish by Barry Deutsch, published by Amulet Books, is the Honor book in the Older Reader category.  For Teen Readers, the Honor books are Serendipity’s Footsteps by Suzanne Nelson, published by Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, and Stones on a Grave by Kathy Kacer, published by Orca Book Publishers.

Winners and Honor recipients will be participating in a blog tour from February 7-12, 2016. For more information about the blog please visit www.jewishlibraries.org/blog.
In addition to the medal winners, the Award Committee designated twelve Notable Books of Jewish Content for 2016.  More information about the Sydney Taylor Book Award can be found at www.SydneyTaylorBookAward.org.

Click here for the full list of 2016 winners, honor books, and notable books.
 
For more information, contact:
Diane Rauchwerger, Chair
Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee
Association of Jewish Libraries
(408) 245-7641
chair@sydneytaylorbookaward.org

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13. My Grandfather's Coat

Barbara McClintock & Jim Aylesworth

My Grandfather's Coat won the 2015 Sydney Taylor Book Award gold medal in the Younger Readers' Category, and I was thrilled to meet author Jim Aylesworth and illustrator Barbara McClintock, along with their editor, my old friend Dianne Hess, at the Association of Jewish Libraries conference in Silver Spring, MD.

The conversation was like a meeting of the Mutual Appreciation Society, because these are three of the nicest people you'd ever want to meet. I'm sure you will enjoy hearing their stories on the creation of this book, which is a new version of the folktale represented by Joseph Had a Little Overcoat (Sydney Taylor silver medal, 1999) and Something From Nothing (Sydney Taylor gold medal, 1992).

Bonus Track: You'll also hear Jim Aylesworth's delightful conference session, in which he "walked the walk" by getting librarians to stand in for students in an interactive presentation.

The 2016 Sydney Taylor Book Awards will be announced this month - watch this space for details!

AUDIO:


Or click Mp3 File (41:21)

Barbara, Dianne, and Jim

CREDITS:

Produced by: Feldman Children's Library at Congregation B'nai Israel 
Supported in part by: Association of Jewish Libraries  
Theme music: The Freilachmakers Klezmer String Band  
Facebook: facebook.com/bookoflifepodcast  
Twitter: @bookoflifepod 
 
Support The Book of Life by becoming a patron at Patreon.com/bookoflife!
 
Your feedback is appreciated! Please write to bookoflifepodcast@gmail.com

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14. 10 Years of The Book of Life Podcast




Ten years ago on December 21, 2005, I posted the very first episode of The Book of Life. Fourteen and a quarter minutes long, the episode is a mix of home-grown Hanukkah celebrations at Congregation B'nai Israel, the Boca Raton synagogue where I am librarian, and interviews with authors. I had summoned up the courage to approach Eric Kimmel (aka "Mr. Hanukkah"), who I'd met at the 2005 Association of Jewish Libraries conference when he won the Sydney Taylor Body-of-Work Award, and I interviewed him over the phone (with an in-ear recorder!) about his classic Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins. I also called Rebecca Tova Ben-Zvi, who had been my colleague when I worked for the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh and had since authored Four Sides, Eight Nights: A New Spin on Hanukkah. Because it's been ten years and the downloads have had so long to accumulate, that episode has been downloaded 11,306 times and counting. You can still hear that very first episode here.

My original idea for the podcast was that it would showcase library materials to my own community and encourage folks to come in and borrow things they'd heard about on the show. I tried to interview CBI members and staff to create a sense of community. However, I soon found that most people clam up when you put a microphone in front of them! They get shy, they don't know what to say, and they find the whole experience scary. Authors, on the other hand, are thrilled to talk about their books! It's what they love, plus it's free publicity! So the podcast soon evolved to its current Fresh Air format where I interview authors, illustrators, filmmakers, musicians, and webmasters about their Jewish creations. Hey, if my friends don't wanna talk to me, that's fine, I'll go chat with the famous people!

The Book of Life has produced 152 podcast episodes out of the 272 Jewish news posts on the blog. A particularly memorable episode for me is my 2006 interview with Simms Taback, in which he sang in Yiddish for me. Simms was kind of rambly and he knew it, so when I edited him down to brevity he said "You saved my tuchus!" I answered, "Great! Will you draw me a picture?" And that's how I got this wonderful piece of original artwork! (Note that Simms didn't have an iPod himself, so he didn't realize the wires diverge at midpoint.)


Every now and then I try a new format, like the time I copied A Prairie Home Companion and read greetings from listeners (inviting people to "say chai" for the 18th episode), or when I did a live call-in show to discuss what makes a book Jewish. Another time I recorded a talk by Markus Zusak (The Book Thief) at Books & Books indie bookstore in Miami and he gave me permission to podcast the recording. A recent episode that created a lot of buzz was a virtual panel discussion (accomplished by conference call), discussing the theme  "Enough with the Holocaust Books for Children."

These days, it's easy to find interviewees: many creators email me to introduce their work in hopes of an interview. That's how I found forthcoming podcast subjects: The Last Shepherd (a crowdsourced Israeli sci-fi film) and The Yiddish Fish (a very weird picture book based on a true story). And of course the podcasts about Sydney Taylor Book Award winners just fall into my lap, because I meet those authors and illustrators each year at the Association of Jewish Libraries conference.

If you've been enjoying The Book of Life, please do let me know. It can be lonely, podcasting, because I'm doing all the talking and listeners don't often get in touch. Drop me a line at bookoflifepodcast@gmail.com or leave a comment here on the blog or on Facebook or Twitter to tell me your favorite episodes, make suggestions, or share my delight at reaching the ten year mark! Happy reading and happy podcast listening!

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15. The Mitten String

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This post is a double dip! It’s my contribution to the Multicultural Kid Blogs Hanukkah series (see the whole series here) AND it’s my entry in #Readukkah, the 2015 Jewish Reading Challenge, which encourages everyone to spread the word about great Jewish titles in order to increase readership and support Jewish publishing.

Last year I wrote a review of The Mitten String for School Library Journal, which you can see below. I continue to adore this book, and when I thought about what I could use for my #Readukkah selection, this title jumped to mind as an ongoing favorite. 


I love the sense of community that shines forth from the very first line: “It was said that Ruthie Tober’s family warmed the hands of the entire village, because everyone who lived there, big and small, wore mittens knitted from Tober wool.”

I love the spare writing that makes relationships clear so simply: the ease between Mother and Ruthie shows in the wink Mother gives when she reminds Ruthie about her lost mittens.

I love the respectful description of deafness, the fact that Bayla has knowledge to offer as well as a need for help, and the sign language diagrams at the back along with the notation that “Users of sign language actually prefer gloves to mittens, as they employ their fingers to spell words and to sign.” That seems obvious once you read it, but a hearing person may not think about this in a mitten-focused story.

I love, as always, the illustrations by Kristina Swarner. Although Kristina is not Jewish, I consider her a landsman. Her gorgeous work has graced incredible Jewish picture books, from the Sydney Taylor Book Award winner The Bedtime Shema by Sarah Gershman to the heartbreaking Zayde Comes to Live by Sheri Sinykin, a Sydney Taylor Silver.  Gathering Sparks by Howard Schwartz won a Sydney Taylor Silver and his Before You Were Born was named a Notable Book by the Association of Jewish Libraries, because Schwartz and Swarner are such a winning combination. Her work is universal and sweeping, while feeling tender and personal at the same time.

If you haven’t read The Mitten String, do yourself a favor and seek it out. Here’s my original review from SLJ. Happy #Readukkah!

From SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL, August 2014
K-Gr 3—The Tobers raise sheep, and young Ruthie loves to knit mittens from their wool for the villagers. When her family befriends a deaf woman whose wagon has broken down and her baby, the child observes how the mother, Bayla, sleeps with a string tied between her own wrist and Aaron's, to alert her if her son wakes up in the night. Inspired, Ruthie knits the pair a set of baby- and mother-sized mittens connected by a string and goes on to make more for the local children to keep them from losing their mittens. "You are both clever and kind," her mother praises. "You make our world a bit better with every stitch." The character of Bayla is based on the author's great-great-aunt; Rosner also has two deaf daughters. It is not surprising, therefore, that her portrayal of deafness is extremely respectful and sensitive. When Bayla uses sign language with Aaron, "To Ruthie, it looked as if Bayla were standing before an invisible spinning wheel, her words flowing from her fingers like delicate strands of yarn." Swarner's rounded and gentle watercolor prints add to the safe, warm feeling of this story of resourcefulness and mutual admiration. The "old country" Jewish setting is subtle, giving the story flavor without dominating it. Knitting and sign-language glossaries round out this attractive title. This beautiful story of kindness, acceptance, and resourcefulness will have wide appeal.—Heidi Estrin, Congregation B'nai Israel, Boca Raton, FL

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16. Hanukkah Books: A Diverse Dozen



I was very pleased when Multicultural Kid Blogs invited me to write a guest post about Hanukkah. MKB is a collective of blogs from around the world "for families and educators raising world citizens, through arts, activities, crafts, food, language, and love." 

Because the post was for a general audience, I started with a roundup of facts about Hanukkah. Because of the diversity emphasis of MKB, I focused my reading list on books that show the diversity of the Jewish experience by posting about Hanukkah books with Sephardic characters, Jews of color, Jews with disabilities, and interfaith families. 


Enjoy!

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17. Enough with the Holocaust Books for Children!


It all started with Marjorie Ingall’s Tablet article, Enough with the Holocaust Books for Children. As she says in the article, "if you dropped an alien into the children’s section of a library, it would think Jews disappeared after World War II.” Then Arthur A. Levine shared Marjorie’s article on Facebook, commenting that “this smart article says many things that I’ve been saying for a while.” Twenty comments later, Elissa Gershowitz and Yael Levy had thoroughly discussed the difficulties and triumphs of getting NON-Holocaust books for kids published, and Barbara Bietz and I (blogger and podcaster, respectively) had started wondering aloud how we could bring more attention to these issues. Thus, this podcast episode was born.

AUDIO:


Or click Mp3 File (63:19)



BOOK LIST of mostly non-Holocaust great Jewish kidlit
(titles mentioned during the podcast or submitted later by panelists)


I Lived on Butterfly Hill by Marjorie Agosin
An Unspeakable Crime: The Prosecution and Persecution of Leo Frank by Elaine Marie Alphin
My Grandfather’s Coat by Jim Aylesworth
Naamah and the Ark at Night by Susan Campbell Bartoletti
Becoming Darkness by Lindsay Francis Brambles
Samir and Yonaton by Daniella Carmi
Hush by Eishes Chayil
Deadly by Julie Chibarro
Hidden: A Child’s Story of the Holocaust by Loic Dauvillier and Greg Salsedo
Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword, How Mirka Met a Meteorite, How Mirka Caught a Fish by Barry Deutsch
The Whispering Town by Jennifer Elvgren
Tropical Secrets: Holocaust Refugees in Cuba by Margarita Engle
The Importance of Wings by Robin Friedman 
Emma’s Poem: The Voice of the Statue of Liberty by Linda Glaser
The Path of Names by Ari Goelman
The Brooklyn Nine by Alan Gratz
The Whole Story of Half a Girl by Veera Hiranandani
The Rabbi and the 29 Witches by Marilyn Hirsh
Feivel’s Flying Horses by Heidi Smith Hyde
Never Say a Mean Word Again by Jacqueline Jules
Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins by Eric A. Kimmel
Sam and Charlie (and Sam Too) by Leslie Kimmelman
About the B’nai Bagels by E.L. Konigsburg
Albert Einstein by Kathleen Krull
all books by Anna Levine
The Very Beary Tooth Fairy by Arthur A. Levine
Small Medium at Large by Joanne Levy
Lauren Yanofsky Hates the Holocaust by Leanne Lieberman
Proxy by Alex London
Brave Girl: Clara and the Shirtwaist Makers’ Strike of 1909 by Michelle Markel
Flesh and Blood So Cheap by Albert Marrin
The Cats in the Doll Shop by Yona Zeldis McDonough
The Doll Shop Upstairs by Yona Zeldis McDonough
Rabbi Benjamin’s Buttons by Alice B. McGinty
As Good as Anybody by Richard Michelson
Lipman Pike: America’s First Home Run King by Richard Michelson
Fancy Nancy by Jane O’Connor
Wonder by RJ Palacio
When Life Gives You OJ by Erica Perl
Rifka Takes a Bow by Betty Rosenberg Perlov
Beautiful Yetta, the Yiddish Chicken by Daniel Pinkwater
Hidden Like Anne Frank: 14 True Stories of Survival by Marcel Prins
Chik Chak Shabbat by Mara Rockliff
Fleabrain Loves Franny by Joanne Rocklin
Playing with Matches by Suri Rosen
Looking for Me by Betsy Rosenthal
The Mitten String by Jennifer Rosner
Gathering Sparks by Howard Schwartz
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
The Berlin Boxing Club by Robert Sharenow
Zayde Comes to Live by Sheri Sinykin
Any Which Wall by Laurel Snyder
Curveball: The Year I Lost My Grip by Jordan Sonnenblick
Shabanu: Daughter of the Wind and Haveli by Suzanne Fisher Staples
Kindred by Tammar Stein (series)
All of a Kind Family (series) by Sydney Taylor
New Year at the Pier by April Halprin Wayland
I Know An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Dreidel by Caryn Yacowitz
Company’s Coming by Arthur Yorinks
A Bottle in the Gaza Sea by Valerie Zenatti
 


CREDITS:

Produced by: Feldman Children's Library at Congregation B'nai Israel 
Supported in part by: Association of Jewish Libraries  
Theme music: The Freilachmakers Klezmer String Band  
Facebook: facebook.com/bookoflifepodcast  
Twitter: @bookoflifepod 
 
Support The Book of Life by becoming a patron at Patreon.com/bookoflife!
 
Your feedback is appreciated! Please write to bookoflifepodcast@gmail.com or call our voicemail number at 561-206-2473.


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18. Pick a Card, Any Card

Rabbi Goldie Milgrim with Mitzvah Cards


#Readukkah is coming, and this podcast begins with an invitation to join this fun Jewish reading challenge, before we hear a fascinating interview.

Rabbi Goldie Milgrim founded and directs the 501C3 Reclaiming Judaism and Reclaiming Judaism Press and is Dean of the Maggid-Educator Ordination Program and Bar/Bat Mitzvah [R]evolution at Bmitzvah.org.

I met her at the 2015 Association of Jewish Libraries conference, where she told me about Mitzvah Cards and other great books and projects of Reclaiming Judaism.


AUDIO:
 

Or click Mp3 File (14:05)
 
CREDITS:

Produced by: Feldman Children's Library at Congregation B'nai Israel 
Supported in part by: Association of Jewish Libraries  
Theme music: The Freilachmakers Klezmer String Band  
Facebook: facebook.com/bookoflifepodcast  
Twitter: @bookoflifepod 
 
Support The Book of Life by becoming a patron at Patreon.com/bookoflife!
 
Your feedback is appreciated! Please write to bookoflifepodcast@gmail.com or call our voicemail number at 561-206-2473.


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19. Eating Spiritually

I recently received two different books on similar themes of cooking and eating with Jewish spiritual mindfulness. While recording interviews with these two authors didn't fit into my plans, I did think you'd be interested in learning more about these titles.



SPIRITUAL KNEADING by Dahlia Abraham Klein

Dahlia says, "Long before I was conducting Rosh Chodesh groups in my home, I was introduced to challah baking by my friend, Brenda. She invited me to her home on a Thursday night to participate in a Segula Challah bake. It was my very first time baking challah. It was touching, I thought, that Brenda and I were part of the forty women from around the community, baking in our own homes — all connecting to a shared intention. There was something very holy and meditative about the whole process. In a sense, I felt like I was part of the pulse of the Jewish heartbeat.

The next day, I adorned my Shabbat table with these fresh, homemade challahs, covered with a very colorful African-inspired challah cover — an ode to my South African husband’s roots. My husband, Mervin, oohed and aahed with every bite. His appreciation, combined with the experience of the segulah challah bake, inspired me to begin trying to bake challah for Shabbat regularly.

At that time, I was also participating in a women’s meditation group, which is where I met a brilliant Torah scholar, Jocelyn. It was during one of our discussions that Jocelyn told me that gatherings of women were an inherent part of Judaism. She told me about Rosh Chodesh and how it was a woman’s holiday, and that was when my idea of creating a Rosh Chodesh Challah Baking group came to me. When I shared my idea with Jocelyn, she excitedly pointed me to numerous Torah references on challah. I discovered that there is even an entire tractate in the Mishna called Challah. Through serious study, I found ways to connect baking challah with a relevant theme of each Jewish month."



JEWISH SOUL FOOD by Carol Ungar

Carol says, "With so many who don't have Moms or bubbies to hand down recipes, I decided to fill in; my book is a surrogate bubbie. I'm a bubbie myself but I'm bubbieless--both my father's and mother's mothers were killed in Auschwitz. I organized Jewish Soul Food around Jewish time, Shabbat and the holidays and each recipe is accompanied by mini essay explaining it's meaning and/ or connection to the holidays.There are drawings with instructions and 26 specially shaped challahs you can bake all through the year."



Challah Shapes from Jewish Soul Food on PhotoPeach

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20. Do the Menschy Thing



Emmy-nominated filmmaker and founder of The Webby Awards Tiffany Shlain joins us to talk about Character Day, coming up on September 18, 2015. Her films at Let It Ripple are meant to spark conversations that bring about social change. This year on the second annual Character Day, she will reintroduce The Science of Character and debut two new films, The Adaptable Mind and The Making of a Mensch

Also, click here to hear Tiffany on The Book of Life in 2008 talking about her film The Tribe, which looks at Jewish life through the lens of the Barbie doll!

AUDIO:


Or click Mp3 File
(8:50)


VIDEOS:

CHARACTER DAY



THE SCIENCE OF CHARACTER



THE ADAPTABLE MIND & THE MAKING OF A MENSCH coming soon!

TECHNOLOGY SHABBAT


THE TRIBE


   
CREDITS:

Produced by: Feldman Children's Library at Congregation B'nai Israel 
Supported in part by: Association of Jewish Libraries  
Theme music: The Freilachmakers Klezmer String Band  
Facebook: facebook.com/bookoflifepodcast  
Twitter: @bookoflifepod 
 
Support The Book of Life by becoming a patron at Patreon.com/bookoflife!
 
Your feedback is appreciated! Please write to bookoflifepodcast@gmail.com or call our voicemail number at 561-206-2473.


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21. Enchantress


Maggie Anton visits Congregation B'nai Israel

I interviewed author  Maggie Anton about Apprentice, the first book in her Rav Hisda's Daughter series, back in October 2013 - you can listen to that podcast here. Here is my follow-up interview with her about the second book in the series, Enchantress, which continues Hisdadukh's story.

AUDIO: 


Or click Mp3 File(22:00)


 
CREDITS:

Produced by: Feldman Children's Library at Congregation B'nai Israel 
Supported in part by: Association of Jewish Libraries  
Theme music: The Freilachmakers Klezmer String Band  
Facebook: facebook.com/bookoflifepodcast  
Twitter: @bookoflifepod 
 
Support The Book of Life by becoming a patron at Patreon.com/bookoflife!
 
Your feedback is appreciated! Please write to bookoflifepodcast@gmail.com or call our voicemail number at 561-206-2473.



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22. #Diversiverse Challenge


I am participating in the #Diversiverse Challenge, in which you have to:
  • Read and review one book
  • Written by a person of color
  • During the first two weeks of October (October 4th-17th, 2015)


I wanted to include a Jewishly diverse angle, so I selected My Basmati Bat Mitzvah by Paula J. Freedman (Amulet/Abrams, 2013). The author and the protagonist have a mixture of European Jewish and East Indian heritage. The novel is aimed at 10-14 year olds.

I found this to be a delightful book. Twelve-year-old Tara Feinstein forges her identity as a Jew with strong pride in both the Jewish and Indian sides of her family. She struggles and grows as her relationships with best friends and boys change and develop, she expresses her individuality while respecting her family relationships, and she takes her Bat Mitzvah lessons seriously. Despite all the important learning going on, the tone remains light and upbeat, a fun read. Characters are well-developed and likable. Comparisons with Are You There, God? It's Me Margaret by Judy Blume (1970) are inevitable, as a mixed-heritage girl contemplates her religious identity, but Tara seems to have a pleasing confidence that Margaret lacks. As a bonus, the paperback edition (2015) has recipes included at the back for Jewish traditional dishes with an Indian twist

For those who enjoyed the Indian/Jewish mix of Mira in the Present Tense, The Whole Story of Half a Girl, or the cultural tensions of the film Bend It Like Beckham, My Basmati Bat Mitzvah will be very welcome. For an interesting comparison of Basmati and Mira, check out Matzo Masala in The New York Times, Nov. 2013.

Check out other entries in the #Diversiverse Challenge here!

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23. AJL Reads! A Virtual Jewish Book Discussion





Please join the Association of Jewish Libraries for a book discussion about the adventurous Jewish historical novel THE WAYWARD MOON by Janice Weizman on Sunday, October 18, 2015at 9pm Eastern/8pm Central/6pm Pacific Time via call-in show. We'll discuss the book by phone, and record the discussion for those who miss it.

Call (724) 444-7444 and enter the Call ID 139461to participate! The discussion will last approximately one hour.

This is Association of Jewish Libraries' first experiment with a virtual book discussion event. Please spread the word and please join us on Sunday to make it a success! Don’t worry if you haven’t read the book yet – the discussion will be a good introduction that will make you eager to read it afterwards.

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24. #Readukkah: A Challenge & A Giveaway



The Association of Jewish Libraries kicks off its first reading challenge with #Readukkah during Hanukkah, December 6-14, 2015. 

It's easy! Anyone can participate, including kids. All you have to do is: 
  • Read one Jewish book 
  • Review it online (include hashtag #Readukkah) 
  • During Hanukkah, December 6-14, 2015 
You pick the book - any reading level, fiction or nonfiction, Jewish in any way you choose to define it. 

Review your book anywhere online: on a blog, GoodReads, Amazon, Facebook, YouTube, or even on AJL's listserv, Hasafran. Use the hashtag #Readukkah somewhere in your review to help readers find you! 

By sharing your #Readukkah reviews of Jewish books, you will help spread the word about worthwhile titles, bringing them to the attention of more readers, increasing the market and supporting the publishing of Jewish books! 

GIVEAWAY

Sign up to participate in #Readukkah! All participants will be entered into a drawing for a free copy of FIREBRAND by Aaron Barnhart (Quindaro Press, 2015), YA historical fiction about August Bondi, a Jewish freedom fighter in the Civil War.



After John Brown, the most interesting man in Bleeding Kansas had to be August Bondi, the subject of Aaron Barnhart's exciting new novelized biography, Firebrand. At age 14, young August is an ordinary kid growing up in Vienna's Jewish quarter when the revolutions of 1848 break out. His friends are killed, and August goes to the front lines to fight. At age 15, his parents move to America, and August sees slavery for the first time. His anger leads him to Kansas and the fight for freedom. Adapted from the 1958 book by beloved author Lloyd Alexander, Firebrand reimagines Bondi's story as a coming-of-age tale. How did it feel to be caught up in a freedom struggle so young? And when given a chance to live the good life in America, why did August return to the fight? “Involving from start to finish,” says Midwest Book Review. “Likable” and “historically rigorous,” adds Kirkus Reviews

For each 12 sign-ups up to 36 (double chai), another giveaway copy will be added for a total of three chances to win! Winners will be selected during Thanksgiving weekend, to give you time to read and review Firebrand as your #Readukkah title if you wish.

SIGN UP

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25. Last of the Red Hot Mamas: The Outrageous Sophie Tucker

Sue & Lloyd Ecker with a picture of Sophie Tucker

Sue and Lloyd Ecker are fascinated with entertainer Sophie Tucker, "the last of the red hot mamas." This larger-than-life Jewish woman was a major figure in 20th century Vaudeville and Hollywood. The Eckers have created a documentary film and begun a series of "fictional memoirs" about Sophie. I interviewed them when the film The Outrageous Sophie Tucker premiered in South Florida.

See SophieTucker.com to buy the film, the book, and to find supplemental video and audio by and about Sophie.

AUDIO:


Or click Mp3 File (23:08)


MOVIE TRAILER:


Or rent or purchase the full movie on YouTube



CREDITS:

Produced by: Feldman Children's Library at Congregation B'nai Israel 
Supported in part by: Association of Jewish Libraries  
Theme music: The Freilachmakers Klezmer String Band  
Facebook: facebook.com/bookoflifepodcast  
Twitter: @bookoflifepod 
 
Support The Book of Life by becoming a patron at Patreon.com/bookoflife!
 
Your feedback is appreciated! Please write to bookoflifepodcast@gmail.com or call our voicemail number at 561-206-2473.



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