It’s time to get your reading glasses on (especially if you’re visually impaired like I am!), because there’s a bunch of new Jewish books bound to keep you busy this winter. The Sydney Taylor Book Award just released their winning books for 2016. The organization honors Jewish books for teens and kids that portray Jewish life.
So who were the winners?
“Ketzel, the Cat who Composed,” written by Lesléa Newman with illustrations by Amy June Bates, is about a friendship between Moshe Cotel, a composer who lives in a noisy city, and a kitten. Together, they end up making music together. It’s inspired by a true story. I’m a huge cat lady, so any books about cats are immediately on my must-read list.
“Adam & Thomas,” written by Aharon Appelfeld and translated by Jeffrey M. Green with illustrations by Philippe Dumas, is the story of two 9-year-old Jewish boys who survive World War II by living together in the forest. Sometimes they are visited by the mysterious Mina, who lives with a peasant family. She brings the boys food at her own personal risk. They all learn to survive in a difficult time, and learn how to find happiness despite their struggles.
“The Hired Girl,” written by Laura Amy Schlitz, follows 14-year-old Joan Skraggs who yearns for real life and true love. She lives on a farm in Pennsylvania in the year 1911. She writes in her diary about her dreams of seeking a better life for herself, where she isn’t a cleaning girl, but a woman with a more exciting future.
The rest of the notable books and their respective categories are below. We can’t wait to sink our teeth into these:
Books for Kids:
“Everybody Says Shalom” by Leslie Kimmelman with illustrations by Talitha Shipman
“Shanghai Sukkah” by Heidi Smith Hyde with illustrations by Jing Jing Tsong
“Hanukkah Cookies with Sprinkles” by David A. Adler, illustrated by Jeffrey Ebbeler
“The Parakeet Named Dreidel” by Isaac Bashevis Singer illustrated by Suzanne Raphael Berkson
“Sadie and Ori and the Blue Blanket” by Jamie Korngold illustrated by Julie Fortenberry
Books for Teens:
“Stones on a Grave“ by Kathy Kacer
“The Girl in the Torch” by Robert Sharenow
“The Safest Lie” by Angela Cerrito (Holiday House)
“Deep Sea” by Annika Thor
“Imagining Katherine” by Carol Solomon
“Last Night at the Circle Cinema” by Emily Franklin