The Children’s Book Review | January 23, 2014
Sydney Taylor Honor Books Selected for 2014 Announced by AJL
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.
By Laurel Snyder and Catia Chien
Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Hardcover: 40 pages
Publisher: Schwartz & Wade (February 12, 2013)
Publisher’s synopsis: Here’s a picture book for all Jewish families to read while celebrating Passover. Unlike other Passover picture books that focus on the contemporary celebration of the holiday, or are children’s haggadahs, this gorgeous picture book in verse follows the actual story of the Exodus. Told through the eyes of a young slave girl, author Laurel Snyder and illustrator Catia Chien skillfully and gently depict the story of Pharoah, Moses, the 10 plagues, and the parting of the Red Sea in a remarkably accessible way.
“Evocative and beautiful… flawlessly evokes the spirit of the Old Testament story,” raves Publishers Weekly in a starred review. This dramatic adventure, set over 3,500 years ago, of a family that endures hardships and ultimately finds freedom is the perfect tool to help young children make sense of the origins of the Passover traditions.
By Patricia Polacco
Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Hardcover: 48 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books; First Edition edition (August 27, 2013)
Publisher’s synopsis: A bond of love unites a family throughout generations in this companion to the beloved and bestselling classic The Keeping Quilt.
As a young Russian Jewish girl in the early 1900s, Anna and her family lived in fear of the Czar’s soldiers. The family lived a hard life and had few possessions—their treasure was a beautiful china tea set. A wedding gift to Anna’s parents, the tea set came with a wish that “Anyone who drinks from this will have blessings from God. They will never know a day of hunger. Their lives will always have flavor. They will know love and joy and they will never be poor.”
When Anna’s family leaves Russia for America, they bring the tea set and its blessings. A source of heritage and security, the tea set helps Anna’s family make friends and find better lives in America. A cup from the tea set—The Blessing Cup—became an anchor of family history, and it remains a symbol of lasting love more than a century later.
This tender tribute to the importance of loving lineage is a prequel and companion to the perennial bestseller The Keeping Quilt and is told and illustrated with authenticity and tremendous heart.
By Neal Bascomb
Age Range: 12 and up
Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books (August 27, 2013)
Publisher’s synopsis: A thrilling spy mission, a moving Holocaust story, and a first-class work of narrative nonfiction.
In 1945, at the end of World War II, Adolf Eichmann, the head of operations for the Nazis’ Final Solution, walked into the mountains of Germany and vanished from view. Sixteen years later, an elite team of spies captured him at a bus stop in Argentina and smuggled him to Israel, resulting in one of the century’s most important trials — one that cemented the Holocaust in the public imagination.
THE NAZI HUNTERS is the thrilling and fascinating story of what happened between these two events. Survivor Simon Wiesenthal opened Eichmann’s case; a blind Argentinean and his teenage daughter provided crucial information. Finally, the Israeli spies — many of whom lost family in the Holocaust — embarked on their daring mission, recounted here in full. Based on the adult bestseller HUNTING EICHMANN, which is now in development as a major film, and illustrated with powerful photos throughout, THE NAZI HUNTERS is a can’t-miss work of narrative nonfiction for middle-grade and YA readers.
Stones for Grandpa, by Renee Londoner with illustrations by Martha Avilés
Rifka Takes a Bow, by Betty Rosenberg Perlov with illustrations by Cosei Kawa
(both by Kar-Ben, a division of Lerner Publishing Group)
The Boy on the Wooden Box: How the Impossible Became Possible…on Schindler’s List, by Leon Leyson with Marilyn J. Harran and Elisabeth B. Leyson
(Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division)
Dancing in the Dark, by Robyn Bavati
(Flux, an imprint of Llewellyn Worldwide)
The War Within These Walls, by Aline Sax with illustrations by Caryl Strzelecki and translated by Laura Watkinson
(Eerdmans Books for Young Readers)
The Award Committee also designated thirteen Notable Books of Jewish Content for 2014.
Thanks to the American Jewish Library, you now have the cream of the crop to browse through. And in case you missed the National Book Awards, you’ll find more awesome books to peruse here: 2013 National Book Award Winner: Young People’s Literature