AJL Announces 2020 Sydney Taylor Book Awards

For More Information Contact:

Rebecca Levitan, Chair
Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee
Association of Jewish Libraries

www.sydneytaylorbookawards.org
sydneytaylorbookaward@jewishlibraries.org

January 27, 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

2020 Sydney Taylor Book Award Winners Announced

Winners of the annual Sydney Taylor Book Award were announced by the Association of Jewish Libraries today in Philadelphia, PA at the Youth Media Awards announcement at the American Library Association. Named in memory of Sydney Taylor, author of the classic All-of-a-Kind Family series, the award recognizes books for children and teens that exemplify high literary standards while authentically portraying the Jewish experience.

2020 is the first year the Sydney Taylor Honor Books have been included along with the winners  in the announcements at the American Library Association Youth Media Awards press conference.

GOLD MEDALISTS

The Book Rescuer: How a Mensch from Massachusetts Saved Yiddish Literature for Generations to Come by Sue Macy, illustrated by Stacy Innerst, published by Paula Wiseman Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, is the winner in the Picture Book category. The Book Rescuer celebrates the power of an individual to preserve history and culture, while also exploring timely themes of identity and immigration. In a folksy voice, this biography tells the story of Yiddish Book Center founder Aaron Lansky’s commitment to rescuing Yiddish language books and ensuring that despite all odds, Yiddish language and culture will stay alive for future generations.

White Bird: A Wonder Story by R. J. Palacio, published by Knopf Books for Young Readers, an Imprint of Alfred A. Knopf,  a division of Penguin Random House, is the winner in the Middle Grade category. This beautifully illustrated graphic novel connects the Holocaust to familiar contemporary characters, as Julian from the Wonder series learns his grandmother’s powerful story of rescue in Vichy-occupied France.

Someday We Will Fly by Rachel DeWoskin, published by Viking, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers, a division of Penguin Random House, is the winner in the Young Adult category. In this lushly written historical novel, Lillia and her father and sister flee Warsaw during the Holocaust and take refuge in Shanghai, China. There, Lillia’s need to support her family, her relationships with others, and her awareness of her privilege even as a refugee all contribute to her growth.

Lesléa Newman is the winner of the Sydney Taylor Body of Work Award. As the author of 70 books for all ages, she has helped broaden the scope of Jewish children’s books over her prolific career. She has received the Sydney Taylor Award for Ketzel, the Cat Who Composed, a Sydney Taylor Honor this year for Gittel’s Journey: An Ellis Island Story and four Sydney Taylor Notables

SILVER MEDALISTS

Six Sydney Taylor Honor Books were recognized.

For Picture Books, the Honor Books are Gittel’s Journey: An Ellis Island Story by Lesléa Newman, illustrated by Amy June Bates, published by Abrams Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Abrams Books and The Key from Spain: Flory Jagoda and Her Music by Debbie Levy, illustrated by Sonja Wimmer, published by Kar-Ben Publishing, an imprint of Lerner Publishing Group.

For Middle Grade, the Honor Books are Anya and the Dragon by Sofiya Pasternack, published by Versify, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and Games of Deception: The True Story of the First U.S. Olympic Basketball Team at the 1936 Olympics in Hitler’s Germany by Andrew Maraniss, published by Philomel Books, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers, a division of Penguin Random House.

For Young Adult, the Honor Books are Dissenter on the Bench: Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Life and Work by Victoria Ortiz, published by Clarion Books, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt,  and Sick Kids in Love by Hannah Moskowitz, published by Entangled Teen, an imprint of Entangled Publishing.

In addition to the medal winners, the Award Committee designated eight Notable Books of Jewish Content for 2020. More information about the Sydney Taylor Book Award and a complete listing of the award winners and notables can be found at www.sydneytaylorbookawards.org.

The Sydney Taylor Manuscript Award Committee did not designate a winner for 2020.

Winning authors and illustrators will receive their awards at the Annual Conference of the Association of Jewish Libraries, to be held in Evanston, IL, from June 29 to July 1, 2020. Gold and silver medalists will participate in a blog tour from February 9 to 13, 2020. For more information about the blog tour, please visit www.jewishlibraries.org. For an exclusive interview with Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee Chair please visit The Book of Life Podcast at www.bookoflifepodcast.com.

Members of the 2020 Sydney Taylor Book Award committee are Chair Rebecca Levitan, Baltimore County Public Library; Baltimore, MD; Rena Citrin, Bernard Zell Anshe Emet Day School, Chicago, IL; Shoshana Flax, The Horn Book, Inc., Boston, MA; Marjorie Ingall, Freelance Writer, New York, NY; Sylvie Shaffer, Capitol Hill Day School, Washington, DC; Marjorie Shuster, Congregation Emanuel, New York, NY; and Rivka Yerushalmi, Jewish Women International Libraries, Rockville, MD.

The Association of Jewish Libraries, the leading authority on Judaic librarianship, promotes Jewish literacy through enhancement of libraries and library resources and through leadership for the profession and practitioners of Judaica librarianship. The Association fosters access to information, learning, teaching and research relating to Jews, Judaism, the Jewish experience and Israel.

Sydney Taylor Book Award gold seal

The 2020 Sydney Taylor Book Awards

Association of Jewish Libraries

 

Picture Book Winner

The Book Rescuer: How a Mensch from Massachusetts Saved Yiddish Literature for Generations to Come by Sue Macy, illustrated by Stacy Innerst, published by
Paula Wiseman Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing

Middle Grade Winner

White Bird: A Wonder Story by R.J. Palacio, illustrated by the author, published by
Knopf Books for Young Readers, a division of Random House Children’s Books

Young Adult Winner

Someday We Will Fly by Rachel DeWoskin, published by  Viking, an imprint of
Penguin Young Readers, a division of Penguin Random House

~~~~~~

Picture Book Honors

Gittel’s Journey: An Ellis Island Story by Lesléa Newman, illustrated by Amy June Bates, published by Abrams Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Abrams Books.

The Key from Spain: Flory Jagoda and Her Music by Debbie Levy, illustrated by
Sonja Wimmer, published by Kar-Ben Publishing, an imprint of Lerner Publishing Group

 

Middle Grade Honors

Games of Deception: The True Story of the First US Olympic Basketball Team at the 1936 Olympics in Hitler’s Germany by Andrew Maraniss, published by Philomel Books,
an imprint of Penguin Young Readers, a division of Penguin Random House

 

Anya and the Dragon by Sofiya Pasternack, published by Versify,
an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

 

Young Adult Honors

Dissenter on the Bench by Victoria Ortiz, published by Clarion Books,
an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

 

Sick Kids in Love by Hannah Moskowitz, published by Entangled Teen,

an imprint of Entangled Publishing LLC

 

Picture Book Notables

Doctor Esperanto and the Language of Hope by Mara Rockliff,

illustrated by Zosia Dzierzawska, published by Candlewick Press

 

A Scarf for Keiko by Ann Malaspina, illustrated by Merrilee Liddiard,
published by Kar-Ben Publishing, an imprint of Lerner Publishing Group

 

Parrots, Pugs and Pixie Dust: A Book about Fashion Designer Judith Leiber by
Deborah Blumenthal, illustrated by Masha D’yans, published by Little Bee Books

 

Middle Grade Notables

Masters of Silence by Kathy Kacer, published by Annick Press

A Boy is Not a Bird by Edeet Ravel, published by Groundwood Books

Rachel’s Roses by Ferida Wolff, illustrated by Margeaux Lucas, published by Holiday House

 

Young Adult Notables

In the Neighborhood of True by Susan Kaplan Carlton, published by Algonquin Young Readers, an imprint of Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, a division of Workman Publishing

A Light in the Darkness: Janusz Korczak, His Orphans, and the Holocaust by Albert Marrin, published by Knopf Books for Young Readers, a division of Random House Children’s Books

 

~~~~~~

Body-of-Work Award Winner
Lesléa Newman

 

~~~~~~

 

Manuscript Award Winner

There was no Manuscript Award Winner awarded for 2020.

 

~~~~~~

 

For more information contact:

Rebecca Levitan, Chair

Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee, Association of Jewish Libraries

sydneytaylorbookaward@jewishlibraries.org
www.sydneytaylorbookawards.org

About Barbara Krasner

History writer and award-winning author Barbara Krasner writes Jewish-themed poetry, articles, nonfiction books, and novels for children and adults.
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