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Sydney Taylor Book Awards 2018 - 2020

Presented annually by the Association of Jewish Libraries to authors of outstanding books for children and teens that authentically portray the Jewish experience. Gold medals are presented in three categories: Younger Readers, Older Readers, and Teen Readers. Honor Books are awarded silver medals, and Notable Books are named in each category.

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      The Book Rescuer: How a Mensch from Massachusetts Saved Yiddish Literature for Generations to Come

      by Sue Macy

      Nov 2019

      Nonfiction Elementary Plus

      2020 Winner, Picture Book
      Over the last forty years, Aaron Lansky has jumped into dumpsters, rummaged around musty basements, and crawled through cramped attics. He did all of this in pursuit of a particular kind of treasure, and he’s found plenty. Lansky’s treasure was any book written Yiddish, the language of generations of European Jews. When he started looking for Yiddish books, experts estimated there might be about 70,000 still in existence. Since then, the MacArthur Genius Grant recipient has collected close to 1.5 million books, and he’s finding more every day.

      Told in a folkloric voice reminiscent of Patricia Polacco, this story celebrates the power of an individual to preserve history and culture, while exploring timely themes of identity and immigration.

      Author’s note. Illustrator’s note. Yiddish glossary. Suggestions for further information. Source notes. Full-color illustrations rendered in acrylic and gouache, with fabric textures added digitally.

      Someday We Will Fly

      by Rachel DeWoskin

      Apr 2019

      History High

      2020 Winner, Young Adult
      1940: Lilia is fifteen when her mother, Alenka, disappears, and she, her father, and sister flee Warsaw for Shanghai, one of the few places that will accept Jews without visas. They struggle to make a life—and wonder if Alenka will find them, if she’s still alive.
      Author’s note. Sources.

      All-of-a-Kind Family Hanukkah

      by Emily Jenkins

      Oct 2018

      Primary Plus

      Winner, 2019 Younger Readers
      Acclaimed author Emily Jenkins (A Greyhound, a Groundhog) and Caldecott Award-winning artist Paul O. Zelinsky (Rapunzel) bring the beloved All-of-a-Kind Family to life in a new format. Fans, along with those just meeting the five girls ("all of a kind," as their parents say), will join them back in 1912, on the Lower East Side of NYC, and watch as preparations for Hanukkah are made. When Gertie, the youngest, is not allowed to help prepare latkes, she throws a tantrum. Banished to the girls' bedroom, she can still hear the sounds and smell the smells of a family getting ready to celebrate. But then Papa comes home and she is allowed out--and given the best job of all: lighting the first candle on the menorah.
      Yiddish glossary. Author’s note. Illustrator’s note. List of Sydney Taylor’s All-of-a-Kind Family books. Sources. Full-color illustrations rendered digitally.

      The Six-Day Hero

      by Tammar Stein

      Aug 2017

      Upper Elementary & Junior High Plus

      Honor, Older Readers
      Motti knows his older brother is a hero—but through the six days of the war that will decide Israel's fate, he discovers other heroes in surprising places. Author's note.

      The Language of Angels: The Reinvention of Hebrew

      by Richard Michelson

      Mar 2017

      Multicultural Elementary

      Winner, Younger Readers
      In 1885, few Jews in Israel used the holy language of their ancestors, and Hebrew was in danger of being lost—until Ben Zion and his father got involved. Afterword. Further reading. Full-color multi-media illustrations.
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