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Review: Remembering Rosalind Franklin

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Remembering Rosalind Franklin: Rosalind Franklin and the Discovery of the Double Helix Structure of DNA by Tanya Lee Stone, illustrated by Gretchen Ellen Powers Christy Ottaviano Books (imprint of Little Brown), 2024 Category: Picture Books Reviewer: Jacqueline Jules Buy at Bookshop.org Remembering Rosalind Franklin begins with an author’s note warning that this story does not have a happy ending. The preface goes on to explain that sometimes people can do extraordinary things and “never even find out they made a difference.” With this preparation, the reader is ready to understand that those who do the groundwork for important scientific achievements deserve to be remembered, too.  Rosalind Franklin was born in 1920 into a large Jewish family living in London, England. She enjoyed beach holidays at her grandparents’ country home where she first saw a darkroom and learned how photographs were developed. Though she lived in a time when most girls were not encouraged to pursue academics

Review: A Boy From Baghdad

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A Boy from Baghdad by Miriam Halahmy Green Bean Books, 2024 Category: Middle Grade Reviewer: Sarah Sassoon Buy from Bookshop.org A Boy from Baghdad is a heartwarming, authentic story about an Iraqi Jewish boy, Salman Shasha, who is suddenly uprooted with his family and the entire Iraqi Jewish community when they move from Baghdad to Israel. Not only does Salman’s family lose everything with the move to the refugee tent camps in Israel (home, language, identity), but Salman also loses his dream to be an Olympic gold swimmer for Iraq. The Iraqi Jewish world is little known and Halahmy paints a vibrant, colorful picture of the smells and sounds of the souq, the beautiful, wide Tigris River which is Salman’s swimming haunt, and the close-knit family and communal everyday life and traditions, such as the lighting of seven homemade wicks in sesame oil for Shabbat. She also captures the tensions for the Jews with the rising antisemitism and anti-Zionism which culminated in more than 120,000

Review: On Friday Afternoon: A Shabbat Celebration

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On Friday Afternoon: A Shabbat Celebration by Michal Babay, illustrated by Menahem Halberstadt Charlesbridge, 2024 Category: Picture Books Reviewer: Ann Koffsky Buy at Bookshop.org With On Friday Afternoon , author Michal Babay and illustrator Menachem Halbertstadt have given us an upbeat and cheerful portrait of a family getting ready for Shabbat—specifically, Friday night dinner. The main characters are a young girl, Leelee, and her dog Pickles. They giggle and race through the house making messes, cleaning up those messes (because Shabbat is coming) and then making still more chaos. Each encounter leads fluidly into the next: when they discover change under the couch, that leads to making a tzedkah box; finding a trombone while cleaning the bedroom leads them to marching in a musical parade. The structure reminded me of the If You Give a Mouse a Cookie series-- in the best of ways. Halbertstadt’s illustrations are exuberant and joyful. Leelee’s slightly rumpled hair gives off oodl

Year #5 of The Sydney Taylor Shmooze

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As we begin another year of reviewing juvenile books of Jewish content, we want to take a moment to reflect on why we do this work.  We know that representation is important in our diverse society. As Dr. Rudine Sims Bishop helped us understand, window books break down stereotypes and mirror books provide validation and support. With antisemitism on the rise, it's more important than ever that Jewish readers have books that remind us of our rich heritage, beautiful traditions, and culture that developed in diverse areas and countries, and that non-Jewish readers have books that demystify Judaism, educate about the Jewish experience, and build empathy and respect for our common humanity. Some of the books reviewed on this blog are great candidates for the Sydney Taylor Book Award. Others are not, but may still offer important Jewish representation. We hope our critiques will lead readers to better books, provide publishers with constructive feedback, and aid reviewers in identifying

Real Sydney Taylor Book Award Blog Tour: 2024

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The 2024 Sydney Taylor Book Award Blog Tour features interviews with the gold and silver medal-winning authors and illustrators. Links to all participating blogs can be found on the Association of Jewish Libraries website at JewishLibraries.org/Blog , as well as below. Enjoy! BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE MONDAY, FEBRUARY 5, 2024 Richard Ho and Lynn Scurfield, author and illustrator of Two New Years Sydney Taylor Book Award in the Picture Book Category at 100 Scope Notes at School Library Journal   Elissa Brent Weissman and Omer Hoffmann, author and illustrator of Hanukkah Upside Down Sydney Taylor Honor Book in the Picture Book Category at The Pragmatic Mom Tziporah Cohen and Yaara Eshet, author and illustrator of Afikomen Sydney Taylor Honor Book in the Picture Book Category at Out of the Box at The Horn Book Elisa Boxer and Amy June Bates, author and illustrator of Hidden Hope Sydney Taylor Honor Book in the Picture Book Category at Picture Books Help Kids Soar TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 6, 2024 Susan

Real vs Mock 2024 Sydney Taylor Book Awards

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The Real Sydney Taylor Book Awards were announced on January 22, 2024! Let's see how our Mock Awards compare to the Real Awards... PICTURE BOOKS Mock and Real Awards agree: the picture book gold medalist is Two New Years   by   Richard Ho , ill.   Lynn Scurfield .  There was also agreement between Real and Mock Awards that a silver medal should go to Hanukkah Upside Down   by   Elissa Brent Weissman , ill.   Omer Hoffman . MIDDLE GRADE The Mock Awards gave a middle grade bronze medal to The Dubious Pranks of Shaindy Goodman   by   Mari Lowe , but the Real Awards gave it the gold! Both Real and Mock Awards agreed that The Jake Show   by   Joshua S. Levy should get a silver medal. YOUNG ADULT The Mock Award young adult gold went to Impossible Escape: A True Story of Survival and Heroism in Nazi Europe   by   Steve Sheinkin , which was a Real silver medalist. Real and Mock Awards agreed that a silver medal should go to Going Bicoastal   by   Dahlia Adler . Mock Award bronze medalis

WINNERS! 2024 Mock Sydney Taylor Book Awards

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We are pleased to announce our fourth year of Mock Sydney Taylor Book Awards! The top Jewish juvenile books published in 2023 were chosen from our shortlist by popular vote. Thank you to the many people who helped us select these titles! Links to more information below. PICTURE BOOKS MOCK WINNER  Two New Years   by   Richard Ho , ill.   Lynn Scurfield Chronicle published 8/8/23 ISBN 978-1797212814 Review:   Sydney Taylor Shmooze   MOCK HONOR Hanukkah Upside Down   by   Elissa Brent Weissman , ill.   Omer Hoffman Abrams published 9/19/23 ISBN 978-1419762963 Review:   Sydney Taylor Shmooze   MOCK NOTABLE Rivka's Presents   by   Laurie Wallmark , ill.   Adelina Lirius Random House Studio published 7/11/23 ISBN 978-0593482070 Review:   Sydney Taylor Shmooze   MIDDLE GRADE MOCK WINNER  Two Tribes   by   Emily Bowen Cohen Heartdrum published 8/15/23 ISBN 978-0062983596 Review:   Sydney Taylor Shmooze   MOCK HONOR The Jake Show   by   Joshua S. Levy Kat