Showing posts from February, 2020

Introducing: Heidi Rabinowitz

It's time to meet your Sydney Taylor Shmooze admins! Three friends run this blog: Susan Kusel (whose brainchild it was) and her partners in crime, Chava Pinchuck and Heidi Rabinowitz. You can read a bit about us in the About section but we thought you might like to get to know each of us a little better. Today it's Heidi's turn. Heidi Rabinowitz 1. Describe a day in your professional life. Purim puppet show Things I hear every day: "Miss Heidi, what are we reading about today?" "Another book, please!"  "I'm going to Disney World tomorrow!" "I have a dog!" "The! End!" "I love you, Miss Heidi." Things I say every day: "Everybody say 'Hi, Miss Heidi!'" "Do you hear the rhyming in this book?" "You get what you get and you don't get upset." "Take your finger out of your nose." "What a good question!" "I love you too." Things

The Chairs Speak

Hi, I'm Heidi Rabinowitz, one of your editors at The Shmooze. I'm also the host of The Book of Life Podcast , where I've been interviewing Real Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee chairs for many years. I'd like to share with you the last three years of "big reveal" podcast episodes, in which that year's chair announces and discusses the winning Sydney Taylor Book Award titles.Getting familiar with past winners may help you in your quest to figure out what will win this year!

ALA Midwinter: A Goat's Eye View

Marjorie Ingall (second from the left) wrote an effervescent piece about her experience as a Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee Member visiting the ALA Midwinter Meeting for the awards announcement. You can read it on AJL's blog here - go do it now, it's lots of fun and there are more pictures! It's called "ALA Midwinter: A Goat's Eye View." You'll understand what's with the goats once you read it....

2020 Blog Tour Day 5

Anya and the Dragon by Sofia Pasternack (Middle Grade Honor Book) is a historical magical fantasy set in 10th century Russia. Dissenter on the Bench by Victoria Ortiz (YA Honor Book) is a biography of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Both have strong female leads who care passionately about justice. What 2020 books about strong girls or women are you looking forward to? Leave us a comment. Anya and the Dragon at From the Mixed-Up Files of Middle Grade Authors Dissenter on the Bench at Jewish Books for Kids And the traditional Blog Tour finale, a virtual roundtable with the whole gang: Blog Tour Wrap-Up at The Whole Megillah The Sydney Taylor Book Award Blog Tour February 9-13, 2020 Click here for full blog tour schedule 

2020 Blog Tour Day 4

Two out-of-the-box books are featured on the blog tour today. Sick Kids in Love by Hannah Moskowitz (YA Honor Book) is a romance with two Jewish leads, a disability #ownvoices story, a sicklit book in which nobody dies - all unusual traits. Games of Deception by Andrew Maraniss tells the unexpected true story of the invention of basketball and its intersections with Jewish history. Are there any 2020 Jewish kids' books coming out that you think break the mold? Tell us about them in the comments. Today's Blog Tour stops: Sick Kids in Love at Good Reads with Ronna Games of Deception at A Fuse #8 Production at School Library Journal The Sydney Taylor Book Award Blog Tour February 9-13, 2020 Click here for full blog tour schedule

2020 Blog Tour Day 3

Lesléa Newman and Amy June Bates received a Sydney Taylor Honor in the Picture Book category for Gittel's Journey . They are both past Sydney Taylor Book Award winners, having received the gold medal in 2016 for Ketzel, the Cat Who Composed . Lesléa also has quite a few Notable Books to her name:  Here Is the World in 2015, A Sweet Passover in 2013, Runaway Dreidel in 2002, and Fat Chance in 1994. Even more special, Lesléa was named a Sydney Taylor Body-of-Work Award winner this year for her overall contributions to the genre of Jewish children's literature. You can see past Body-of-Work Award winners here . Who else do you think would make a good Body-of-Work Award recipient? Today on the blog tour: Gittel's Journey on Mr. Schu Reads All the Authors and Illustrators on The Children's Book Podcast The Sydney Taylor Book Award Blog Tour February 9-13, 2020 Click here for full blog tour schedule

2020 Blog Tour Day 2

One more gold medalist is interviewed today on the Sydney Taylor Book Award Blog Tour, and then we move on to silver medalists. These two books have interesting settings: Shanghai for Someday We Will Fly by Rachel DeWoskin (the YA gold medalist), and Bosnia for The Key From Spain by Debbie Levy (an Honor picture book). What benefits or hurdles do you think might accrue to an author if they are not from the place where their book is set? Leave your thoughts in the comments. Someday We Will Fly at Out of the Box at The Horn Book The Key from Spain at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast The Sydney Taylor Book Award Blog Tour February 9-13, 2020 Click here for full blog tour schedule

2020 Blog Tour Day 1

It's the first day of the 2020 Sydney Taylor Book Award Blog Tour! These interviews with the most recent winners of the Real Award provide a great opportunity for us to see the qualities the Real Committee is looking for. Today we look at the gold medalists in the Picture Book and Middle Grade categories, respectively, The Book Rescuer by Sue Macy with pictures by Stacy Innerst, and White Bird by R.J. Palacio of Wonder fame. The Book Rescuer at 100 Scope Notes at School Library Journal   White Bird at The Paper Brigade Daily at The Jewish Book Council These are both stories about various kinds of rescue: saving books, saving human beings, saving language, saving culture. Does Jewish children's literature perform a rescuing function in the world? Do book awards? Please leave a comment below and let us know what you think. The Sydney Taylor Book Award Blog Tour February 9-13, 2020 Click here for full blog tour schedule

The 2020 Sydney Taylor Book Award Blog Tour

Before we move onto reviewing books eligible for next year’s award, it’s time to celebrate the ones that won in 2020. The Sydney Taylor Book Award will be showcasing its 2020 gold and silver medalists with a Blog Tour, February 9-13, 2020! Interviews with winning authors and illustrators will appear on a variety of Jewish and kidlit blogs. Interviews will appear on the dates below, and will remain available to read at your own convenience. Below is the schedule for the 2020 Sydney Taylor Book Award Blog Tour. Please follow the links to visit the hosting blogs on or after their tour dates, and be sure to leave them plenty of comments! SUNDAY FEBRUARY 9, 2020 Sue Macy  and  Stacy Innerst , author and illustrator of  The Book Rescuer Sydney Taylor Book Award in the Picture Book Category at  100 Scope Notes at School Library Journal R.J. Palacio , author of  White Bird Sydney Taylor Book Award in the Middle Grade Category at  The Paper Brigade Daily at The Jewish Book Coun

Calling All Books

Let's start at the very beginning... a very good place to start. OK, cut the singing and let's start finding  books. We are looking for Jewish books for children and teens that are being published this spring from January 1- May 30, 2020. We'll do a fall list later in the year. Here are titles that have come to our attention. If you know of others not listed here, please tell us about them in the comments. The book must have Jewish content and be published in 2020 for ages 0-18. Picture Books Title Author Judah Touro Didn't Want to Be Famous Ades, Audrey Buen Shabbat, Shabbat Shalom Aroeste, Sarah Sweet Tamales for Purim Bietz, Barbara Foster I Love Matzah Biniashvili, Freidele My Sister is Sleeping Busheri, Debora No Steps Behind Gottesfeld, Jeff Lilah Tov Good Night Gundersheimer, Ben Alligator Seder Hickman, Jessica The Generous Fish Jules, Jacqueline Hard Hat Cat! Kiffel-Alcheh, Jamie You're the Cheese in My Blintz Kimmelman, Leslie Worse an

Be a Reviewer

The Sydney Taylor Shmooze won’t be very shmoozy if we only talk to ourselves. What we’re looking for is a lot more voices and perspectives. What we need is reviewers. A review on a mock award blog is a little different than one in a review journal. The main focus is on how or if the book meets the criteria for the award. We currently do not have access to publisher review copies for this blog, so we do ask that reviewers try to locate the books in a local or Judaic library. If this sounds like something you’d be interested in doing, please fill out this form . Many thanks!

A Note on Spelling

The Sydney Taylor Shmooze could have been spelled in a completely different way. It could have been "The Sidney Tailor Schmooze." Why is it spelled the way it's spelled? When Sarah Brenner grew up, she changed her named to Sydney (with two Y's) and married Ralph Taylor (with a Y), becoming Sydney Taylor . S I dney is considered the male variant of the name, while S Y dney is the feminine form. Shmooze is a translation from a Yiddish word for chitchat, meaning there are multiple ways to spell it in English. Some spell it schmooze . Some spell it shmues . We are sure there are many, many more variations. We have decided to use the spelling shmooze for this blog, just to try to keep things simple. You'll notice that the name Sydney Taylor is full of Y's but, unlike Sidney Tailor, has no I's. That fits in very well with the purpose of The Sydney Taylor Shmooze . This blog is not about "I" or any one individual; it's a joint projec


We are delighted to welcome you to The Sydney Taylor Shmooze . We couldn’t be more excited to be starting this blog and to have you as a part of it. Here at the Shmooze , we’ve been following mock award blogs such as Heavy Medal and Calling Caldecott from their infancy. It feels amazing to join the club at last and talk about our favorite topic, Jewish children’s books. Book awards are tricky things. Sometime the most buzzed about books lose. Sometimes obscure books win. Awards are incredibly challenging to predict, no matter how many award committees you’ve been on in the past. Sometimes it’s hard to guess the final result even when you’re in the room. The fun of mock award blogs is they allow for thoughtful discussion of many more titles than those few that will make the final list. They let us think about the criteria , explore the books and find things we didn’t see at first. In the end, it’s okay if we don’t guess the winner. What will matter is being able to share so m