2012 Sydney Taylor Book Awards

Thanks to Shelf Awareness for making me aware of this! I always like to give a little shout-out to my peeps when they’re in the news.

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. This award is sponsored by the Association of Jewish Libraries. The 2012 winners are:

Younger Readers: Chanukah Lights by Michael J. Rosen and Robert Sabuda (Candlewick)
9780763655334, $34.99

I’m pleased to say, I had already posted about this title during my Chanukah picture book round up back in December.

From a pop-up master and an acclaimed poet and author comes a glorious celebration of the true spirit of Chanukah. Open this beautiful gift book and follow the Festival of Lights through place and time — from Herod’s temple to a shtetl in Russia; from a refugee ship bound for the New World to an Israeli kibbutz. Inspired by Michael J. Rosen’s reverent poem, Robert Sabuda’s striking pop-ups depict each night’s menorah in a different scene, using imagery such as desert tents, pushcart lanterns, olive trees, and a final panorama of skyscrapers. Sure to be a treasured family heirloom, this stunning collaboration showcases the spirit and resilience of a people in search of home. 

Older Readers: Music Was It: Young Leonard Bernstein by Susan Goldman Rubin (Charlesbridge)
9781580893442, $19.95

Beginning with Lenny’s childhood in Boston and ending with his triumphant conducting debut at Carnegie Hall with the New York Philharmonic when he was just twenty-five, Music Was It draws readers into the energetic, passionate, challenging music-filled life of young Leonard Bernstein.

Teen Readers: The Berlin Boxing Club by Robert Sharenow (HarperTeen)
9780061579684, $17.99

Fourteen-year-old Karl Stern has never thought of himself as a Jew. But to the bullies at his school in Naziera Berlin, it doesn’t matter that Karl has never set foot in a synagogue or that his family doesn’t practice religion. Demoralized by relentless attacks on a heritage he doesn’t accept as his own, Karl longs to prove his worth to everyone around him. So when Max Schmeling, champion boxer and German national hero, makes a deal with Karl’s father to give Karl boxing lessons, Karl sees it as the perfect chance to reinvent himself. A skilled cartoonist, Karl has never had an interest in boxing, but as Max becomes the mentor Karl never had, Karl soon finds both his boxing skills and his art flourishing. But when Nazi violence against Jews escalates, Karl must take on a new role: protector of his family. Karl longs to ask his new mentor for help, but with Max’s fame growing, he is forced to associate with Hitler and other Nazi elites, leaving Karl to wonder where his hero’s sympathies truly lie. Can Karl balance his dream of boxing greatness with his obligation to keep his family out of harm’s way?

Eight Sydney Taylor Honor Books were named for 2012:

The judges also named 18 notable books. The winners will receive their awards at the AJL convention in Montreal June 17-20.

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