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Sydney Taylor Award (1968 - Present)
The Sydney Taylor Book Award is presented annually to outstanding books for children and teens that authentically portray the Jewish experience. Presented by the Association of Jewish Libraries since 1968, the award encourages the publication and widespread use of quality Judaic literature.
♦Winners are broken up into younger, older and teen readers categories♦
Award Winners - Younger Readers
The Book Rescuer: How a Mensch from Massachusetts Saved Yiddish Literature for Generations to Come by
Publication Date: 2019-10-01
2020 Winner. 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.
All-of-a-Kind Family Hanukkah by
Call Number: E JEN
Publication Date: 2018-09-11
2019 Winner. 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.
I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark by
Call Number: JB GIN LEV
Publication Date: 2016-09-20
2017 Winner. Get to know celebrated Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg—in the first picture book about her life—as she proves that disagreeing does not make you disagreeable! Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has spent a lifetime disagreeing: disagreeing with inequality, arguing against unfair treatment, and standing up for what’s right for people everywhere. This biographical picture book about the Notorious RBG, tells the justice’s story through the lens of her many famous dissents, or disagreements.
Ketzel, the Cat Who Composed by
Publication Date: 2015-10-06
2016 Winner. Moshe Cotel was a composer who lived in a noisy building on a noisy street in a noisy city. But Moshe didn’t mind. Everything he heard was music to his ears. One day, while out for a walk, he heard a small, sad sound that he’d never heard before. It was a tiny kitten! "Come on, little Ketzel," Moshe said, "I will take you home and we will make beautiful music together." And they did—in a most surprising way. Inspired by a true story, Lesléa Newman and Amy June Bates craft an engaging tale of a creative man and the beloved cat who brings unexpected sweet notes his way.
My Grandfather's Coat by
Call Number: J 398.2 AYL
Publication Date: 2014-10-21
2015 Winner. A rollicking, rhyming, fun rendition of a favorite folksong about a many-times recycled coat--by the award-winning, bestselling team of Jim Aylesworth and Barbara McClintock.
When my grandfather came to America
he made himself a handsome coat!
Then he wore it and he wore it and he wore it--
until it was all worn out!
So what did he do?
He snipped and he clipped--
and he stitched and he sewed...
and out of the still-good cloth of his coat--
he made himself a smart jacket!
How many things can Grandfather make
out of that old frayed coat?
Jim Aylesworth's satisfying retelling and Barbara McClintock's heartwarming pictures celebrate how Grandfather cleverly recycles his beloved coat through four generations.
The Blessing Cup by
Call Number: E POL
Publication Date: 2013-08-27
2014 Winner. A single china cup from a tea set left behind when Jews were forced to leave Russia helps hold a family together through generations of living in America, reminding them of the most important things in life.
Hannah's Way by
Publication Date: 2012-01-01
2013 Winner. After Papa loses his job during the Depression, Hannah’s family moves to rural Minnesota, where she is the only Jewish child in her class. When her teacher tries to arrange carpools for a Saturday class picnic, Hannah is upset. Her Jewish family is observant, and she knows she cannot ride on the Sabbath. What will she do? A lovely story of friendship and community.
Chanukah Lights by
Publication Date: 2011-09-27
2012 Winner. 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 such imagery as desert tents, 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.
Gathering Sparks by
Publication Date: 2010-08-03
2011 Winner. A grandfather lovingly teaches his grandchild a lesson about the centuries-old concept of tikkun olam. Gently told and gorgeously illustrated, this intergenerational picture book offers a soothing and universal message for our troubled times.
New Year at the Pier by
Publication Date: 2009-06-11
2010 Winner. Izzy’s favorite part of Rosh Hashanah is Tashlich, a joyous ceremony in which people apologize for the mistakes they made in the previous year and thus clean the slate as the new year begins. But there is one mistake on Izzy’s “I’m sorry” list that he’s finding especially hard to say out loud. Humor, touching moments between family and friends, and lots of information about the Jewish New Year are all combined in this lovely picture book for holiday sharing.
As Good as Anybody by
Call Number: J 323.092 MIC
Publication Date: 2008-05-13
2009 Winner. MARTIN LUTHER KING, Jr. and Abraham Joshua Heschel. Their names stand for the quest for justice and equality. Martin grew up in a loving family in the American South, at a time when this country was plagued by racial discrimination. He aimed to put a stop to it. He became a minister like his daddy, and he preached and marched for his cause. Abraham grew up in a loving family many years earlier, in a Europe that did not welcome Jews. He found a new home in America, where he became a respected rabbi like his father, carrying a message of peace and acceptance. Here is the story of two icons for social justice, how they formed a remarkable friendship and turned their personal experiences of discrimination into a message of love and equality for all.
The Bedtime Sh'ma by
Publication Date: 2007-05-01
2008 Winner. The sages of Jewish tradition understood the power of bedtime and wisely put together a Jewish "good night book" in the form of the Kriat Sh'ma al haMitah, the Bedtime Sh'ma. This beautifully illustrated adaptation of the Kriat Sh'ma is a wonderful introduction to one of the oldest and most fundamental of Jewish prayers.
Hanukkah at Valley Forge by
Publication Date: 2006-09-14
2007 Winner. A soldier tells George Washington the miraculous story of how a ragtag army of Jewish soldiers defeated a much larger force of powerful Greeks, a tale that provides just the kind of inspiration the General needs.
Sholom's Treasure by
Publication Date: 2005-03-11
2006 Winner. Sholom Aleichem's favorite childhood memory may have been listening as his father read stories aloud on Saturday nights and a roomful of adults burst out laughing. Sholom wanted to make people laugh, too. At school he became the class clown. At home he imitated even his pious grandmother. But Sholom was also thoughtful. In Russia in the 1800s, life was especially difficult for Jews, and Sholom longed to help his father by finding a legendary hidden treasure. It turned out that Sholom Aleichem's destiny was to give his father a different kind of treasure - one of words and tales that to this day bring laughter to readers around the world.
2005 - No Award Given
2004 - No Award Given
Bagels from Benny by
Publication Date: 2005-09-01
2003 Winner. Benny loves to help out at his grandpa's bakery in the morning, and the customers love the crusty bagels with their soft insides. When Grandpa explains to Benny that God, not him, should be thanked for the wonderful bagels, Benny sets out to do just that. He decides to leave God a bagful of bagels in the synagogue at the end of each week. And each week God eats the bagels --- or so Benny thinks ...
Chicken Soup by Heart by
Publication Date: 2002-10-01
2002 Winner. It was a very nice Sunday in the middle of spring, in the middle of breakfast, when Rudie Dinkins heard his mama say that Rudie's sitter, Mrs. Gittel, had the flu.With his mother's help Rudie cooks a batch of chicken soup using Mrs. Gittel's secret ingredient: sweet memories of their friendship! And soon Mrs. Gittel, the Chicken Soup Queen, is feeling good as new! Esther Hershenhorn's charming and poignant story accompanied by Rosanne Litzinger's warm, colorful illustrations will leave you craving your own tasty bowl of "Chicken Soup by Heart" in this heartwarming tale of friendship.
Rivka's First Thanksgiving by
Publication Date: 2001-10-01
2001 Winner. More than anything, Rivka wants to celebrate Thanksgiving. She has learned all about the holiday in school and knows her family has a lot to be thankful for in America. But Rivka's parents are Jewish immigrants from Poland, and they wonder what Pilgrims and Indians have to do with them. Is Thanksgiving really a holiday for Jews? Rivka's grandmother, Bubbeh, decides to take over: She will bring Rivka to see the Rabbi Yoshe Preminger -- and whatever the Rabbi concludes, Rivka will have to live with. Rivka knows that Thanksgiving is a holiday for all Americans, from all backgrounds and religions. But how can she convince the esteemed Rabbi Preminger? Elsa Okon Rael and Maryann Kovalski bring the bustling Lower East Side to life in this heartwarming story. Set in the 1910s, "Rivka's First Thanksgiving" is about respecting old traditions while embracing new ones, about giving thanks and celebrating freedom in America. Perhaps most important, Rivka's story teaches us that even the wisest adults have something to learn from children.
Gershon's Monster by
Call Number: J 398.2 KIM
Publication Date: 2000-09-01
2000 Winner. Gershon was not always the best person he could be. True, the mistakes he made were common, ordinary things: a broken promise, a temper lost for no reason, a little untruth told here and there. But unlike most people, Gershon never regretted what he did. He never apologized or asked anyone's forgiveness. Why should he? Every year, on Rosh Hashanah, he would merely stuff his mistakes into a sack and cast them out to sea.Little did Gershon know, though, that his reckless behavior would certainly come back to haunt him. Was there still a chance for him to change?
The Peddler's Gift by
Call Number: E SCH
Publication Date: 1999-10-01
1999 Winner. A young boy in turn-of-the-century rural Russia learns that appearances are often deceiving after he steals and then tries to return a dreidel to the traveling peddler Shnook.
Nine Spoons by
Publication Date: 1998-11-01
1998 Winner. As the last night of Chanukah draws to a close, Oma once again tells her grandchildren the story of the treasured little menorah, "the Children's Menorah, " miraculously created out of self-sacrifice by the women in a Nazi concentration camp. Oma's bunkmate then, Raizel, muses that she could make a menorah out of spoons, but "in the camp, spoons were valued like gold." In the cold, harsh setting of the camp, the procurement of nine spoons is fraught with drama. A kitchen worker steals two rusty spoons from the garbage-despite the threat of punishment if she were to be caught; another woman bargains away her extra scraps of food. The night before Chanukah, the ninth spoon is found, and by twisting them together Raizel fashions a strangely beautiful menorah, and "the children had a Chanukah to remember." As Oma tells the family story, her grandchildren chime in with the parts they know, promising always to remember. Softly colored illustrations depict the joyful contemporary Chanukah celebration, while muted browns and grays dominate the camp scenes of thin-faced prisoners in ragged clothes. An author's note tells that the story is based on an actual incident and that the prisoners would have appeared even more emaciated in reality, but "the book was designed with sensitivity to our very young audience." The respectful and dramatic narrative conveys the bonds of faith and community that rose from despair to forge a sign of hope.
Award Winners - Older Readers
Sweep: The Story of a Girl and her Monster by
Publication Date: 2018-09-25
2019 Winner. Meet Nan Sparrow. She’s a 10-year-old orphan who works as a “climbing boy,” the term given to children who risked their lives to assist chimney sweeps in 19th-century England. Nan learned the ins and outs of chimney sweeping at her father’s side, but he has “disappeared,” and though Nan’s work is brutal and dangerous, she holds out hope for her father’s eventual return. When Nan’s most treasured possessions end up in a fireplace, she unwittingly creates a golem made up of all her favorite things. She names him Charlie, and the two become fast friends. Together, they make their home in an abandoned attic. But one of Charlie’s “ingredients” is a twelve-month calendar, and the clock is ticking. Will Nan have to say goodbye to her only companion and come to terms with the fact that her father might never be coming home?
The Inquisitor's Tale by
Call Number: J GID
Publication Date: 2016-09-27
2017 Winner. 1242. On a dark night, travelers from across France cross paths at an inn and begin to tell stories of three children. Their adventures take them on a chase through France: they are taken captive by knights, sit alongside a king, and save the land from a farting dragon. On the run to escape prejudice and persecution and save precious and holy texts from being burned, their quest drives them forward to a final showdown at Mont Saint-Michel, where all will come to question if these children can perform the miracles of saints. Join William, an oblate on a mission from his monastery; Jacob, a Jewish boy who has fled his burning village; and Jeanne, a peasant girl who hides her prophetic visions. They are accompanied by Jeanne's loyal greyhound, Gwenforte...recently brought back from the dead. Told in multiple voices, in a style reminiscent of The Canterbury Tales, our narrator collects their stories and the saga of these three unlikely allies begins to come together.
Adam and Thomas by
Publication Date: 2015-10-13
2016 Winner. Adam and Thomas is the story of two nine-year-old Jewish boys who survive World War II by banding together in the forest. They are alone, visited only furtively, every few days by Mina, a mercurial girl who herself has found refuge from the war by living with a peasant family. She makes secret journeys and brings the boys parcels of food at her own risk. Adam and Thomas must learn to survive and do. They forage and build a small tree house, although it's more like a bird's nest. Adam's family dog, Miro, manages to find his way to him, to the joy of both boys. Miro brings the warmth of home with him. Echoes of the war are felt in the forest. The boys meet fugitives fleeing for their lives and try to help them. They learn to disappear in moments of danger. And they barely survive winter's harshest weather, but when things seem to be at their worst, a miracle happens.
Call Number: HIDDEN JG DAU
Publication Date: 2014-04-01
2015 Winner. In this gentle, poetic young graphic novel, Dounia, a grandmother, tells her granddaughter the story even her son has never heard: how, as a young Jewish girl in Paris, she was hidden away from the Nazis by a series of neighbors and friends who risked their lives to keep her alive when her parents had been taken to concentration camps. Hidden ends on a tender note, with Dounia and her mother rediscovering each other as World War II ends . . . and a young girl in present-day France becoming closer to her grandmother, who can finally, after all those years, tell her story. With words by Loïc Dauvillier and art by Marc Lizano and Greg Salsedo, this picture book-style comic for young readers is a touching read.
Bigger Than a Bread Box by
Call Number: J SNY
Publication Date: 2011-09-27
2014 Winner. A magical breadbox that delivers whatever you wish for—as long as it fits inside? It's too good to be true! Twelve-year-old Rebecca is struggling with her parents' separation, as well as a sudden move to her Gran's house in another state. For a while, the magic bread box, discovered in the attic, makes life away from home a little easier. Then suddenly it starts to make things much, much more difficult, and Rebecca is forced to decide not just where, but who she really wants to be. Laurel Snyder's most thought-provoking book yet.
His Name Was Raoul Wallenberg by
Call Number: JB WAL BOR
Publication Date: 2012-01-17
2013 Winner. Raoul Wallenberg’s name may not be a universally familiar one, but the impact he had is immeasurable. Wallenberg was a Swedish humanitarian who worked in Budapest during World War II to rescue Jews from the Holocaust. He did this by issuing protective passports and housing Jews in buildings established as Swedish territory, saving tens of thousands of lives. Louise Borden researched Wallenberg’s life for many years, visiting with his family and the site of his childhood home, and learned his story from beginning to end. Wallenberg himself has not been heard from since 1945. It is suspected he died while in Russian custody, though this has never been proven. Raoul Wallenberg . . . it’s a name you may not have known, but you’ll never forget his story.
Music Was IT by
Call Number: JB BER RUB
Publication Date: 2011-02-01
2012 Winner. This biography of American composer, pianist, and conductor Leonard Bernstein takes readers from his childhood in Boston to his spectacular professional conducting debut with the New York Philharmonic in 1943. Illustrated with archival photographs, mostly from the Leonard Bernstein Collection at the Library of Congress, this book showcases the verve, energy, and wit of one of the greatest American musicians of the 20th century.
Hereville Volume 1: How Mirka Got Her Sword by
Call Number: HEREVILLE JG DEU V. 1
Publication Date: 2010-11-01
2011 Winner. Spunky, strong-willed eleven-year-old Mirka Herschberg isn’t interested in knitting lessons from her stepmother, or how-to-find-a-husband advice from her sister, or you-better-not warnings from her brother. There’s only one thing she does want: to fight dragons! Granted, no dragons have been breathing fire around Hereville, the Orthodox Jewish community where Mirka lives, but that doesn’t stop the plucky girl from honing her skills. She fearlessly stands up to local bullies. She battles a very large, very menacing pig. And she boldly accepts a challenge from a mysterious witch, a challenge that could bring Mirka her heart’s desire: a dragon-slaying sword! All she has to do is find—and outwit—the giant troll who’s got it! A delightful mix of fantasy, adventure, cultural traditions, and preteen commotion, Hereville will captivate middle-school readers with its exciting visuals and entertaining new heroine.
The Importance of Wings by
Publication Date: 2009-07-01
2010 Winner. An Israeli immigrant's journey to become a "real" American. With their mother caring for relatives in Israel and their father driving a cab all hours of the day, Roxanne and her sister, Gayle, spend a lot of time watching television reruns of Little House on the Prairie, The Brady Bunch, and Wonder Woman—perfect examples of perfect Americans. Roxanne is desperate to be like them. When Liat, a fellow Israeli, moves into the "Cursed House" next door, things begin to change and Roxanne realizes that maybe real life isn’t like TV—maybe it’s even better. The novel is set on Staten Island, New York, in the early 1980’s.
Brooklyn Bridge by
Publication Date: 2008-09-02
2009 Winner. It's the summer of 1903 in Brooklyn and all fourteen-year-old Joseph Michtom wants is to experience the thrill, the grandeur, and the electricity of the new amusement park at Coney Island. But that doesn't seem likely. Ever since his parents--Russian immigrants--invented the stuffed Teddy Bear five months ago, Joseph's life has turned upside down. No longer do the Michtom's gather family and friends around the kitchen table to talk. No longer is Joseph at leisure to play stickball with the guys. Now, Joseph works. And complains. And falls in love. And argues with Mama and Papa. And falls out of love. And hopes. Joseph hopes he'll see Coney Island soon. He hopes that everything will turn right-side up again. He hopes his luck hasn't run out--because you never know. Through all the warmth, the sadness, the frustration, and the laughter of one big, colorful family, Newbery Medalist Karen Hesse builds a stunning story of the lucky, the unlucky, and those in between, and reminds us that our lives--all our lives--are fragile, precious, and connected.
The Entertainer and the Dybbuk by
Publication Date: 2007-08-21
2008 Winner. Avrom Amos likes to crack jokes. He loves the spotlight. And if he wants something, he knows how to get it. He's just like any other boy, except for one thing: He's a ghost—a dybbuk. During World War Two he'd been murdered by the Nazis, right after he saved the life of a young ventriloquist named Freddie. Freddie doesn't know it yet, but he's about to return the favor. Because the dybbuk wants revenge, and he knows exactly how to get it.
Julia's Kitchen by
Publication Date: 2006-03-21
2007 Winner. Cara Segal is a born worrier. She figures her worrying works like a whisper in God's ear – if Cara's concerned about car crashes, kidnappings, or murders, she lets God know, and he always spares her. But Cara never thought to worry about a fire. And one night while she's sleeping at a friend's house, her house catches fire, and her mother and younger sister are both killed. Throughout shiva, the initial Jewish mourning period, Cara can't help wondering about God's role in the tragedy. And what is her father's role in her life now? He walks around like a ghost and refuses to talk about the fire. Cara longs for her family and her home, where sweet smells filled the house as Cara's mom filled orders for her catering business, Julia's Kitchen. Then one day a call comes in for a cookie order, and Cara gets a wild idea. Maybe by bringing back Julia's Kitchen, she can find a way to reconnect with everything she's lost.
Confessions of a Closet Catholic by
Publication Date: 2006-05-04
2006 Winner. Justine Silver's best friend, Mary Catherine McAllister, has given up chocolate for Lent, but Justine doesn't think God wants her to make that kind of sacrifice. So she's decided to give up being Jewish instead. Eleven-year-old Justine pours her heart out to her teddy bear, "Father Ted," in a homemade closet confessional. But when Justine's beloved Bubbe suffers a stroke, Justine worries that her religious exploration is responsible. Worse, she must suddenly contemplate life without Bubbe. Ultimately, it's Bubbe's quiet understanding of Justine's search for identity that helps Justine to find faith in the most important place of all-within herself.
2005 - No Award Given
Real Time by
Publication Date: 2006-07-24
2004 Winner. Set in contemporary Israel, this powerful novel is narrated in real time by many voices: Sixteen-year-old Thomas, from Berlin, seeking answers to questions about his grandfather, a Nazi officer in World War II. Vera from Odessa, reclaiming her Jewish heritage. Baruch Ben Tov, a Holocaust survivor. Sameh Laham, illegally employed at a diner. His boss. Sameh’s friend Omar. A Palestinian doctor in an Israeli hospital. A mother. A soldier. A newscaster...Minute by minute, hour by hour, these lives and many others unfold—and then intersect in one violent moment on a highway outside Jerusalem. Each is drastically and irrevocably changed. What do secrets, hopes, dreams, and future plans mean after such a catastrophe? Can what was destroyed be made whole again?
Who Was the Woman Who Wore the Hat? by
Publication Date: 2003-03-24
2003 Winner. This book, a meditation on a woman's hat on display in the Jewish Historical Museum in Amsterdam, combines a pensive prose poem with arresting collage artwork. The illustrations, consisting of pencil drawings, subdued watercolors, and old photographs, sometimes suggest a distant memory and at other times bring the reality of the Holocaust into sharp focus. Subtle yet powerful, historical and personal, this book will have a lasting impact on everyone who experiences it.
Hana's Suitcase by
Call Number: JB BRA LEV
Publication Date: 2003-01-01
2002 Winner. In 2000, a suitcase arrived at a children's Holocaust education center in Tokyo, Japan, marked "Hana Brady, May 16, 1931." The center's curator searches for clues to young Hana and her family, whose happy life in a small Czech town was turned upside down by the invasion of the Nazis.
Sigmund Freud by
Publication Date: 2001-04-23
2001 Winner. Few historical figures have captured the public imagination as completely as Sigmund Freud. At a time when many ailments of the mind were treated with soothing baths or dangerous electroshock therapy, Freud initiated a novel practice: he simply listened to his patients. He called his method of treatment psychoanalysis, or “the talking cure.” Though the validity of Freud’s theories is still widely debated, there is little doubt that his contributions to the study of the mind were invaluable. In this compelling, even-handed biography, Catherine Reef explains Freud’s groundbreaking theories and methods and shows how Freudian thought has affected our culture, changing the way we think about everything from art and literature to raising children. Beautiful archival family photographs round out this intimate look at a fascinating man.
The Key Is Lost by
Publication Date: 2000-05-03
2000 Winner. What would it be like to lose your home, your family, and even your name? Eva and Lisa Zilverstijn find out. When they go into hiding from the Nazis during World War II, they lose everything but each other. As they move from attic to attic, Eva and Lisa must rely on their courage, their imaginations, and the compassion of strangers to survive.
Speed of Light by
Call Number: J PB ROS
Publication Date: 2001-03-01
1999 Winner. A summer of hatred...discovery Eleven-year-old Audrey Ina has lived in the town of Blue Gap all her life, and thinks she knows everyone in it and has nothing to fear. It's 1956, eleven years after Hitler's defeat, and nobody seems to even remember the war -- except for Audrey's Tante Pesel, who survived Auschwitz but is still unable to talk about it. Then one day, someone throws a rock through the window of her father's factory. Is it because he agreed to stand up for the right of a black man to join the police force? Or is it because their family is Jewish? Either way, Audrey Ina soon discovers that her sleepy southern town is full of hatred, fear, and violence beneath its surface, and that she and her family are in danger. Most vulnerable of all is Tante Pesel, whose nightmares seem to be coming true all over again. Will she survive the hatred that threatens to tear the family apart? What can a girl like Audrey do to stand up against injustice?
Number the Stars by
Call Number: J LOW
Publication Date: 1998-02-09
1989 Winner. Ten-year-old Annemarie Johansen and her best friend Ellen Rosen often think of life before the war. It's now 1943 and their life in Copenhagen is filled with school, food shortages, and the Nazi soldiers marching through town. When the Jews of Denmark are "relocated," Ellen moves in with the Johansens and pretends to be one of the family. Soon Annemarie is asked to go on a dangerous mission to save Ellen's life.
The Island on Bird Street by
Publication Date: 1992-01-20
1984 Winner. During World War II a Jewish boy is left on his own for months in a ruined house in the Warsaw Ghetto, where he must learn all the tricks of survival under constantly life-threatening conditions.
Award Winners - Teen Readers
Dancing at the Pity Party by
Call Number: YAGB FED FED
Publication Date: 2020-04-14
2021 Winner. Part poignant cancer memoir and part humorous reflection on a motherless life, this debut graphic novel is extraordinarily comforting and engaging. From before her mother's first oncology appointment through the stages of her cancer to the funeral, sitting shiva, and afterward, when she must try to make sense of her life as a motherless daughter, Tyler Feder tells her story in this graphic novel that is full of piercing--but also often funny--details. She shares the important post-death firsts, such as celebrating holidays without her mom, the utter despair of cleaning out her mom's closet, ending old traditions and starting new ones, and the sting of having the "I've got to tell Mom about this" instinct and not being able to act on it. This memoir, bracingly candid and sweetly humorous, is for anyone struggling with loss who just wants someone to get it.
Someday We Will Fly by
Publication Date: 2019-01-22
2020 Winner. Warsaw, Poland. The year is 1940 and Lillia is 15 when her mother, Alenka, disappears and her father flees with Lillia and her younger sister, Naomi, to Shanghai, one of the few places that will accept Jews without visas. There they struggle to make a life; they have no money, there is little work, no decent place to live, a culture that doesn't understand them. And always the worry about Alenka. How will she find them? Is she still alive? Meanwhile Lillia is growing up, trying to care for Naomi, whose development is frighteningly slow, in part from malnourishment. Lillia finds an outlet for her artistic talent by making puppets, remembering the happy days in Warsaw when they were circus performers. She attends school sporadically, makes friends with Wei, a Chinese boy, and finds work as a performer at a "gentlemen's club" without her father's knowledge. But meanwhile the conflict grows more intense as the Americans declare war and the Japanese force the Americans in Shanghai into camps. More bombing, more death. Can they survive, caught in the crossfire?
What the Night Sings by
Call Number: YA STA
Publication Date: 2018-02-20
2019 Winner. After losing her family and everything she knew in the Nazi concentration camps, Gerta is finally liberated, only to find herself completely alone. Without her Papa, her music, or even her true identity, she must move past the task of surviving and onto living her life. In the displaced persons camp where she is staying, Gerta meets Lev, a fellow teen survivor who she just might be falling for, despite her feelings for someone else. With a newfound Jewish identity she never knew she had, and a return to the life of music she thought she lost forever, Gerta must choose how to build a new future.
Anna and the Swallow Man by
Call Number: YACD F SAV
Publication Date: 2016-01-26
2017 Winner. Kraków, 1939. A million marching soldiers and a thousand barking dogs. This is no place to grow up. Anna Łania is just seven years old when the Germans take her father, a linguistics professor, during their purge of intellectuals in Poland. She’s alone. And then Anna meets the Swallow Man. He is a mystery, strange and tall, a skilled deceiver with more than a little magic up his sleeve. And when the soldiers in the streets look at him, they see what he wants them to see. The Swallow Man is not Anna’s father—she knows that very well—but she also knows that, like her father, he’s in danger of being taken, and like her father, he has a gift for languages: Polish, Russian, German, Yiddish, even Bird. When he summons a bright, beautiful swallow down to his hand to stop her from crying, Anna is entranced. She follows him into the wilderness. Over the course of their travels together, Anna and the Swallow Man will dodge bombs, tame soldiers, and even, despite their better judgment, make a friend. But in a world gone mad, everything can prove dangerous. Even the Swallow Man.
The Hired Girl by
Call Number: YA SCH
Publication Date: 2015-09-08
2016 Winner. Fourteen-year-old Joan Skraggs, just like the heroines in her beloved novels, yearns for real life and true love. But what hope is there for adventure, beauty, or art on a hardscrabble farm in Pennsylvania where the work never ends? Over the summer of 1911, Joan pours her heart out into her diary as she seeks a new, better life for herself—because maybe, just maybe, a hired girl cleaning and cooking for six dollars a week can become what a farm girl could only dream of—a woman with a future. Inspired by her grandmother’s journal, Newbery Medalist Laura Amy Schlitz brings her sharp wit and keen eye to early twentieth-century America in a comedic tour de force destined to become a modern classic. Joan’s journey from the muck of the chicken coop to the comforts of a society household in Baltimore (Electricity! Carpet sweepers! Sending out the laundry!) takes its reader on an exploration of feminism and housework, religion and literature, love and loyalty, cats, hats, bunions, and burns.
Publication Date: 2014-02-11
2015 Winner. A sixteen-year-old stowaway discovers her destiny on Noah’s ark in this riveting reimagining from award-winning author Donna Jo Napoli, available in time for the March 2014 major motion picture Noah. The rain starts suddenly, hard and fast. After days of downpour, her family lost, Sebah takes shelter in a tree, eating pine cones and the raw meat of animals that float by. With each passing day, her companion, a boy named Aban, grows weaker. When their tree is struck by lightning, Sebah is tempted just to die in the flames rather than succumb to a slow, watery death. Instead, she and Aban build a raft. What they find on the stormy seas is beyond imagining: a gigantic ark. But Sebah does not know what she’ll find on board, and Aban is too weak to leave their raft. Themes of family, loss, and ultimately, survival and love make for a timeless story. Donna Jo Napoli has imagined a new protagonist to tell the story of Noah and his ark. As rain batters the earth, Noah, his family, and hordes of animals wait out the storm, ready to carry out their duty of repopulating the earth. Hidden below deck…is Sebah.
The Nazi Hunters: How a Team of Spies and Survivors Captured the World's Most Notorious Nazi by
Call Number: YA 364.151 BAS
Publication Date: 2013-08-27
2014 Winner. In 1945, at the end of World War II, Adolf Eichmann, the head of operations for the Nazis' Final Solution, walked into the mountains of Germany and vanished from view. Sixteen years later, an elite team of spies captured him at a bus stop in Argentina and smuggled him to Israel, resulting in one of the century's most important trials -- one that cemented the Holocaust in the public imagination. THE NAZI HUNTERS is the thrilling and fascinating story of what happened between these two events. Survivor Simon Wiesenthal opened Eichmann's case; a blind Argentinean and his teenage daughter provided crucial information. Finally, the Israeli spies -- many of whom lost family in the Holocaust -- embarked on their daring mission, recounted here in full. Based on the adult bestseller HUNTING EICHMANN, which is now in development as a major film, and illustrated with powerful photos throughout, THE NAZI HUNTERS is a can't-miss work of narrative nonfiction for middle-grade and YA readers.
Publication Date: 2012-08-14
2013 Winner. Rachel thought she was grown up enough to accept that no one is perfect. Her parents argue, her grandmother has been acting strangely, and her best friend doesn't want to talk to her. But none of that could have prepared her for what she overheard in her synagogue's sanctuary. Now Rachel's trust in the people she loves is shattered, and her newfound cynicism leads to reckless rebellion. Her friends and family hardly recognize her, and worse, she can hardly recognize herself. But how can the adults in her life lecture her about acting with kavanah, intention, when they are constantly making such horribly wrong decisions themselves? This is a witty, honest account of navigating the daunting line between losing innocence and entering adulthood—all while figuring out who you really want to be.
The Berlin Boxing Club by
Call Number: YA SHA
Publication Date: 2011-04-26
2012 Winner. Sydney Taylor Award-winning novel Berlin Boxing Club is loosely inspired by the true story of boxer Max Schmeling's experiences following Kristallnacht. Karl Stern has never thought of himself as a Jew. But the bullies at his school in Nazi-era Berlin, don't care that Karl has never been in a synagogue or that his family doesn't practice religion. Demoralized by attacks on a heritage he doesn't accept as his own, Karl longs to prove his worth. So when Max Schmeling, champion boxer and German national hero, makes a deal with Karl's father to give Karl boxing lessons, A skilled cartoonist, Karl has never had an interest in boxing, but now it seems like the perfect chance to reinvent himself. But when Nazi violence against Jews escalates, Karl must take on a new role: protector of his family. And as Max's fame forces him to associate with Hitler and other Nazi elites, Karl begins 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?
The Things a Brother Knows by
Call Number: YA REI
Publication Date: 2010-09-14
2011 Winner. Finally, Levi Katznelson’s older brother, Boaz, has returned. Boaz was a high school star who had it all and gave it up to serve in a war Levi can’t understand. Things have been on hold since Boaz left. With the help of his two best friends Levi has fumbled his way through high school, weary of his role as little brother to the hero. But when Boaz walks through the front door after his tour of duty is over, Levi knows there’s something wrong. Boaz is home, safe. But Levi knows that his brother is not the same. Maybe things will never return to normal. Then Boaz leaves again, and this time Levi follows him, determined to understand who his brother was, who he has become, and how to bring him home again.
Tropical Secrets: Holocaust Refugees in Cuba by
Publication Date: 2009-03-31
2010 Winner. Daniel has escaped Nazi Germany with nothing but a desperate dream that he might one day find his parents again. But that golden land called New York has turned away his ship full of refugees, and Daniel finds himself in Cuba. As the tropical island begins to work its magic on him, the young refugee befriends a local girl with some painful secrets of her own. Yet even in Cuba, the Nazi darkness is never far away...
A Bottle in the Gaza Sea by
Publication Date: 2008-04-01
2009 Winner. When Israeli teenager Tal Levine decides to throw a bottle with a letter into the Gaza Sea, she has little idea what to expect. Against all odds, Tal longs to strike up a correspondence with someone on the other side -- to forge something positive out of the turbulent and troubled times in which Israelis and Palestinians live. But what kind of response might a Palestinian give to an Israeli girl? Tal is not expecting "Gazaman," the boy who retrieves her bottle on a Gaza beach: Gazaman, a thorny, sarcastic young man with a reluctance to reveal anything about his true identity; Gazaman, who at first mocks Tal, only to be gradually drawn in by her. A remarkable e-mail exchange begins, which shakes the beliefs of both to the core and confounds all their expectations.
Strange Relations by
Call Number: YA F LEV
Publication Date: 2007-06-12
2008 Winner. A summer in paradise. That's all Marne wants. That's all she can think of when she asks her parents permission to spend the summer in Hawaii with Aunt Carole and her family. But Marne quickly realizes her visit isn't going to be just about learning to surf and morning runs along the beach, despite the cute surfer boy she keeps bumping into. For one thing, Aunt Carole isn't even Aunt Carole anymore—she's Aunt Chaya, married to a Chasidic rabbi and deeply rooted in her religious community. Nothing could be more foreign to Marne, and fitting into this new culture—and house full of kids—is a challenge. But as she settles into her newfound family's daily routine, she begins to think about spirituality, identity, and finding a place in the world in a way she never has before.
The Book Thief by
Call Number: YA ZUS
Publication Date: 2007-09-11
2007 Winner. Trying to make sense of the horrors of World War II, Death relates the story of Liesel--a young German girl whose book-stealing and story-telling talents help sustain her family and the Jewish man they are hiding, as well as their neighbors.
2006 - No Award Given
No awards for the Teen category before 2007.