Two residents of Western Massachusetts were among the winners of the annual Sydney Taylor Book Award, announced by the Association of Jewish Libraries on Jan. 25 in a virtual livecast at the Youth Media Awards announcement at the American Library Association.
Named in memory of Sydney Taylor, author of the classic All-of-a-Kind Family series, the award recognizes books for children and teens that exemplify high literary standards while authentically portraying the Jewish experience.
Lesléa Newman of Northampton was a gold medalist in the picture book category for Welcoming Elijah: A Passover Tale with a Tail, illustrated by Susan Gal and published by Charlesbridge. According to the association, “This warmly illustrated, poetic book parallels the experiences of a young boy at a Passover seder and a small white kitten outdoors. When the boy opens the door to welcome the prophet Elijah, he finds a furry friend instead. Simple text, diverse characters, and a timeless feel make this a story to be treasured.”
Other gold medalists were Turtle Boy by M. Evan Wolkenstein in the Middle Grade category; and Dancing at the Pity Party by Tyler Feder, in the Young Adult category.
Jane Yolen of Hatfield was a silver medalist for her picture book Miriam at the River, illustrated by Khoa Le, and published by Kar-Ben Publishing, a division of Lerner Publishing Group.
Other silver medalists include the picture book I Am the Tree of Life: My Jewish Yoga Book by Mychal Copeland; Anya and the Nightingale by Sofiya Pasternack, No Vacancy by Tziporah Cohen; and The Blackbird Girls by Anne Blankman, all in the middle grade category; and They Went Left by Monica Hesse in middle grade for young adults.
More information about the Sydney Taylor Book Award, a complete listing of the award winners and notables, and seals for purchase can be found at www.sydneytaylorbookawards.org.
Winning authors and illustrators will receive their awards at the Annual Conference of the Association of Jewish Libraries, to be held virtually from June 27 to July 1, 2021.