Teachers and Parents–Looking for kids’ books about Chanukah?

Thanks to Barbara Krasner from The Whole Megillah for sharing the following lead in her latest post:

For teachers and parents, finding just the right book selection at holiday times can be challenging. The Association of Jewish Libraries (AJL) just published a list of great Chanukah reading selections, all of which have been singled out by the Sidney Taylor Award committee for their excellence.

In addition, here are some more of my kids’ old favorites that do not appear on the AJL list:

Latkes and Applesauce

Nine Spoons

Asher and the Capmakers

The Story of Hanukkah

The Power of Light

The Chanukah Guest


Pasedena AJL Conference Info Up on the Web!

Schedules and registration forms for the upcoming Association of Jewish Libraries Conference in Pasedena June 17-20, 2012 is now up on the AJL website. This is a great opportunity for Jewish book lovers to share their knowledge and experience.


Exciting 2012 AJL Conference Announcement

AJL - The Association of Jewish Libraries


In 2012, the national AJL conference will be held in the Los Angeles area! It will be Sunday, June 17th in Pasadena, at the beautiful Langham Hotel. All the info will soon be on the www.jewishlibraries.org website.  Writers, librarians, teachers, illustrators or parents can attend the entire conference or opt only to visit select daytime events. One highlight is hearing the winners of annual Sydney Taylor awards speak. The wonderful librarian Lisa Silverman of Sinai Temple Library says that attendees will have opportunities to meet a lot of people in the field. (She also assured me that the food will be kosher.)

Because of this exciting local event, Lisa informs me that they will not be holding a West Coast Children’s Jewish Literature Conference this April. That’s too bad, but I’m very excited about the opportunity to attend the conference without having to book plane tickets or a hotel! Pass on the info to any L.A. area book-lovers who might be interested. Additionally, if you want to present a session at the conference, you can still submit a topic until December 31st. Follow the link below:

Jewish Book Carnival coming in July

Ann Koffsky, author and illustrator, will be hosting AJL’s Jewish Book Carnival on her website. Check in to the site after July 15th for links to blogs and websites with Jewish book themes. There’s also a Goodreads group with discussions, etc. See here for more details. http://www.jewishlibraries.org/main/Resources/Blog/JewishBookCarnivalHQ.aspx

Fantastic AJL conference!

The topic of the 2011 Association of Jewish Libraries conference (think I got the name wrong on a previous post) this past weekend was Graphic Literature. I’m still buzzing with excitement about the conference, so I’ll share some highlights.

The wonderful presenters included Sid Jacobson (author of the recent and much-lauded official graphic biography of Anne Frank), William Rubin (co-creator of Homeland: the Illustrated History of the State of Israel), and Barry Deutsch, who just won the Sydney Taylor Award for Hereville.
Each one described their recent work, its development, public reaction, and future projects. Mssrs. Jacobson, Rubin, and Deutsch were all charming and engaging and totally worth seeing (and buying their books!). BUT the most amazing speaker of the conference was Anastasia Betts.

Mrs. Betts is currently a consultant and curriculum developer. She presented research on literacy and graphic literature (including comics, graphic novels, manga, etc.).
Some mindblowing facts:
The highest literacy rates in the world are in Finland and Japan (99%). They are also the biggest consumers of graphic literature.
Graphic literature is more than just comics, but can come in every genre, for any audience. The text, particularly unfamiliar vocabulary and main ideas, are supported by pictures for weaker readers. Visual learners have more cues than in traditional text. Eyes move differently over the pages.
If you introduce graphic literature into a school library, use of the library by students will increase by more than 80 percent, with 32 percent of the increase in borrowing being the non-graphic literature!
We’ve already seen graphic formats being adopted by Jewish publishers (see authors above). You can even argue that he fabulous Katz Hagaddah with illustrations by Gadi Pollock that many of us use on Pesach is an example of this phenomenon. Think of how readers react to it, or to the graphic 39 Melachos of Shabbos book, or to Trekking Through Time, or The Search for Stones (illustrated by the wonderful L.A.-local Marc Lumer). I’ve seen kids and even adults ooh and ahh over them. I’m hoping that this will be a trend that continues.