Jewish Book-Award Announcements

It’s been a very busy few days for those of us who follow Jewish book-award announcements. Here’s a quick post to help us all catch up.

  • Late last week the Jewish Book Council announced the latest winners and finalists for the National Jewish Book Awards. (Lots and lots of categories!)
  • Sunday evening brought news from the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA) of the American Library Association (ALA) about this year’s winner and honor titles for the Sophie Brody Medal, “given to encourage, recognize and commend outstanding achievement in Jewish literature. Works for adults published in the United States in the preceding year are eligible for the award.” Jane Yolen has won this year’s award for her poetry collection Kaddish: Before the Holocaust and After; honor titles include Dara Horn’s People Love Dead Jews: Reports from a Haunted Present; Rutu Modan’s Tunnels (trans. Ishai Mishory); Mark Oppenheimer’s Squirrel Hill:  The Tree of Life Synagogue Shooting and the Soul of a Neighborhood; and Gabrielle Glaser’s American Baby: A Mother, a Child, and the Shadow History of Adoption.
  • On Monday, as part of the ALA’s Youth Media Awards presentation, the Association of Jewish Libraries’ Sydney Taylor Book Awards were announced. Jane Yolen’s name came up here, too—for the Sydney Taylor Body-of-Work Award, “which recognizes an author or entity who has made a substantial contribution over time to the genre of Jewish children’s literature.” More broadly, the Sydney Taylor Book Awards recognize “outstanding books for children and teens that authentically portray the Jewish experience.” Find out more about these awards in a new podcast episode from The Book of Life.
  • And for something a little different: Just ahead of the Sydney Taylor Books Awards, the Mock Sydney Taylor Book Awards were announced: “The top Jewish juvenile books published in 2021 were chosen by popular vote, and over 1000 votes were cast.”
  • It’s also worth noting that some books of Jewish interest were sprinkled among the not-necessarily-Jewish award programs and categories for RUSA’s Book and Media Awards (notably, here, Dara Horn’s People Love Dead Jews—which was named a nonfiction Notable Book) and the ALA’s Youth Media Awards.

If recent history is any guide, we’ll soon hear from the Association of Jewish Libraries about the newest winner and honor title(s) for their Jewish Fiction Award, too. Stay tuned!


6 thoughts on “Jewish Book-Award Announcements

  1. Thanks for the compilation, Erika! Also saw that Joshua Cohen’s The Netanyahus is a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle’s fiction award this year…

    1. Erika Dreifus says:

      Yes, I saw that, too, Julie—but since that award still has a way to go for the final announcement, I left it out (all of the above, except the AJL Fiction Award, are now “finished” for the year).

  2. Lisa Richter says:

    Thank you for sharing this, Erika! Mazel tov to this year’s winners and finalists, from last year’s recipient of the Berru Award for Poetry.

  3. Erika Dreifus says:

    As I’ve seen noted by Heidi Rabinowitz:

    ALA’s Notable Children’s Books list includes Jewish titles:
    –Osnat and Her Dove by Sigal Samuel
    –The People’s Painter by Cynthia Levinson
    –How to Find What You’re Not Looking For by Veera Hiranandani
    –Starfish by Lisa Fipps
    –The Genius Under the Table by Eugene Yelchin

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