2017 Sydney Taylor Book Award Winners

Compiled by Gayleen Rabakukk

Winners of the annual Sydney Taylor Book Award were recently announced by the Association of Jewish Libraries. 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.

I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark by Debbie Levy, illustrated by Elizabeth Baddeley (Simon & Schuster), won the Sydney Taylor Book Award in the Younger Readers category. This biography of the Supreme Court Justice teaches children that dissent does not make a person disagreeable, and can even help change the world. The grab-your-attention illustrations help explain the text. See Cynsations interview with Debbie Levy.

The Inquisitor’s Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children And Their Holy Dog by Adam Gidwitz, illustrated by Hatem Aly (Dutton) won the Sydney Taylor Book Award in the Older Readers category. Part fantasy and part adventure, this is the tale of strangers who become friends while on a quest to save thousands of volumes of Talmud. The illuminations reflect the medieval flavor of the book.

Anna And The Swallow Man by Gavriel Savit (Knopf) won the Sydney Taylor Book Award in the Teen Readers category. Anna is left alone in 1939 Krakow when the Nazis take her father away.  She meets the mysterious Swallow Man who is able to speak “bird,” and travels with him in the forests of Poland, where they spend four years hiding and eluding capture.   

Four Sydney Taylor Honor Books were also recognized. 

For Younger Readers, the Honor Books are Fascinating: The Life Of Leonard Nimoy by Richard Michelson, illustrated by Edel Rodriguez (Knopf), and A Hat For Mrs. Goldman: A Story About Knitting And Love by Michelle Edwards, illustrated by G. Brian Karas (Schwartz and Wade). 

Dreidels On The Brain by Joel Ben Izzy (Dial) and A Poem For Peter: The Story Or Ezra Jack Keats And The Creation Of The Snowy Day by Andrea Davis Pinkney, illustrated by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher (Viking) are the
Honor books in the Older Readers Category.

In addition to the medal winners, the award committee designated ten
Notable Books of Jewish Content for 2017

Winning authors and illustrators will receive their awards at the Annual Conference of the Association of Jewish Libraries, to be held in New York City in June. Gold and silver recipients will also participate in a blog tour during February.