The Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee of the Association of Jewish Libraries has released a recommended "shopping-and-reading list" of the best Hanukkah books for children. Twenty-seven Hanukkah titles are listed, with brief summaries and age guidelines. A special section lists seven Hanukkah titles by the prolific Eric A. Kimmel, who was named the Sydney Taylor Body-of-Work Award winner in 2004.
"Many of these titles have received recognition from the Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee over the years," said Committee Chair Rachel Kamin. "The list includes everything from AJL Notable Books like Hanukkah, Shmanukkah!, illustrated by LeUyen Pham (Hyperion, 2005) by Esme Raji Codell to Sydney Taylor Honor Books like Chanukah on the Prairie by Bert E. Schuman, to gold medal winners of the Sydney Taylor Book Award such as The Chanukah Guest by Eric A. Kimmel."
Kathe Pinchuck, a Committee Member who helped to compile the list, added, "We’ve also listed books that are so new, they haven't had the chance to win any awards yet! We wanted to include as many in-print titles as possible from which readers and gift-givers could choose."
The book list is available in pdf format at www.jewishlibraries.org; click on "Great Hanukkah Books for Kids" under News & Announcements. Blank space has been provided at the bottom of the front page so that libraries and booksellers can add their own information before distributing copies to their patrons and customers.
"We hope that this list will help families find great Hanukkah gift books for their children, as well as seasonal stories to borrow from the library," said Heidi Estrin, past Committee Chair and designer of the book list.
The Sydney Taylor Book Award is presented by the Association of Jewish Libraries to the best in Jewish children’s literature each year. A committee of children’s librarians and other children’s literature experts evaluates over one hundred books to find the best of the best. Read more about the award (and non-Hanukkah books that have won medals) at www.SydneyTaylorBookAward.org.
Author Update: Esme Raji Codell from Cynsations. Esme's Hanukkah, Shmanukkah!, illustrated by LeUyen Pham (Hyperion, 2005) is a Jewish retelling of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. Esme says in part: "I think when an author tells a story, he lights a flame, and just like on a Hanukkah menorah, one flame lights another. When Dickens wrote his story, he lit a flame in me." Read the whole interview.