March 19, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Snyder, Polacco, Bascomb Score 2014 Sydney Taylor Book Awards

LongestNightThe Association of Jewish Libraries (AJL) has announced the winners of its 2014 Sydney Taylor Book Award, which honors new books for children and teens that exemplify the highest literary standards while authentically portraying the Jewish experience. Winning the gold medal are The Longest Night:  A Passover Story (Random House) by Laurel Snyder, illustrated by Catia Chien; Patricia Polacco’s The Blessing Cup (S & S); and Neal Bascomb’s The Nazi Hunters: How a Team of Spies and Survivors Captured the World’s Most Notorious Nazi (Scholastic).

The Longest Night:  A Passover Story, published by the Schwartz & Wade imprint, is the winner in the Younger Readers category. Committee member Charna Gross notes: “We all know about our history as slaves in Egypt, the ten plagues, the Exodus, and the splitting of the Red Sea. But in Snyder’s retelling, accompanied by Chien’s dream-like illustrations, we are somehow transported to the rusty red banks of the Nile, witnessing each plague. This book is a marvel.”

BlessingCupThe Blessing Cup, published by the Paula Wiseman imprint, is the winner in the Older Readers category. Committee chair Aimee Lurie says, “I was moved to tears reading this book. The gorgeous illustrations and heartfelt story remind readers of the importance of sharing from generation to generation our own family histories and the incredible sacrifices made by our ancestors to start new lives in America.” Notably, in 1988, Polacco’s The Keeping Quilt was the Sydney Taylor Book Award winner for Younger Readers.

NaziHuntersThe Nazi Hunters: How a Team of Spies and Survivors Captured the World’s Most Notorious Nazi, published by the Arthur A. Levine Books imprint, is the winner in the Teen Readers category. According to committee member Barbara Krasner, “It is obvious that he spent decades conducting meticulous research on several continents to produce this winning and chilling narrative. Bascomb has set a new nonfiction gold standard for young readers.”

The committee also named six silver medalists, known as Sydney Talor Book Award Honor Books, for 2014:

Younger Readers
Stones for Grandpa (Lerner/Kar-Ben) by Renee Londoner, illustrated by Martha Avilés

Rifka Takes a Bow (Lerner/Kar-Ben) by Betty Rosenberg Perlov, illustrated by Cosei Kawa

Older Readers
The Boy on the Wooden Box: How the Impossible Became Possible…on Schindler’s List (S & S) by Leon Leyson with Marilyn J. Harran and Elisabeth B. Leyson

Dear Canada: Pieces of the Past: The Holocaust Diary of Rose Rabinowitz, Winnipeg, Manitoba, 1948 (Scholastic) by Carol Matas

STaylorLogoTeen Readers
Dancing in the Dark (Flux) by Robyn Bavati

The War Within These Walls (Eerdmans) by Aline Sax, illustrated by Caryl Strzelecki, translated by Laura Watkinson.

The awards memorialize Sydney Taylor, author of the classic “All-of-a-Kind Family” series. The winners will receive their awards at the AJL conference in Las Vegas, NV, in June. Both the gold and silver medalists will be participating in a blog tour beginning February 16, 2014; more information is available online.

Karyn M. Peterson About Karyn M. Peterson

Karyn M. Peterson ( is a former News Editor ofSLJ.