And the Winners Are…

The Association of Jewish Libraries has just announced the Sydney Taylor Book Award winners for 2010. They are:

The 2010 Sydney Taylor Book Award Winner


  • New Year at the Pier. April Halprin Wayland. Illustrated by Stéphane Jorisch.Dial Books for Young Readers, 2009.

The 2010 Sydney Taylor Honor Award Winners


The 2010 Sydney Taylor Book Award Winner


The 2010 Sydney Taylor Honor Award Winners


The 2010 Sydney Taylor Book Award Winner


The 2010 Sydney Taylor Honor Award Winners


  • Lost. Jacqueline Davies. Marshall Cavendish, 2009.
  • Naomi’s Song. Selma Kritzer Silverberg. Jewish Publication Society, 2009.

The 2010 Sydney Taylor Notable Book for ALL AGES


It has been my honor and my privilege to be a member of the Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee for the past four years. My term ends with this award year. I have mixed feelings about saying goodbye to an opportunity that has brought me back in touch with my passion for Jewish children’s literature and with the people who ignite the fires for that passion in others – Jewish librarians and educators.

On one hand, I am now free to read and review whichever books I want. This means, without naming names or titles, if a self-published work comes to my door and I know just by looking at it that there is good reasons why it is self-published, I no longer have to go through the effort of reading the book, giving it a score and writing a review. It means that I am able to search for those secular books with Jewish values content that I feel are so important to have in our libraries. It means that I may, on occasion be able to sit back and enjoy reading an adult book just for myself once or twice a year.

On the other hand, I am truly going to miss my interaction with my fellow committee members. You have probably heard the joke about 3 Jews, 4 opinions. Well, imagine a committee of six Jewish women – Professional Jewish women – librarians, booksellers, authors, educators, managers – Opinionated professional Jewish women. Now imagine that these six women have spent a year reading, scoring and reviewing approximately 150 Jewish children’s books. They must arrive at a consensus as to which book will win the top prize in each of three categories: Younger Readers, Older Readers and Teen Readers. Following that discussion, an agreement about Honor books takes place and then a discussion about Notable books.

Somehow, over a period of about 7-10 days, with a group that spans the continent and all its time zones, the Committee manages to pull this off every year, professionally, amicably, tactfully. Our significant others know that during this period we are not to be far from email access, and don’t even think about  talking to us as our minds our on the books, the books, the books, the Awarding of the Books. I wonder, do the Newbery and Caldecott Committees go through similar tzuris (Yiddish for troubles)? In the end, we all agree, we are happy and next year’s books are showing up on the doorstep. The cycle begins again.

Fortunately, during my time on the Committee, I have been blessed to serve under two remarkable Committee Chairs, Rachel Kamin and Kathe Pinchuck. It takes stamina, political savvy and emotional armor to sift through all the comments and steer this group in the a direction that will lead to consensus, both Rachel and Kathe managed the task perfectly.

So now the winners have been announced. In July, I will join my colleagues in Seattle for the AJL Convention, where we will discuss some of the books that did not make the list in our presentation “The Sydney Taylor Committee Tells All.” It is one of the high points of the Conference. Would you like to join us? Become a member of the Association of Jewish Libraries and meet us in Seattle.

Happy Reading!

Kathy B.

PS  There were also twenty-two Notable Books selected by the Committee for 2010. All the Winners and the Notable titles can be found at

©2010 Kathleen M. Bloomfield and all rights reserved.
Books used in this review were provided by the publishers cited.
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10 Responses to “And the Winners Are…”

  1. Wendy says:

    Just added several of these to my to-read list, thanks! Especially happy to see The Importance of Wings, which I found intriguing and unique.

  2. Thank you for your years of service, Kathy! And here’s to many more years of good reading!

  3. Dear Kathy,

    I am !!!!! THRILLED !!!! beyond words to learn that my book, New Year at the Pier–A Rosh Hashanah Story, illustrated by Stephane Jorisch (Dial) has won the Sydney Taylor award. I have been on award committess and know what an overwhelming task it is…

    and I just wanted to thank you.


  4. Tasha says:

    Wonderful list! I’m so happy to see Tropical Secrets by Engle as a winner. I’m adding the other titles to my must-read list.

  5. Heidi Estrin says:

    Kathy, what a beautiful article about your time on the committee. I’m so glad you were a part of it. You definitely will be missed.

  6. I am thrilled for my TeachingAuthors co-blogger, April Halprin Wayland. NEW YEAR AT THE PIER is truly a wonderful book and it’s terrific to see it honored this way.
    Carmela Martino

  7. Robin Gaphni says:

    Thanks for posting the winners. I’ve already placed holds on many of them, and can’t wait to read them.
    So you are going to be in Seattle in July. Perhaps we can meet for coffee. I’d love to hear how the blogging is going. I’ve joined the 5 comments a day, and am already feeling overwhelmed. Oy.

  8. Madelyn says:

    I just wanted to say thanks — that is an OVERWHELMING amount of work. I can’t wait to read the picks!

  9. Ms. Yingling says:

    Thanks. I hadn’t seen this list yet.

  10. Rachel says:

    What a great post, Kathy! I’m so glad that you let me convince you to apply to be on the Committee. Your contributions have been invaluable!


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