2021 Best Jewish
Children's Book
The Year’s Winners

The Association of Jewish Libraries proudly announces its coveted Sydney Taylor Book Awards for 2021 for the most distinguished contributions to Jewish children’s literature.
Winners receive cash prizes from the estate of Sydney Taylor, author of the All-of-a-Kind-Family series, at the National AJL virtual convention in late June. Taylors success created American Jewish children’s literature. Retired librarian Ellen Cole recommends these special books.

The 2021 Picture Book winner is Welcoming Elijah: a Passover Tale with a Tail.

This warmly illustrated, poetic book parallels the experiences of a young boy at a Passover Seder and a small white kitten outdoors. When the boy opens the door to welcome Elijah, he finds a furry friend instead. Simple text, diverse characters and a feeling of timelessness create a story to be treasured.

The 2021 Middle Grade Winner is Turtle Boy.

Will’s Bar Mitzvah service project helps him face challenges in his own life in this engaging story. Bullied at school and a loner, turtle-loving Will completes a bucket list of milestone activities for a terminally ill boy which gives him strength to face his own upcoming surgery.

The Young Adult winner for 2021 is Dancing at the Pity Party.

This debut memoir in graphic form is a singular achievement. This funny, sad, confidently illustrated meditation on grief is both a tribute to the author’s wonderful mom, who died at 47 of breast cancer, and a guide to Jewish mourning practices.

There are six Honor Winners in three categories:

Picture Books: 
I am the Tree of Life and Miriam at the River

Middle Grade Books:
 The Blackbird Girls
No Vacancy 

Anya and the Nightingale

Young Adult Books
They Went Left

There are 11 Notable Books.

Picture Books: The Eight Nights of Hanukkah; The Polio Pioneer: Dr. Jonas Salk and the Polio Vaccine; and The Ninth Night of Hanukkah.

Middle-Grade Books: Letters from Cuba; A Place at the Table; We Had to be Brave: Escaping the Nazis on the Kindertransport; and Beni’s War.

Young Adult: The New Queer Conscience; The Way Back; Today Tonight Tomorrow; and The Assignment.