The Year’s Winner
The Jewish Book Council announces the winners of this year’s National Jewish Book Awards, based on books published last year in 2021. Winners receive cash prizes from generous donors to the JBC who endowed funds for various categories. These awards were established in 1950 to recognize outstanding works of Jewish literature. They are the oldest awards of their kind. Retired librarian Ellen Cole recommends these special books.
Children’s Picture Book:
Winner: Dear Mr. Dickens
This rare story of an ordinary mother confronting a world famous author about his naked anti-Semitism is stunning. Eliza Davis, an English-Jewish wife and mother is upset by Charles Dickens’ description of Fagin in his best seller Oliver Twist. She writes to him until he answers, persisting until she stops a wrong. Dickens atones. The book includes quotes from their 19th century correspondence confronting a problem still potent today.
Soosie: The Horse That Saved Shabbat
The People’s Painter: How Ben Shahn Fought for Justice with Art
The Singer and the Scientist
Middle Grade Literature:
Someone sneaks into school, vandalizes it with a swastika. Who would do such a thing? Because Michael was the first person to see it, he’s the first suspect. Because Link is one of the popular guys, everyone assumes he will figure it out. Because Dana’s the only Jewish girl in the whole town, everyone’s treating her like an outsider more than ever. They discover the truth involves crimes of the past and present before solving the mystery.
The Unfinished Corner
How to Find What You’re Not Looking For
Young Adult Literature:
Winner: Rebel Daughter
A young woman survives the unthinkable in this emotionally satisfying historical fiction of family, love and resilience set against the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 CE. Esther dreams of so much more than her arranged marriage to a prosperous silversmith. As the streets turn into a bloody battleground between rebels and Romans, Esther’s journey becomes one of life or death, braving famine, siege, and slavery to protect her own.
The City Beautiful
When the World Was Ours