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Press Release Fun: 2013 Sydney Taylor Book Awards Announced

2013 Sydney Taylor Book Awards Announced by the Association of Jewish Libraries

The Sydney Taylor Book Award honors new books for children and teens that exemplify the highest literary standards while portraying the Jewish experience. The award memorializes Sydney Taylor, author of the classic All-of-a-Kind Family series.

 The Sydney Taylor Book Award Winner for Younger Readers

Linda Glaser and Adam Gustavson will receive the 2013 gold medal in the Sydney Taylor Book Award’s Younger Readers category for Hannah’s Way, published by Kar-Ben, an imprint of Lerner Publishing. When Hannah’s family relocates to rural Minnesota after her father loses his job, she is the only Jewish student in her class. Hannah worries she will not be able to attend a Saturday class picnic when her teacher arranges a carpool. Her observant family does not ride in cars on the Sabbath. In a delightful display of acceptance and friendship, the entire class chooses to walk with Hannah so she can attend the picnic. Barbara Krasner, a member of the Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee, said: “The Minnesota setting, the Depression timeframe, and a Jewish girl’s dilemma all add up to a winning story.” In 2011, Glaser received a Sydney Taylor Honor for her book, Emma’s Poem: The Voice of the Statue of Liberty. 

The Sydney Taylor Book Award Winner for Older Readers

The award in the Older Readers category will be presented to Louise Borden for His Name Was Raoul Wallenberg, published by Houghton Mifflin Books for Children. Written in verse, this biography of the Swedish humanitarian highlights his commitment to rescuing Jewish people in Budapest during World War II for readers aged eight to twelve. Teeming with photographs, Wallenberg’s passion for helping others is dramatically portrayed. Committee Chair, Aimee Lurie commented: “His Name Was Raoul Wallenberg shows how the courageous actions of one person, despite tremendous obstacles, can make a difference. Louise Borden’s well-researched biography will, without out a doubt, inspire children to perform acts of kindness and speak out against oppression.” In 2006, Borden’s The Journey that Saved Curious George: The True Wartime Escape of Margaret and H.A. Rey was a Sydney Taylor Honor Book for Younger Readers.

The Sydney Taylor Book Award Winner for Teen Readers

Deborah Heiligman will receive the 2013 gold medal in the Sydney Taylor Book Award’s Teen Readers category for Intentions, published by Knopf Books for Young Readers an imprint of Random House, Inc. The loss of innocence Rachel Greenberg, 16,  experiences when the adults in her life — including her parents, friends, and rabbi — betray her trust and the relationship with her best friend crumbles is explored in this contemporary novel. Diane Rauchwerger, member of the Award Committee noted: “Rachel grows in her understanding and strength of character, while struggling with moral issues teens confront every day. Most importantly, she learns to forgive and to act with intention.”

Honor Books

Four Sydney Taylor Honor Books were named for 2013: The Elijah Door: A Passover Tale by Linda Leopold Strauss with illustrations by Alexi Natchev (Holiday House) and Zayde Comes To Live written by Sheri Sinykin and illustrated by Kristina Swarner (Peachtree Publishers) are recognized in the Younger Readers category.

The Wooden Sword by Ann Redisch Stampler with illustrations by Carol Liddiment (Albert Whitman & Company) garnered recognition as an Honor Book for Older Readers. For Teen Readers, the honor goes to Beyond Courage: The Untold Story of Jewish Resistance During the Holocaust by Doreen Rappaport (Candlewick).

In addition to the medal winners, the Award Committee designated thirteen Notable Books of Jewish Content for 2013. More information about the Sydney Taylor Book Award can be found at

About Elizabeth Bird

Elizabeth Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.


  1. My kids and I love Hannah’s Way. It can be paired with Molly’s Pilgrim.

  2. I love Hannah’s Way, and it’s circulated very well here in our small Virginia library system.

  3. “His Name Was Raoul Wallenberg” was a great choice! Hope it brings Louise Borden’s books even wider attention.