What a morning it is for Jewish books! Shortly after the Association of Jewish Libraries announced the winners of the Sydney Taylor Awards for the year’s best books for children and teenagers (see Marjorie Ingall’s roundup here), The Jewish Book Council released the selections for its 67th annual National Jewish Book Awards winners and finalists today. Taking the top prize is Francine Klagsbrun’s Lioness: Golda Meir and the Nation of Israel, which was recognized as the Everett Family Foundation Book of the Year. The top fiction prize was awarded to the much-lauded A Horse Walks into A Bar, penned by the Israeli writer David Grossman (and translated into English by Jessica Cohen). The book, which also won the Man Booker International Prize this past year, was reviewed here by David Mikics, who wrote that it was “scurrilous, rancid, and very funny indeed.”
David E. Fishman won the inaugural Holocaust Award In Memory of Ernest W. Michel, for The Book Smugglers: Partisans, Poets, and the Race to Save Jewish Treasures from the Nazis. The book focuses on the resistance group known as the “paper brigade,” and is, according to its description, “The Monuments Men for book lovers.”
Other fiction winners include Rachel Kadish’s The Weight of Ink, the recipient of the The Miller Family Book Club Award in Memory of Helen Dunn Weinstein and June Keit Miller. Tablet contributor Judy Bolton-Fasman described Kadish’s book as “an immersive and thrilling story that stays with the reader long after the book is finished.” Carol Zoref’s Barren Island won the Goldberg Prize for Debut Fiction.
In the category of poetry, Alicia Suskin Ostriker won the the Berru Award in Memory of Ruth and Bernie Weinflash in the Poetry for her book, Waiting for the Light, and Joey Weisenberg’s book The Torah of Music: Reflections on a Tradition of Singing and Song won The Contemporary Jewish Life and Practice Myra H. Kraft Memorial Award.
Finally, in the category of Children’s Literature and Young Adult Literature categories, respectively, the council recognized The Language of Angels: A Story About the Reinvention of Hebrew, written by Richard Michelson and illustrated by Karla Gudeon, and Refugee, by Alan Gratz. Congratulations to the winners (you can see the full list here), and to the rest of us, happy reading.