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Preview: The Book of Life: Jewish people and the books we read

The Book of Life: Jewish Books, Music, Film & Web

Published: Mon, 08 Jan 2018 00:23:53 +0000

Last Build Date: Fri, 20 Apr 2018 08:42:22 +0000

Copyright: Copyright Feldman Children's Library, Congregation B'nai IsraelThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 License.

2018 Sydney Taylor Book Awards

Mon, 08 Jan 2018 00:23:53 +0000

Media Files:

Grand Finale

Thu, 14 Dec 2017 23:17:43 +0000

As The Book of Life goes on hiatus, we wrap up twelve years of programming with a Grand Finale. We hear from listeners and guests about their favorite interviews, and play clips from those episodes.

Media Files:

The Many Faces of the Pirkei Avot

Sun, 03 Dec 2017 19:50:27 +0000

Group interview with Jessica Deutsch, creator of The Illustrated Pirkei Avot: A Graphic Novel of Jewish Ethics, and with Lois Shenker and Rabbi Eve Posen, co-authors of Pirkei Imahot: The Wisdom of Mothers, the Voices of Women.

Media Files:

Tasa's Song

Wed, 15 Nov 2017 02:21:42 +0000

An interview with Linda Kass, author of Tasa's Song, plus the music inspired by the book, composed by Charles Weatherbee and performed by the Carpe Diem String Quartet.

Media Files:

The Yiddish Book Center

Thu, 26 Oct 2017 02:49:07 +0000

Interviews with Lisa Newman, Communications Director, and Christa Whitney, director of the Wexler Oral History Project, both at the Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, MA.

Media Files:

My Jewish Year

Sun, 03 Sep 2017 19:04:11 +0000

An interview with Abigail Pogrebin about her book chronicling her exploration of all 18 Jewish holidays in one year.

Media Files:

The Language of Angels

Mon, 14 Aug 2017 02:00:37 +0000

An interview with author Rich Michelson about The Language of Angels: a Story about the Reinvention of Hebrew.

Media Files:

Back to School with Behrman House

Mon, 14 Aug 2017 01:42:12 +0000

Vicki Weber of Behrman House tells us all about the past, present, and future of the 96 year old publisher of Jewish educational materials, just in time for back-to-school.

Media Files:

The Last Shepherd

Mon, 31 Jul 2017 21:51:43 +0000

The Last Shepherd (Evil Sun Productions) is a Hebrew-language indie comedy adventure scifi fantasy film with elements of Jewish mysticism and kabbalah. Several of the film's creators Skyped with The Book of Life.

Media Files:

Shalom, Salaam

Wed, 07 Jun 2017 00:04:49 +0000

Yaffa and Fatima, Shalom Salaam by Fawzia Gilani-Williams is the picture book we all need right now. It depicts a loving friendship between two women, one Jewish, one Muslim.

Media Files:

The Six-Day Hero

Mon, 05 Jun 2017 01:45:08 +0000

Author Tammar Stein tells us about her middle grade novel, The Six-Day Hero, about the Six-Day War in Israel, 1967.

Media Files:

PJ Our Way

Fri, 26 May 2017 01:22:35 +0000

PJ Our Way is a program of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation that offers free chapter books to Jewish families with middle grade readers. I spoke to director Catriella Freedman to learn how it works.

Media Files:

Almost a Minyan

Tue, 16 May 2017 19:01:24 +0000

A joint interview with author Lori S. Kline and publisher Debra L. Winegarten about the picture book Almost a Minyan, a traditional yet groundbreaking coming-of-age story.

Media Files:

Mamaleh Knows Best

Sun, 30 Apr 2017 23:27:28 +0000

An interview with Marjorie Ingall about her parenting guide Mamaleh Knows Best: What Jewish Mothers Do to Raise Successful, Creative, Empathetic, Independent Children.

Media Files:

Kasper Mutzenmacher's Cursed Hat

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 01:10:53 +0000

An interview with author Keith Fentonmiller about his weird and wonderful Jewish novel Kasper Mutzenmacher's Cursed Hat. Remember to donate to to get an autographed copy of Serendipity's Footsteps!

Media Files:

Serendipity's Footsteps

Tue, 18 Apr 2017 00:36:27 +0000

An interview with Suzanne Nelson about her shoe-related Jewish award winning YA novel. Donate to to get an autographed copy!

Media Files:

The (Unofficial) Harry Potter Haggadah

Mon, 03 Apr 2017 13:54:13 +0000

Rabbi Moshe Rosenberg tells us about his creation of a Harry Potter themed Haggadah for Passover.

Media Files:

Call Me

Mon, 20 Mar 2017 00:12:47 +0000

An invitation to join the How Is This Night Different? call-in project and an interview with Call Me Ishmael co-founder Steph Kent, one of the project sponsors. Check for details.

Media Files:

Mark Your Calendar

Sun, 12 Mar 2017 02:27:30 +0000

Info on projects in which you might want to participate! Read4Refugees fundraiser through 3/31/17, Call Me Ishmael 3/27-4/4/17, apply for the TENT Jewish kidlit retreat by 4/24/17. Listen to the show for details.

Media Files:

Honey and Me

Tue, 28 Feb 2017 01:38:16 +0000

An interview with Meira Drazin, author of the 2016 Sydney Taylor Manuscript Award winner, Honey and Me. Also, call in to leave your story for "How Is This Book Different?" - details at

Media Files:

Unorthodox, Live

Fri, 17 Feb 2017 03:17:01 +0000

An interview with the hosts of the Unorthodox podcast from Tablet Magazine, after their live show in West Palm Beach. Plus, an invitation to share your favorite story with Call Me Ishmael.

Media Files:

Another Me

Fri, 03 Feb 2017 04:06:00 +0000

The Book of Life's Canadian Correspondent Anne Dublin interviews author Eva Wiseman about her historical/paranormal romance, Another Me.

Media Files:

Everybody Says Shalom

Fri, 27 Jan 2017 15:19:03 +0000

A talk given by Leslie Kimmelman, author of the picture book Everybody Says Shalom, at the 2016 AJL conference.

Media Files:

The Inquisitor's Tale

Wed, 18 Jan 2017 19:06:06 +0000

An interview with Adam Gidwitz, Sydney Taylor Book Award winning author of The Inquisitor's Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog.

Media Files:

The 2017 Sydney Taylor Book Awards

Fri, 13 Jan 2017 13:57:46 +0000

An interview with Ellen Tillman, chair of the Sydney Taylor Book Award committee, which chooses the best Jewish books for children and teens each year.

Media Files:

Adam & Thomas

Sun, 08 Jan 2017 17:55:21 +0000

Adam & Thomas by Aharon Appelfeld won the 2016 Sydney Taylor Book Award. We hear about meeting Aharon, and translator Jeffrey Green speaks about the book.

Media Files:

The Sunset Gang

Mon, 19 Dec 2016 14:35:47 +0000

Author Warren Adler talks about his short story collection, The Sunset Gang. www.bookoflifepodc

Media Files:

Dreidels on the Brain

Mon, 05 Dec 2016 16:07:42 +0000

An interview with storyteller Joel Ben Izzy, author of Dreidels on the Brain.

Media Files:

Ketzel, the Cat Who Composed

Mon, 21 Nov 2016 16:13:39 +0000

An interview with Leslea Newman, author of award-winning picture book Ketzel, the Cat Who Composed, and the poetry book I Carry My Mother. bookoflifepodcast. com

Media Files:

I Dissent

Wed, 09 Nov 2016 15:23:11 +0000

An interview with Debbie Levy, author of the picture book biography I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark.

Media Files:

Once in a Lifetime

Mon, 31 Oct 2016 15:16:42 +0000

Interview with Ahmed Drame, star and co-writer of the French film Once in a Lifetime (Les Heritiers).

Media Files:


Fri, 21 Oct 2016 20:58:13 +0000

An interview with Rich Michelson, biographer and friend of Jewish actor Leonard "Mr. Spock" Nimoy.

Media Files:

The Golem

Wed, 05 Oct 2016 01:23:15 +0000

An interview with Eddie Estrin about his spoken word album, The Golem.

Media Files:

Shmelf the Hanukkah Elf

Thu, 22 Sep 2016 18:58:53 +0000

A critique of the picture book Shmelf the Hanukkah Elf by Greg Wolfe, with Rachel Kamin and Kathy Bloomfield.

Media Files:

The Hired Girl

Wed, 31 Aug 2016 18:01:19 +0000

Laura Amy Schlitz, award winning author of The Hired Girl, speaking at the Association of Jewish Libraries conference where she accepted the Sydney Taylor Book Award.

Media Files:

Biblical Wives

Wed, 27 Jul 2016 21:26:52 +0000

An interview with TK Thorne, author of Biblical novels Noah's Wife and Angels at the Gate.

Media Files:

Vox Tablet and Other Podcasts

Fri, 01 Jul 2016 18:19:58 +0000

A conversation with Sara Ivry, host of the Jewish podcast Vox Tablet from Tablet Magazine. Be sure to check the show notes for links to all the podcasts discussed.

Media Files:

The Safest Lie

Tue, 31 May 2016 20:54:34 +0000

An interview with Angela Cerrito, author of The Safest Lie, a Holocaust novel inspired by the work of Irena Sendler.

Media Files:

Viva Rose!

Fri, 06 May 2016 13:01:58 +0000

An interview with Susan Krawitz, author of Viva Rose!

Media Files:

More Than Enough

Thu, 07 Apr 2016 19:35:46 +0000

Interview with April Halprin Wayland about her Passover picture book, More Than Enough.

Media Files:

The Yiddish Fish

Thu, 03 Mar 2016 15:37:49 +0000

Interview with Santiago Cohen about his quirky picture book, The Yiddish Fish.

Media Files:

Hare and Tortoise Race Across Israel

Wed, 27 Jan 2016 17:26:34 +0000

An interview with author Laura Gehl about her picture book, Hare and Tortoise Race Across Israel.

Media Files:

My Grandfather's Coat

Mon, 04 Jan 2016 15:48:04 +0000

A group interview with the author, illustrator, and editor of the picture book, My Grandfather's Coat, with a bonus track!

Media Files:

Enough with the Holocaust Books for Children

Tue, 01 Dec 2015 20:51:07 +0000

A virtual panel discussion about the abundance of Holocaust titles for kids, and alternative reading suggestions.

Media Files:

Pick a Card, Any Card

Mon, 16 Nov 2015 17:42:37 +0000

How to join the 2015 #Readukkah Jewish Reading Challenge, and an interview with Rabbi Goldie Milgrim about Mitzvah Cards and more.

Pick a Card, Any Card

Mon, 16 Nov 2015 12:30:45 +0000

How to join the 2015 #Readukkah Jewish Reading Challenge, and an interview with Rabbi Goldie Milgrim about Mitzvah Cards and more.

Media Files:

Last of the Red Hot Mamas

Wed, 04 Nov 2015 16:50:33 +0000

An interview with Sue and Lloyd Ecker about their documentary and books on "The Outrageous Sophie Tucker."

Media Files:


Thu, 01 Oct 2015 14:51:41 +0000

An interview with Maggie Anton about the second book in her Rav Hisda's Daughter series, Enchantress.

Media Files:

Do the Menschy Thing

Fri, 04 Sep 2015 14:09:52 +0000

An interview with filmmaker Tiffany Shlain about The Science of Character, The Adaptable Mind, and The Making of a Mensch.

Media Files:

Here is the World of Leslea Newman

Mon, 03 Aug 2015 21:42:19 +0000

An interview with poet/author Leslea Newman about her round-the-year Jewish holiday picture book, Here is the World, and her other Jewish and LGBT works.

Media Files:

Welcome to Kutsher's

Mon, 15 Jun 2015 13:56:54 +0000

An interview with Ian Rosenberg, creator of a documentary film about the Catskills resort, Kutsher's.

Welcome to Kutsher's

Mon, 08 Jun 2015 21:18:35 +0000

An interview with filmmaker Ian Rosenberg about his Catskills resort documentary, Welcome to Kutsher's.

Media Files:

Playing with Matches

Tue, 12 May 2015 17:22:13 +0000

An interview with author Suri Rosen about her hip and funny Orthodox Jewish novel for teens, Playing with Matches.

Media Files:

Carol Matas

Thu, 16 Apr 2015 14:46:43 +0000

The Book of Life's Canadian Correspondent Anne Dublin interviews author Carol Matas.

Media Files:

Visible City

Wed, 11 Mar 2015 19:41:07 +0000

An interview with Tova Mirvis, author of Visible City.

Media Files:

The Pat Boone Fan Club

Sun, 22 Feb 2015 20:24:50 +0000

An interview from Book Expo 2014 with Sue William Silverman about her memoir, the Pat Boone Fan Club, My Life as a White Anglo-Saxon Jew. Since I've got a big backlog of episodes waiting to be published, I decided to publish the remaining four Book Expo episodes in one go; this is Part 4.

Media Files:

Good ole Lerner/Kar-Ben!

Sun, 22 Feb 2015 20:23:45 +0000

Interviews with Lerner Publishing, and Kar-Ben Publishing (a division of Lerner) about their new Jewish books, at Book Expo 2014.Since I've got a big backlog of episodes waiting to be published, I decided to publish the remaining four Book Expo episodes in one go; this is Part 3.

Media Files:

Eva Wiseman

Sun, 22 Feb 2015 20:22:38 +0000

An interview from Book Expo 2014 with Eva Wiseman, author of The World Outside. Since I've got a big backlog of episodes waiting to be published, I decided to publish the remaining four Book Expo episodes in one go; this is Part 2.

Media Files:

Presses with Alliterative Names

Sun, 22 Feb 2015 20:20:19 +0000

Interviews from Book Expo America 2014 with Holiday House and Second Story Press, two mainstream presses that strongly support jewish publishing. Since I've got a big backlog of episodes waiting to be published, I decided to publish the remaining four Book Expo episodes in one go; this is Part 1.

Media Files:

Diversity in Jewish Kidlit

Tue, 27 Jan 2015 20:08:05 +0000

Sylvia Rouss, Mira Reisberg, Joni Sussman and Ann Stampler spoke at the 2014 Association of Jewish Libraries conference on a panel responding to the Pew study "A Portrait of Jewish Americans" - and it all boils down to diversity.

Media Files:

The Longest Night

Mon, 05 Jan 2015 20:09:53 +0000

An interview with Laurel Snyder and Catia Chen, author and illustrator of The Longest Night, an award-winning picture book that retells the story of the Exodus from a child's point of view.

Media Files:


Wed, 03 Dec 2014 16:36:03 +0000

An interview with Donna Jo Napoli about her novel STORM, which takes place on Noah's Ark.

Media Files:

The Nazi Hunters

Tue, 11 Nov 2014 17:47:19 +0000

An interview with author Neal Bascomb about The Nazi Hunters, which won the 2014 Sydney Taylor Book Award.

Media Files:

Seminar Stories

Tue, 04 Nov 2014 22:18:26 +0000

Interviews with authors Helaine Becker and Yael Zoldan, from the Seminar on Jewish Story 2014.

Media Files:

BEA14 Variety

Wed, 01 Oct 2014 23:43:52 +0000

Interviews about new Jewish titles with Charlesbridge, Image Comics, and Dundurn at Book Expo 2014.

Media Files:

Never Say a Mean Word Again

Thu, 04 Sep 2014 14:57:52 +0000

Interview from Book Expo 2014 with Jacqueline Jules and Durga Yael Bernhardt, author and illustrator of the picture book Never Say a Mean Word Again. A powerful story of conflict resolution.

Media Files:

Jo Joe

Mon, 21 Jul 2014 21:22:10 +0000

An interview with author Sally Wiener Grotta about her novel Jo Joe.

Media Files:

Queen of the Jews

Tue, 03 Jun 2014 17:25:17 +0000

An interview with Judy Petsonk about her historical novel, Queen of the Jews, based on the life of Queen Salome Alexandra.

Media Files:

Jews in Texas

Tue, 06 May 2014 14:57:45 +0000

Author Debra Winegarten and oral historian Josh Parshall talk about the Jewish experience of living in Texas.

Media Files:

The Legacy of Jewish Swimmers

Thu, 03 Apr 2014 00:57:25 +0000

Karen Propp discusses her work in progress, a story of Jewish female swimming champs in Europe during WWII. The unpublished work won the 2013 Sydney Taylor Manuscript Award.

Media Files:

The Seminar on Jewish Story

Mon, 17 Mar 2014 03:39:11 +0000

An interview with conference organizer Barbara Krasner about the Seminar on Jewish Story taking place May 18, 2014 in NYC.

Media Files:

The Jewish Comix Anthology

Tue, 25 Feb 2014 15:18:37 +0000

An interview with Jewish Comix Anthology editor Steven Bergson.

Media Files:

Inspiration Then and Now: Raoul Wallenberg

Tue, 11 Feb 2014 15:18:09 +0000

An interview with Louise Borden, author of His Name Was Raoul Wallenberg, winner of the 2013 Sydney Taylor Book Award.

Media Files:

Hannah's Way

Fri, 10 Jan 2014 16:10:32 +0000

An interview with author Linda Glaser and illustrator Adam Gustavson, creators of picture book Hannah's Way which won the 2013 Sydney Taylor Book Award.

Hannah's Way

Fri, 10 Jan 2014 16:10:32 +0000

An interview with author Linda Glaser and illustrator Adam Gustavson, creators of picture book Hannah's Way which won the 2013 Sydney Taylor Book Award.

Media Files:

Canadian Interlude

Fri, 06 Dec 2013 00:49:20 +0000

The Book of Life's Canadian Correspondent, Anne Dublin, interviews author Sharon McKay, winner of the Canadian Jewish Book Award.

Media Files:

Laurel Snyder Redux

Wed, 06 Nov 2013 17:03:55 +0000

A conversation with Laurel Snyder, author and outside-the-box thinker in the world of Jewish kidlit.

Media Files:

Rav Hisda's Daughter

Wed, 02 Oct 2013 00:36:03 +0000

An interview with Maggie Anton, author of Rav Hisda's Daughter.

Media Files:


Mon, 09 Sep 2013 23:24:38 +0000

Interview with Deborah Heiligman, author of the teen novel INTENTIONS, which won the 2013 Sydney Taylor Book Award.

Media Files:

Whitman's Jewish Picture Books

Fri, 02 Aug 2013 19:27:54 +0000

The Albert Whitman Company comes out with a Jewish picture book or two almost every year. Here's a show-floor interview with Marketing Director Michelle Bayuk from ALA 2012 about two of their recent Jewish-interest picture books: The Wooden Sword: A Jewish folktale from Afghanistan by Ann Redisch Stampler, and Happy Birthday, Tree: A Tu B'shevat Story by Madelyn Rosenberg.

Media Files:

Zayde Comes to Live

Mon, 08 Jul 2013 03:28:43 +0000

An interview with Sheri Sinykin, author of Zayde Comes to Live.

Media Files:

The Schmutzy Family

Sun, 02 Jun 2013 19:08:58 +0000

Introducing the hilarious Shabbat picture book, The Schmutzy Family by Madelyn Rosenberg!

Media Files:

Eugene Yelchin

Fri, 10 May 2013 13:24:51 +0000

Interview with Eugene Yelchin, author/illustrator of Breaking Stalin's Nose, a Newbery Honor book.

Media Files:

The Sophie Brody Award

Thu, 04 Apr 2013 14:02:01 +0000

Interview with Emily Bergman, member of the Sophie Brody Award committee. The award is presented for Jewish literature by RUSA, an arm of ALA.

Media Files:

Hava Nagila: The Movie

Thu, 07 Mar 2013 03:04:59 +0000

Filmmaker Roberta Grossman offered a work-in-progress screening of her documentary on Hava Nagila at the Association of Jewish Libraries 2012 conference. Here we have her introductory remarks and the Q&A that followed the screening.

Media Files:

We Are Their Voice

Tue, 19 Feb 2013 23:29:35 +0000

The Book of Life's Canadian correspondent, Anne Dublin, interviews author Kathy Kacer about the compilation of children's responses to the Holocaust entitled We Are Their Voice.

Media Files:

Announcing the 2013 Sydney Taylor Book Awards

Thu, 24 Jan 2013 02:16:41 +0000

A chat with Aimee Lurie, chair of the Sydney Taylor Book Award committee, about the 2013 winners, the best Jewish children's and teen books of the year.

Media Files:

McFarland: Goyish Name, Jewish Books

Mon, 14 Jan 2013 16:29:58 +0000

McFarland Publishing offers a wide selection of Jewish titles. A show-floor interview from ALA.

Media Files:

Rubin & Sharenow: 2012 Sydney Taylor Winners

Sun, 02 Dec 2012 17:52:38 +0000

A joint interview with Susan Goldman Rubin (Music Was It: Young Leonard Bernstein) and Rob Sharenow (The Berlin Boxing Club), winners of the 2012 Sydney Taylor Book Award.

Media Files:

A Song for My Sister

Wed, 03 Oct 2012 20:52:52 +0000

The Book of Life's Canadian correspondant, Anne Dublin, speaks live with author Lesley Simpson before the Ashkenaz Festival in Toronto.

Media Files:

Looking For Me in this Great Big Family

Thu, 13 Sep 2012 14:06:20 +0000

Interview with Betsy Rosenthal, author of Looking For Me in this Great Big Family.

Media Files:

Reuven Firestone: Jews and Muslims

Wed, 11 Jul 2012 22:04:30 +0000

A live interview with Dr. Reuven Firestone, recorded at the 2012 Association of Jewish Libraries conference. Please see show notes at for links to more information about this guest and his work.

Media Files:

Marc Tyler Nobleman: Biographer of Underdogs

Wed, 09 May 2012 18:50:36 +0000

An interview with Marc Tyler Nobleman, author of Boys of Steel: The Creators of Superman, and other untold stories about underdog heroes.

Media Files:

Room Enough for Daisy

Tue, 06 Mar 2012 01:28:53 +0000

Co-authors Debby Waldman and Rita Feutl interview each other about their picture book, Room Enough for Daisy.

Media Files:

David Bezmozgis and The Free World

Sat, 03 Dec 2011 18:24:21 +0000

The Book of Life's Canadian Correspondent Anne Dublin interviews author and filmmaker David Bezmozgis about his development as a writer and his new novel The Free World. After this December 2011 episode, The Book of Life moves from a monthly schedule to an occasional schedule.

Media Files:


Tue, 01 Nov 2011 20:13:02 +0000

An interview with Ruchel Louis, author of Pulani: A Memoir of Growing Up in Apartheid South Africa.

Media Files:

Write Your Own Megillah

Mon, 03 Oct 2011 20:18:05 +0000

An interview with blogger Barbara Krasner, who is sponsoring the "Write Your Own Megillah "project to encourage Jewish children's writers a la NaNoWriMo, during Jewish Book Month.

Media Files:

Life, After

Wed, 07 Sep 2011 20:43:15 +0000

An interview with Sarah Darer Littman about her teen novel Life, After, which was a 2011 Sydney Taylor Honor Book for teens. Sarah was a guest on the show in 2006 when her debut novel Confessions of a Closet Catholic won the Sydney Taylor Book Award.

Media Files:

Wherever You Go

Thu, 04 Aug 2011 14:02:41 +0000

An interview with Joan Leegant, author of Wherever You Go.

Media Files: