PJ Library and PJ Our Way Authors and Illustrators Win 2022 Literary Awards

Mazel tov to the PJ Library and PJ Our Way authors and illustrators who are winners and finalists of two prestigious literary awards announced earlier this month, the Sydney Taylor Book Awards and the National Jewish Book Awards.

The Sydney Taylor Book Awards

The Association of Jewish Libraries announced its 2022 Sydney Taylor Book Award winners and honorees. The Sydney Taylor Book Awards are among the most prestigious in the Jewish literary community, celebrating books for children and teens that meet high literary standards and authentically portray Jewish life and experiences.

Among the books, authors, and illustrators celebrated were a number of PJ Library selections, including:

Picture Book Winner

Welcoming Elijah

The Passover Guest by Susan Kusel
Illustrated by Sean Rubin

Recommended for ages 8+

When Muriel invites a mysterious stranger to her home for Passover, she could never guess what would happen next. This update of a classic tale by the Yiddish writer I. L Peretz is a reminder that kindness can be miraculous.

Other honored PJ Library authors and illustrators:

Eugene Yelchin for The Genius Under the Table: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain published by Candlewick Press (also the illustrator of The Rooster Prince of Breslov).

Paul O. Zelinsky for Red and Green and Blue and White published by Levine Querido (also the illustrator of All-of-a-Kind Family Hanukkah).


Awards were also given to PJ Our Way books:

The Magical Imperfect by Chris Baron

Etan hasn't spoken since his mom left. Malia stopped going to school when kids started calling her The Creature. Could a mysterious jar of clay be the solution to their problems?

Benny Feldman's All-Star Klezmer Band by Allison & Wayne Marks

Benny signs up for the school talent show, but he has two big problems: 1) the last time he was on stage he wrecked the whole play, and 2) how can his band perform when he doesn't have a band?

The Seventh Handmaiden by Judith Pransky
in: Historical Fiction

Handmaiden to the secretive Lady Esther, Darya has uncovered a treacherous plot that could endanger them all. Can she save the people she cares about and discover the truth about her past?

Other honored PJ Our Way authors:

Veera Hiranandani (The Whole Story of Half a Girl)

Joanne Levy (Double Trouble, Fish Out of Water, Small Medium at Large)

National Jewish Book Awards

We're delighted to announce that How to Find What You're Not Looking For by PJ Our Way author Veera Hiranandani is a finalist in the category for middle-grade literature for the National Jewish Book Awards.

Hiranandani is the author of PJ Our Way title The Whole Story of Half a Girl (2013), and she was awarded a Newbery Honor for her 2018 title, The Night Diary. In that story, when 12-year-old Ariel Goldberg's older sister elopes after the 1967 Loving v. Virginia decision, Ariel is forced to grapple with her own family's prejudice and the antisemitism she experiences as she struggles to define her own beliefs.

Since 1950, the National Jewish Book Awards have recognized authors and titles of outstanding English language books of Jewish interest. These awards are presented in 18 categories each year, and the 2021 winners will be honored at a virtual ceremony on Wednesday, April 6, 2022.