The Sydney Taylor Book Award honors new books for children and teens that exemplify the highest literary standards while authentically portraying the Jewish experience. The award memorializes Sydney Taylor, author of the classic All-of-a-Kind Family series. Presented by the Association of Jewish Libraries since 1968, the award encourages the publication and widespread use of quality Judaic literature. The winners will receive their awards at the Association of Jewish Libraries convention in Pasadena, California this June.
This year, the recipient of the gold medal in the Sydney Taylor Book Award’s Older Readers Category is Susan Goldman Rubin for Music Was It: Young Leonard Bernstein [a 2012 YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults finalist –ed.], published by Charlesbridge Publishing. Music Was It shares the inspiring story of the young musician and his commitment to succeed in spite of his family’s opposition. Through hard work, determination and a spirit that never quit, Bernstein’s dream is realized as he takes the stage as a conductor at Carnegie Hall. Numerous photos introduce readers to Bernstein and the important people in his life. In today’s fast-paced world of immediate gratification, young people think stardom and celebrity come easy and may undervalue the importance of education, experience, and perseverance. Bernstein’s early journey, filled with personal and professional disappointments as well as successes, underscores the notion that the road to success and fame is not easy or immediate. Goldman Rubin does an exquisite job of bringing Bernstein’s world to life and making his story relevant for today’s readers. Yes, times change and technology advances, but the passion of a creative soul is timeless. From a resource perspective, teachers and librarians will cheer the impeccable research and documentation provided.