The ProsenPeople

Jewish Book Carnival September 2015

Monday, September 21, 2015 | Permalink

Jewish Book Carnival is the rotating monthly roundup of Jewish book-related blog posts around the web. Jewish Book Council is pleased to host September's Carnival—right in the middle of the Jewish holidays!

Libi Astaire reviews A Damaged Mirror by Yael Shahar: "A Damaged Mirror: A Story of Memory and Redemption is not your usual Holocaust memoir. Neither is it your usual book about teshuva (repentance). But by raising questions about the responsibility of memory and the possibility of forgiveness for crimes too horrible to contemplate, it takes us on profound journey especially appropriate for the upcoming Days of Awe and Repentance."

The coloring craze hits the Jewish world: Behrman House encourages you—yes, you—to “color your way to calmness” with a free page from Shalom Coloring, a Jewish spirituality coloring book for adults, just in time for Rosh Hashanah.

Over at Book Q&As with Deborah Kalb, Deborah chats with Karen Gooen, the self-published author of Searching for Bubbe Fischer: The Path to Mah Jongg Wisdom, about her writing process and the history and appeal of Mah Jongg among American Jewish women.

Lori M. Writings muses on the literary theme of art stolen in wartime and the restoration of such works to their original owners, comparing Anne Marie O’Conner’s The Lady in Gold: The Extraordinary Tale of Gustav Klimt’s Masterpiece, Portrati of Adele Block-Bauer and The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes, a novel of one family’s World War I survival and the painting they fight to recover.

The Fig Tree Books blog emphasizes the importance of revisiting American Jewish literary classics and offers an example: a new review of Laura Z. Hobson's Gentleman's Agreement.

On My Machberet, Erika Dreifus recommends Einat Wilf's Winning the War of Words: Essays on Zionism and Israel.

Over at A Damaged Mirror, Yael Shahar reviews Libi Astair’s The Moon Taker: “The Moon Taker takes us out of the sitting room and into the lives of some of Libi Astaire’s more colorful characters. The book’s narrator is a 14 year-old pickpocket known to his friends and accomplices as General Well’ngone, the right-hand man of the self-styled Earl of Gravel Lane.”

A Jewish Grandmother reviews The Blind Angel by Tovia and Joshua Halberstam.

Barbara Krasner at The Whole Megillah chats with picture book author Linda Elovitz Marshall about her new book, Talia and the Very YUM Kippur.

Hope springs eternal at Life Is Like a Library with some picks for Elul reading.

Heidi Estrin at The Book of Life features two Jewish “foodie” books, Spiritual Kneading Through the Jewish Months and Jewish Soul Food.

The Association of Jewish Libraries announces its book discussion title: The Wayward Moon by Janice Weizman. The discussion will be held virtually on October 18.

Rabbi Johnny Solomon shares his books of interest.

Related Content:

Jewish Book Carnival: September 2014

Monday, September 15, 2014 | Permalink

Posted by Naomi Firestone-Teeter

Hosting an early fall Jewish Book Carnival is particularly exciting, as we get to provide you with lots of interesting reads to munch on right before the holidays! In case you're new here, the Jewish Book Carnival is a monthly roundup of some of the great reviews, interviews, and articles about Jewish books and authors from around the web. Find out more information about the series here.

Before we share our colleagues' links, JBC has a few of its own offerings for this month's Carnival:

And now we release you into the hands of our fellow Jewish literary bloggers:

Barbara Krasner at The Whole Megillah focused recently on the Holocaust. She interviewed children's book writer Kathy Kacer, author of Shanghai Escape and the Magician of Auschwitz. She also interviewed The Whispering Town's author Jennifer Elvgren and illustrator Fabio Santomauro.

In September, Jill at Rhapsody in Books reviewed The Garden of Letters by Alyson Richman. This is ultimately a love story that takes place in Italy during World War II, providing a poignant glimpse of what life was like for both Jews and non-Jews in Fascist Italy.

Three delightful links from Behrman House: Robyn Fantich’s Jewish Values Challenge card set review was featured in The Bookjed Digest from The Lookstein Center for Jewish Education. Their favorite videos: Make Prayers by making music can be found here. And from the Behrman House Blog: 8 Icebreakers for the New School Year.

Among the recent treats on Erika Dreifus's My Machberet: a high-schooler's dispatch from the Great Jewish Books Summer Program, Mark Shechner's review of David Shrayer-Petrov's Dinner with Stalin and Other Stories, and a spotlight on Barbara Krasner's new picture book about Golda Meir.

Heidi Estrin at The Book of Life podcast interviews author Jacqueline Jules and illustrator Durga Yael Bernhard creators of the picture book Never Say a Mean Word Again. The story takes place in medieval Spain in the Muslim city of Granada and was inspired by a legend about how the Jewish royal advisor Samuel Ha-Nagid "tore out" a man's angry tongue and gave him a kind one instead. It is a powerful story of conflict resolution, as relevant today as it was centuries ago, and very timely for the High Holidays.

Chaya Rosen, of Art and Writings of Destruction and Repair, discusses writing as a tool of self-transformation with Yael Shahar, the author of A Damaged Mirror. When is story-telling redemptive? What do names have to do with teshuvah—with returning to our better selves? And how does writing bring out the deeper answers to the questions we can't consciously ask?

Michael Felsen shares his article, "A Philosopher’s Take on Jewish History — For Teenagers," published over at The Times of Israel.

Kathe Pinchuck shares two links with us this month:

Find links to the JBC's reviews of titles mentioned in this month's Jewish Book Carnival posts below:

February Jewish Book Carnival

Wednesday, February 12, 2014 | Permalink

Posted by Naomi Firestone-Teeter

It's been almost a year since Jewish Book Council has hosted a Jewish Book Carnival, and we're happy to take the reins this month! We're huge fans of this series, which has been produced by various Jewish literary blogs across the web since 2010. In case you're new here, each month a different host offers a round-up of some of the #JLit offerings happening online, including reviews, interviews, essays, and podcasts. Check out past posts and participants over at Jewish Book Carnival HQ.


Before we share some of our wonderful colleagues' posts, we'd like to share some updates from JBCland. If you're an author, please note that registration for our JBC Network author tours is now open. Further, if you missed the announcement about the 2013 National Jewish Book Award winners (who will be feted in NYC next month), you can find the complete list of winners and finalists here.

The Plot

Last month, we were thrilled to present two emerging writers on the Visiting Scribe series. Joshua Max Feldman, whose debut novel The Book of Jonah was published by Henry Holt and Co., and Molly Antopol, whose debut collection of stories The UnAmericans was published by W. W. Norton & Company, both offered insight into their work and that which inspires them to write (both their debut books and beyond).

Leora Wenger introduces us to the story of Rabbi Israel Meir Lau, who survived the Holocaust as a child and grew up to become Chief Rabbi of Israel. Learn more in Book Review: Out of the Depths (story of Rabbi Lau).

This month, My Machberet's Erika Dreifus sends a link to her review of Elisabeth de Waal's The Exiles Return for The Washington Post.

Barbara Krasner at The Whole Megillah | The Writer's Resource for Jewish Story announced the 2014 The Whole Megillah Picture Book Manuscript Contest. Kar-Ben publisher, Joni Sussman, is judging. Read more here.

Kathy Bloomfield continues exploring the Nissim B’Chol Yom/Blessings for Daily Miracles at her website. This month she looks at Halbashat Arumim/Clothing the Naked. While at she writes about the value of Lo Ta’Amod Al Dam Re’echa/Not Standing by While Others are Threatened.

Two Jewish-Canadian children's book writers you need to get to know over at Write Kids' Books!: Cary Fagan and Sarah Mlynowski.

Over at Life Is Like a Library, a double treat:

  • Read about National Jewish Book Award Winner Like Dreamers and seeing the author in person here.
  • A survey of recent reading that follows the dictates of the Ethics of the Fathers and includes a National Jewish Book Award Finalist, Letters to President Clinton; a book about finding friends, and a new book from Koren Publishers.

The newest episode of The Book of Life podcast, hosted by librarian Heidi Estrin, features an interview with the 2013 Sydney Taylor Book Award winner in the Older Readers Category, Louise Borden, about her stunning biography for children, His Name Was Raoul Wallenberg.

From, a few reviews:

  • Read reviews of The First Phone Call from Heaven by Mitch Albom and Undiluted Hocus-Pocus by Martin Gardner here.
  • Read a review of Marching to Zion by Mary Glickman here.
  • Read a review of Vatican Waltz by Roland Merullo here.

At the 2013 Association of Jewish Libraries conference in Houston, Texas, sessions were recorded for podcasting. Over twenty recordings can now be heard on the AJL website, sessions on everything from Jewish history to Texas Jewish culture to technology to award acceptance speeches.

Diana Bletter interviews writer Dora Levy Mossanen on her latest novel, The Scent Of Butterflies, her life in Iran, Israel and the United States, and tapping into our emotional reservoir. Also, Diana writes about the new-old anti-Semitism in France at The Huffington Post.


Find links to JBC's reviews of titles mentioned in this month's Jewish Book Carnival posts below:


April Jewish Book Carnival

Monday, April 15, 2013 | Permalink

Posted by Naomi Firestone-Teeter

Welcome to the April 2013 Jewish Book Carnival! To start of this month's edition, a few links of note from the Jewish Book Council's own website:

Moving on...

  • Leora Wenger reviews Ester and Ruzya
  • Over at "The Book of Life," a podcast interview with Emily Bergman, member of the ALA Sophie Brody Award for Jewish literature
  • Lorri M. reviews Doublelife: One Family Two Faiths and a Journey of Hope, a book that most people can relate to, whether Jewish or otherwise
  • Kathe Pinchuck, who blogs at "Life Is Like a Library," writes about meeting two authors and a film maker
  • In honor of National Poetry Month, Kathleen M. Bloomfield shares a poem by Marge Piercy and writes about her recent move to DC
  • Over at "Rhapsody in Books," Jill Broderick reviews The Imposter Bride (read Jewish Book Council's review here)
  • "Needle in the Bookstacks" interviews Rabbi Joshua Garroway about his latest book, Paul’s Gentile-Jews: neither Jew nor Gentile, but Both, which explores the formative years of Christianity 
  • On My Machberet, Erika Dreifus recommends three books that are new this spring: Ayelet Tsabari's The Best Place on Earth, Rebecca Kanner's Sinners and the Sea, and Merrill Joan Gerber's The Hysterectomy Waltz
  • AJL has created a Jewish Library Advocacy Kit to assist libraries as they educate their communities about the value of their services. The kit includes materials that can simply be handed to administrators, as well as documents to be adapted and recrafted for each library's individual situation. The pdf may also be found here.
  • At "Bagels, Books and Schmooze," Susan Curtis reviews The Lost Wife, Raquela, and Haven. Also, check out her post in honor of Ruth Gruber here.

Finally, Sami Rohr Prize finalist Haim Watzman, whose books are now available as e-books, shares four stories from his forthcoming book of short stories:

Jewish Book Carnival

Monday, October 15, 2012 | Permalink

Posted by Naomi Firestone-Teeter

Jewish Book Council is thrilled to be the October Jewish Book Carnival host. In case you're new here, the series is a monthly event where book bloggers who promote Jewish literature come together to share some of their best content from the past month. Each month the round-up of posts can be found on a different Jewish literary blog, so be sure to check out Jewish Book Carnival HQ for future (and past!) hosts (and posts!). 

Take a look at the below links, read the great articles, reviews, and interviews, and feel free to join the conversation by sharing and commenting on the posts.

To start, a few highlights from Jewish Book Council's website:

  • This month's JBC/Jewcy Twitter Book Club will take place next Tuesday. We'll be discussing Doreen Carvajal's The Forgetting River, along with the author. Find out more info here
  • Two new reading lists: American Politics and Jewish Leaders + Jews and the Theater
  • Jewish Book Month's right around the corner! Have you seen this year's poster? Check it out here.

Over on My Machberet, Erika Dreifus congratulates Yona Zeldis McDonough on the release of McDonough's latest novel, A Wedding in Great Neck.

An interview with Zayde Comes to Live author Sheri Sinykin and illustrator Kristina Swarner at The Whole Megillah can be found here.

Over at Ann D. Kofsky's blog you can find a giveaway for Brooklyn Love, "which is probably the first Orthodox Jewish romance novel," and a link to Ann on Jewish Channel TV discussing her recent article for Jewish Action Magazine.

Two reviews of Michael Chabon's newest novel, Telegraph Avenue:

  • Jonathan Kirsch's review over at
  • Zachary Solomon 's review over at 

Visit The Book of Life blog for an audio podcast interview with Lesley Simpson, author of the new picture book A Song for My Sister. This is the only book for children about the baby naming ceremony for Jewish girls.

Jill Broderick at Rhapsody in Books shares her review of Dara Horn's All Other Nights here.

Enjoy this month's contributions to the Jewish Book Carnival, and be sure to keep visiting the JBC's ProsenPeople blog for new reviews, interviews, and updates on the Jewish literary world every day. Want a weekly update in your inbox? Sign up for the JBC's weekly email here

Jewish Book Carnival

Friday, June 15, 2012 | Permalink

Posted by Naomi Firestone-Teeter

This month's Jewish Book Carnival features posts about Maurice Sendak, book reviews, essays by Randy Susan Meyers (on her Jewish Book Network tour!), Lesléa Newman, Linda Cohen, and Ann Kofsky, and reading lists. Find the Carnival here.

May Jewish Book Carnival

Tuesday, May 15, 2012 | Permalink

Jewish Book Council is pleased to be this month's Jewish Book Carnival host. The series, which is about to celebrate its 2-year anniversary, is a monthly event where book bloggers who promote Jewish literature come together to share some of their best content from the past month. Take a look at the below links, read the great articles, reviews, and interviews, and feel free to join the conversation by commenting on the posts. 

We'll kick this one off with a few May reading lists on our site, which you can find here.

Leora Wenger shares her Holocaust reading list in honor of Yom HaShoah (find JBC's list here).

On My Machberet, Erika Dreifus reflects on the late Anthony Shadid's memoir, House of Stone.

Listen to Heidi Estrin's podcast interview with Marc Tyler Nobleman, author of Boys of Steel: The Creators of Superman, over at The Book of Life.

Jonathan Kirsch reviews Benjamin Taylor's Naples Declared in The Jewish Journal.

Jean Naggar, author of the memoir Sipping from the Nile: My Exodus from Egypt, shares her thoughts on the art of the memoir with AJL's People of the Books.

Over at The Whole Megillah, Barbara Krasner reviews the new picture book Jean Laffite, The Pirate Who Saved America and interviews Ellen Cassedy, author of We Are Here.

The Hebrew Union College’s Libraries got a rare peek at everyday life in the Holocaust era ghettos with the donation of Lodz Ghetto money (and the cataloger got a dose of realia).

Finally, find links to JBC's reviews of titles mentioned in this month's Jewish Book Carnival posts below:


January Jewish Book Carnival

Monday, January 16, 2012 | Permalink

Posted by Naomi Firestone-Teeter

It's time for the Jewish Book Carnival! This month's edition is hosted over at My Machberet and includes:

  • Judy Bolton-Fasman's thoughts on Nancy K. Miller’s memoir, What They Saved: Pieces of a Jewish Past 
  • AJL Blog's thoughts on their recent publication  The Association of Jewish Libraries Guide to Yiddish Short Stories by Bennett Muraskin
  • Ann D. Koffsky review of Picnic at Camp Shalom 

Find these links and more here.

Jewish Book Carnival: June Edition

Wednesday, June 15, 2011 | Permalink

Posted by Naomi Firestone-Teeter

It’s the 15th of the month…so you know what that means. Jewish Book Carnival! The June Carnival is hosted by Erika Dreifus and features posts about Shavuot, Erika’s experience at the Jewish Book NETWORK conference last month, a podcast with Rona Arato, and MORE. And, don’t forget to join us for our Twitter Book Club today with David Bezmozgis!

October Jewish Book Carnival

Friday, October 15, 2010 | Permalink

Posted by Naomi Firestone-Teeter

We’re thrilled to host this month’s Jewish Book Carnival, a wonderful way to raise awareness about Jewish literature and build strength in the Jewish-book-blogosphere. Special thanks, as always, to Heidi Estrin and Marie Cloutier for building the community. For more information about the Jewish Book Carnival, and to view past Carnivals, please visit HQ here.

Also, please join the the Jewish Book Carnival GoodReads page to participate in conversations all month long!

Check out this month’s links below:

Libertary: The Sacrifice of Isaac: Why They Got it Wrong

Libertary is a free reading site (paperback copies are also available). The author of their submission, Henry, is blogging from Jerusalem

The Whole Megillah: Review of Queen of Secrets

Erika Dreifus: Jewish Authors Conference Recap

The Book of Life: Book Expo 2010: Jewish Presses and an Interview with Jonathan Papernick

The Mixed Up Files of Middle Grade Authors Laurel Snyder and Heidi Estrin in Conversation

Ilana-Davita: Review of And They Shall Be My People

Jew Wishes: Reviews of War on the Margins and Code Name Zegota: Rescuing Jews in Occupied Poland, 1942-1945

Rhapsody in Books: Review of The World to Come

Kar-Ben: The Purpose of Picture Books

The Fourth Musketeer: Review of Black Radishes

Boston Bibliophile: Review of The Invisible Bridge

Sylvia Rouss: Blogging on Children’s Books

The Versatile Writer: Reading The Birchbark House to a Jewish Boy

Bagels, Books, and Schmooze: Have A Little Faith: Pefect for High Holidays

Yaldah Publishing: Mitzvah the Mutt wins Moonbeam Bronze Medal!

Ann D. Koffsky: He-er-er’s Noah