Interview with Linda Silver

On Sunday March 13th at 1:00 in the Hartzmark Library of Temple Tifereth Israel, please join our chaper as we celebrate the publication of Linda Silver’s new book, Best Jewish Books for Children and Teens.   Thank you to Linda for taking the time to answer a few questions.  

(AJL GCC) How did you become interested in Jewish Literature for children?

            (LINDA  SILVER) First, I believe I was born to be a reader.  In library school, I was educated to be a children’s librarian.  Children’s books are my love and they have been the focal point of my professional career.  When I became a synagogue librarian, I learned the power of books to inculcate Jewish values and Jewish identity, to express the honor of being Jewish, and to ignite the curiosity of Jewish children.

(AJL-GCC) What are the challenges of writing about Jewish Books for children?

            (LS)Writing about books requires discipline and concentration along with deep knowledge and even deeper respect for the power of literature to illuminate human experience.  Perhaps my biggest challenge when I was writing Best Jewish Books for Children and Teens was working with JPS’s superb copy editor, Janet Liss.  She questioned almost everything I wrote and made me a better author of a better book in the process.

(AJL GCC) Are there any new, up-and-coming authors that you recommend?

           (LS)  I admire the passion and authenticity of writers like Margot Rabb, Sarah Darer Littman, Erica Silverman, and the pseudonymous Eshes Chayil, who wrote Hush. 

          (AJL GCC) What can attendees expect to hear about during your presentation?

            (LS) I intend for my presentation to be a discussion of what makes a best book, what makes a Jewish book, and how librarians can use my book to enhance their own work in school and synagogue libraries.

 (AJL GCC) What is your favorite AJL memory or experience?

            (LS) Just one?  Winning AJL’s Fanny Goldstein Award for meritorious service to Judaic libraries was a great honor.

            Serving on and then chairing the Sydney Taylor Book Award committee was a wonderful experience that has influenced my subsequent career as well as forming some treasured friendships.

            Experiencing how the Greater Cleveland Chapter coalesced to pull off the 1996 AJL convention in Cleveland was a roller coaster ride.  The planning for that convention got off to a very rocky start.  Seven of us in AJL-GCC formed a planning committee, meeting once a week at Fran Friedman’s, having a sometimes trying but more often great time of it, bonding over our shared goal of creating a great Cleveland experience, and remaining friends ever since.

            Funniest memory of a person with a sardonic sense of humor: the convention Awards banquet when the Sydney Taylor Book Award winning author gave a long but entirely inaudible speech; the winning illustrator’s foreign accent made his speech incomprehensible; and the winning Sydney Taylor Manuscript Award winner chose to tell the audience all about her infertility problems. Oy!

To RSVP to Sunday’s program, please contact Ilka Gordon at:  igordon@siegalcollege.edu.

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