Friday, May 15, 2015

Carnival of Jewish Books – May 2015 / Iyyar 5775


If this is the 15th of the month (which it is), then this must be... the Jewish book carnival!  Don't be scared, even if you're not Jewish, you can step inside and find some great books and writers about books from all over the internet.

What goes on in a Jewish book carnival?

Glad you asked! 

imageHere, you’ll find…

  • Reviews of Jewish books
  • Interviews with authors, illustrators, editors, publishers, librarians, etc. about Jewish literature
  • Reporting on Jewish literary events (or the Jewish angle at non-Jewish events)
  • Reflective essays related to Jewish literature, which may include reflections on the process of creating a specific title (this is the one instance in which authors/publshers might discuss one of their own books, in a meaningful and non-commercial way that serves a larger goal)

The Jewish Book Carnival also has a GoodReads page, for discussions and more. Whether or not you’re participating, we hope you’ll stop by, join and take part!

If you want to host a future Jewish book carnival on your blog (and who wouldn’t?!?), contact Heidi at

And now… for the good stuff: 

The posts!

Heidi at the Book of Life blog hosts a podcast interview with Suri Rosen about her debut novel for teens, a hip and funny Orthodox story called Playing with Matches

From Yael Shahar at Damaged Mirror comes a book review of Margareta Ackerman’s Running from Giants:  The Holocaust Through the Eyes of a Child,  Yael says, “it was not miracles that saved the story's young protagonist. Rather, it was something even less predictable than chance: human kindness. Time after time, Srulik lived another day because some nameless individual chose to do the right thing.”  Read it at

Freelance writer and editor Deborah Kalb interviews a wide range of authors—fiction, nonfiction, children’s—including writers on Jewish themes, on her blog, Deborah Kalb Books.  Her latest is a Q&A with Michelle Brafman about Brafman's new novel, Washing the Dead.

Batya at me-ander received an exciting new machzor to review:  it’s for Yom HaAtzmaut and Yom Yerushalayim, “the first-ever English-Hebrew prayer book for Israel’s national holidays.”  She usually gives away her review books when she’s done, but this is one she’ll be keeping.  Read more in Jewish Israeli Holiday Special!

Lorri M. shares her response to an excellent article by William Giraldi, regarding his thoughts and feelings on Jewish writer Aharon Appelfeld which offers an “intense (albeit, short) account of Aharon Appelfeld’s life’s journey.”  You can find her response at  .

Chava Pinchuk reports to us live from the Jerusalem Women's Writers' Seminar, where she spoke with authors Yaffa Ganz, Miriam Zakon and Libi Astaire at her blog, Life is Like a Library.  Read all about what went on there at

The Fig Tree Books blog welcomes Short Story Month – happening throughout May - with Ilana Masad's look back on Grace Paley's Enormous Changes at the Last Minute.  Find out more at

On her blog My Machberet, Erika Dreifus praises Michal Lemberger's After Abel and Other Stories, calling his writing style “exquisitely and perfectly attuned to the stories’ ancient settings.”  Read her review at

Marleen Barr offers short insights from Joyce Carol Oates into the “bibliomemoir” genre and her own creative process in writing Oy Feminist Planets:  A Fake Memoir over at She Writes.  Discover it at

A relatively new – but busy – Jewish author for kids is Laura Behl, and Barbara Bietz hosts an interview with her this month at her Jewish Books for Kids blog, talking to her about her two new books this spring.  See what Laura has to say for herself, and what inspired her to write these, at

Writer (and fellow Canadian!) Marcia Goldlist shares a short rhyming excerpt from her book Enjoying Exodus: The Bible in Rhyme, along with some short spiritual lessons about helping others, at her blog Enjoying the Bible.  You can read it at

On the Fresh Ideas from the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute blog, Shulamit Reinharz writes about the book Henna House by Nomi Eve and its relevance to the political landscape of Yemen, particularly in terms of what life was like there for Jews in the first half of the 20th century.  More than a review, you’ll want to check it out at

And as for me…?  This has been my least bloggy month of the year, mainly because of Pesach (I blame Pesach for about 3 months of backlog every single year!), but I did manage to write about my vision for creative Jewish kids’ books, and why my series of photo-based holiday picture books, including Penguin Rosh Hashanah and Elephant Tisha b’Av, isn’t your typical “All About ___” Jewish kids’ book.  Though this has disappointed some reviewers, essentially I believe that “less is more” when it comes to this genre.  I invite your ideas about what makes a Jewish holiday book work.  Find that post over at my Adventures in MamaLand blog here:

Thanks for joining me on this whirligig roundup.  I hope you’ll discover some great new books, authors, and, of course… bloggers.

Shabbat Shalom from Israel!!!


  1. Extremely interesting, Jennifer. Makes me glad I have your column rss to my readers.

  2. What an especially wonderful mix of links, and what a marvelous introduction. Thank you of much of hosting!


As always, I love to hear from you.