All of us have heard of the Newbery Awards, but there is another very prestigious award that is given out every year that you may not be as familiar with. It is The Sydney Taylor Book Award and it is presented to outstanding books for children and teens that authentically portray the Jewish experience. Presented by the Association of Jewish Libraries since 1968, the award encourages the publication and widespread use of quality Judaic literature.
Gold medals are presented in three categories: Younger Readers, Older Readers, and Teen Readers.
Honor Books are awarded silver medals, and Notable Books are named in each category.
Kristina Swarner illustrated ZAYDE COMES TO LIVE written by Sheri Sinykin. The book was a 2013 Sydney Taylor Honor Books for Younger Readers Award. It was published by Peachtree Publishers.
Kristina’s illustrations are often described as magical and dreamlike and she draws much of her imagery and inspiration from dreams and from memories of exploring forests, gardens, and old houses when she was a child.
Since graduating from the Rhode Island School of Design, Kristina has illustrated books, greeting cards, magazines, wine labels, CD covers, and theatre posters, and has won numerous awards. You will be hearing more about Kristina and her beautiful illustration on a future Illustrator Saturday post.
For now, I want too share with you some of the answers to questions I had for Kristina about this book and the wonderful recognition she has been awarded for this book.
How did you come involved with Zayde Comes to Live?
As I heard it, Jane Yolen recommended me to Sheri Sinykin as a possible illustrator. Luckily for me Peachtree Publishing agreed with the choice.
Tell use your thought processes when you knew you were chosen to illustrate the book. Did the ideas immediately come to you or did you play around with different ways to approach the book?
I really didn’t want to make the art too sad or pensive. The ideas evolved as I sketched, and the more I sketched, the more the tenderness and joyfulness of the story came out in the art.
How do books get considered for the Sydney Taylor Book Award?
So far it’s been a mysterious process to me, because my publishers submit the books without telling me, and then I’ll suddenly get a phone call that I’ve won.
Did you know that the book was under consideration for the award?
I suspected that it was, and Sheri confirmed it.
How did you find out that the book and your illustrations had won the award?
The call came on a grey day in early January. First I was asked how I would feel about being recognized again by the Sydney Taylor Committee. Of course I said that I would feel delighted.
What has happened since it won?
This early, it’s mostly been a lot of congratulations, and interviews.
Congratulation Kristina! We will spend more time with you on Saturday February 23rd.
Below is the schedule for:
THE 2013 SYDNEY TAYLOR BOOK AWARD BLOG TOUR
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 11, 2013
Ann Redisch Stampler, author of The Wooden Sword Sydney Taylor Honor Award winner in the Older Readers Category At Shelf-Employed
Carol Liddiment, illustrator of The Wooden Sword Sydney Taylor Honor Award winner in the Older Readers Category At Ann Koffsky’s Blog
Doreen Rappaport, author of Beyond Courage: The Untold Story of Jewish Resistance During the Holocaust Sydney Taylor Honor Award in the Teen Readers Category At Bildungsroman
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 12, 2013
Linda Glaser, author of Hannah’s Way Sydney Taylor Book Award winner in the Younger Readers Category At This Messy Life
Adam Gustavson, illustrator of Hannah’s Way Sydney Taylor Book Award winner in the Younger ReadersCategory At Here in HP
Louise Borden, author of His Name was Raoul Wallenberg Sydney Taylor Book Award winner in the Older Readers Category At Randomly Reading
Deborah Heiligman, author of Intentions Sydney Taylor Book Award winner in the Teen Readers Category At The Fourth Musketeer
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 13, 201
Sheri Sinykin, author of Zayde Comes to Live Sydney Taylor Honor Award in the Younger Readers Category At Read, Write, Repeat
Kristina Swarner, illustrator of Zayde Comes to Live Sydney Taylor Honor Award in the Younger Readers Category At Writing & Illustrating
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 2013
Linda Leopold Strauss, author of The Elijah Door Sydney Taylor Honor Award in the Younger Readers Category At Pen and Pros
Alexi Natchev, illustrator of The Elijah Door Sydney Taylor Honor Award in the Younger Readers Category At Madelyn Rosenberg’s Virtual Living Room
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 15, 2013
Blog Tour Wrap-Up at The Whole Megillah
Did you notice that New Jersey Adam Gustavson won the award for his illustrations in Hannah’s Way? He was featured July 2, 2011 on Illustrator Saturday.