For immediate release | January 24, 2022

2022 Sydney Taylor Book Award winners announced

CHICAGO – The 2022 winners of the Sydney Taylor Book Award, administered by the Association of Jewish Libraries, an affiliate of the American Library Association (ALA), were announced at 8 a.m. CT, during LibLearnX: The Library Learning Experience, held Jan. 21 - 24.

The Sydney Taylor Book Award is named in memory of the classic All-of-a-Kind Family series author Sydney Taylor. The award recognizes titles for children and teens that exemplify high literary standards while authentically portraying the Jewish experience.

“Our winners take a fresh look at Jewish Historical fiction, while providing a rich diversity of Jewish experiences. We're incredibly proud to add these wonderful titles to the esteemed list of Sydney Taylor books.” said Martha Simpson, chair of the Sydney Taylor Book Award committee.

2022 Sydney Taylor selections include:


“The Passover Guest,” by Susan Kusel, illustrated by Sean Rubin, published by Neal Porter Books, Holiday House, is the winner of the Picture Book category. In Washington, D.C. during the Great Depression, Muriel invites a ragged juggler to celebrate Passover with her family. When he arrives, they are stunned to discover a magnificent feast.

With illustrations influenced by Marc Chagall, Kusel’s debut picture book will resonate with readers young and old.

“How to Find What You’re Not Looking For,” by Veera Hiranandani, published by Kokila, an imprint of Penguin Random House, won the Sydney Taylor Book Award in the Middle Grade category. It's 1967, and Ariel Goldberg is trying to cope with her older sister’s elopement with a man from India and her own struggles at school. Narrated in the second person, Hiranandani perfectly captures this turbulent period in history through the lens of a sympathetic and compelling preteen Jewish girl.

“The City Beautiful,” by Aden Polydoros, published by Inkyard Press, won the Sydney Taylor Book Award in the Young Adult category. Romanian-Jewish immigrant Alter Rosen is trying to adapt to American life. When a friend is murdered, he’s inhabited by a dybbuk and must find the killer. Masterfully combining fantasy, mystery, LGBTQ romance, and historical fiction, this gripping story is set against the sparkling façade of the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair.


Eight Sydney Taylor Honor Books were also recognized. For Picture Book, the Honor Books are: “Nicky & Vera: A Quiet Hero of the Holocaust and the Children He Rescued,” by Peter Sis, illustrated by Peter Sis, published by Norton Young Readers, an imprint of W.W. Norton & Company; “Dear Mr. Dickens,” by Nancy Churnin, illustrated by Bethany Stancliffe, published by Albert Whitman & Company; and “The Christmas Mitzvah” by Jeff Gottesfeld, illustrated by Michelle Laurentia Agatha, published by Creston Books.

For Middle Grade, the Honor Books are: “The Genius Under the Table Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain,” by Eugene Yelchin, illustrated by Eugene Yelchin, published by Candlewick Press; and “Linked,” by Gordon Korman, published by Scholastic Press, an imprint of Scholastic.

For Young Adult, the Honor Books are: “The Last Words We Said,” by Leah Scheier, published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division; “Whistle: A New Gotham City Hero,” by E. Lockhart, illustrated by Manual Preitano, published by DC Comics; and “The Summer of Lost Letters,” by Hannah Reynolds, published by Razorbill, an imprint of Penguin Random House.

In addition to the medal winners, the Award Committee designated ten Notable Books of Jewish Content for 2022. More information about the Sydney Taylor Book Award and a complete listing of the award winners and notables can be found at 

The Sydney Taylor Body-of-Work Winner, which recognizes an author or entity who has made a substantial contribution over time to the genre of Jewish children’s literature, is Jane Yolen. Author of more than 400 books, she has received Sydney Taylor Honors for “Naming Liberty,” in 2009 and “Miriam at the River,” in 2021, and two Sydney Taylor Notables. Her middle grade novel, “The Devil’s Arithmetic,” won both the National Jewish Book Award and the 1988 Sydney Taylor Book Award.

Winning authors and illustrators will receive their awards at the Annual Conference of the Association of Jewish Libraries, to be held at the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, from June 26 to June 30, 2022. Gold and Silver medalists will also participate in a blog tour February 7-11, 2022. For more information about the blog tour please visit .

A full list of all the winners is available on the Sydney Taylor Book Award website: .

Members of the 2022 Sydney Taylor Book Award committee are Chair: Martha Simpson, Stratford Library, Stratford, Connecticut; Judy Ehrenstein, Little Falls Branch, Montgomery County Public Libraries, Bethesda, Maryland; Toby Harris, Temple Beth Am Synagogue, Seattle; Carla Kozak, San Francisco Public Library, Retired; Aviva Rosenberg, Ridgefield Public Library, Ridgefield, New Jersey; Talya Sokoll, Noble and Greenough School, Dedham, Massachusetts; and Kay Weisman, Booklist, Vancouver, British Columbia.

The Association of Jewish Libraries (AJL) promotes Jewish literacy through enhancement of libraries and library resources and through leadership for the profession and practitioners of Judaica librarianship. The Association fosters access to information, learning, teaching and research relating to Jews, Judaism, the Jewish experience and Israel. AJL is an affiliate of the American Library Association.


Macey Morales

Deputy Director

American Library Association

Communications and Marketing Office