Winner, three honor books selected for 2010 RUSA award recognizing outstanding Jewish literature

Contact: Liz Markel

Marketing Specialist, RUSA/ASCLA

(312) 280-4398

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January 17, 2010

<?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />BOSTON—The Reference and User Services Association (RUSA) has announced its selection for the 2010 Sophie Brody Award, an annual honor bestowed by the Collection Development and Evaluation Section (CODES) of RUSA.

The Sophie Brody Award is funded by Arthur Brody and the Brodart Foundation and is given to encourage, recognize and commend outstanding achievement in Jewish literature. Works for adults published in the United States in the preceding year are eligible for the award.

The winner and three honor books were selected by the Sophie Brody Medal Committee, whose members include Sarah Barbara Watstein, Chair, UCLA; Richard Bleiler, University of Connecticut; Carol Gladstein, McMinnville Public Library; Jack Forman, San Diego Mesa College; Amy Harmon, Cleveland Heights University; Ellen Loughran, Hunter College and Pratt Institute; Teresa Portilla Omidsalar, CSU Los Angeles; Katharine J. Phenix, Rangeview Library; Kaite Mediatore Stover, Kansas City Public Library; Pauline Swartz, Mount San Antonio College; Barry Trott, Williamsburg Regional Library; and Miriam Tuliao, New York Public Library.

The 2010 selections are:


  • The Book of the Unknown: Tales of the Thirty-Six by Jonathon Keats (Random House)

Keats' engaging book opens with a fictional scholar’s quest to understand the meaning behind a list of names found during the excavation of a German synagogue. The names are based on a group of 36 virtuous people who justify human existence before God. These finely crafted tales pay homage to the rich tradition of Jewish folklore.

Honor Books

  • Lucky Child: A Memoir of Surviving Auschwitz as a Young Boy by Thomas Buergenthal (Little Brown)

Czechoslovakia-born Buergenthal shares the compelling story of his survival in World War II, revisiting the difficult memories of his early youth spent in a Jewish ghetto, the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp, children’s barracks and an orphanage. Asking potent questions about human character, this riveting, poignant and remarkable memoir deserves wide readership.

  • The Jewish Body by Melvin Konner (Schocken)

Referring often to Jewish literature, history and culture, this succinctly written and imaginative analysis examines the inter-connections between the Jewish view of the physical human body, the Jewish conception of God, Jewish peoplehood, and the reality of a national Jewish homeland.

Stylistically rich, this book rewards close reading because there is content in every sentence.

  • Clara’s War: One Girl’s Story of Survival by Clara Kramer and Stephen Gantz (Ecco)

A teenager when the Nazis invaded her Polish town, Kramer’s moving testimony of survival is based on journals she kept during the 18-month period when she and 17 other Polish Jews secretly hid in a shallow bunker underneath a neighboring couple’s home. Illustrating the harsh truths of survival, Clara’s War is profound and utterly compelling.

The Reference and User Services Association, a division of the American Library Association, represents librarians and library staff in the fields of reference, specialized reference, collection development, readers advisory and resource sharing. RUSA is the foremost organization of reference and information professionals who make the connections between people and the information sources, services, and collection materials they need. Not a member, but interested in discounted registration rates on conference, preconferences and other events? Join, renew or add RUSA to your ALA membership at Learn more about the association at