Book on King-Heschel bond wins children’s lit award

BOSTON (JTA) — A book that traces the lives and friendship of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel won an award for Jewish children’s literature.

"As Good As Anybody," by Richard Michelson and illustrated by Raul Colon, won the Sydney Taylor Award for Young Readers.

The book tells the story of how King and Heschel, religious civil rights leaders from different backgrounds, came together to fight prejudice.

“Brooklyn Bridge” by Newbery medalist Karen Hesse, won the award in the older readers category for her immigrant novel.

“A Bottle in the Gaza Sea,” by Valerie Zenatti, a poignant story that tackles the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from the voices of two teens, won the award for teen readers.

The three winners share a theme of bridging community, said Kathe Pinchuck, chair of the Association of Jewish Libraries’ awards committee.

Other titles set in Israel are among this year’s recognized books, including “Freefall," a novel for teens, and "Jodie’s Hanukkah Dig," both by Israeli writer Anna Levine; "The Bat-Chen Diaries: Selected Writings by Bat-Chen Shahak"; and "Keeping Israel Safe: Serving in the Israel Defense Force," by Barbara Sofer.

This is the first time in the award’s 41-year history that one author, Michelson, won the main book award as well as winning an honor for his young readers picture book, “A is for Abraham,” illustrated by Ron Mazellan, according to Pinchuck.

The Sydney Taylor Awards, named after the popular author of the beloved "All-Of-A-Kind-Family" series, is among the most coveted awards for writers and illustrators of Jewish children’s literature.

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