Green Bean Books and the Jewish Literary Foundation provide annual prizes for children’s authors and illustrators living in Europe and the UK. The awards have been established to discover inspiring and relevant stories for young children based on Jewish history, values and traditions.
In partnership with Green Bean Books.
One author and one illustrator will each receive a separate £1,000 prize and their work will be considered for publication by specialist Jewish children’s book publisher Green Bean Books.
Green Bean Books and Jewish Book Week are delighted to reveal the winners of the second Jewish Children’s Book Awards. The winner of the illustration prize is Italian-Jewish illustrator Mel Zohar. The winner of the writing prize is London-based Dina Leifer for And Eddie Had An Egg. Two other writers were shortlisted for the text award: Rebecca Marcus for Even the Masfa, and Angela Kanter for On One Leg.
Mel Zohar is a Rome-based illustrator, born in September 1990, who illustrated a story about her grandparents’ delicious magical challah which grows so big that it feeds the whole town, even the poor and the homeless, for Shabbat. The Rabbi exclaims: “Bobe’s challah is just like manna from heaven!”
Dina Leifer: An Eddie Had An Egg is a tale based on her memories of her own son and his reluctance to try new food.
The awards are judged by author and chair of the book selection committee of PJ Library Chris Barash; publisher of Green Bean Books Michael Leventhal; director of the Children’s and YA department at Kinneret-Zmora-Dvir Yael Molchadsky; translator and author Lawrence Schimel; and award-winning author Eric Kimmel.
Judge Michael Leventhal commented:
“Mel Zohar’s illustrations about an ever-growing challah are bright and exciting. She is incredibly creative and original talent. Dina Leifer’s story is a charming, witty and clever story about a boy who is a fussy eater but eventually gets one over his parents.”
Mel Zohar, 32, from Rome, Italy, said:
“I want to thank all the judges who, with this decision, have made me very happy, not only for the recognition I have received for my work as an illustrator, but even more because these images come from my personal family background and from my personal bond with the Jewish tradition and creating them was very emotionally involving for me. And I also want to really thank my Bobe for inspiring them.”
Dina Leifer, 56, who was born in Dundee and now lives in London said:
“I am delighted! And Eddie Had An Egg is a story that is very close to my heart, so it means a great deal that it was chosen by the distinguished panel at the Jewish Children’s Book Awards. Winning this award has boosted my confidence to go on and write more Jewish stories for children.”
The winners of the inaugural Jewish Children’s Book Awards were Sharon Spitz (illustration) for S.Y. Agnon and Carol Isaacs (writing) with Samira’s Stars. See more about the Jewish Children’s Book Awards 2021.