The Beth Am Library Has a Great Collection of Books for Teens to Read During Winter Break or Any Time During the Year
In 2007, the Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee of the Association of Jewish Libraries added the Teen category to its yearly award for the best in Jewish Children’s literature. The Beth Am Library collection includes all eleven winners in this category. Most titles are fiction except the winner in 2013, The Nazi Hunters, How a Team of Spies and Survivors Captured the World’s Most Notorious Nazi, by Neal Bascomb, (YA2014). This book reads like a mystery thriller. It starts with a teenage girl and her blind father who suspect that a boy the girl has dated is the son of a top-ranking Nazi. From there, a secret agent, a lawyer, a team of expert spies, several who had survived the camps, and a man who dedicated his life to tracking down Nazis, find Adolf Eichman and bring him to justice.
Three titles, which were winners in the Older Reader category before there was an award for teen books, are also excellent reads for teens:
- The Speed of Light, by Sybil Rosen (Older 1999) is a story of how a young Jewish girl and her father help their small southern community change their segregated rules so that blacks can sit anywhere on the bus and a black ex WWII soldier can become a police office in the all-white police force.
- Real Time, by Pnina Moed Kass (Older 2004) traces a terrorist attack in Israel from many different perspectives.
- In The Entertainer & the Dybbuk, by Sid Fleishman (Older 2008) a twelve-year-old Dybbuk, the ghost of a young boy who was killed in the Holocaust inhabits the body of a non-Jewish ventriloquist, in order to avenge the Nazi who murdered him and his sister. The story is told with compassion and humor.
Please see the list below. You are sure to find a title that will grab your interest. Incidentally, adults have enjoyed these books too.
- Anna and the Swallow Man, by Gavriel Savit (YA2017)
- The Berlin Boxing Club, by Robert Sharenow (YA2012)
- The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak (YA2007)
- A Bottle in the Gaza Sea, by Valerie Zenatti (YA2009)
- The Entertainer and the Dybbuk, by Sid Fleishman (Older 2008)
- The Hired Girl, by Laura Amy Schlitz (YA2016)
- Intentions, by Deborah Heiligman (YA2013)
- The Nazi Hunters: How a Team of Spies and Survivors Captured the World’s Most Notorious Nazi, by Neal Bascomb (YA22014)
- Real Time, by Pnina Moed Kass (Older 2004)
- The Speed of Light, by Sybil Rosen (Older1999)
- Storm, by Donna Jo Napoli (YA2015)
- Strange Relations, by Sonia Levitin (YA2008)
- The Things a Brother Knows, by Dana Reinhardt (YA2011)
- Tropical Secrets: Holocaust Refugees in Cuba, by Margarita Engle (YA2010)