Arts & Culture

Children’s Lit Award Presented for Book About King and Heschel

As Good As Anybody, a children’s book about the strong friendship between the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel was awarded the Sydney Taylor Award for Young Readers early this week. The book, subtitled "Martin Luther … Read More

By / January 13, 2009

As Good As Anybody, a children’s book about the strong friendship between the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel was awarded the Sydney Taylor Award for Young Readers early this week. The book, subtitled "Martin Luther King, Jr. and Abraham Joshua Heschel’s Amazing March Toward Freedom," was written by Richard Michelson and illustrated by Raul Colon and talks about the two civil rights leaders from very different backgrounds coming together to fight injustice and prejudice, according to JTA.

King and Heschel famously marched together in the1965 civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, and As Good As Anybody chronicles the parallels of their young lives and the bond they eventually formed, according to a review by Publishers Weekly. The book is geared toward readers from ages four to eight and was published by Knopf Books for Young Readers.

The Sydney Taylor Book Awards have been presented annually since 1968 as a way to encourage the publication of "outstanding books of Jewish content," according to their mission statement, and are granted to books that "authentically portray the Jewish experience." They were named after the author of the "All-Of-A-Kind Family" book series after her death in 1978. The Association of Jewish Libraries (AJL), which presents the awards, aims to promote Jewish literacy by enhancing libraries across the country with access to information related to Jewish life, and the Sydney Taylor Book Awards have become one of the most coveted awards for those who write and illustrate Jewish literature for children.

Other winners of the 2009 Sydney Taylor Book Awards include Karen Hesse’s Brooklyn Bridge for Older Readers and Valerie Zenatti’s A Bottle in the Gaza Sea for Teen Readers. Six other books were granted honors, including another of Michelson’s books, A is for Abraham: A Jewish Family Alphabet, making Michelson the first author in the 41-year history of the awards to win both the main book award and an honorable mention, according to Kathe Pinchuck, chair of the AJL awards committee.