[COLD OPEN] Hi, I'm Sean.. ahem... Mee Mee Mee Mee Mee. I'm Sean Rubin, illustrator of The Passover Guest.
Hi, I'm Susan Kusel, author of The Passover Guest.
I'm Veera Hiranandani, author of How To Find What You're Not Looking For.
I'm Aden Polydoros, author of The City Beautiful.
We'll be joining you soon on The Book of Life podcast. And we'd like to dedicate this episode to Martha, Aviva, Carla, Judy, Toby, Talya, Kay and Rebecca, this year's Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee.
[INTRO, MUSIC] This is The Book of Life, a show about Jewish kidlit, mostly, I'm Heidi Rabinowitz. Welcome to this special edition of The Book of Life, recorded as a part of the 2022 Sydney Taylor Book Award blog tour. Visit Jewishlibraries.org to find a full schedule of interviews with the gold and silver medalists, which will be published on blogs across the blogosphere between February 7 and 11th, 2022, and will of course remain available to read at your convenience. I had the pleasure of speaking with the gold medalists Susan Kusel and Sean Rubin, author and illustrator of the picture book The Passover Guest, Veera Hiranandani, author of the middle grade novel, How To Find What You're Not Looking For, and Aden, Polydoros, author of the young adult novel The City Beautiful. I hope you'll enjoy the conversation as much as we did.
Mazel Tov on your winning the Sydney Taylor Book Award - yay! Susan, I believe you are the first person who has ever won a Sydney Taylor Book Award gold medal after having been a member of the committee, so you have a unique perspective. How does knowing the process affect your feelings on receiving the award?
Well, I think it affects everything. I know exactly what it takes to be on this committee. I have immense respect for these committee members. For this process, you have to read a lot of Holocaust books, think about Jewish authenticity, Jewish content with every single book you pick up. And there are so so many books. And I know that the picture book category particularly has a lot of books, I know that it's a very tough category, I wasn't expecting to win. It means more than I can possibly say, to get recognized by your peers, by your colleagues, knowing what it takes, and having not just been on this committee, but having been on committees like the Caldecott, knowing what it takes to keep a book on the table. It's a very hard, hard thing. And I didn't think my book was going to get through all that. So it feels like a miracle.
I've been hearing about Sydney Taylor, really since I started the book project, because Susan used to be committee chair for the award. I know this award is super important to her. Also just knew it was important, just in terms of Jewish children's literature. For me, this book really represented a kind of a journey into sort of reclaiming some of my Jewish identity. So the idea of getting an award for having authentically portrayed Jewish experience to me, it's kind of ironic, in a way, I think there was a lot of work I had to do both for myself and on myself in order to get there and The Passover Guest is the result of that. To get this award that is about the Jewish experience is like a seal literally, of approval, especially from the Jewish librarian community. So that means a lot.
Aden, Were you familiar with this book award? And what did you think when you got the call?
I had done some research into potential awards to apply for for The City Beautiful. So I was aware of the Sydney Taylor Book Award. And for me, it was one of the awards that I truly hopedThe City Beautiful would win, I think because it would just be so validating. I think for me, one thing that kept returning to my mind during the drafting process of this book was if it had a place in the market, if it was too queer of a book to be considered a Jewish book or too Jewish to really fit into queer literature. So it was just extremely validating to receive the award.
Aden, I just want to add to that: place in the market was something that I thought about for a long time with my book, too; it was based on a you know, a Yiddish writer and who was going to buy that and why did they want to buy it and was there a place in the general market? Would a mainstream publisher even be interested? It is something you go back and forth with with a Jewish book, and so it is validating to be recognized.
Yeah, I actually ended up switching agents during the drafting process because my previous agent didn't represent darker works or horror. I think for me, that was an extra twinge of doubt for my book's future. So I'm just really glad that I continued to believe in the book and query it.
We're all glad that you did. Veera?
It really blows my mind. I really am so honored by it. And also, as Aden said, it was very validating. I was definitely aware of the award. It was the one award I was really trying hard not to think about this year. My first book, The Whole Story of Half a Girl won a Sydney Taylor Notable. I thought, oh, my gosh, a Sydney Taylor Award. Well, that's so perfect, because I was such a fan of Sydney Taylor's books growing up. I think, for me, my connection to All-of-a-Kind Family was unique in the sense that I grew up in a pretty secular household. My father's Hindu and my mother is Jewish. And in some ways, the way they dealt with some of the complications in their marriage, they decided that religion wasn't... they didn't center it. Well, of course, we celebrated all the major holidays, and my Jewish grandparents were very involved in our lives. And so that was my connection that way. But when I discovered these books, I felt like I could finally connect in a certain way, at least, like half of me, connected in this way that I hadn't ever been able to connect to a book before ever.
And I will say, having been the chair and have been made the calls to tell people that they've won, you get the entire range from Oh, what's that again, and I have to google that to like, oh my gosh, I love All-of-a-Kind Family so much, or, Oh, I've been sitting by my phone waiting for this call. The entire gamut. Fascinating, you know, when you make call after call after call to see what people say.
Let's hear briefly about each book for people who have the exciting prospect of encountering them for the first time still to come. So let's go in age order and first hear about our picture book winter. Susan, just tell us very briefly, what is The Passover Guest about?
My head is so spinning that I forget what my book is about at this moment. But I can come up with it because it did take 10 years. So you'd think I would know about it by now. The Passover Guest is the story of a young girl who is so poor, they can't afford a Passover seder this year. She lives in Washington DC during the Great Depression. She passes the Lincoln Memorial, sees a magician, and she puts a penny that she really can't afford in this magician's hat. And once she's home, that same magician knocks on her door and suddenly he makes this magical Passover seder appear. It's based on the story of The Magician by the great father of Yiddish literature, IL Peretz.
Very good. Okay. Veera, tell us about your middle grade gold medalist How to Find What You're Not Looking For.
Yes, so How to Find What You're Not Looking For is about an 11 year old girl named Ariel, whose parents run a Jewish bakery in a small town in Connecticut, where there are very few Jewish families. So Ariel feels kind of outside of things. When her older sister falls in love with an Indian college student, Ariel's parents react pretty strongly, they don't accept the relationship. And so her sister elopes with Raj. This all takes place right after the Loving versus Virginia ruling in 1967, which banned all laws against interracial marriage. And this is inspired by my own parents' story. They got married in 1968. So I wanted to create a story that was inspired by what my parents went through and kind of how I came to be. You know, when I was growing up reading All-of-a-Kind Family I always wondered what it would be like to have two Jewish parents or two Indian parents because growing up in Connecticut, I felt confused by my background. So that's really what I was trying to do in creating Ariel's world.
All right, thank you. And Aden, the gold medalist for young adults, The City Beautiful. Let's hear about that.
Well, The City Beautiful is a gothic fantasy novel, set during the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago. It centers 17 year old Alter Rosen, a Jewish immigrant from Romania, who becomes possessed by his best friend's dybbuk. In order to free himself of the possession before the spirit takes over his body for good, he enlists the help of Frankie, a teenage pickpocket turned boxer and Raizel, a budding journalist with one of Chicago's top anarachist newspapers, and has to search for his friend's killer.
So three very different books, but all very creative and exciting in entirely different ways. Sean, there is a heavy Chagall influence evident in your illustrations. Can you talk about the impact of artist Marc Chagall on your work?
Yeah, I had a poster of "I and the Village" in my room growing up that we got at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. And the first cellphone I had was probably a Nokia something or another; I took a picture of that poster like that was the background and I can barely even tell you why I did this, I was like 15 or 16. I knew he was an important painter. I knew he was an Ashkenazi Jewish painter. I loved his colors. I loved the things that he chose to paint. He painted a lot of his environments, urban environments, family, community; people familiar with my work would kind of know I've done that, especially with New York City. I don't necessarily do things that look exactly like his. The Passover Guest was kind of, you know, showing my hand a bit. But I also thought it was appropriate. The origin of the story was based on a IL Peretz, a shtetl story. So making the DC Jewish neighborhood look a little bit like a shtetl, you know who are you going to go to, to really get a sense of how to paint that, it's going to have to be Marc Chagall. Yeah, it was fun to be able to do this. One of the things I love about being an artist and writer as a profession, is that I get to kind of explore the work of other artists and writers a lot and then sort of take that and do something with it. A lot of my work is inspired by other artists. This was just an opportunity to do something based on one of my favorites.
Excellent. Aden, on your webpage, you have content warnings about violence in the story.
Yeah, I decided to include content warnings for the book on my website. And I plan to do so for all future books I write. The book deals with some heavy topics, the violence, antisemitism and the sexual assault, which is referenced but not on page. I do think that there can be a knee jerk reaction to content warnings, especially ones that deal with sexual assault. Some people may think that because a book deals with a certain subject that the book is condoning that, when of course, obviously that isn't the case.
Right? Yeah, it's very tricky. It seems like in the current atmosphere, it's probably only a matter of time before someone tries to ban The City Beautiful, despite its winning this award, and a lot of other great accolades.
I'm honestly prepared for that, and it's a matter of when. I wouldn't at all be surprised if The City Beautiful does get banned because of the content, whether that's queer, whether it dares to discuss the fact that boys can, of course be the victims of sexual assault.
I think it's a really strong and brilliant book. And I'm so glad you wrote it. I have seen just nothing but praise both critically and from readers. And I think you've had a stunning debut.
Thank you, I really hope that it'll help readers feel seen.
Just the way you felt like it's not an "if" it's "when," my stomach dropped... the world we're living in right now! I've thought about it, because of my background and my identity and how I communicate that in my books. It's so sad.
I took an intellectual freedom and censorship class --against censorship, not how to censorship-- in library school. And we really got down to what it is and how it works. And once I understood that, I'm not as bothered by it, because censorship has a very clear way of manifesting. It's done in a very deliberate fashion. It's done across books, across fields, across people. It's not done to me or to you, it's done, just every book that has this content, we're going to send out 5000 letters to every school board. And it's very cyclical. And if you follow the pattern, it's like once every 10 years, it all explodes. And the next 10 years old, explode. We're just an explosive point. And in two years, it'll all go down again, and then it'll go back up. And honestly, when a book gets banned, it's the best thing that ever happened to that book. Everyone, everyone, everyone reads it. Everyone talks about it. Everyone's interested in it. Everybody buys it. Every kid checks it out. It's a shot in the arm for the book.
Yeah, sales of Maus are through the roof right now.
Nobody has checked Maus out of my library in dozens of years. I can't keep Maus on the shelf right now.
That's fantastic. That's true, mine is out too.
And it almost always gets back on the shelf. So Veera, I don't know if that helps any.
I think it can get positive attention to a book but I think there's also another side to it, you know, where it could prevent kids who need these books, getting these books?
Honestly, the books are usually only out of those libraries or schools for like a month or two. Yeah.
So let me ask this other question. Veera, it is so unusual to narrate a book in the second person present tense, directly addressing the readers, how did you decide to use that format?
I had been fascinated with that point of view for a really long time. I love the kind of effect that it had on me as a reader, where I just felt connected to the main character whether I wanted to be or not, sort of linked arms with them. And oh, I guess I'm going on the story with you. And I'm kind of you and you're me and kind of blurred those lines. And I thought, Ariel, a Jewish girl growing up during the Civil Rights Movement, all the things that are happening in 1967. And what happens to her family kind of connects her to the larger world for the first time. And I thought it might be a really interesting thing for a younger reader, what would be the effect, you know, where they have to become Ariel? And what would that feel like?
So for each of you, I want to ask what is the most important idea that you want readers to take away after reading your book.
The book is about how you navigate the world from the base of your family. Ariel really wants to kind of fight through it and figure out the things that she feels really connected to with her family and the things that she doesn't agree with. She doesn't really understand why her parents are against Leah's marriage. She thinks Raj is a great guy, what, what exactly is the problem? She's understanding her own Jewish identity in a new way. She's also understanding her identity as a white person in a new way, seeing how Raj is being treated differently. And so all that is coming together for her, but she, she wants to keep her family with her as she's trying to figure this out and not give up on them if she's upset at them. So I just think that idea of fighting through it, figuring it out, is something that I hope people take away from the book.
Okay, thank you. Aden, what are you hoping readers will take away from your book?
Well, The City Beautiful strongly deals with the history of antisemitism. It goes into depth about the circumstances that led immigrants from Eastern Europe to come to the US during the late 1800s. I think for me, what's really important is educating readers that antisemitism didn't begin and end with the Holocaust, and the Holocaust was in many ways, an accumulation of centuries of antisemitism in Europe. And this antisemitism was so ingrained in Eastern European countries and Imperial Russia, in what would be, you know, Lithuania and Ukraine, that the attitude and the views toward Jews was also what led to collaborators during the Holocaust to strike out against the Jewish populations of those countries. And it's what contributed to the huge fatality rate in those countries. I really hope this may educate readers and may lead them to do more research on the topic. And perhaps it may get them thinking about how antisemitism is still unfortunately, alive today.
Okay, thank you, very important. How about you, Sean?
I think generosity, which was an important theme in the book, both with the penny and then also just Elijah, or God's generosity, how, however you want to interpret that. I love the exchange that Muriel the protagonist, she gives Elijah a little, and she gets back a lot. I think that's something that happens in life. Even if you're generous a little, you often have that return 2000 times. I think the book really does explore that idea.
I want to read something that I wrote on Betsy Bird's Fuse #8 blog, the day of publication, which happened to be like a year to the day of when this award was given. So it's pretty cool. "To me the book is ultimately about Tikkun Olam, repairing the world. It's about small acts of kindness, such as giving a penny when you don't have one to spare. It's about welcoming a stranger to share your meal, even if that meal is meager, and it's about coming together as a community in a time of need. It's about making the world a better place, which I think each one of us can do, no matter how young or old we are, or how large or small the action is."
Very nice. Well, put. This year's children's book awards, not just the Sydney Taylor but the various book awards that we heard about it ALA's Youth Media Awards, they went to a variety of very diverse books, and it's about time too! Can you share your thoughts on the importance of Jewish representation, among other kinds of diverse representation? And I know Susan has a lot to say about this, because this is all we talk about all day long.
It's all we talk about!
But let's give the other folks a turn before you get onto your soapbox.
What? I have a soapbox, Heidi?
You have a soapbox! I'm going to get you a soapbox with your name painted on it.
You should! In fact, Heidi can I just say my part.
So Veera, any thoughts that you would like to share?
Absolutely. You know, first of all, Jewish representation should be part of diverse representation. We're a marginalized community. And then I also have my own perspective as a Jewish person of color. That's what I was kind of working out with the book, I just... look at this call! And the diversity within the Jewish community is so much more vast and nuanced than we also talk about a lot. And so all the more reason why Jewish books are diverse books and contribute to the greater aspects of diversity.
Thank you. Sean?
For what it's worth, I was incredibly pleased with the winners, at the end of the webcast I kind of looked at my family like, wow, this is great. And I think representation has a lot to do with that. It was just amazing. In terms of Jewish books, I'm really excited about seeing more and more Jewish books that aren't just about the Holocaust, or aren't just about the Jews operating in distant history. Or in the shtetl, I should talk but yeah, bringing the shtetl into a story where there was no shtetl, but uh, there's a lot of Jewish stories that are out there. And I think it really is easy to get pigeonholed. It's exciting to see more of a push and more of an interest in telling not only Jewish stories, but diverse Jewish stories.
I think for me, what was so important in writing this book was giving teenage readers the kind of book I wish I had as a teen. Because to be entirely honest, it really wasn't until reading Sisters of the Winter Wood that I was able to read a YA fantasy novel with Jewish main characters. That's I think the first non Holocaust book actually, I read with Jewish main characters. I really just wanted to write a book that centered Jewish characters, that centered queer characters, and have them be more than just Jews hiding in attics or in concentration camps. And I wanted more than that. It was just very important to write a book where the Jewish characters were the heroes, where they fought back, to also explore the intersection of queer and Jewish identities.
All right, good. Thank you. Okay, Susan, you may now get on your soapbox.
Well, you know, where we always start Heidi, we always start in the same place. So Jews make up 2% of the population of the United States. And yet, the FBI hate crime statistics show us that 60% of religious hate crimes are perpetrated against Jews. So there is obviously an enormous disconnect between those two statistics. And yet, at the same time, we are told over and over and over again, that we are not diverse, that we have no place in diversity conversations, that we do not qualify for diversity scholarships, that when we go to fill out forms of what ethnicity we are, Jewish is never on the list, that we are white, that we are privileged, I get it. At the same time, I work in a synagogue, where I am literally scared to walk in the door of my office, where the security is increasing, day by day, minute by minute on a peaceful house of worship. So there's a disconnect here. And I'm really tired of being called not diverse. I'm really tired of all the groups telling me that they support diverse books, and not including Jewish books. Heidi and I and a number of our colleagues have formed so many initiatives to help Jewish writers, Jewish librarians, Jewish books, that Heidi and I have lost track of all the initiatives we've formed, we've had to make a list. We have a goal to speak to every conference, every, everyone who has a group of anything to talk to them about Jewish books, to talk about Jewish joy, to talk about why you should teach Jewish books that aren't about the Holocaust. We routinely get rejected from many conferences as a matter of course. We keep applying. But I'm just exhausted. I'm tired of fighting over and over and over and over and over again. I'm tired of the barriers being so high. I'm tired of arguing, I'm tired of everything being such a fight. I'm a little hopeful: year by year, we see one more book, two more books, that are more what we're looking for. Veera and Aden, your books are exactly what we're looking for. We were so excited to see them. I'm crying because it was so emotional to see both of your books come out, just to be published by major publishers. We were excited about them for years, since we saw the announcements in PW. We track every Jewish announcement in PW; there are not that many that are Jewish, they're not that many that are major publishers, your books were special. And so to see you win this award to see both of you, and both these books be honored, that are not about the Holocaust, that are about Jewish joy. It is more special than I can tell you. So anyway, we will keep fighting forever. And that's what we do. Forever.
Thank you so much now and I'm tearing up too.
Yeah, thank you for opening up like that. Susan.
You knew that already, Heidi!
Yeah, but I didn't expect you to cry!
Well, we have, we have been following these books. Right?
Right. And I wanted to mention that it's special when we have a year where the medalists are all non Holocaust books. I wanted to draw a line between your three books, I think that all of them could be described as books of Jewish empowerment, in terms of characters who are embracing their Judaism, and living their Judaism and finding ways to find joy within their own Jewish identity, maybe during the course of the book, defining and refining their Jewish identity and deciding what does it really mean to them and how are they going to engage with it. And I think identity has been a strong theme this year that we've seen in a lot of the books that have been coming out, other books that have gotten recognition, and even beyond that to books that didn't make it onto the Sydney Taylor list, but are nevertheless fascinating examinations of Jewish identity. It's like it's the year of Jewish identity, which I'm thrilled about.
Aden mentioned earlier that he was looking for books where Jews fought back. And that has been a theme we've all been looking for for a long time. And we're starting to finally see both the Holocaust books and other books, Jews fighting back, Jews having identity, Jews having agency. And we're very excited to see that trend. Jews hiding in attics, Jews hiding under the stairs, you know, Righteous Gentile stories, somebody else has to save the Jews... we're finally starting to see a few books that are going the other direction. It's very exciting to see a reversal.
A good trend. It's tikkun olam time. So this is your opportunity to do a little bit of activism. And it can be anything large or small, internal or out there in the world. So I'm going to give each of you a turn to give us an idea for helping to make the world a better place.
I'd like everyone listening to consider ways in which we can help juvenile readers gain access not only to books where they can see themselves represented, but also books that provide insight into identities they may not share, but that they can learn from. I think it helps to confront these attempts to censor books, and to vote against measures that advocate for this. I also think it's also useful to, if you know someone who's looking for a certain book, then get access to that literature.
I will put something in the show notes with suggestions for ways that people can can fight back against censorship, because I think that is really important. Thank you. That's a great suggestion. Veera?
Well, I was also thinking about that subject. So I was just really thinking about the organization We Need Diverse Books. They've been recently more vocal about supporting the Jewish community and seeing Jewish books as diverse books. They've just done so much incredible work with books in all different communities and raising the awareness of what diversity is and that idea of diverse diversity. So I just really appreciate them and you can donate to their organization and support them that way.
I like diverse diversity. That's great. Okay, Susan?
You have to be careful because Heidi will hashtag it. Veera, you should know that Heidi has hashtagged #Jewishbooksarediversebooks. So usually when we get to this part on your podcast, Heidi, and I'm thankful to be a regular guest on it, I I say a number of different things. This time. I just want to say one thing. I want you to read a book. I would like you to read Jews Don't Count by David Baddiel. And if you have read it, then I would like you to give it to somebody else to read. It's a pretty thin book. It's by a comedian, so it's even a little funny. It encapsulates what I want you to know about how antisemitism is really racism, how Jews should be accepted at the diversity table, how they're not being currently, and many other smaller issues that he weaves all into one larger point. If you're Jewish, you can certainly read the book, but you probably already know what's in it, because you're probably living it every day. If you're non Jewish. I really want you to read this book. Keep an open mind, take a look at what's in there. It may surprise you. So again, Jews Don't Count by David Baddiel.
Yes, I also have a copy of Jews Don't Count. I thought it was a fascinating read that really encapsulated something that we've been talking about for a very long time.
...that although we are a persecuted minority, because we also enjoy white privilege, people somehow think that that negates our need for support. And people don't understand that we are still vulnerable. That's an excellent suggestion. And I also want to give you kudos, Susan, for the activism that you did: I saw on Facebook, when you offered to send a copy of that book to the first 18 people who raised their hand and you were, quote, unquote, sold out very quickly. So you really did your part to make sure many people would read that book and pass it on. So, good job.
Yeah, it was cool. Actually, I thought it was gonna take me forever to get rid of 18 copies, and it took me about an hour.
Okay, let's hear from Sean.
If you haven't read a graphic novel yet, or recently, I'm surprised at how often people haven't read graphic novels. A good friend of mine, David Peterson, who's a graphic novelist, pointed out that if you met somebody who never read a novel or a picture book or listened to a piece of music, you would think that they had been culturally deprived. But it's, it's still acceptable for people to say, I don't read graphic novels. And I think that stinks. I think that probably a lot of people who are listening to this are very familiar with a lot of graphic novels. And something that my family likes to do is actually get graphic novels as presents to people who probably would never go to a store that had them. And a good place to start right now, especially if there's people who are interested in both history and unfortunately, current affairs, is Maus. I have given that book to more people than I can count at this point, either lending it or as a gift. Because they think, Oh, I don't really have an interest in reading graphic novels, but they may have an interest in learning about World War II, or the Holocaust or Jewish issues generally, or multi generational memoir. That book is a lot of things. So I would recommend that.
That's a great suggestion. Yeah. And it's, it's actually graphic memoir, not fiction, which adds a whole 'nother layer. So very good recommendation, I actually just saw an article today in Kveller, about Jewish graphic novels. We're getting to have a decent bookshelf worth of Jewish graphic novels, a respectable collection, you could actually fill a whole bookshelf with them, especially if you include works for adults, because Maus, even though the controversy was about teaching it in middle school, technically, it's published as an adult book. Now, I want to ask, is there anything that I forgot to ask that you would still like to talk about? Anybody?
So what I am super excited about is after all these years, and all these award committees, I have this beautiful gold seal to put on my book, and to put on all of yours, Aden, and Veera. And if you would like a beautiful gold seal to put on a book that you own a gold seal, on honor seal, a notable seal of Sydney Taylor, you should know that we sell them at the Association of Jewish Libraries website, and we would be ever so happy to get them to you.
Yes. And of course, you are talking to the audience because we will give free seals to Veera and Aden.
Yes, of course, Aden and Veera!
I get a couple of freebies!
Yes, well, thank you for remembering to promote the Sydney Taylor Book Award seals, because I should have done that. So thank you for doing that.
You should ask if Aden and Veera have new books coming out.
We should! You know, you should be the host today! You're doing a much better job than I am.
You really have no idea how many things Heidi and I do together!
I think everybody could tell that we're joined at the hip.
So what are you working on next?
Well, I do have more books coming out. I have a YA dark fantasy coming out in September called Bone Weaver. It's a secondary world fantasy. It is heavily inspired by the Russian Revolution and the world building does take into account the religious diversity of Imperial Russia at the time; the setting is based on the Pale of Settlement and there are sort of parallels between this secondary world and our own. I also have a middle grade coming out in winter of 2023. The main character is queer and Jewish. So I'm really excited for that as well.
Excellent. We are looking forward to those! Veera, how about you?
Right now I am working on a sequel to The Night Diary. I'm not sure the publication date. And then I have something that hasn't been announced yet. So it's a secret, but I'm excited about it.
We won't make you tell, but we're excited about that, too. Susan, what are you working on?
So like Veera, I'm in secret world. You know, publishing is such a weird place where you can't tell anyone for years and years and years, and then you're not allowed to shut up about it.
How about you, Sean?
Well, right now actually, I'm looking at a drawing board with work for book called the Iguanadon Swarm. It's about the history of dinosaur reconstructions told through the lens of the iguanadon, because it was the first herbivorous dinosaur ever identified. So we have a really long history of how it's been drawn. It's really kind of a jumping off point to talk about science is an iterative process, and the relationship between science and art, which is of course, paleo art, very important, think it's gonna come out and want to say spring 2023.
All right, well, those are all exciting prospects, and I'm sure everybody's going to be very thrilled when those are published. We will be very excited to actually meet all of you at our annual conference which, God willing, Coronavirus willing, we will be having live in Philadelphia in June. So we will be giving you your awards and hearing your speeches and seeing you in person at that time, probably with a mask on but still in the same room. Susan Kusel, Sean Rubin, Veera Hiranandani and Aden Polydoros, thank you so much for speaking with me.
Thank you for having me.
Thank you so much for having us.
Thanks a lot, Heidi.
[MUSIC, OUTRO] Say hi to Heidi at 561-206-2473 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out our Book of Life podcast Facebook page, or our Facebook discussion group Jewish Kidlit Mavens. We are occasionally on Twitter too @bookoflifepod. Want to read the books featured on the show? Buy them through bookshop.org/shop/book of life to support the podcast and independent bookstores at the same time. You can also help us out by becoming a monthly supporter through Patreon. Additional support comes from the Association of Jewish libraries, which also sponsors our sister podcast, Nice Jewish Books, a show about Jewish fiction for adults. You'll find links for all of that and more at BookofLifepodcast.com. Our background music is provided by the Freilachmakers Klezmer String Band. Thanks for listening and happy reading