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On the Books, with Jacqueline Jules

SarahLaughs Welcome, Jacqueline Jules! Jacqueline is the author of Sarah Laughs, a picture-book retelling of the biblical story of Abraham's wife Sarah, who had a child late in life. Sarah Laughs just won a Sydney Taylor Honor Award in the younger-readers category. (Named for the author of All-of-a-Kind Family, the  Sydney Taylor prizes recognize Jewish literature for children and teens.)

I'm quite pleased that the Sydney Taylor Book Award blog tour brings Jacqueline Jules to Chicken Spaghetti, especially since it's an "On the Books" day. "On the Books" is a series in which writers and other aficionados answer one question:

What are you reading these days? 

Let's hear from Jacqueline.

What a fun question! It reminds me of an in-house school television show we once did for “Read Across America” day at the Northern Virginia elementary school where I work as a library media specialist. Our physical education teacher made a video of himself reading from morning until night. I would have made the video myself, but our students needed a male role model. Thanks for the opportunity to report when and what I’m reading this particular week.

 6:30 a.m. On my exercise bike. Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life, by Wendy Mass. I am enjoying this because of the existential questions it examines and its New York city setting.

7:00 a.m. At the kitchen table, eating my 200-calorie breakfast. Queen of a Rainy Country, by Linda Pastan. Next to Billy Collins, Linda Pastan is my favorite poet.

11:00 a.m. At my desk in my school library office, I read School Library Journal while chomping celery and rice cakes during the one break I have from classes which allows lunch.

9:30 a.m. through 3:30 p.m. I teach library classes to students in grades preschool through sixth grade. Lots of read-alouds. This week the most memorable one was Duel: Burr and Hamilton’s Deadly War of Words, by Dennis Brindell Fradin. My sixth graders, who are studying the formation of our U.S. government, were fascinated to learn that the man on the ten-dollar bill and a bona fide founding father died in a senseless duel. I hope they will be as interested next week, when I share my new book from Charlesbridge, Unite or Die: How Thirteen States Became a Nation

4:00 p.m. Apple snack time at my computer. I like to read the poem posted daily on Garrison Keillor’s "The Writer’s Almanac."

7:30 p.m. After-dinner research: Biblical Images, by Adin Steinsaltz, and Legends of the Bible, by Louis Ginzberg. High from seeing Sarah Laughs win a 2009 Sydney Taylor Honor Award, I am doing research to find another child-friendly story for a fifth book in this bible series. Benjamin and the Silver Goblet was just released this month, and Miriam in the Desert (tentative title) is with the wonderful illustrator Natascia Ugliano. My stack of bible reading material is likely to grow higher and higher in the coming months.

Thank you, Jacqueline—and congratulations! By the way, Natascia Ugliano, the illustrator of Sarah Laughs, stops by Write for a Reader today. The entire schedule for the Sydney Taylor Book Award tour is here, and the Sydney Taylor Book Award's own blog is here.

Also, don't miss "The Best of the Best: Kids' Books '08," Chicken Spaghetti's compilation of awards and magazine/journal/blog end-of-the year lists.

Previously in "On the Books":

Marc Tyler Nobleman
Betsy Howie
Susan Taylor Brown
Nathaniel Lachenmeyer
Janet Halfmann
Elisha Cooper
LD Podcast's Whitney Hoffman
Tanita S. Davis
Susanna Reich


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Finding kid-friendly stories that include biblical characters is a fabulous project! And I love that she manages to fit reading in for so much of the day! I really loved Sydney Taylor books, and I'm glad to hear of this award.

I quite agree with TadMack, and this blog tour has increased my awareness of this award and encouraged me to purchase many of the titles for my collection. This is a subject area of weakness for us (and many public libraries, I'd wager).

It's great to see Jacqueline Jules featured on your blog! Many thanks! Her Bible series is definitely a favorite here at Kar-Ben.

Congratulations to Jacqueline and Natascia!

I love the way Jacqueline answered this question, chronologically. Makes me think about all the extraneous reading I do during the day, beyond the actual sitting down with a good book.

I also got a kick out of how she subtly included info about her diet & exercise. She painted a larger context around the activity of reading, which is what a good writer does!

TadMack and Adrienne, yes, I agree. A great project! Jr. and I liked Sarah Laughs quite a bit, and plan to get the others in Jacqueline's series. Jr. likes the Old Testament stories. Adrienne, a good addition to a library, definitely. I'm going to recommend that my own library buy these books.

Jessica, thanks for stopping by. Jacqueline's books will nicely supplement the kiddo's Beginner Bible.

Heidi, thanks for coordinating the tour. I am so pleased to have been a part of it--and to discover new books in the process.

Susan, your "On the Books" series is awesome. And I also really like how Jacqueline answered your question!

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