The Jewish Children’s Book Awards for Writing and Illustration


Green Bean Books and Jewish Book Week are delighted to reveal the winners of the inaugural Jewish Children’s Book Awards. The winner of the illustration prize is: Sharon Spitz with S.Y. Agnon. The winner of the writing prize is: Samira’s Stars by Carol Isaacs.

Judge Michael Leventhal commented: “Sharon’s illustrations are beautiful and powerful. She is incredibly talented and creative. Carol’s text is a spell-binding evocation of the history of Jewish life in Iraq and a compelling story for children.”

The winners are running a special illustration workshop during Jewish Book Week’s Family Day at Kings Place on Sunday, April 3, 2022. The 2022/2023 JCBA competition will launch that day, which will again seek to find Jewish children’s stories and illustrators from Europe. See or for details.


The Winners:


The rich and textured illustrations, rendered in pencil and watercolour, bring to life the biography of the Jewish author S.Y. Agnon. Spitz’s original style is a combination of realism and fantasy. Through impressionistic colouring of the world outside Agnon’s window Sharon Spitz allows the readers to see it through his eyes offering a unique glimpse into his creative imagination.

Samira’s Stars is based on memories of the author’s family. Set in Bagdad, the story is told from the viewpoint of a young girl. It describes routines of daily life for a Jewish family in Iraq, including special dishes they prepare for the Sabbath. The story perfectly captures the magic and mystery of Shabbat.

Both winners will receive £1,000 and their work will be considered for publication by specialist Jewish children’s book publisher Green Bean Books. 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; and translator and author Lawrence Schimel.

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Click here to read the full 2022 Jewish Children’s Book Awards Shortlist