Four Apples & Honey Press authors received Author Incentive Awards from PJ Library for new, previously unpublished stories accepted by the foundation for inclusion in their monthly book giveaway program.

The four stories were developed from original submissions to Apples & Honey Press under the guidance of Executive Editor Dena Neusner and the editorial team at the imprint and submitted to PJ Library by the publisher on behalf of each author. This marks the first time one publisher has had four authors receive the award at the same time.

“We’re just delighted,” said Neusner. “These were stories that sparked our attention initially, and through a wonderful collaborative process with each author became strong submissions for PJ Library’s program.”  

The recent award winners are:

  • Sandy Eisenberg Sasso, for her recently published picture book about Judith Kaplan and the first American bat mitzvah celebration, Judy Led the Way
  • Tzivia Macleod, for Pumpkin Pie for Sigd, a story of a young American émigré to Israel who misses Thanksgiving but finds a new holiday to enjoy in the celebration of Sigd
  • Elana Rubinstein, for Starlight Soup: A Sukkot Story, the second in the new Saralee Siegel series about a girl and her superpower sense of smell
  • Jenna Waldman, for her undersea steampunk romp, Sharkbot Shalom

All four books will be sent to PJ Library families during 2021, and available in hardcover from Apples & Honey Press by October.

The Author Incentive Award, a cash grant of $2,000, was created in January 2020. Stories may be submitted by anyone, including authors, author-illustrators, agents, and publishers.

“PJ Library is a program that is deeply rooted in partnerships, that includes our work with authors, illustrators, and book creators,” said Meredith Lewis, Director of Content, Education, and Family Experience at PJ Library-Harold Grinspoon Foundation. “To show our appreciation, we give out the Author Incentive Award. We hope that this and other awards will continue to aspire authors to write new, engaging Jewish stories that delight PJ Library families and everyone who reads their books.”

Apples & Honey Press is the children’s book imprint of Behrman House, which this year celebrates a century of Jewish publishing.



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