Green Bean Books

JCBA 2024 Winners

The Jewish Children’s Book Awards 2024 Winners Are Announced!

Green Bean Books and the Jewish Literary Foundation are delighted to reveal the
winners of the third Jewish Children’s Book Awards, celebrating new, unpublished
works in the English language.

The winner of the writing prize is Julie Form from Germany for Moses the Matzah Sparrow. The winner of the illustration prize is Ukrainian-born designer and illustrator Julia Krasovitsky.

JCBA Story winner Julie Form

Julie Form, 41, is a speech therapist from Berlin, Germany. Her story, inspired by her three children and her love of animals, is about a frustrated boy whose care of a baby sparrow at Passover leads to surprising consequences.

“I’m so happy that the jury liked my story so much,” she says. I think I was screaming when I was told I’d won! I just wrote what I thought I’d like to read to my kids. There are very few books here in Germany with Jewish characters and they are mostly designed to explain Jewish customs to non-Jewish people. They’re not funny and don’t have an exciting story where Jewish kids think, ‘that could be me.’ My three boys are part of my story and they love that it was based on them. I’ve read it to them again and again. I’d be so honoured to see it in print and have someone illustrate my story. I’m already working on a new one.”

JCBA Illustration winner Julia Krasovitsky.

Ukranian-born Julia, 37, lives with her husband and young son in Mainz, Germany and has illustrated German children’s books under her maiden name of Julia Dudenko. Entrants for the illustration award were tasked with producing a new front cover for a traditional Yiddish folk story and Julia’s bold and comic illustration depicts a house bursting with animals and people.

“I am so pleased to have won,” says Julia. “My biggest passion is children’s books and I have a lot of them! We have quite a small Jewish community here but the wife of our rabbi told me about the awards and I am very happy I entered. It was a big surprise to win. It’s the first award I’ve won and, for me, it confirms that I’ve taken the right path in life.”

Each winner will receive £1,000 and Moses the Matzah Sparrow will be considered
for publication by Green Bean Books. The awards were judged by author and chair
of the book selection committee of PJ Library Chris Barash; publisher of Green Bean Books Michael Leventhal, award-winning author Eric Kimmel; renowned illustrator and writer Omer Hoffmann and Associate Curator of Illustrated Children’s Book at The Israel Museum in Jerusalem, Orna Granot.

Judge Chris Barash said: “For its gentle sweetness, the strong Jewish flavour of the
piece, the timeless nature of the subject, the realistic family interactions, and for the fact that the judges could easily picture children clamouring to hear the story multiple times, the awards committee felt that Moses the Matzah Sparrow by Julie Form was the best choice for this year’s Jewish Children’s Book Award.”

Added Eric Kimmel: “It is a charming, witty story packed with child-appeal.”

Of the illustration award, fellow judge Michael Leventhal said, “All three shortlisted illustrators came up with original and fun front covers for a much-loved folktale but Julia Krasovitsky’s entry stood out. It was intriguing, inventive and immediately arresting”.

Orna Granot praised the “humour and warmth” of Julia Krasovitsky’s illustration and added: “The formal compactness allows us to experience the essence of the text in a way that complements and expands the verbal dimension.”

“It makes me want a story to go with it!” enthused Eric Kimmel.

Two other writers were shortlisted for the writing award. They were Naomi Kaye Honova for Jozef the Grumbler and London-based Liat Rosenthal for The Jewish Canvas. The two other shortlisted illustrators were Cecilia Caporlingua from Italy and Louise Gilbert from the UK.

For more details visit greenbeanbooks.com or email info@greenbeanbooks.com and please note… the 2025 JCBA competition has just been launched!