Emily Sigalow asks Do Jewish Children’s Books Have a Problem With Gender? in an essay for Tablet Magazine:
The Longest Night: A Passover Story, written by Laurel Snyder and illustrated with beautiful watercolors by Catia Chien, retells the Passover story through the eyes of a young slave girl. On Tuesday, The Longest Night won the 2014 gold medal in the Sydney Taylor Book Award’s young readers category. Presented annually since 1968 by the Association for Jewish Libraries and named in memory of the beloved author of the widely read classic All-of-a-Kind Family series, the award honors books that have made a distinguished contribution to Jewish children’s literature.
This year’s award also seems to signal a new trend in young Jewish children’s literature that highlights the experiences and stories of Jewish girls. In 2011, Hannah’s Way received the same award, and together these two books mark an important shift in the gender politics of Jewish children’s literature, which has tended to disproportionately feature stories of Jewish boys.