THE SUNDOWN KID has just received a 2017 Notable Book for Young Readers award from the Sydney Taylor Foundation!
This prestigious award is named in memory of Sydney Taylor, author of the classic All-of-a-Kind Family series. The award announced by the Association of Jewish Libraries recognizes books for children and teens that exemplify high literary standards while authentically portraying the Jewish experience.
The Sundown Kid: A Southwestern Shabbat, a LittleFolk picture tells the story of a Jewish family’s move to the “Wild West.” In hopes of creating a new home and finding a new community in the desolate southwest terrain, the family does their best to preserve their traditions. However, they are the only Jewish family in their small southwestern town. Despite keeping busy with chores, adapting to their new home among strangers proves to be a challenge. Every Shabbat, Mama complains that there is “too much soup, not enough family.” The young boy has an idea to help relieve Mama’s homesickness and invites their new neighbors to join them for Shabbat.
John Kanzler’s illustrations capture this pioneer family in a setting of warm Southwestern hues and soft lines, layered with a montage of vintage photographs that emphasize the importance of family, history and tradition.
In a review published through Storyteller.net, a writer praised, “Barbara has created essentially a first-person fiction regarding a historical reality of Jewish families bringing their culture and religion to the Old West. The author tells of one young man’s solution to the problem resulting in a multicultural gathering of food and community.” In another review published in Kirkus, the reviewer wrote, “Bietz uses an oral storytelling style with repetitive phrasing to introduce the arrival of Shabbat, enfolding both details of the hardworking life of homesteaders with Jewish cultural details…Welcoming guests and even strangers to the dinner table is part of the Shabbat ritual, and it’s celebrated nicely here.”