Online Symposium for Jewish Children’s & Teen Literature Mar 2021

March 4 - 25, 2021

Online Symposium Info:

This virtual workshop, an entry in our “Essential Conversations” series, is an in-community intensive experience for Jewish storytellers of all types of content for children and teens.

Each week we will bring forward and discuss a topic that pertains to creating and sustaining a career in writing as a Jewish storyteller. The weeks include pre-recorded lectures, discussions, and writing exercises. For the first three weeks there will be one LIVE session each Sunday (5pm Eastern) related to the week’s topic and one LIVE, optional gathering on Fridays for Pre-Shabbat oneg before Shabbat candle-lighting (4pm Eastern). Week four hosts a LIVE community celebration on Thursday, March 25th at 5pm Eastern.

Join Us If:

  • You are Jewish. This program is designed to be an exchange of ideas and a place to connect with storytellers and industry professionals of the Jewish community.
  • You write picture books, middle grade novels, or young adult novels.
  • You work in the children’s book industry and want to be a part of the conversation. Booksellers, librarians, educators, agents, editors, publishers: we invite you to contribute to this important conversation from your unique perspectives.

Preliminary Agenda:

During the month:
Pre-recorded content will be released on Thursdays, and LIVE gatherings will be held on Fridays and Sundays. (*Please note: final week the live session is adjusted for readings.)

Week 1, Beginning March 4: What is a Jewish story?
“So that’s the dissenter’s hope: that they are writing not for today, but for tomorrow.”—Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Pre-recorded content released Thursday, March 4, 2021:

  • Welcome video
  • Keynote: “Why I write…Why you write?”
  • 15-minute craft video
  • Discussion in community

LIVE session, Friday, March 5, 2021 at 4pm Eastern

  • Optional Zoom Pre-Shabbat oneg at 4pm Eastern before Shabbat candle-lighting

LIVE session, Sunday, March 7, 2021 at 5pm Eastern

  • Panel: What is a Jewish story?
  • Small group introductions

Week 2, March 8-14: Identity & Intersections
“Write only if you cannot live without writing. Write only what you alone can write.”—Elie Wiesel

Pre-recorded content released Thursday, March 11, 2021:

  • Interview: Author to Author
  • Keynote
  • 15-minute craft video
  • Discussion in community

LIVE session, Friday, March 12, 2021 at 4pm Eastern

  • Optional Zoom Pre-Shabbat oneg at 4pm Eastern before Shabbat candle-lighting

LIVE session, Sunday, March 14, 2021 at 5pm Eastern

  • Panel: Jewish Writers are not a monolith; neither are our stories
  • Small group to meet and talk about this week’s reflection

Week 3, March 15-21: The Business of Publishing
“If the book we are reading does not wake us, as with a fist hammering on our skulls, then why do we read it?”—Franz Kafka

Pre-recorded content released Thursday, March 18, 2021:

  • Interview: Agent to Agent
  • Keynote: Mental Health in the Children’s Book Industry
  • 15-minute craft video
  • Session: How to navigate Jewish books within publishing

LIVE session, Friday, March 19, 2021 at 4pm Eastern

  • Optional Zoom Pre-Shabbat oneg at 4pm Eastern before Shabbat candle-lighting

LIVE session, Sunday, March 21, 2021 at 5pm Eastern

  • In Conversation: Editor to Editor
  • Small group: moving from room to room with business discussions on topics from submissions to marketing, and more!

Week 4, March 22-28: “L’Chaim!” *Please note date and time changes

Pre-recorded content released Tuesday, March 23, 2021:

  • How to prepare for your reading
  • Final questions

LIVE session: Thursday, March 25, 2021 at 7pm Eastern

  • Reading celebration with ALL storytellers
  • Open Q & A with facilitators

Please note:
If you’re unable for any reason to attend any of the sessions, you’ll have access to the recordings of each through April 30, 2021.

Scholarships Available

LernerPJ LibraryWe’d like to thank the Lerner Foundation and PJ Library for making scholarships available for this program.
Application deadline is February 9, 2021.
Click here to apply!
For more information about scholarships, click here.


“Faculty were both incredibly generous with their time and inspiring and informative as experts. And the mix of participants — spanning levels of publishing experience and experiences with Judaism — blended into an egalitarian, no-cliques, supportive, respectful, thoughtful (and often hilarious!) atmosphere that opened the door to thoughtful, often-difficult, and ultimately clarifying conversations. I left with a great sense of community, which I will feel at my back as I move forward, writing *my* stories.”

“The faculty was awesome. I liked that each speaker brought a unique perspective on a facet of the industry.”


Katherine Locke

Special Guest Katherine Locke lives and writes in Philadelphia where they’re ruled by their feline overlords and their addiction to…
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Linda Epstein

Workshop Reader, Getting to Know Your Novel Special Guest, Online Jewish Symposium Linda Epstein is a senior agent at Emerald…
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Veera Hiranandani

Veera Hiranandani is the author of The Night Diary (Kokila), which has received many awards including the 2019 Newbery Honor Award, the 2019…
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Sofiya Pasternack

Special Guest Sofiya Pasternack When Sofiya was six years old, she wrote and illustrated her first story. She has since…
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Maggie Tokuda-Hall

Special Guest Maggie Tokuda-Hall has an MFA in creative writing from USF, and a strong cake-decorating game. She is the…
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Rena Rossner

Special Guest Rena Rossner is the author of The Sisters of the Winter Wood and a graduate of the Johns Hopkins…
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Carolivia Herron

Special Guest Carolivia Herron is an African American Jewish author, educator and publisher living in Washington, DC. She received her…
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Ruth Horowitz

Special Guest Ruth Horowitz’s most recent picture book Saving Eli’s Library, was released in October 2020. Her other six books…
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Rebecca Kuss

Special Guest Rebecca Kuss (she/her) is an editor at Inkyard Press, a children’s imprint within HarperCollins. She was raised by…
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David Levithan

Special Guest David Levithan is a young adult author and Scholastic editorial director. He is also the founding editor of…
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