James McBride named Winner of 2024 Sophie Brody Medal

BALTIMORE- The Reference and User Services Association (RUSA) has announced its selection for the 2024 Sophie Brody Medal, an annual honor bestowed by the Collection Development and Evaluation Section (CODES) of RUSA during the Book & Media Awards Virtual Ceremony.

This year’s winner is James McBride, author of The Heaven and Earth Grocery Store, published by Riverhead, an imprint of Penguin Random House.  McBride tells the story of the residents of Chicken Hill, a poor neighborhood in Pottstown, Pennsylvania. The Jewish immigrant and African Americans living there work to support each other during adversity, showing the importance of community and love.

Honorable mentions include At The Hour Between Dog and Wolf by Tara Ison published by IG Books; Poland a Green Land: A Novel by Ahron Appelfeld published by Schocken, an imprint of Penguin Random House; Unearthed: A Lost Actress, A Forbidden Book, and a Search for Life in the Shadow of the Holocaust by Meryl Frank, published by Hachette; Palestine, 1936: The Great Revolt and the Roots of the Middle East Conflict by Oren Kessler, published by Rowman & Littlefield; and We Are Not Strangers by Josh Tuininga, published by Abrams Comicarts.

The Sophie Brody Medal is given to encourage, recognize and commend outstanding achievement in Jewish literature. Works for adults published in the United States in the preceding year are eligible for the award.

This year’s winner and honor books were selected by the Sophie Brody Medal committee; Barbara Bibel, retired from Okland Public Library, Chair; Donald Altschiller, Boston University; Sean Patrick Boyle, Congregation Keneseth Israel; Alexis Braun; Rachel Fryd, Free Library of Philadelphia; Mary Parker, retired; David Suarez, Loudon County Public Library; Karen Tannenbaum, University of Evansville; Sarah Barbara Watstein, Seattle University; Conner Williams, East Lansing Public Library

The Reference and User Services Association (RUSA), a division of the American Library Association, represents librarians and library staff in the fields of reference, specialized reference, collection development, readers’ advisory and resource sharing. RUSA is the foremost organization of reference and information professionals who make the connections between people and the information sources, services, and collection materials they need. Learn more at www.rusaupdate.org.


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