The end of the Western calendar year, always means ‘Best of” lists. It can be an exciting time and it can also be a disappointing time too.

I was very grateful to have both Zhen Yu and the Snake and Counting on Naamah make Tablet Magazine’s The Best Jewish Children’s Books of 2023.  There were so many great books out in 2023, it’s an honor to be counted among them.

Making a ‘best of’ list, is an award of sorts. Here’s the important thing to remember though, these lists are not the total measure of the value of your work. You will make some lists and not make others.


The books on the lists are chosen for all sorts of reason: they’re really good, they’re timely, they’re firsts (for a topic or a genre), they struck a chord with the particular person who compiled that list…

Your book may shine or ‘be discovered’ in a year other than its publication year. You can’t predict the life cycle of your book and it may just surprise you.

Make the list or not, win or lose, it’s an exciting time for writers (and readers too). The lists are a great way to discover books or authors that you didn’t know about. They’re also a great way to spot trends in the market.

The same holds true for the book awards that follow in January and February. Plenty of really great books will win awards. Plenty of great books won’t win awards too. Celebrate your own success and celebrate the success of others. Every writer that I’ve met understands the value of the support of fellow writers.

If you came up with a concept for a book in 2023, if you completed a manuscript in 2023, if you queried a project in 2023, if you published a book in 2023, you deserve an award. Congratulations! Mazal Tov! You’re a winner!