Book Selection Committee
BOOKS CHOSEN FOR THE PJ LIBRARY LINE-UP feature high-quality, beautiful illustrations and compelling stories. They exemplify the best of Jewish children's literature.
Foremost early-childhood educators and children's literature experts choose our age-appropriate book and music list. The Book Selection Committee is devoted to making its choices represent the broad spectrum of today's Jewish families. Working with authors, agents, publishers, and editors the committee strives to ensure that the finest Jewish books for children find their way each month into the mailboxes of all PJ Library families.
To learn more about the book selection process -- or how to submit a manuscript to the committee for consideration -- please read through the sections below:
The PJ Library Audience
PJ Library families are raising Jewish children between the ages of 6 months to 8 years. Families come from rural, suburban, and urban environments. They also come from many backgrounds -- some are intermarried, some have little or no formal Jewish learning, some attend a synagogue and celebrate Jewish holidays, and others may be unfamiliar with Jewish practice.
While the PJ Library program is open to all Jewish families, the committee focuses primarily on unengaged families when making selections. PJ Library strives to include books that reflect the diversity of Jewish customs and practice.
Book Selection Guidelines
Due to the age of its participants, PJ Library does not send out:
- Reference books
- Books that deal with the Holocaust
- Books that deal with death of a close family member
- Stories that are aimed at an audience older than 8 years of age.
As the Book Selection Committee reviews books and manuscripts for PJ Library, it asks:
- Is this story suited for children between the ages of six months and eight years?
- Is the text (and illustrations, if available) engaging for young children and their parents?
- Is the content appropriate to the PJ Library mission, and does the book contain a message of strong Jewish values?
- Will children want to return to this book again and again?
- Does the book reflect historical Jewish life, contemporary Jewish life, or some valuable aspect of the Jewish experience?
- Will this book prompt family discussions about Jewish topics and lead families to make Jewish choices?
PJ Library's Book Selection Committee maintains two lists (one for ages 6 months through 3 years, the other for ages 4 through 8) with regularly-updated book ideas that are of interest to the committee. We welcome you to peruse our Book Ideas Lists.
Book Submission Process
Books or manuscripts that meet the above criteria may be submitted for review by either of the following methods. For ease of dissemination to the Book Selection Committee, it is highly preferable that submissions be made electronically.
- Sending the manuscript as a Word document or PDF electronically to firstname.lastname@example.org OR
- Mailing at least four (but preferably six) hard copies to
PJ Library Book Selection Committee
67 Hunt Street, Suite 100
Agawam, MA 01001
Please send complete contact information, including name, address, email address and phone number with each submission. An email acknowledging receipt of the book or manuscript will be sent to the submitter. All stories that meet the requirements listed above will be read, considered and discussed by the Book Selection Committee.
If a book or manuscript is accepted by the committee, the submitter will be contacted by the BSC chair to discuss next steps.
PLEASE NOTE: Due to the high volume of submissions received, we are able to contact only those authors whose book or manuscript is selected. At this time, most reviews take place within 10 weeks of receipt of the book. We respectfully ask that authors and agents do not contact PJ Library to check the status of a submission.
Many of our books have won prestigious awards, including the Caldecott Medal and the Sydney Taylor Book Award. Several have been named as finalists for the National Jewish Book Award.
A reading guide (often in the form of text written directly on the flaps of the books themselves) accompanies each PJ Library book to help families make the most of the selections. Each guide points out relevant Jewish concepts exemplified in the story, and it recommends additional topics for family discussion and activities that will enhance the reading and exploration.