Now that I’ve caught up from BookExpo and NJ-SCBWI and the weird summer flu my husband gave me, I’m back in my chair, working hard.
One of the bennies of working for a literary agency is getting to attend events that my bosses can’t. One of those was a Lunch and Learn hosted by PJ Library during BookExpo.
Not familiar with PJ Library? Neither was I. I’d heard of them, but I didn’t know nearly enough about them. PJ Library is a philanthropic organization that sends FREE Jewish children’s books to families in the United States and around the world – every month.
That’s right. Every month, Jewish children – no matter their background, family make-up, knowledge, or observance – can receive free books after signing up with PJ Library. The original program is for children 6 months to 8 years old, and there is a follow-on program, PJ Our Way, which provides books to children 9-11 years old.
Pretty great! Of course, for us as writers, this means there is also a steady demand for books with Jewish themes, values, and stories. This is a very broad spectrum, inclusive of intermarried families too! (Jewish values? Think tikkun olam – making the world a better place OR tzedekah – charity.)
PJ Library sends out over 165,000 books each month. That’s a LOT of books.
You can read about how they choose books here. I was happy to learn that PJ Library is committed to working with agents to fulfill their consistent need for these stories – they have special incentives and a dedicated contact for agencies. (And the incentives go to THE AUTHOR.)
If you’ve a Jewish story you’re working on, keep PJ Library in mind as a possible submission. Remember, authors do not need to be Jewish themselves. (Though as with all diverse voices, #ownvoices are great.) 🙂
Another great service I noted at BookExpo was Owl Crate. Need a great gift for teens? (Or that YA librarian in your life?) Owl Crate is a subscription service (from 1-6 months) that ships a box containing a brand-spanking-new YA novel AND other bookish goodies – even author notes and such – right to your recipient’s door. (Or your door, as the case may be.) Each box is centered around a theme. July’s is WANDERLUST.
(They are also offering a middle grade service, Owl Crate JR. for readers ages 8-12. )
I’m thinking I’m all set for summer birthdays and my niece’s holiday present this year. Friends’ children get the single box, my niece gets a three-month or six-month bundle of reading fun. Less shopping for me, more reading for them. Yay! More time for my MG novel draft. 😉