Keshet, the awesome org that works for the inclusion of LGBT Jews in every facet of Jewish life, has announced the winner of its children’s book writing contest. Drumroll please…

It’s The Purim Superhero, a manuscript by Elisabeth Kushner, who blogs about children’s and YA books at She told Keshet she’d wanted to write a contemporary Purim story because there seem to be so few of them: “When I heard about the Keshet contest, it seemed like a perfect fit: in the Purim story, Esther ‘comes out’ as Jewish in a way that can be a model not just for Jews, or for GLBT people, but for everyone who feels different. I hope that The Purim Superhero will help inspire and reassure kids like Nate who don’t necessarily want to be like everyone else– and most importantly, I hope kids will enjoy reading and hearing the story.”

Yay! As you probably know, I have kvetched about the dearth of great contemporary Jewish picture books. (Chapter books, too.) I tend to grade contemporary Jewish kid books and LGBT kid books on a curve — I want to be supportive even if I don’t think the books themselves are great. But The Purim Superhero sounds both worthy and good! Fingers crossed. Can’t wait to read it.

Oh, and on Keshet’s site, Kushner describes herself thusly:

“For nine years I was the librarian at the Jewish Day School of Metropolitan Seattle, where I got to know a lot of wonderful kids and read a lot of wonderful children’s books. I’ve also worked at a salmon cannery, a child care center, a couple of restaurants (very briefly–I was a terrible waitress), two terrific bookstores, and a chemicals trade journal, where I wrote the Oils, Fats and Waxes column.”

Oils, Fats and Waxes! I love her already.

PS. Idit Klein, the Executive Director of Keshet, told me, “Our selection committee of Jewish educators and librarians had a really hard time choosing the winner from the almost 50 manuscripts we received. We’re especially thrilled that in addition to
The Purim Superhero, we received a handful of other really impressive high-quality manuscripts. If the publisher with whom we are working commits to publishing this one, we are considering self-publishing one or two more stories.”

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