Thursday, April 21, 2016

Shlemiel Crooks Anna Olswanger (Author) | Paula Koz (Illustrator)

02_Shlemiel Crooks

Shlemiel Crooks
Anna Olswanger (Author) | Paula Koz (Illustrator)

Publication Date: May 1, 2005
NewSouth Books
Hardcover & Paperback; 36 Pages

Genre: Children's Fiction/Historical

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2006 Sydney Taylor Honor Book, Young Reader’s Category, Association of Jewish Libraries

2005-2006 Koret International, Jewish Book Award Finalist, BabagaNewz Childrens' Literature Category

"In the middle of the night on a Thursday, two crooks—onions should grow in their navels—drove their horse and wagon to the saloon of Reb Elias Olschwanger, at the corner of 14th and Carr streets in St. Louis. This didn't happen yesterday. It was 1919." So begins a modern folktale based on the Yiddish community of the author's great-grandparents in the early 20th century. In original and engaging storytelling, Shlemiel Crooks introduces young readers to the history of Passover, as Pharaoh and a town of Jewish immigrants play tug-of-war with wine made from grapes left over from the Exodus from Egypt. Punctuated by colorful Yiddish expressions, the customs and language of a Jewish community of another time come alive.

Shlemiel Crooks is a Sydney Taylor Honor Book in the Young Reader's Category from the Association of Jewish Libraries and a PJ Library Book.

"Shtetl humor and magic realism come to St. Louis in 1919 in this wry Pesach story. The best thing here is Olswanger's Yiddish storyteller's voice, particularly the hilarious curses she weaves into the story. Great for reading aloud." -Booklist

Hardcover | Paperback

About the Author

03_Anna OlswangerAfter nine years at Liza Dawson Associates in New York, Anna launched her own agency Olswanger Literary LLC in 2014. Her clients include the New York Times best-selling author Michael Hall and the Newbery Honor Book winner Vince Vawter.

Her first children's book Shlemiel Crooks is based on a Yiddish newspaper article she uncovered about the attempted robbery of her great-grandfather's kosher liquor store in St. Louis in 1919. Shlemiel Crooks is a Sydney Taylor Honor Book and PJ Library Book.

In 2011 the Kaufman Center in New York adapted "Chicken Bone Man" and Shlemiel Crooks into a musical for families, which premiered at Merkin Concert Hall. The musical is available for licensing from

Anna's latest book for young readers is Greenhorn, an illustrated children's novel inspired by the true story of a young Holocaust survivor. It is now an independent film.

For more information please visit You can follow Anna Olswanger on Twitter, Goodreads, and Pinterest.

Book Blast Schedule

Wednesday, April 20
Passages to the Past

Thursday, April 21
100 Pages a Day

Friday, April 22

Saturday, April 23
The Book Junkie Reads
The Never-Ending Book

Sunday, April 24
Book Nerd

Monday, April 25
CelticLady's Reviews

Thursday, April 28
A Leisure Moment

Saturday, April 30
A Holland Reads


To win a hardcover copy of Shlemiel's Crooks by Anna Olswanger, please enter the giveaway via the GLEAM form below.


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Shlemiel Crooks

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