One of a Kind

The Life of Sydney Taylor

Illustrated by Sarah Green
Look inside
Hardcover
$18.99 US
| $24.99 CAN
On sale Feb 13, 2024 | 40 Pages | 978-1-63592-531-9
Age 7-10 years | Grades 2-5
Reading Level: Lexile 810L | Fountas & Pinnell U
For fans of All-of-a-Kind Family, here is the true story of how Sarah Brenner, a poor girl from New York City’s Lower East Side, became Sydney Taylor: dancer, actress, and successful children’s book author.

Sarah Brenner might have come from an all-of-a-kind family (five sisters who all dressed alike), but she was always one of a kind. Growing up in a Jewish immigrant family on New York’s impoverished Lower East Side, Sarah loved visiting the library, celebrating holidays with her family, and taking free dance classes at the Henry Street Settlement. But she was always aware of things that weren’t fair—whether it was that women couldn’t vote, or how girls were treated in her school, or that her parents had had to leave Europe because they were Jewish. When she grew up, Sarah changed her name to Sydney and became an actress and a dancer, but she never forgot the importance of fighting unfairness, whether it was anti-Semitism at her job or the low wages of workers. And when her daughter complained that it wasn’t fair that there were no books about Jewish children like her, Sydney put pen to paper and wrote a one-of-a-kind children’s book.

From well-known Jewish children’s author Richard Michelson, this is the story of how Sarah became Sydney and how she showed children the joy of seeing their culture reflected on the page.
"Michelson and Green pay homage to a one-of-a-kind author... Told in present tense, this is a lively, well-written tale about a renowned author who helped underrepresented kids see themselves in literature. The charming digital gouache illustrations capture period details and the cozy familial warmth of Taylor’s own background. An effective, respectful treatment of a renowned author." —Kirkus Reviews

"The colorful illustrations provide lively character portrayals and settings for the story. The book’s title refers to Taylor’s individuality, contrasted with the five young sisters’ 'all-of-a-kind' look, due to their similar clothing. Additional details about Taylor’s life appear in the back matter. Highly recommended for kids who have enjoyed reading or listening to Taylor’s All-of-a-Kind Family series." —Booklist

"[L]audable for honestly portraying success as a long time coming: it was only after WWII, 'when maybe the world is finally ready to celebrate all customs and cultures,' Michelson writes, that All-of-a-Kind Family—'the first Jewish children’s book to become popular with non-Jewish readers,'...is published." —Publishers Weekly

"Bright and friendly illustrations... (with) back matter... full of interesting details, photographs, and research for the book... (this is) a powerful story of a pioneer author sharing a cultural identity... recommended for biography shelves."—School Library Journal

"The third-person present-tense narration focuses tightly on Taylor’s internal life and, along with occasional dialogue, lends an immediate feel...Green’s pastel-toned digital gouache illustrations alternate straightforward scenes and spreads filled with vignettes highlighting aspects of Taylor’s life. This introduction, mostly cheerful in focus and tone, provides useful context for her novels." —The Horn Book
Sarah Green is a RISD educated illustrator and designer born and based in San Francisco. She is the illustrator of numerous picture books, including FIGHT OF THE CENTURY by Barb Rosenstock, DOROTHEA LANGE by Carole Boston Weatherford, and ELIZABETH WARREN by Susan Wood.
Visit sarahgreenillustration.com. View titles by Sarah Green

About

For fans of All-of-a-Kind Family, here is the true story of how Sarah Brenner, a poor girl from New York City’s Lower East Side, became Sydney Taylor: dancer, actress, and successful children’s book author.

Sarah Brenner might have come from an all-of-a-kind family (five sisters who all dressed alike), but she was always one of a kind. Growing up in a Jewish immigrant family on New York’s impoverished Lower East Side, Sarah loved visiting the library, celebrating holidays with her family, and taking free dance classes at the Henry Street Settlement. But she was always aware of things that weren’t fair—whether it was that women couldn’t vote, or how girls were treated in her school, or that her parents had had to leave Europe because they were Jewish. When she grew up, Sarah changed her name to Sydney and became an actress and a dancer, but she never forgot the importance of fighting unfairness, whether it was anti-Semitism at her job or the low wages of workers. And when her daughter complained that it wasn’t fair that there were no books about Jewish children like her, Sydney put pen to paper and wrote a one-of-a-kind children’s book.

From well-known Jewish children’s author Richard Michelson, this is the story of how Sarah became Sydney and how she showed children the joy of seeing their culture reflected on the page.

Reviews

"Michelson and Green pay homage to a one-of-a-kind author... Told in present tense, this is a lively, well-written tale about a renowned author who helped underrepresented kids see themselves in literature. The charming digital gouache illustrations capture period details and the cozy familial warmth of Taylor’s own background. An effective, respectful treatment of a renowned author." —Kirkus Reviews

"The colorful illustrations provide lively character portrayals and settings for the story. The book’s title refers to Taylor’s individuality, contrasted with the five young sisters’ 'all-of-a-kind' look, due to their similar clothing. Additional details about Taylor’s life appear in the back matter. Highly recommended for kids who have enjoyed reading or listening to Taylor’s All-of-a-Kind Family series." —Booklist

"[L]audable for honestly portraying success as a long time coming: it was only after WWII, 'when maybe the world is finally ready to celebrate all customs and cultures,' Michelson writes, that All-of-a-Kind Family—'the first Jewish children’s book to become popular with non-Jewish readers,'...is published." —Publishers Weekly

"Bright and friendly illustrations... (with) back matter... full of interesting details, photographs, and research for the book... (this is) a powerful story of a pioneer author sharing a cultural identity... recommended for biography shelves."—School Library Journal

"The third-person present-tense narration focuses tightly on Taylor’s internal life and, along with occasional dialogue, lends an immediate feel...Green’s pastel-toned digital gouache illustrations alternate straightforward scenes and spreads filled with vignettes highlighting aspects of Taylor’s life. This introduction, mostly cheerful in focus and tone, provides useful context for her novels." —The Horn Book

Author

Sarah Green is a RISD educated illustrator and designer born and based in San Francisco. She is the illustrator of numerous picture books, including FIGHT OF THE CENTURY by Barb Rosenstock, DOROTHEA LANGE by Carole Boston Weatherford, and ELIZABETH WARREN by Susan Wood.
Visit sarahgreenillustration.com. View titles by Sarah Green