Illustrated by Sarah Green

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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.

Essay: “One of a Kind: The Life of Sydney Taylor”– How the Book Began, by Richard Michelson for the Jewish Book Council


“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 orlistening to Taylor’s All-of-a-Kind Family series.”

“[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