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Howard Schwartz

Howard

Howard Schwartz is a prolific writer who has published fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. In searching for themes and images for his work in various genres, he has often found his inspiration in biblical, midrashic, and kabbalistic lore. Many of his works retell ancient folktales, reflecting his belief in the importance of passing cultural lore from one generation to the next. His poetry frequently reflects the dreamlike and mysterious elements of Jewish mythology. Schwartz’s fictional works, as typified in the collection of parables titled The Captive Soul of the Messiah, “are in part original, in part recreations of ancient legends, a conjunction of personal search and dreaming with mythical or timeless patterns or cycles,” reported Francis Landy in the Jewish Quarterly. As a result, Landy explained, Schwartz’s stories “are at once familiar, filled with the aura of the sages, giving the impression of a blind and insatiable predilection for the alleyways of tradition, and at the same time being wholly pertinent, incisive metaphors for our own predicament.” - www.howardschwartz.com

 


Fiction 

"A Blessing Over Ashes", Berkeley: Tree Books, 1974. 
"Midrashim: Collected Jewish Parables", London: The Menard Press, 1976. 
"The Captive Soul of the Messiah: New Tales About Reb Nachman", New York: Schocken Books, 1983. 
"Rooms of the Soul", New York: Rossel Books, 1984. 
"Adam's Soul: The Collected Tales of Howard Schwartz", Northvale, New Jersey: Jason Aronson, 1993. 
"The Four Who Entered Paradise", Northvale, New Jersey: Jason Aronson, 1995. Paperback edition, New Jersey: Jason Aronson, 2000. 
Poetry 
"Vessels", Greensboro: Unicorn Press, 1977. 
"Gathering the Sparks", St. Louis: Singing Wind, 1979. 
"Sleepwalking Beneath the Stars", Kansas City: BkMk Press, 1992. 
"Signs of the Lost Tribe" (chapbook). Tuscaloosa, Alabama: The Accidental Balestra Press, 1994. 
"A Shelter of Stars" (chapbook). Venice, California: Shulamis Press, forthcoming 2006. 
 

Books Edited 

"Imperial Messages: One Hundred Modern Parables", New York: Avon Books, 1976. Second Edition: New York, Overlook Press, 1992. Third Edition: New York, Random House, 1996. Retitled Tales of Modern Wisdom. 
"Voices Within the Ark: The Modern Jewish Poets", (with Anthony Rudolf). New York: Avon Books and Pushcart Press, 1980. 
"Elijah's Violin & Other Jewish Fairy Tales", New York: Harper & Row, 1983. Published in Canada by Fitzhenry & Whiteside, Ltd. British edition: London: Penguin Books, Ltd., 1987. New edition: New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994. A Dutch translation, Joodse Sprookjes, was published by Sirius en Siderius in the Hague in 1986. 
"Gates to the New City: A Treasury of Modern Jewish Tales", New York: Avon Books, 1983. Second edition: Northvale, New Jersey: Aronson Books, 1991. 
"Miriam's Tambourine: Jewish Folktales from Around the World", New York: The Free Press, 1986. Paperback edition: New York and Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1988. 
"Lilith's Cave: Jewish Tales of the Supernatural", San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1988. Paperback edition: New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. 
"The Dream Assembly: Tales of Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi", Warwick: Amity House, 1987. Second edition: Nevada City, California: Gateways, 1990. 
"Gabriel's Palace: Jewish Mystical Tales", New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993. Paperback edition: New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994. 
"First Harvest: Jewish Writing in St. Louis: 1991-1996", (with Barbara Raznick). St. Louis: The Brodsky Library Press, 1997. 
Guest Editor, Natural Bridge #9, Special issue on Genesis. Published in April, 2003. 
"Tree of Souls: The Mythology of Judaism", New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004.
"New Harvest: Jewish Writing in St. Louis: 1998-2005", (with Barbara Raznick). St. Louis: The Brodsky Library Press, October, 2005. 
Guest Editor, Natural Bridge #15, special issue on Dreams. June, 2006. 

Essays 

"Reimagining the Bible: The Storytelling of the Rabbis", New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998 (hardcover and paperback editions). 
 

Children's Books 

"The Diamond Tree: Jewish Tales from Around the World", (with Barbara Rush). New York: HarperCollins, 1991. Paperback edition: New York: HarperCollins, 1998. A French translation, Contes Juifs Du Monde Entier was published by Pere Castor/Flammarion in Paris, France in 1999.
"The Sabbath Lion", (with Barbara Rush). New York: HarperCollins, 1992. Paperback edition: New York: HarperCollins, 1997. 
"Jerusalem of Gold: Jewish Stories of the Enchanted City", Woodstock, VT: Jewish Lights 2003. Originally published as Next Year in Jerusalem: 3000 Years of Jewish Stories. New York: Viking Children's Books, 1996. Paperback edition: New York: Viking Children's Books, 1998. 
"The Wonder Child & Other Jewish Fairy Tales", (with Barbara Rush). New York: HarperCollins, 1996. 
"Ask the Bones: Scary Stories from Around the World", (with Arielle North Olson). New York: Viking, 1999. 
"A Coat for the Moon & Other Jewish Tales", (with Barbara Rush). Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1999. Paperback edition: Philadelphia, Jewish Publication Society, 2000. 
"A Journey to Paradise & Other Jewish Tales", Jerusalem: Pitspopany Press, 2000 (hardcover and paperback editions). 
"The Day the Rabbi Disappeared: Jewish Holiday Tales of Magic New York", Viking, 2000. Paperback edition: Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 2003. 
"Invisible Kingdoms: Jewish Tales of Angels, Spirits and Demons", New York: HarperCollins, 2002. 
"Before You Were Born", New York: Roaring Brook Press, 2005. 
"More Bones: Scary Stories from Around the World", (with Arielle North Olson). New York: Viking, forthcoming 2008. 

Distinctions: 

 

1) First Place Award, Academy of American Poets poetry contest Washington University, 1969. 
2) Poetry Fellowship of the St. Louis Arts and Humanities Commission, 1981. 
3) Elijah's Violin & Other Jewish Fairy Tales was selected by the New York Public Library as one of the One Hundred Best Children's Books of 1983. 
4) American Book Award of the Before Columbus Foundation for The Captive Soul of the Messiah, 1984. 
5) American Librarian Association (ALA) Notable for The Diamond Tree: Jewish Tales from Around the World, 1991. 
6) The Diamond Tree: Jewish Tales from Around the World was nominated for the National Jewish Book Award for 1992 in the category of children's literature. 
7) The Diamond Tree: Jewish Tales from Around the World received The Sydney Taylor Book Award for 1992. 
8) The Diamond Tree: Jewish Tales from Around the World was selected as one of best children's books of 1991 by the Library of Congress. 
9) The Diamond Tree: Jewish Tales from Around the World was selected as one of the Notable 1991 Children's Trade Books in Social Studies (NCSS/CBC). 
10) Lilith's Cave: Jewish Tales of the Supernatural and Miriam's Tambourine: Jewish Folktales from Around the World are both Reader's Catalog Selections. The Reader's Catalog is a selection of the best 40,000 books in print. 
11) Honorary Doctorate awarded to Howard Schwartz by Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies, 1996. 
12) The Sabbath Lion was made into a cartoon feature broadcast on BBC television in 1996. 
13) A play based on stories from Gabriel's Palace: Jewish Mystical Tales was performed throughout Britain in 1996 by The Besht Tellers, a performing company. The play was also entitled Gabriel's Palace. 
14) Next Year in Jerusalem: 3000 Years of Jewish Stories won the National Jewish Book Award in the category of Children's Literature for 1996. The prize was awarded at Hebrew Union College in New York City on December 3, 1996. 
15) Next Year in Jerusalem: 3000 Years of Jewish Tales won the Aesop Prize of the American Folklore Society for 1996. The prize was awarded in Washington, D.C. in February, 1997. 
16) The Wonder Child & Other Jewish Fairy Tales was selected by the New York Public Library as one of the One Hundred Best Children's Books of 1996. 
17) Smithsonian Magazine (Vol. 27, No. 8, November 1996) selected Next Year in Jerusalem: 3000 Years of Jewish Tales as one of the Smithsonian's Notable Books for Children, 1996. 
18) Next Year in Jerusalem: 3000 Years of Jewish Tales received a 1997 Honor Title from the Storytelling World Awards, in the category of Story Anthologies, given by Storytelling World. The prize was awarded in Atlanta, Georgia on May 7, 1997. 
19) Voices Within the Ark: The Modern Jewish Poets was selected as one of the 100 books included in 100 Essential Books for Jewish Readers, edited by Rabbi Daniel B. Syme and Cindy Frenkel Kanter (Secaucus, N.J.: Citadel Press, 1998), pp. 29-30. 
20) The Wonder Child & Other Jewish Fairy Tales won the Anne Izard Storytellers' Choice Award for 1998. The prize was awarded in Mamaroneck, New York on June 16, 1998. 
21) Reimagining the Bible: The Storytelling of the Rabbis was a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award for 1999 in the category of Jewish Thought. 
22) A play based on six stories from Lilith's Cave: Jewish Tales of the Supernatural was produced in Los Angeles, directed by Stuart Gordon. It was performed in December, 1999 and in January and February, 2000 at the Lex Theatre in Los Angeles. The play was entitled Kabbalah: Scary Jewish Tales. This play, retitled The Speaking Head: Scary Jewish Stories was performed again by Red Hen Productions in Chicago in November 2003. 
23) Ask the Bones: Scary Stories from Around the World was nominated by the Disney Adventures Book Awards as one of the five best books of 1999 in the category of Mystery/Horror.
24) A Coat for the Moon & Other Jewish Tales won the Anne Izard Storytellers' Choice Award for 1998.The prize was awarded in Mamaroneck, New York on June 20, 2000. 
25) A Coat for the Moon & Other Jewish Tales received a 1999 Honor Title from the Storytelling World Awards, in the category of Story Anthologies, given by Storytelling World. 
26) Three folktales from the collections of Howard Schwartz were selected for broadcast as part of a radio series, "One People, Many Stories." These stories were broadcast on radio station KCSN in Los Angeles and distributed as an audio recording. The stories are "The Sabbath Lion" from The Sabbath Lion (HarperCollins, 1992), "The Bird of Happiness" from Next Year in Jerusalem (Viking, 1996), and "Drawing the Wind" from The Day the Rabbi Disappeared (Viking, 2000). 
27) The Sabbath Lion (HarperCollins 1992) was singled out by The National Children's Literacy Campaign, sponsored by the Bureau of Jewish Education of Greater Los Angeles. Their statement reads: "Families and children should all know a Chelm, or the Algerian folktale, The Sabbath Lion and other fabulous Jewish folktales from around the globe. Our campaign will shine the spotlight on the importance of children's Jewish literature and media." 
28) The Day the Rabbi Disappeared: Jewish Holiday Tales of Magic won the Aesop Prize for 2000 in the Children's Folklore Section of the American Folklore Society for 2000. The Aesop Prize is awarded to the book that best presents folklore to you readers. The award committee commented about the book: "Members of the committee were in unanimous agreement that this book shows a wonderful blending of ethnic folklore and folklore scholarship for young readers. The Day the Rabbi Disappeared is precisely the type of book that the Aesop Prize was established to encourage." 
29) The Day the Rabbi Disappeared: Jewish Holiday Tales of Magic won the National Jewish Book Award for 2000 in the category of Children's Literature. The award committee commented about the book: "Weaving delightful tales of magic, mystery, mayhem, and triumph over evil, Howard Schwartz provides an engaging collection of tales that moves through twelve holidays in the Jewish calendar." 
30) The Day the Rabbi Disappeared: Jewish Holiday Tales of Magic was listed as one of the Smithsonian Magazine Notable Books for Children, 2000. The announcement appears in the November 1999 issue of Smithsonian Magazine. The citation reads: "Beneficent sorcery resides in these stories, culled from sources around the world and replete with shoes that fly into the Garden of Eden and a wanderer who is guided out of a snowstorm by the light of an enchanted menorah." 
31) The Day the Rabbi Disappeared: Jewish Holiday Tales of Magic was selected as one of the Notable Books for Older Children for 2000 by the Association of Jewish Libraries. 
32) Ask the Bones: Scary Stories from Around the World won the Keystone State Reading Association's 2001-02 Young Adult Book Award. Young adult readers (grades 6-8) throughout Pennsylvania selected this book from a list of 12 titles. The award will be presented in Hershey, PA on October 24, 2001. 
33) Howard Schwartz was selected for inclusion in the University City High School Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame is a recognition program designed to salute graduates who have made significant contributions to their professions or communities, and in doing so have brought honor to their alma mater. A committee of community members, educators and students made this section. The Hall of Fame dedication took place on October 6, 2001. 
34) Gabriel's Palace: Jewish Mystical Tales was selected for inclusion as one of "The One Hundred Best Contemporary Jewish Books." This list of appears in Best Contemporary Jewish Writing, edited by Michael Lerner (San Francisco: Josey-Bass, 2001), pp. 417-421. The list was created and finalized by a committee of Jewish writers, thinkers, rabbis, academics, and community leaders, based on the best Jewish books written since 1985. 
35) Invisible Kingdoms: Jewish Tales of Angels, Spirits and Demons was listed as one of the Smithsonian Magazine Notable Books for Children, 2002, vol. 33, no. 9, p. 25. The citation reads: "Spanning 1,500 years and regions from Eastern Europe to the Middle East, legends rooted in the mystic tradition of Judaism evoke angels, spirits and demons." 
36) Invisible Kingdoms: Jewish Tales of Angels, Spirits and Demons was selected as a "Best Children's Book of the Year" for 2003 by the Children's Book Committee at Bank Street College of Education. 
37) Invisible Kingdoms: Jewish Tales of Angels, Spirits and Demons was selected as the sole finalist for the National Jewish Book Award for 2002-2003 in the category of Children's Literature. The award ceremony took place on December 11, 2003 in New York City. The citation reads: "With his vivid retelling of magical tales of angels, spirits and demons, Howard Schwartz captivates young and old alike in Invisible Kingdoms. . . . Based primary on oral traditions from around the world, these stories remind us of the power of good people in the world." 
38) Invisible Kingdoms: Jewish Tales of Angels, Spirits and Demons received an Aesop Accolade for 2003 from the Children's Folklore Section of the American Folklore Society. The citation reads: "The Committee recognized Schwartz's beautifully told stories that introduce children to many esoteric Jewish beliefs and rituals set in a variety of European and Middle Eastern settings. . . . Invisible Kingdoms advances the responsible use of and sensitivity to folk materials that the Aesop Prize was established to encourage." 
39) Invisible Kingdoms: Jewish Tales of Angels, Spirits and Demons was named a 2002 Notable Children's Book of Jewish Content by the Association of Jewish Libraries 
40) Tree of Souls: The Mythology of Judaism was selected as one of the Best Books of 2004 by The St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The citation reads: "This reference book of Jewish mythology is accessible to nonspecialists as well as scholars, Jews and non-Jews. It is the result of more than 12 years of research by Howard Schwartz, a folklorist and English professor at the University of Missouri at St. Louis." 
41) Tree of Souls: The Mythology of Judaism was nominated for the first Moment Magazine Book Award, 2005 in the category of Non-Fiction. 
42) Before You Were Born was named a Top 10 Religion Book for Youth by Booklist, October 1, 2005. The citation reads: "Schwartz reshapes a rabbinic legend about the angel Laila leading babies to earth and telling them 'all the secrets of the world.' Ethereal mixed-media illustrations illuminate the spirituality of the telling." 
43) Before You Were Born was selected by The Forward as one of the Ten Best Children's Books of 2005 on December 30, 2005. 
44) Before You Were Born was Named a 2006 Notable Children's Book by the Association of Jewish Libraries.
45) Before You Were Born was the first selection of the PJ Library (www.pjlibrary.org), which sends Jewish-content books and music on a monthly basis to families with children through age five. This books is sent to every child as the introductory book.
46) Tree of Souls: The Mythology of Judaism received the 2005 National Jewish Book Award in the category of Reference. The award was presented at a ceremony at the Center for Jewish History in New York City on April 26, 2006. The citation reads: "Every now and then a work of reference comes along that can be utilized and welcomed by the widest categories of readers. Howard Schwartz's Tree of Souls: The Mythology of Judaism is precisely such a book. It belongs on the reference shelf of every public or college library, in synagogue libraries as well, and finally in the home of every individual seeking to build a library of essential Jewish books. Schwartz has covered an enormous amount of ground, drawing upon biblical, Midrashic, Talmudic, kabbalistic, and Hasidic texts as well as oral lore, to put together this comprehensive and extremely readable collection. Part of what makes the work so impressive is his detailed identification of sources, as well as the way in which he cross-references the almost 700 myths that the book contains. The book is also marvelously indexed, first by biblical verses and then by subject matter; includes an excellent glossary; and contains a superb bibliography for those wishing to do further research." 
47) Before You Were Born won the Koret International Jewish Book Award in the Children's Literature category. The award will be presented on November 15, 2006 in San Francisco.