How PJ Our Way Chooses Books

The PJ Our Way Book Selection Committee is responsible for developing a great lineup of Jewish books that are appropriate for readers ages 8.5-12. PJ Our Way is kid-driven: each month child subscribers choose one book from four options, so whether the books are set in Israel or America, are historical fiction or take place in 2017, our books need to be stories that readers can relate to.
Like PJ Library, PJ Our Way subscriber families come from a wide variety of observance levels and backgrounds, and our readers have a wide range of reading abilities and interests. We try to reflect our diverse readership across our books.
We work with authors, agents, publishers, and editors to find the best books for our readers. Many have won prestigious awards, including the Sydney Taylor Book Award. We are always on the lookout for new books for our lineup.

Authors: Submit a Book for PJ Our Way 

We’re always on the lookout for great titles appropriate for kids ages 8.5-12 to include in our lineup. If you are interested in submitting a manuscript to the PJ Our Way Book Selection Committee for consideration, first check out our website to get an idea of the type of books we offer, and also read about the kind of books we’re looking for.

Our committee assesses submissions using the following guidelines:
  • The book should reflect historical Jewish life, contemporary Jewish life, or some valuable aspect of Jewish experience.
  • We look for strong Jewish characters and content, where Jewish identity plays a positive role, but we want the Jewish content to be natural – we don’t want to be all message and no story!
  • The content needs to be age-appropriate. We avoid content that might make tweens or their parents uncomfortable, which means no alcohol or drugs, no bad language, and any romance needs to be very innocent.
  • We prefer to avoid books about the Holocaust. We do occasionally include a book that touches on aspects of the subject, like Now and Black Radishes. Please do not submit a book with any graphic material or one that is set in the camps or ghettos. We are more likely to consider second generation or refugee stories with a hopeful message.

 PJ Our Way accept submissions via Submittable only. Due to the high volume of submissions, we can provide feedback only to those authors whose work will be discussed further. Expected responses could take up to six months. We encourage authors to submit to publishers, agents, and other opportunities while their work is under review. We regret that we are unable to answer queries regarding the status of a submission.

New! Increased Author Incentive!

Great news! PJ Our Way has increased the author incentive to $5,000 for new Jewish middle-grade book manuscripts! 
For each new, unpublished story submitted to PJ Our Way after July 22, 2016 that is accepted by the Book Selection Committee for use in our program, we will present the author with $5,000. This award is truly an award – it is separate from and in addition to any monies received by the author from a publisher.

And wait! There’s more…

We will now accept three complete chapters and an outline as an initial submission instead of a completed manuscript. For graphic novels, we will accept an outline, three written chapters, and several sample illustrations. If the Committee decides that this initial submission has potential to be a PJ Our Way selection, we will award the author $2,000. Once the author submits the completed manuscript and it is accepted for use in the program, the author will be awarded the remaining $3,000.

Stories may be submitted by anyone, including authors, agents, and publishers. Multiple stories by one author are eligible. The only disqualifying factor is if the story is already available in the trade market or has previously been considered by PJ Our Way’s Book Selection Committee – that is to say, it must be new.

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