PJ Library is a program of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, a North American Jewish non-profit organization based in West Springfield, Massachusetts. It was created in December 2005 as a Jewish engagement and literacy program for Jewish and interfaith families with young children.
PJ Library is modeled after Dolly Parton's Imagination Library program. PJ Library sends out free Jewish children's books and music to Jewish and interfaith families on a monthly basis by subscription. It is a North America program that is implemented on a local level. The program is largely underwritten by HGF, but depends on local supporting partners.
Distribution and book selection
The PJ Library program is available in communities throughout the U.S. and Canada. Tens of thousands of Jewish children have a PJ Library book or CD mailed to them each month. The PJ Library books and music are available for children between 6 months and 8 years of age, depending on the available funding in each community.
Children that have been enrolled in PJ Library receive age-appropriate books highlighting Jewish holidays, values, Bible stories, and folklore. Books are selected by the PJ Library Book Selection Committee. Working with authors, publishers and editors, the committee strives to ensure that the finest Jewish books for children find their way each month into the mailboxes of all PJ Library families. Many of the PJ Library books have won prestigious awards, including the Caldecott Medal and the Sydney Taylor Book Award. Several have been named as finalists for the National Jewish Book Award from the Jewish Book Council.
Any Jewish or interfaith family in the U.S. or Canada can enroll in the free Jewish book program, provided there is a local PJ Library community in their area. Once enrolled, the family is automatically renewed for the second year and have the option to renew for a third year. Additionally, the Harold Grinspoon Foundation's Israel-based Keren Grinspoon Israel foundation has introduced a program in Israel called "Sifriyat Pijama" ("Pajama Library" in Hebrew)
PJ Library was selected as one of the Slingshot 08/09 Resource Guide's "50 most inspiring and innovative organizations, projects, and programs in the North American Jewish community today". On April 2009, Harold Grinspoon, president and founder of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, received the Sidney Shapiro Tzedakah Award for his work in Jewish philanthropy, including the founding of The PJ Library. On January 2010, the Jewish Education Service of North America listed The PJ Library as one of JESNA's "Picks for the Best in Jewish Education of the Decade".
- Bagels from Benny by Aubrey Davis, Illus. by Dušan Petričić (Kids Can Press, 2003 Sydney Taylor Book Award)
- Chicken Man by Michelle Edwards (Junebug Books, 1992 National Jewish Book Award)
- Hanukkah at Valley Forge by Stephen Krensky, Illus. by Greg Harlin (Dutton Children's Books, 2007 Sydney Taylor Book Award)
- The Keeping Quilt by Patricia Polacco (Aladdin Paperbacks, 1988 Sydney Taylor Book Award)
- Joseph Had a Little Overcoat by Simms Taback (Viking Press, 2000 Caldecott Medal)
- When Jessie Came Across the Sea by Amy Hest, Illus. by Patrick James Lynch (Candlewick Press, 1997 Kate Greenaway Medal)
- Noah's Ark by Peter Spier (Dragonfly Books, 1978 Caldecott Medal, 1978 Lewis Carroll Shelf Award, 1982 National Book Award, 1978 Christopher Award)
- The Bedtime Sh'ma by Sarah Gershman, Illus. by Kristina Swarner (EKS Publishing, 2008 Sydney Taylor Book Award)
- The Always Prayer Shawl by Sheldon Oberman, Illus. by Ted Lewin (Boyds Mills Press, 1994 Sydney Taylor Book Award, 1994 National Jewish Book Award)
- Gershon's Monster by Eric Kimmel, Illus. by Jon J. Muth (Scholastic Press, 2000 Sydney Taylor Book Award)
- Marven of the Great North Woods by Kathryn Lasky, Illus. by Kevin Hawkes (Voyager Books, 1997 National Jewish Book Award)
The PJ Library has also been the driving force behind several classic and favorite books being updated and reprinted for future generations to enjoy. Funders have included the Adam and Gila Milstein Family Foundation.
- Harold Grinspoon Foundation
- Imagination Library official website
- "Sifriyat Pijama". Harold Grinspoon Foundation. Retrieved 14 January 2016.
- Slingshot official website
- Jewish Funders Network presents awards, Philanthropy Journal April 7, 2009
- JESNA's Picks for the Best in Jewish Education of the Decade
- The Association of Jewish Libraries: Sydney Taylor Book Awards
- Jewish Book Council, National Jewish Book Awards-Winners List
- American Library Association, Caldecott Medal & Honor Books, 1938-Present
- The CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal, Full List of Winners
- Literatureplace.com Award Winning Booklists for the best in Children's Literature, Lewis Carroll Shelf Award
- The National Book Awards, Winners and Finalists, Since 1950
- Library Thing, Book Awards: Christopher Award
- "Marven of the Great North Woods". PJ Library.
- Tamar Snyder (February 14, 2011). "PJ Library Now Speaking Volumes". Retrieved March 21, 2016.
- Eglash, Ruth (26 June 2011). "PJ Library offers Israeli expats children's books". Jerusalem Post.