PJ Library, the Harold Grinspoon Foundation’s popular
national program that sends free Jewish-themed books and music each month to
tens of thousands of children up to age 8, is launching a new edition: PJ Our
The new two-year multi-city pilot project, being launched
in Chicago in partnership with the Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of
Metropolitan Chicago, expands the program to Jewish kids ages 9 to 11 and, for
the first time, lets them choose the books they receive.
Every month, children can go online to pick from a
selection of high-quality titles reviewed by a panel of PJ educators, parents
and kids. They also will be able to write reviews, upload their own video
trailers, and share ideas on the PJ Our Way website.
Those who want to take an even more active role can apply
to the National Design Team, where they will have early access to PJ Our Way
books and work with PJ Library to create videos and reviews for the website.
PJ Our Way also offers parents the opportunity to read
about each book and find suggestions for family discussion on the PJ Our Way
Parent Blog. They can join the conversation online and learn about activities
and events happening in their local Jewish communities. Congregational
educators and day schools also will develop related programming.
All participants, including those who previously signed
up for the original PJ Library program, must register for PJ Our Way. The
website, www.pjourway.org, is now open for registration. Eligibility is
spelled out there, and parent approval is required at sign-up.
Once they register, each child will receive a copy of
“Jordan and the Dreadful Golem,” by Karen Goldman, as a welcome gift. After
that, they will be able to choose from a selection of books each month.
The full website, with all of the new features, goes live
in a few weeks, at which point kids will be able to start choosing books.
Selections made by the 10th of each month will be delivered 4-6
JUF’s original partnership with the PJ Library program,
for children 8 and younger, continues to serve more than 6,000 Chicago-area
families and is the largest local effort in the nation. Part of the Harold
Grinspoon Foundation’s national initiative to promote Jewish literacy among
children and their families, the Chicago program is a gift from the Jewish
United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago; generous local donors
including Iris and Steve Podolsky, Charlene and Pierre Eilian, and the Crown
Family Philanthropies; and local Jewish early childhood educators.