The ‘All-of-a-Kind Family’ books are set to become a TV show

(New York Jewish Week) – The Lower East Side’s Most Famous Group of Jewish Sisters – Ella, Henny, Sarah, Charlotte and Gertrude – could soon become TV stars: “All-of-a-Kind Family, Sydney Taylor’s award-winning 1951 book, evolves into “an hour-long live-action drama series” Deadline was reported this week.

The TV series, similar to the book and its sequels (“More All-of-a-Kind Family”, “All-of-a-Kind Family Downtown”, “All-of-a-Kind Family Uptown” and ” Ella of an all-of-a-kind family”) will follow the experiences of the sisters (and their future brother) growing up as Jewish immigrants in New York City circa 1912 — celebrating Jewish and American holidays, struggling with chores, experiencing illness, and enjoying sweets.

The series is being developed by The Jim Henson Company with Jordana Lewis Jaffe as showrunner.

“My grandfather and his family immigrated to New York City from Hungary in 1922, at the same time as the All-of-a-Kind-Family books did,” Halle Stanford, television president of The Jim Henson Company, told Deadline. “As a young Jewish girl growing up in America, I saw myself and my sister in these rich, detailed stories and celebrated our Jewish heritage.”

Born on the Lower East Side in 1904 to Polish and German Jewish immigrant parents, Taylor wrote the books based in part on her own experience growing up in New York and named the five sisters in the series after her own . She wrote the book to pass on her childhood memories to her daughter Jo, who was born in 1935.

As the story goes, without her knowing it, Taylor is her Husband submitted bedtime story manuscript for Charles W. Follett Award, which he subsequently won in 1951 and which launched Taylor’s career as an acclaimed children’s author. Taylor’s biographer June Cummins claims the books are among the most widely read accounts of the lives of American Jewish children of the 20th century.

A prominent Jewish book prize is named after Taylor: since 1968 the The Association of Jewish Libraries bestowed the Sydney Taylor Book Award on “outstanding books for children and young people that authentically present the Jewish experience”. In 2022, top honors went to Susan Kusel and Sean Rubin, author and illustrator of The Passover Guest; Veera Hiranandani, author of How to Find What You’re Not Looking For and Aden Polydoros, author of The City Beautiful.

Taylor helped Jewish children see people like themselves and their traditions in the pages of books, and also helped bring Jewish culture to American audiences.” In a review of Taylor’s biography last year, New York Jewish Week wrote: “From Sarah to Sydney: The Woman Behind an All-of-a-Kind Family by June Cummins.

“I realized that Taylor was a transformational figure not only in American children’s literature but also in American Jewish life,” writes Cummins, who died in 2018 before the biography was published, in the book. “Taylor’s semi-autobiographical books illustrated complicated issues of identity because their author’s life was rich with the possibilities of being a Jew in America.”

Deadline reported that the series will be produced by Lisa Henson, Halle Stanford, Jordana Lewis Jaffe, Gregory Phelan and Rachel Manija Brown.

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