Presented by Alexandra Dunietz
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Recently published by Yale University Press, From Sarah to Sydney: The Woman Behind All-of-a-Kind Family by June Cummins is the first biography of Sydney Taylor, author of the beloved All-of-a-Kind Family series. Alexandra Dunietz, who worked with the late Professor Cummins in completing the biography, will discuss how in 1950 a disparate collection of stories about Taylor’s childhood on the Lower East Side in the early decades of the twentieth century was shaped into a pioneering book. All-of-a-Kind Family was the first book for children featuring Jewish characters to be published by a mainstream publisher in the United States.
Born in New York City, June Cummins (1963-2018) received her formal education at UC Berkeley and Columbia University before beginning her long tenure as a professor of children’s literature at San Diego State University. After being diagnosed with ALS she devoted her remaining years to finishing the biography of Sydney Taylor.
Raised in San Diego and now living in the Chicago area, Alexandra Dunietz is a historian of the medieval Middle East. She earned an AB from Princeton University in Near Eastern studies and a doctorate in history from the University of Chicago. She is currently a researcher at the University of Chicago working on a project on race and religion.
Dunietz and Cummins met and became friends in 1992. When Cummins became ill, Dunietz began visiting her daily to take dictation on the biography of Sydney Taylor. What began as dictation turned into a real collaboration, and the 2021 publication of From Sarah to Sydney: The Woman Behind All-of-a-Kind Family is the fruit of that partnership.