Honey and Me chronicles a year in the friendship of Honey Wine and Milla Bloom, two Modern Orthodox sixth graders. The girls are very different in personality and family life but balance each other in their friendship. The year is fraught with change, family crises, and personal growth, including Honey’s becoming a bat mitzvah in a women’s minyan, the death of a beloved teacher, and Milla’s complicated relationship with her mother.
While there were several outstanding entries in this year’s competition, the judges were taken by the energy of the characters, the natural way Judaism was woven into the story, and the contemporary flavor to the manuscript. Said one of the judges, “ This is a modern American story set within an observant Jewish milieu.” Another commented that “ the variations in lifestyle between families of Orthodox Jews living in a modern and positive world are rarely depicted in such a non-judgmental way.”
Ms Drazin was inspired by Sydney Taylor, the author of the beloved All-of-A-Kind Family series, which, she feels, shows the importance of the smaller dramas in everyday life. Honey and Me also melds the everyday events in the lives of Honey and Milla with their Jewish identities. Says Drazin, “It’s a huge honor and validation for any writer to be acknowledged for his or her work, not to mention tremendously exciting. But, as they say in the Talmud, ‘kai v’chomer’ -- how much more so to be awarded the Sydney Taylor Manuscript Award, an honor literally named for the very inspiration for my project!”Ms. Drazin is a transplant from Toronto and New York to London, England, where she lives with her husband and four children. A graduate of Barnard College with an MA in English and Comparative Literature, she has been a senior editor for New York Family and is currently a freelance magazine writer. She has been invited to accept her award at the 51st Annual Association of Jewish Libraries Conference in Charleston, SC in June 2016