Kar-Ben® Publisher Joni Sussman to Retire; Recently Recognized with the Sydney Taylor Body-Of-Work Award

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn.—After a distinguished career spanning decades in the publishing industry, Joni Sussman, Publisher of Kar-Ben® Publishing, an imprint of Lerner Publishing Group, is retiring. Her outstanding contributions to Jewish children’s literature have left an indelible mark on the literary landscape. In recognition of her remarkable career, Sussman has been honored with the 2024 Sydney Taylor Body-of-Work Award.

Throughout her 20 years at Kar-Ben, Sussman has been a driving force behind the creation of engaging and award-winning Jewish children’s books including both fiction and nonfiction board books, picture books, and novels. Under her leadership, Kar-Ben has become a cornerstone in Jewish educational literature, providing a platform for diverse voices and perspectives that celebrate Jewish heritage and culture.

“Joni’s passion for Jewish children’s literature and her dedication to fostering a love of reading among young readers have been truly inspirational,” said Adam Lerner, President and CEO of Lerner Publishing Group. “Joni has put her own personal touch on hundreds of books at Kar-Ben and we are forever grateful for the amazing impact she has made at Lerner and in Jewish children’s literature.”

Sussman’s commitment to excellence in children’s literature has earned her books numerous accolades, including a National Jewish Book Award Winner and multiple Sydney Taylor Book Awards and Honors, which recognize outstanding books for children and teens that authentically portray the Jewish experience. Now, with the 2024 Sydney Taylor Body-of-Work Award, Sussman’s contributions to Jewish children’s literature are being celebrated in their entirety.

“Receiving the Sydney Taylor Body-of-Work Award is a tremendous honor," said Sussman. “I’ve had the great privilege of overseeing the publication of almost a generation’s worth of Jewish children’s books and I’ve made long lasting relationships with incredibly talented authors, illustrators, and colleagues who share a passion for creating impactful books.”

Joni Sussman’s last day with Lerner Publishing Group will be June 28, 2024. As she embarks on this new chapter in her life, Sussman leaves behind a legacy of excellence, innovation, and inclusivity that will continue to shape the landscape of Jewish children’s literature for years to come.

About Kar-Ben Publishing
Kar-Ben Publishing®, founded in 1974, is an imprint of Lerner Publishing Group™, headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota. With more than 400 titles in print, Kar-Ben is the largest publisher of exclusively Jewish-themed children’s books in the world, publishing 20-24 new, high quality children’s titles each year. For more information, visit karben.com.

Lindsay Matvick
Publicity Director, Lerner Publishing Group

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