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Jewish book festival events begin in November

November is full of book festivals and fairs

November brings the annual Jewish book festivals. This year, many of the events are spread over several months with more programs scheduled for December.

David Posnack Jewish Community Center

TV personality Carson Kressley is all about style, and he discusses fashion sense and sensibilities in his new book "Does This Book Make My Butt Look Big?" Kressley, best known for his role on "Queer Eye," will kick off the 29th Annual Diane & Barry Wilen Jewish Book Festival at 7 p.m. Nov. 17 at the Posnack JCC, 5850 S. Pine Island Road, Davie. Kressley will share tips from his own "glam squad" such as "glamsforming" a closet; seven style-uniform staples; packing and traveling with style.

Tickets cost $25 and include author presentation and book signing. Books are available for purchase at the event. For information or to order tickets visit or call 954-434-0499, ext. 336. 

Mandel JCC of the Palm Beaches

The Mandel Jewish Community Center Book Festival will feature 17 events from November through April at its venues in Boynton Beach, Palm Beach Gardens and West Palm Beach.

The Mandel JCC is at 8500 Jog Road, Boynton Beach, and at 5221 Hood Road, Palm Beach Gardens. For more information or to register, visit

Armando Lucas Correa kicks off the Mandel festival with a discussion of his book "The German Girl," on Nov. 7 at 10 a.m. in Boynton Beach and 7 p.m. in Palm Beach Gardens. Nov. 7 is the anniversary of Kristallnacht. Tickets are $10 for Literary Society Reader and Author Levels; $12 for members; $14 for guests. "The German Girl" is Hannah Rosenthal, whose comfortable life is changed when Jewish residents are targeted. Hannah and her fiancé Leo Martin may have found a way out when they obtain visas to sail on the St. Louis, a transatlantic line that promises Jews safe passage to Cuba.

The dress of the season -- a little black dress that every woman seems to want -- provides a touchstone of sorts in Jane L. Rosen's "Nine Women, One Dress." The dress especially plays a role in the lives of three women in this critically acclaimed novel. Rosen will discuss "Nine Women, One Dress" during a book luncheon at 11 a.m. Nov. 16 at the Kravis Center, Cohen Pavilion, 701 Okeechobee Blvd, West Palm Beach. Tickets are $95 for Literary Society Reader Level; $118 for guests.

Levis Jewish Community Center

Four authors will discuss their works during the Levis JCC's 26th Annual Book & Author Luncheon beginning at 9 a.m. Nov. 15 at the Boca West Country Club, 20583 Boca West Drive. Tickets range from $70 to $100. Call 561-558-2520 or visit for more information.

The authors are: Melanie Benjamin, whose "The Swans of Fifth Avenue" details the friendship between literary legend Truman Capote and peerless socialite Babe Paley. Martha Hall Kelly whose debut novel "Lilac Girls" was inspired by the life of debutante turned WWII hero, Caroline Ferriday. Lynda Cohen Loigman's debut "The Two-Family House" explores the intertwining lives of two Brooklyn families. Ina Yalof gives a behind-the-scenes insider's journey into New York's food scene through the comments of professional chefs, restaurateurs, line cooks, street vendors and others in "Food and the City."

Story festival for kids

Time to go "Into the Forest" for the Broward County Library's 15th Annual Storybook Festival.

With the theme "Into the Forest," the free festival will feature music, dance, storytelling, storybook characters and children's performances from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Nov. 19 at the Southwest Regional Library, 16835 Sheridan St., Pembroke Pines. Call 954-357-7406, 954-357-7317 or 954-357-6580.

During the festival, children can interact with storybook characters such as Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel, Little Red Riding Hood, The Three Little Pigs and Rumpelstiltskin. Performers, entertainers and storytellers will bring fairytale favorites to life on three stages. In addition, children can tell their own stories at the "Swappin' Ground" area. Children are encouraged to come in costume and join the Storybook Parade. The first 1,000 children arriving at the festival will receive a free book.

Duties of a president's daughter

After his wife's death, Thomas Jefferson's oldest daughter, Martha "Patsy" Jefferson Randolph, took on more responsibilities, traveling with him when the former president became the American minister to France. And it was there that she first became aware of Jefferson's relationship with Sally Hemings. Authors Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie will discuss their best-selling novel "America's First Daughter" at 2 p.m. Nov. 16 at the West Boca Branch Library, 18685 State Road 7, Boca Raton, 561-470-1600, The event is free but reservations are required.

Teens step up for dance

Fort Lauderdale author Jill MacKenzie ventures into the young adult market -- one of the hottest genres -- with her debut novel "Spin the Sky," in which two outcast sisters believe a dance competition will be their ticket out of their small Oregon town. All their lives, Magnolia and Rose Woodson have been the target of snide comments and hateful looks because of their drug addict mother. MacKenzie will discuss "Spin the Sky" at 2 p.m. Nov. 12 at Barnes & Noble, 2051 N. Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale, 954-561-3732.

Daughter inspires Grippando

James Grippando is known for his hard-edged thrillers, and readers will have to wait until February for his 25th novel, "Most Dangerous Place." But for now the Coral Gables author is publishing his first novella, an idea that came from his daughter.

"The Penny Jumper" introduces Ainsley Grace, brilliant young astrophysicist who writes complex codes for Wall Street traders to pay off her college debt. The job takes a turn when she discovers the secrets of ruthless power brokers. Grippando's daughter isn't in college yet -- she's a sixth grader. But the real Ainsley Grace has had a life-long interest in science. At age 3, she told her parents she wanted to grow up to build the world's largest telescope. His daughter's interest inspired Grippando to research astrophysicists. "Then a weird fact caught my eye: Over 2,000 astrophysicists are currently working on Wall Street. They create the algorithms that identify trading patterns," Grippando wrote in an email.

Grippando will discuss "The Penny Jumper," which includes several short stories, at 7 p.m. Nov. 10 at Murder on the Beach, 273 Pineapple Grove Way, Delray Beach, 561-279-7790. Grippando and Ainsley will team up at 11 a.m. Nov. 19 during the Miami Book Fair International in Room 8203, Bldg. 8; visit

Funny philanthropy

Sharon Geltner's debut novel "Charity Bashed" is a humorous look at philanthropic events, from gossip to culture. When a tabloid kingpin is murdered in Palm Beach, charity fund-raiser Justine Romanoff turns amateur sleuth. Geltner will discuss and sign her novel noon to 3 p.m. Nov. 19 at Lord & Taylor in Mizner Park, 200 Plaza Real in Boca Raton. Geltner's booksigning is part of Lord & Taylor's charity shopping day -- "Shop Smart Do Good" event. Call 561-394-5656.

A look at widowhood

Boynton Beach author and journalist Bea Lewis has collected a series of personal essays in "A Widow's Journey: How I Went from Loss, to Learning to Moving On." Lewis will discuss her experiences at 2 p.m. Nov. 14 at the Mandel Jewish Community Center, 8500 Jog Road, Boynton Beach. The program is free to members of Mandel's Academy of Continuing Education Life Long Learning Center; guest fee is $15. Call 561-572-9774.

Insider's view of Palm Beach history

Cultural columnist and architectural historian Augustus Mayhew looks at the myths and larger-than-life residents to show how Palm Beach emerged from a remote refuge to a seasonal resort in "Palm Beach – A Greater Grandeur" illustrated with historical photographs. Mayhew will discuss and sign his book at 2:30 p.m. Nov. 14 at the Society of the Four Arts, Dixon Building, 249 Cocoanut Row, Palm Beach. For reservations, contact or 561-805-8562.

Romance, mystery writers meet

The ethics of reviewing books will be the presentation at the monthly Florida Romance Writers meeting 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Nov. 12 at Tigertail Lake Recreational Center, 580 Gulf Stream Way, Dania Beach. Cost is $10 for members, $15 for nonmembers. Reservations required; contact

Since November is National Novel Writing Month, South Florida author Joanna Campbell Slan will discuss "Get Your Work-in-Progress Done" beginning at 12:30 p.m. Nov. 19 during the meeting the Mystery Writers of America at The Addison, 2 E. Camino Real, Boca Raton, 561-372-0568. Cost is $25 for members; $30 for non-members. For more information, email Harriet at

Miami Book Fair gears up

The 33rd edition of the Miami Book Fair will be Nov. 13-20 at Miami Dade College's Wolfson Campus in downtown Miami. For Book Fair updates, visit, call 305-237-3528, or email Panels, reading and a return of the popular Evening With… will be among the highlights. Authors scheduled to attend include Eoin Colfer, James Carville, Alan Cumming, Maureen Dowd, Tavis Smiley, Annette Gordon-Reed, Peter S. Onuf, Jeffrey Toobin and many others.

Items for the December column must be received by Nov. 20. Email

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