Sydney Taylor Blog Tour: Eight Nights of Flirting by Hannah Reynolds

Hello, Hannah Reynolds! Welcome to Watch. Connect. Read.! Congratulations on Eight Nights of Flirting being named a Sydney Taylor Honor book. What does receiving this award mean to you? 

Hannah Reynolds: Getting a Sydney Taylor Honor fills me with such joy. It's wonderful to know that Eight Nights of Flirting resonates with readers, and that more teens will be reading it. While Hanukkah - despite being a minor holiday - probably shows up more than any other Jewish holiday in fiction, there's still barely any young adult novels where teenagers are shown actively celebrating it. I hope having this kind of representation in a romantic comedy makes lots of teens feel seen, and like their stories can also be filled with fun and joy.

Scenario: A high school teacher-librarian asks you to booktalk Eight Nights of Flirting to a group of juniors. What do you share with them?

Hannah Reynolds: First, I'd want them to know Eight Night exists because I think books that bring joy and laughter are so important. I want to bring teens happiness the same way books brought me happiness at that age. It's about feeling like talking to your crush is the most terrifying thing in the world. I'd also tell them Eight Nights of Flirting is about something I didn't know at sixteen, but I wish I had: it's okay to put yourself out there, and people probably aren't going to spend as much time thinking about you as you expect them to. Shira, the heroine of Eight Nights, has no idea how to talk to boys, and she thinks she comes off as awkward or aloof. Over the course of the book (and flirting lessons with her nemesis, Tyler) she finally learns how to talk to people, and after she gets some practice, it's not quite as scary as she expected. She also learns that it's okay, at sixteen, to not know what you're going to do with the rest of your life, and to not need to be perfect at everything. I think juniors can judge themselves pretty harshly, and a lot of this book is about being kinder to yourself, and learning how to communicate more openly with the people you care about.

Please finish the following sentence starters: 

Shira Barbanel is an anxious mess, but that's not going to stop her from getting her crush to notice her this Hanukkah — even if she has to enlist her nemesis, golden boy Tyler Nelson, in giving her flirting lessons!

Hanukkah… flickering candles, the scent of melting wax, hot oil, donut powder everywhere, minor-key melodies, loving and boisterous family.

Story is a balance of tensions, both internal and external, whisking the reader along to a satisfying conclusion (and occasionally including both a love story and a mystery stemming from an old wooden chest hidden in the attic).

John Schu, you should have asked me if I've ever baked a chocolate babka or put on a chaotic Hanukkah play with all my cousins! The answer: I have not, but if my crush wanted to help my family bake babka, I'd be down, and if I had cousins as commanding as the 12-year-old triplets in Eight Nights, I would wear whatever silly costumes and put on whatever theatrics they requested!

Thank you, Hannah! 

Hannah Reynolds grew up outside of Boston, where she spent most of her childhood and teenage years recommending books to friends, working at a bookstore, and making chocolate desserts. She received her BA in Creative Writing and Archaeology from Ithaca College, which meant she never needed to stop telling romantic stories or playing in the dirt. After living in San Francisco, New York, and Paris, she came back to Massachusetts and now lives in Cambridge.

Below is the schedule for the 2023 Sydney Taylor Book Award Blog Tour.


Chana Stiefel and Susan Gal, author and illustrator of The Tower of Life
Sydney Taylor Book Award in the Picture Book Category
at 100 Scope Notes at School Library Journal

Mari Lowe, author of Aviva vs. the Dybbuk
Sydney Taylor Book Award in the Middle Grade Category
at A Fuse #8 Production at School Library Journal

Sacha Lamb, author of When the Angels Left the Old Country
Sydney Taylor Book Award in the Young Adult Category
at Out of the Box at The Horn Book


Erin Silver, author of Sitting Shiva
Sydney Taylor Honor Book in the Picture Book Category
at Jewish Books for Kids…And More!

Sarah Darer Littman, author of Some Kind of Hate
Sydney Taylor Honor Book in the Young Adult Category
at Good Reads with Ronna


Paul Martin, widower of Paula Cohen Martin, author of Big Dreams, Small Fish
Sydney Taylor Honor Book in the Picture Book Category
at Picture Books Help Kids Soar

Shoshana Nambi and Moran Yogev, author and illustrator of The Very Best Sukkah
Sydney Taylor Honor Book in the Picture Book Category
at Pragmatic Mom

Meira Drazin, author of Honey and Me
Sydney Taylor Honor Book in the Middle Grade Category 
at The Whole Megillah

Hannah Reynolds, author of Eight Nights of Flirting
Sydney Taylor Honor Book in the Young Adult Category
at Watch.Connect.Read


Sofiya Pasternack, author of Black Bird, Blue Road
Sydney Taylor Honor Book in the Middle Grade Category 
at From the Mixed Up Files of Middle Grade Authors

A.J. Sass, author of Ellen Outside the Lines
Sydney Taylor Honor Book in the Middle Grade Category 
at Bookishly Jewish

Jennieke Cohen, author of My Fine Fellow
Sydney Taylor Honor Book in the Young Adult Category
at Paper Brigade Daily at The Jewish Book Council


Blog Tour Wrap-Up at The Children’s Book Podcast


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