Press Room

Here are some photos for publicity purposes, an assortment of links to videos and radio pieces I’ve done, as well as quotes from reviews of my books.

Note that photo credit should be given to Ahri Golden.  For publicity purposes, please also note the correct spelling of my name:  Joel ben Izzy. Yes, the “b” is lower case, and there’s no hyphen.




Video: A Story of Curses and Blessings

Video: The Story of an Orange


Author Appearance: Joel ben Izzy at “One Book, One Community,” Midland, Michigan. Talking about The Beggar King and the Secret of Happiness.


How to Find Your Three Essential Stories: Origin, Impact & Vision

How to Craft Your Organization’s Story

Storytelling and Branding

RADIO LINKS: Joel on NPR’s “Snap Judgment”

The Tunnel – In Search of a Miracle

A Shamed Man – A tale Joel found in the graveyard in Yokohama, Japan

Clown College – A tale of a musician – and life’s twists and turns

Quotes About
Joel’s Books


Dial Books, 2016

Finalist for 2016 National Jewish Book Award

Winner of 2017 Sydney Taylor Book Award Honors


“A recognizable middle school antihero confides in readers in an empathetic, funny, and heartwarming story that cuts across the expected grain. Set during Hanukkah, this wonderful novel is full of universal dilemmas and realistic pre-teen situations at home and at school. … Dreidels on the Brain adheres honestly to the voice of the 12-year-old narrator, who begins to understand the world through his chatty, breezy, and humorous dissection of events. This book is a miracle of Jewish identity for Hanukkah and throughout the year.”

— Jewish Book Council

 “Relatable and humorous. . . . A coming-of-age novel steeped in tradition [that] will appeal to anyone who has felt different and those who believe—or want to believe—in miracles.”


“…Joel’s witty, tongue-in-cheek narration will keep readers turning the pages. Loosely autobiographical and packed with anecdotes about Jewish culture and Hanukkah history, this never-didactic tale is a welcome addition to the canon of holiday stories.”


“VERDICT: An entertaining, slightly over-the-top slice of Jewish suburban life in the 1970s, with the bonus of magic tricks and jokes.”

School Library Journal

“Joel ben Izzy, a professional storyteller, turns his love for oral tales into a laugh-out-loud ‘work of fiction …. and of friction – the kind that filled his childhood.’ Lively language, witty sayings, memorable characters, magic tricks and at least 70 different ways to spell Hanukkah make Dreidels on the Brain a must-read for all seekers of miracles.”

Association of Jewish Libraries

“Warm, humorous musings on and explanations of Jewish culture . . . [a] moving coming-of-age journey.”

Publishers’ Weekly

“This fresh, fast-paced read is a must purchase for any middle school collection. While this is certainly a feel-good story, it does not gloss over the darker pieces of Jewish history. Joel’s encounter with a Holocaust survivor resonates far beyond the final night of Hanukkah as Joel comes to recognize that life, religion, and miracles may not be as clearly defined as he originally thought. Highly Recommended!”

Libraries Unlimited (Starred Review)



by Joel ben Izzy

A “Book-Sense” Pick

Readers Digest “Editor’s Choice”


“One of the most painfully hilarious tales I have ever read… I was humbled.”

– MAUREEN CORRIGAN, Fresh Air, National Public Radio

“It’s really the only important story there is—a story about finding light within the darkness. That Joel ben Izzy is fantastic! What a gift, what a blessing…brilliant, funny, wise…”

  – ANNE LAMOTT, Author


– GRACE PALEY, Author & Poet

“Who knew people like Joel ben Izzy existed in today’s world? He deploys ancient stories gracefully to illuminate his own story.”

– IRA GLASS, Host “This American Life”

“I love this book. I love this book. I love this book….heartwarming and smart and wonderfully written all at the same time.”


“Shines with brisk suspense as well as ben Izzy’s unerring, precise eye for including only the elements of his hard-won wisdom that matter most.”


“It’s the storyteller’s narrative art, practiced here at its best…Joel ben Izzy is a gifted teller of tales.”


“Told with humor and the wisdom that comes only through suffering, this is a story not just for storytellers but for anyone who has faced tragedy.”

            – LIBRARY JOURNAL

“Nothing less than a spiritual odyssey…”