Jewish Writer and Educator
Longlisted for the National Book Award
Travels from: Philadelphia, PA

“Funny, smart, moving, courageous, and so timely it almost hurts.” –Kirkus Starred Review

Isaac Blum (he/him) is a writer and educator. He’s taught English at several colleges and universities, and at Orthodox Jewish and public schools. He holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Rutgers-Camden, and his stories and essays have appeared in The Iowa Review, The New York Times, and One Teen Story, among other places. Isaac lives with his wife in Philadelphia where he watches sports and reads books that make him laugh while showing him something true about the world.

The Life and Crimes of Hoodie Rosen is his debut novel and was longlisted for the National Book Award. The Life and Crimes of Hoodie Rosen is a wry, witty debut novel about a deeply important and timely subject, in a story of hatred and betrayal—and the friendships we find in the most unexpected places.

Isaac’s newest book, The Judgment of Yoyo Gold (October 2024) is a smart and powerful story set in the Orthodox Jewish community about what it means to fit in, break out, and find your own way.

Isaac's Featured Titles

The Judgment of Yoyo Gold

Philomel Books |
Young Adult

A smart and powerful story set in the Orthodox Jewish community about what it means to fit in, break out, and find your own way, by the award-winning author of The Life and Crimes of Hoodie Rosen. This book is Gossip Girl + My Name Is Asher Lev + I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter.

Yoyo Gold has always played the role of the perfect Jewish daughter. She keeps kosher, looks after her siblings, and volunteers at the local food bank. She respects the decisions of her rabbi father and encourages her friends to observe the rules of their Orthodox faith. But when she sees her best friend cast out of the community over a seemingly innocent transgression, Yoyo’s eyes are opened to the truth of her neighbors’ hypocrisies for the first time. And what she sees leaves her shocked and unmoored.

As Yoyo’s frustration builds, so does the pressure to speak out, even if she can only do so anonymously on TikTok, an app that’s always been forbidden to her. But when one of her videos goes viral—and her decisions wind up impacting not only her own life but also her relationship with the boy she’s falling for—Yoyo’s world is thrown into chaos. She is forced to choose which path to take, for her community, for her family, and most importantly, for herself.

Award-winning author Isaac Blum returns with a new novel that asks what it really means to be part of a community—and what it means to break free.

The Life and Crimes of Hoodie Rosen

Philomel Books |
Young Adult Fiction


The Chosen meets Adam Silvera in this irreverent and timely story of worlds colliding in friendship, betrayal, and hatred.

Hoodie Rosen’s life isn’t that bad. Sure, his entire Orthodox Jewish community has just picked up and moved to the quiet, mostly non-Jewish town of Tregaron, but Hoodie’s world hasn’t changed that much. He’s got basketball to play, studies to avoid, and a supermarket full of delicious kosher snacks to eat. The people of Tregaron aren’t happy that so many Orthodox Jews are moving in at once, but that’s not Hoodie’s problem.

That is, until he meets and falls for Anna-Marie Diaz-O’Leary—who happens to be the daughter of the obstinate mayor trying to keep Hoodie’s community out of the town. And things only get more complicated when Tregaron is struck by a series of antisemitic crimes that quickly escalate to deadly violence.

As his community turns on him for siding with the enemy, Hoodie finds himself caught between his first love and the only world he’s ever known.

Isaac Blum delivers a wry, witty debut novel about a deeply important and timely subject, in a story of hatred and betrayal—and the friendships we find in the most unexpected places.


Cross-cultural and interfaith understanding

Everybody has their own cultural and spiritual journey. Isaac discusses how mutual curiosity and understanding (as seen in The Life and Crimes of Hoodie Rosen) can help us through our own journey of personal identity and heal our communities in the process.



Isaac takes his audience through the roots and causes of antisemitism, and discusses ways to combat anti-Jewish bias through literature.


Two shuls on a desert island, Jewish culture, identity, and religious bridge-building

Jewishness is a broad spectrum, but one with many divisions. Isaac discusses the issues, ideas, and principles that divide Jews, and ways that Jews can move past them to find common ground and understanding.


The Life and Crimes of Hoodie Rosen: A journey from idea to publication

Isaac discusses the inspiration for the novel, and the journey it took from idea to published novel.


Finding your voice

Isaac helps young (or not as young) writers find their own unique voice in fiction. Through a series of fun writing exercises, Isaac helps participants develop their own personal style, technique, and personality in their prose.


Let's write a story

This can be done in a one-hour format with a participant (or participants) who has a finished story, or it can be done in a two-hour format where participants write first, then share. (I can send along materials for writing exercises that can be workshopped during the event, or, if the workshop is longer, we can do both the writing and critique/workshop in the same event).


Your voice matters

How every voice has the power to make a difference. This can be a discussion, workshop with activities, or both.

Isaac Blum introduces The Life and Times of Hoodie Rosen

Future Events

Educator Resources

Order Signed Books | Isaac’s Hometown Bookstore

Honors, Awards & Recognition

Publishers Weekly | Best Book of 2022
Kirkus | Best Book of 2022
Longlisted for the National Book Award
Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection
MFA in Creative Writing | Rutgers-Camden

Media Kit

By clicking the link below you will be directed to a Google Docs Folder
where you can download author photos and cover images.

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