A recent review of my latest picture book, Gracie Brings Back Bubbe’s Smile, is one of my favorites so far. Ronna Mandel of Goodreads with Ronna not only considers it a “thoughtful, educational, and accessible read for children processing a loss,” but also praises Gracie’s cleverness:
“Rather than come right out and tell Bubbe what she’s doing, Gracie uses her genuine curiosity to take her grandmother’s mind off her husband’s death by having her focus on something else. What a mature approach!”
It was also lovely to see of my Debby Rahmalia’s lovely interior illustrations:
Recently, I did a fun interview on Candleschtick.com, a terrific website with all kinds of Jewish-themed gifts. Children’s Book author Sarah Lynne Ruel and I were featured together because we both have new picture books with Jewish grandmothers and food.
Sarah answered questions about the inspirations for her delightful picture book Bubbie & Rivkah’s Best-Ever Challah (So Far!) And I answered questions about the inspirations for Gracie Brings Back Bubbe’s Smile.
Here’s an excerpt from the interview:
You included several expressive Yiddish words that we love–mensch, chutzpah, and latke are some favorites at Candleschtick. Are there certain words you knew you wanted in the story when you first started writing it?
I knew the word naches (joy) would have to be there because it would be in the happy ending. And I knew we’d need kvetch (complain) because it’s funny. And of course, I’d need to throw in an oy.
Coincidentally, Sarah and I had met not long ago when we read our books at a temple Sunday school. See blog post
I think it’s kinda cute that my husband, Alan Ticotsky, and I were college sweethearts at Brandeis University and to our surprise, our new books are featured on the same page (separated by 1 book) in the latest alumni magazine. Alan’s book is a valuable resource for educators—NOW WHAT? A CALL TO ACTION— and mine, as you probably know by now, is a children’s picture book about a little girl and her grandma.
It was definitely winter the day of the Writers’ Loft Winter Book Bazaar, with the first real snowstorm of the season. But the atmosphere inside was warm, with dozens of member authors selling a variety of picture books and middle grade and YA novels and crafts. It was such fun to chat with other authors and attendees I hadn’t seen since before Covid!
Attractive poster for the Winter Book Bazaar
Ask me about one of my picture books or middle grade novels!
My husband was my table mate. Note the Writers’ Loft Anthologies for sale too!
What fun to share Gracie Brings Back Bubbe’s Smile with the wonderful listeners in Congregation Beth Elohim’s Sunday school classes! They were attentive, engaged, and asked great questions.
Thanks to the temple (in Acton, MA) for having me and to the terrific indie bookstore Silver Unicorn for selling my books. AND I got to meet author-illustrator Sarah Lynne Reul and hear her read her delightful Bubbie & Rivka’s Best-Ever Challah (So Far!)
Ready to answer questions
Sharing the story of Gracie and Bubbe
A lovely volunteer named Abby held up the book showing colorful illustrations by Debby Rahmalia
Team Bubbe! Sarah Lynne Reul and I held up our books.
And with the publication of Gracie Brings Back Bubbe’s Smile, I’ve had a chance to answer lots of questions for blog interviews. Recently I enjoyed answering the thought-provoking questions posed by Barbara Bietz for the blog Jewish Books For Kids…and More!
When the interview was published, I was pleased to read Barbara’s description of my book as a “heartwarming intergenerational story.”
Here’s an excerpt of the interview:
“In her age-appropriate way, Gracie helps Bubbe heal after the loss of her husband. What do you hope young readers take away from Gracie’s story?
In reading about an adult and child both missing a loved one, I hope young readers will see that it’s important to acknowledge feelings of loss. And when Gracie helps Bubbe gradually emerge from her grief as she teaches Gracie Yiddish words, I hope readers will see that it’s possible to experience joy and even laughter again, through love and sharing of culture.”
Sometimes I answer questions in person. I look happy to answer, right?
And sometimes I answer questions over Zoom, during an author visit. I look more serious, but I was happy to answer!
3, 2, 1…Launch! And ready to answer the first question—from my grandson!
I was so pleased to share Gracie and Bubbe’s story with about 40 attendees and to sign so many copies that the store sold out!
Two of My Books for Sale
In my intro, I explained that the book was inspired by my love for my grandparents, my grandchildren, and the language of Yiddish. I gave a mini Yiddish lesson with audience participation and plenty of gratifying giggles.
Teaching some colorful Yiddish expressions
Sharing a funny anecdote
As I read the book, author and friend Heather Lang held it up so everyone could see the vibrant illustrations by Debby Rahmalia. Several people teared up at the tender ending.
Author Heather Lang holds up the book as I read.
Thank you to everyone who came to the launch and to Maxima Books for hosting it!
On the aptly named website Destination Mirth, journalistNina Livingstone interviews people in a feature called “Nina’s Nine.”
Recently, I was tickled to be included and to get the chance to answer Nina’s fun questions. Some of my responses are serious, and some are pretty funny (if I do say so myself). Here’s the full interview.
And here’s an excerpt:
NINA: If you could invite four celebrities, (actors, historic figures, astronauts etc.) for dinner, who would they be and what would you serve?
JANE: Mick Jagger, Bono, Susie Essman, and Stephen Colbert. Well, I’d be too star-struck to eat anything. But now I’m nervous! What should I serve?
Every year I look forward to creating a Halloween ball-headed (and actually bald-headed, now that I think of it) character to greet trick-or-treaters. This year’s happy guy is day-dreaming about Hawaii as he waits for costumed candy-seekers to come by.
Kathy Carroll’s terrific blog Celebrate Picture Books recently featured my new book GRACIE BRINGS BACK BUBBE’S SMILE..
I was gratified to read the summary of the book—it sounded so good I think I’ll read it, oh! I wrote it! And pleased as punch (is punch really pleased?) to read the glowing review. Here’s the concluding paragraph:
“Touching, reassuring, and joyful, Gracie Brings Back Bubbe’s Smile comforts and restores while celebrating family love and generational ties. The book would be a meaningful addition to home bookshelves for all families and one school and public librarians will want in their picture book or family issues collection.”