Yes, I do, which is why I haven’t posted for the last 6 weeks. I know…I could have/should have posted on one of the many, many rainy days of this summer. But I hereby confess that the expression “lazy days of summer” applies to me.
Now that it’s well past Labor Day, I thought I’d finally post some scenes from our fun family vacation in the lovely, uncommercial lakes district of Maine. There were 10 of us, including 4 grandchildren.
Recently, Lilith Magazine included Gracie Brings Back Bubbe’s Smile in a column about Feminist Books for Young Readers! I hadn’t thought of Gracie or Bubbe as feminists, but the list made me appreciate my own book’s feminist themes and strong female characters. Bubbe is an active older woman, who does yoga, plays guitar, and jogs so fast that Gracie kvetches about not being able to keep up. She makes an impressive kick at Gracie’s soccer game when the ball goes out of bounds. The book doesn’t include a father, so the reader can infer that Gracie’s mom is a single mother. And now that I think of it, Gracie herself is a budding feminist through her perseverance in trying to help her beloved, grieving Bubbe engage with life again after the death of her husband, eventually finding a way to help her find joy as they learn Yiddish together.
I was pleased to find out that Gracie Brings Back Bubbe’s Smile is recommended on Glass of Wine, Glass of Milk, a mom-and-son book review team. Gracie and Remembering Mom’s Kubbat Halab by Medeia Sharif are cited as “two books about grief I think would be really good to help younger kids.”
In my book I try to portray grief in a realistic way and end with the portrayal of eventually experiencing joy again. How wonderful it would be if my picture book could help ease the pain of anyone experiencing grief following the loss of a loved one.
I was so pleased to see Gracie Brings Back Bubbe’s Smile in a front page article in the Jewish Journal!
My book is featured in a roundup of children’s books and includes a mini interview with yours truly.
Writer Penny Schwartz sums up the plot: “It’s a sweet story about the warm and loving inter-generational relationship between a young Jewish girl and her grandmother, who bond over Yiddish words.”
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.
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.
See for yourself!
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!