For my third book, I honored my grandfather, aka Poppy, with whom I had a close, joyful relationship. He came to the U.S. at age 18, having escaped from the czar’s army (yes, we’re talking pre-Russian Revolution), knowing no English and almost no one.
He learned English, Italian, and Spanish, graduated from the Columbia University School of Pharmacy and eventually owned two pharmacies in New York City. When I studied Russian in high school and college, Poppy and I had a secret language deployed at family gatherings.
At age 90, he wrote his autobiography. My dedication reflects Poppy’s belief in me.
The aforementioned third book is my middle grade novel Confessions of an Orange Octopus, in which eight year old “Chooch” learns to juggle and wants to become a street juggler, but his parents are not on board. After he and his friends (members of the Gripe Club, whose mission is to complain about grown-ups) have variuos adventures, Chooch and his parents agree on a compromise. And who gave Chooch the how-to-juggle book and devised the compromise plan? His grandpa!