Going as a children's author to places that loom large in childhood memory is an anxiety-filled experience, at least for me, so far. What if somewhere you loved no longer loves you? Happily, that was not the case for me this time. Last week I had the moving experience of visiting the synagogue where I went to Hebrew School and religious services growing up. East Midwood Jewish Center was an important place for me. It was the place where my lifelong interest in Judaism and Jewish history was born. So when I published a Jewish-themed children's book, I thought about going back and talking to the next generation of children there. My query was met with warmth and enthusiasm, and last Friday and Saturday I read at Tot Shabbat and Shabbat Kids and spoke to adults at a Lunch & Learn after Shabbat services. Rarely have a come across such a friendly and enthusiastic group and rarely have I ever felt so popular. I'm so glad to see that despite the demographic shifts and other changes of the past two decades, the synagogue is once again a vital and growing place. A huge todah rabbah to Michael Sucher and Larry Isaacson, co-presidents, Audrey Korelstein, education director, Sam Levine, cantor, and everyone else who made me feel so welcome and at home, once again.
I also went to another home, of sorts, Montclait New Jersey, where my husband grew up and where his family has made me feel at home from the start. Thank you to the wonderful independent bookstore, Watchung Booksellers for hosting me.
I've also been doing some very stimulating and fun school visiting. Smart kids are the best. I'm also VERY excited about a project being done by the fourth grade at the Rashi School, which I visited last week. They are animating Estie the Mensch! I can't wait to show it to you.
And now for upcoming events!
This Thursday at 7pm at the Wellesley Free Library in Wellesley, MA, I will be speaking on a panel called Not Just for Sunday School: Jewish Kids Books. Four authors of Jewish-themed children's books (picture books, non-fiction, and middle grade) will be speaking about the ins and out of Jewish-themed books for kids -- writing them, publishing them, and their place in classrooms, homes, and the world at large. Kathy Bloomfield of the Jewish book review blog forwordsbooks will moderate. The event is being sponsored by one of my all-time favorite indies, Wellesley Books. Here's a link to the event on their site with bios of the authors: http://www.wellesleybooksmith-shop.com/event/jewish-childrens-books-panel
And on Sunday at 4pm I will be speaking on another panel at the Leventhal-Sidman JCC in Newton, as part of their Jewish Book Festival (November is National Jewish Book Month -- that's why I'm so busy!) The panel will be discussing writing and publishing children's books. I'll be speaking along with Wellesley author Liz Suneby and Charlesbridge editor Julie Ham. This one requires tickets. Here's a link with more info on that: http://www.jccgb.org/bookfestival.html