Meshuggenahs

Rachelle Burk
rachelleburk.com

THE BEST FOUR QUESTIONS (illustrated by Mélanie Florian, Kar-Ben Publishing) A PJ Library selection. Marcy plans to ask the best Four Questions ever. And she does – only they don’t come from the Haggadah. Her other children’s books range from picture books through middle-grade. Rachelle is also a professional clown and storyteller. A New Jersey resident, she visits schools and preschools around the country and via Skype.

Nancy Churnin
nancychurnin.com

IRVING BERLIN: THE IMMIGRANT BOY WHO MADE AMERICA SING (illustrated by James Rey Sanchez, Creston Books/Lerner Books): Irving Berlin came to the United States as a refugee from Tsarist Russia, escaping a pogrom that destroyed his village. Growing up on the streets of the lower East Side, the rhythms of jazz and blues inspired his own song-writing career. A 2019 Sydney Taylor Notable and National Council for the Social Studies Notable. MARTIN & ANNE: THE KINDRED SPIRITS OF DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. AND ANNE FRANK (illustrated by Yevgenia Nayberg, Creston Books/Lerner Books) Anne Frank and Martin Luther King, Jr. were born the same year a world apart. This is the story of their parallel journeys to find hope in darkness and to follow their dreams. A 2020 Books for a Global Society Notable from the International Literacy Association; a 2020 Wisconsin State Reading Association Picture This! pick; selected for the 2020 Social Justice and Children’s Literature list of The Pirate Tree, a collective of children’s and young adult writers interested in children’s literature and social justice issues; presented at the NYC School Librarians annual conference in NYC and the Museum of Tolerance in LA; on the 2020 PJ Library’s Jewish Books to Read in Honor of MLK Jr. Day; a 2019 March Book Buzz pick for the eMissourian, Children’s Book Council’s Hot Off the Press list and Ruby Bridges Reading Festival selection; 2019 featured book at Tulisoma South Dallas Book Fair at African American Museum in Fair Park, Dallas; a 2019 pick for the Brave Bookshelf, a list of books that build moral courage in children, by ParentMap; a Civil Rights and Race reading list selection by the Jewish Book Council. Nancy, a Dallas resident, visits schools everywhere in person and via Skype.

BIG DREAMS, SMALL FISH (written and illustrated by Paula / Levine Querido) is Paula’s debut picture book. In the new country, Shirley and her family all have big dreams. Take the family store: Shirley has great ideas to make the store prettier, more modern, more profitable. Maybe she can even get the customer’s to try Mama’s gefilte fish! Shirley’s family thinks she’s too little to help.  But when the family has to rush out, Shirley gets her big chance to try to change the flavor of the neighborhood. 
Paula is the illustrator of HONEY ON THE PAGE: A Treasury of Yiddish Children’s Literature (Edited and translated by Miriam Udel/ NYU Press), and THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING LUNCHROOM (Michal Babay /Charlesbridge). Her illustrations have also appeared in Honeycake Magazine, The Boston Globe, Scholastic Magazine, and more. Paula spent many years running art camps and classes, occasionally dressed in ridiculous costumes and handcrafted paper wigs.  She loves live music, traveling, food festivals, and naming the seagulls on the beach.  She lives in New Jersey with her family and her cantankerous miniature schnauzer.

Amalia Hoffman
amaliahoffman.com

THE BRAVE CYCLIST: THE TRUE STORY OF A HOLOCAUST HERO (illustrated by Chiara Fedele, Capstone Publishing). Gino Bartali rose to become a Tour de France champion and one of cycling’s greatest stars. But when his country entered World War II on the side of Nazi Germany. Bartali put his life and career at risk. He used his speed and endurance on a bike to deliver forged identification cards to Italian Jews who needed to escape harm. A Junior Library Guild selection. DREIDEL DAY (Kar-Ben Publishing): A PJ Library selection: THE KLEZMER BUNCH (Gefen Publishing), about a group of Klezmer musicians, and PURIM GOODIES (Gefen Publishing), which includes a delicious recipe. Amalia Hoffman is an author, illustrator, and storyteller. She lives in Westchester, NY Metro area and does author visits in NYC, Long Island, CT and all over or via Skype.

Ann Koffsky
annkoffsky.com

CREATION COLORS (Apples & Honey Press). This lyrical story pairs each day of Creation with a color.  The extraordinary, layered images Koffsky has created to accompany the text will help young readers and their grown-ups notice and appreciate the colors and details in the world with fresh eyes.  Watch for Ann’s newest book, Kayla and Kugel’s Happy Hanukkah (which will be one of this year’s Hanukkah giveaway books), coming soon from Apples & Honey Press. Ann has written or illustrated more than thirty Jewish books, including JUDAH MACCABEE GOES TO THE DOCTOR (illustrated by Talitha Shipman, Apples & Honey Press) and the KAYLA AND KUGEL series (Apples & Honey Press); NOAH’S SWIM-A-THON (Apples & Honey Press), a Sydney Taylor book award-winner. She is also an editor and art director at Apples & Honey Press. Several of her books have been PJ Library selections. Ann Koffsky lives in West Hempstead, NY.

H IS FOR HAIKU: A TREASURY OF HAIKU FROM A TO Z (illustrated by Sawsan Chalabi, Penny Candy Books): Losak’s mother, New York teacher and writer, Sydell Rosenberg, uses the shortest but expansive form of poetry called haiku to celebrate the fun and joy in everyday moments we might otherwise overlook. Nominated for a Cybil’s Poetry Award and selected by the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) as a 2019 Notable Poetry Book. We are thankful to Amy for helming our annual Book Meshuggenahs’ Chai-ku Contest. Amy lives in New Jersey.

Jennifer Tzivia MacLeod
tzivia.com

FAST ASLEEP IN A LITTLE VILLAGE IN ISRAEL (illustrated by Tiphanie Beeke, Apples  & Honey Press), a PJ Library selection: Kukurikuuu! squawks the rooster. Meowwwww! yowls the cat. ZZZZzzzzzz buzzes the mosquito. It is the end of a hot, dry summer, and Mrs. Strauss just can’t fall asleep. “SHEKET! QUIET!” But when at last she falls asleep, something wakes her up again…something her little village in Israel has been waiting for all summer long. ‘A lovely peek into life in Israel’ -Kirkus Reviews.‘ Jennifer is also the author of YOSSI AND THE MONKEYS: A SHAVUOT STORY (illustrated by Shirley Waisman, Kar-Ben Publishing) and other books. Jennifer lives in Israel.

Allison Ofanansky
allison.ofanansky
@yahoo.com

Series: HOW IT’S MADE (photography by Eliyahu Alpern, Apples & Honey Press) including: TORAH SCROLL, HANUKKAH MENORAH, and MATZAH; and the following Kar-Ben Publishing books: THE PATCHWORK TORAH (illustrated by Elsa Oriol), a National Jewish Book Council Award; SUKKOT TREASURE HUNT (photography by Eliyahu Alpern); HARVEST OF LIGHT (photography by Eliyahu Alpern); WHAT’S THE BUZZ?: HONEY FOR A SWEET NEW YEAR (photography by Eliyahu Alpern); CHEESECAKE FOR SHAVUOT (photography by Eliyahu Alpern); NEW MONTH, NEW MOON (photography by Eliyahu Alpern), a Middle East Council Notable Book; TISHA B’AV: A JERUSALEM JOURNEY (photography by Eliyahu Alpern). Several of Allison’s books have been Sydney Taylor Notable Books for Young Readers. Watch for two new books from Allison: A SWEET MEETING ON MIMOUNA NIGHT (illustrated by Rotem Teplow, Groundwood Books) and ESTHER DID NOT DREAM OF BEING QUEEN, a new PJ Library selection, to be released by Apples & Honey Press in time for Purim 2021.  Allison lives in Israel. She is available for Skype visits.

Karen Rostoker-Gruber
karenrostoker-gruber.com

FARMER KOBI’S HANUKKAH MATCH (illlustrated by CB Decker, Apples & Honey Press) National Jewish Book Award Finalist; Church and Synagogue Library Association Outstanding Children’s Literature Award. Farmer Kobi’s well-mannered goats, donkey, and sheep know just how to play host, and they give Polly, Kobi’s Hanukkah guest, a gracious welcome. But when Polly isn’t sure animals belong in a house, what will happen next?  Find out with laugh-out-loud pictures and puns that are sure to entertain all readers. As donkey says: Hee-haw-yahoo!  Karen is also the author of  MADDIE THE MITZVAH CLOWN (illustrated by Christine Grove, Apples & Honey Press), a PJ Library selection; THE FAMILY AND FROG HAGGADAH (co-authored with Rabbi Ron Isaacs, illustrated by Jackie Urbanovic, Behrman House), featured in The New York Times; HAPPY BIRTHDAY, TREES (illustrated by Holly Sterling, Kar-Ben Publishing), winner of the PJ Library Author Incentive Award and A CROWDED FARMHOUSE FOLKTALE (illustrated by Kristina Swarner, Albert Whitman & Company). Karen, a NJ resident, is also a ventriloquist. She visits schools in person and via Skype.

Shanna Silva
shannasilva.com

Shanna Silva is an award-winning author and producer. She has written three children’s picture books: A DOG’S GUIDE TO BEING HUMAN (Yeehoo Press, 2021), HANNAH’S HANUKKAH HICCUPS (Apples & Honey Press, 2018) and PASSOVER SCAVENGER HUNT (Kar-Ben, 2017). Shanna is also the author of 35 high/low books for struggling readers. In addition, her work can be found in Kveller, Bella Magazine, Twins Magazine, Multiples Illuminated I and II, and Chicken Soup for the Soul. Shanna lives in Long Island, New York with her family and a meshuggenah sheepadoodle puppy named Drake.

Melissa Stoller
melissastoller.com

Melissa Stoller’s picture book, SADIE’S SHABBAT STORIES, inspired by her own family history (illustrated by Lisa Goldberg, Clear Fork Publishing), will be released in 2020. Melissa lives in Manhattan with her husband, three daughters, and one puppy and enjoys visiting schools in person and via Skype.

Laurie Wallmark
lauriewallmark.com

Laurie Wallmark is the award-winning author of several #WomenInStem picture book biographies, including HEDY LAMARR’S DOUBLE LIFE: HOLLYWOOD LEGEND AND BRILLIANT INVENTOR (illustrated by Katy Wu, Sterling Children’s Books) about Jewish inventor and film star Hedy Lamarr, Laurie’s books have earned multiple starred trade reviews, been chosen as Junior Library Guild Selections, and received awards such as Outstanding Science Trade Book, Cook Prize Honor, AAAS/Subaru Prize Longlist, and Parents’ Choice Gold Medal. Laurie lives in Ringoes, New Jersey, with her husband and enjoys doing school visits and conference presentations.