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Are Jews an "underrepresented community" in children’s publishing?

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Grow Old Along with Me: Why care that Avraham Avinu was the first to get old?

(to download a print-friendly PDF version of this dvar Torah, which was adapted from a shiur by Dr. Tova Sacher, click here ) There’s a very well-known midrash that in his old age, Avraham requested… well… to age. It seems like an odd request. He lived not long after the generation of people like Methuselah, who lived 969 years. Certainly, people aged before Avraham. Or… did they? In fact, this midrash suggests, lots of people before Avraham were old – sometimes, very old – but nobody actually got old at all. This whole midrash arises due to a problem with the passuk: וְאַבְרָהָם זָקֵן בָּא בַּיָּמִים And Abraham was old, advanced in days. Rabbi Nachman of Breslov said Hashem never makes the same day twice. “Every day is an entirely new creation.” Even if you wake up and today seems exactly the same as yesterday – it’s not. So, too, whenever there’s a redundancy in the Torah, it should catch our eye. Because there are no redundancies in the Torah. If something looks

The Jewish kids’ book YOUR family has been waiting for (I hope?)

  Last year, I wrote a book , just before I found out our older daughter was pregnant. It's a book all about the way families grow - through birth, through adoption, through fostering, and how all the ways are magical and lovely. AND HERE IT IS!!! But the process wasn’t as straightforward as with other books I’ve created, in part because I felt so, so strongly about this one. This is a book I have wanted to create for a while, after knowing people who had either adopted or fostered children and seeing that there weren't really many Jewish books to support these also-miraculous ways of growing families. As I have seen from other aspiring writers, however, the more strongly you feel about a project, the more likely it is to come out very, very badly. Because you are so passionate, you write garbage – overly sentimental tripe - and send the book out into the world LONG before it’s ready. I didn’t want that to happen. Yet I had big dreams for this book. I pictured a

Speaking of Yom Tov… (here are some BOOKS!)

Here’s a rhyming riddle: Rosh Hashanah’s almost here: which of my books will you buy this year???!? I know; pretty tacky, right? I’ll be honest; that’s how I feel about marketing my books in general. (disgusted baby © iwishmynamewasmarsha via Flickr ) What’s the secret to self-publishing success??? Don’t bother asking me… I’m told one secret to success in business is not being afraid to ask. So there it is, the ASK. If you’re reading this, we’re connected in some obscure way. And therefore, you or someone you know might really enjoy one of my books, if only you let yourself try. Scroll down for a list you might like! Whenever people find out that I’m a self-publishing writer, they sometimes ask about – gasp – the marketing side of things. Because one of the things that commercial book publishers do pretty well is market and distribute your book. They go through well-trod channels to make sure that sellers, libraries, schools, and other interested folks have a p

What's in your quiver? The very mixed blessing of grown-up kids

What are you blessing your children with today? It’s erev Rosh Chodesh Sivan, which is considered an "eis ratzon," a time of grace, for the prayer of the Shelah Hakadosh, a prayer for righteous children, which is quite lovely and humbling and all. ( English | Hebrew ) But as a parent of adult children, especially one who has chosen a very different path when it comes to Judaism, it's also perplexing. What do we do when our children don't turn out the way we had hoped and dreamed and prayed, day after day, year after year, at countless and innumerable times of grace? Back when I was homeschooling, I came across a number of parents who identified themselves as "Quiverfull." I had no clue what this was so I had to look it up. It seems it's a Christian parenting philosophy whereby you have as many children as possible. The term actually comes from Tehillim 127:5, so they borrowed it from us, and I'd like to reclaim it for a minute

Cranky Complaints-Lady Buys BOOKS! (or tries to)

Blame it on COVID-19. Like the ENTIRE WORLD, I probably have a lot of pent-up frustration right now, which I should probably turn to writing here and on my other sites about constructive things, but there you go. I’m not. Instead, tonight I found myself returning to one of my all-time favourite pursuits: kvetching. I used to have a regular feature of this site where I’d fire off letters giving people pieces of my mind. But I got tired of it. Kvetching is exhausting. So I promise, I’m not going to do much of it. But tonight was an exception. Because I was checking out at the Better World Books site this evening when all of a sudden, a survey popped up about how my experience was. And it just so happened that I had had a pretty bad experience on their site. Before you say anything, I know, I know – first world problems. In the grand scheme of things, there’s a pandemic on and I had a problem at an ecommerce website. It’s not exactly life-threatening. But seriously, I used

Poem o' th' Week: Which would YOU rather have?

  How are you doing for poems lately? Craving a really good one?     I first came across this poem in Garrison Keillor's anthology Good Poems for Hard Times , which we've been choosing poems out of to read randomly at family dinnertimes since corona hit -- for no reason whatsoever. And as a sometime