Aug 31, 2010

A Family's Tashlich Ritual as Told in a Picture Book

Shanah Tovah from Kar-Ben! We sat down with Susan Schnur, the co-author of Tashlich at Turtle Rock, a new book for Rosh Hashanah. She wrote the book with her daughter, Anna Schnur-Fishman, based on their own family's Tashlich ritual. We hope you enjoy the book and are inspired to add a nature walk to your Rosh Hashanah celebration!

Where did you get the inspiration for Tashlich at Turtle Rock?
It comes straight from the spiritual Jewish stuff that my husband and I and our two kids do at home. In fact, the names of the two kids in the book are just the real names of my kids -- Lincoln and Anna.

What are you most excited about promoting in your new book?
The idea that you can do cool Jewish stuff outdoors with your own family!

What is the most interesting thing you learned in the process of writing your book?
That it's really fun to write with another human being. I liked writing with my daughter when she was in a good mood, but, for some reason, I also really enjoyed writing with her when she was cranky. I think because I understood that her crankiness had something to do with those moments in the creative process when you're sure that everything you're putting on paper is wrong. It was also cool to write with someone whose literary voice you often trust more than your own.

How do you hope your book will impact the Jewish life of a child?
If a family starts having the confidence to create Jewish rituals of their own at home, out-of-doors, that's very hopeful for Judaism.

What was your favorite book when you were a child?
The Harold and the Purple Crayon series.

What’s your favorite line from a book?
The last lines from Charlotte's Web: "Wilbur never forgot Charlotte. She was in a class by herself. It is not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and a good writer. Charlotte was both."

Who are your top three favorite authors or illustrators?
For children's book authors, I love Daniel Pinkwater. For grownup book authors, I love Rilke. My fave children's book illustrator is N.C. Wyeth.

Why did you want to become an author or illustrator?
I've written since I was 6 years old. Though I went to seminary and then got a doctorate in psychology, in the heartiest part of my hearty-heart-heart, I have always been, and remain, a writer.

Do you have any advice for future authors or illustrators?
To write children's literature, you should start by being a child.

Aug 10, 2010

Beautiful Blogger Award

Thank you, People of the Books, for nominating us for the Beautiful Blogger Award! We're honored to be recognized!

With the award come these responsibilities: we must share seven interesting facts about our company and nominate seven other blogs for the award. Here goes...

1. Kar-Ben Publishing is celebrating its 35th anniversary in 2010! We were founded in 1975.

2. Kar-Ben's first book, My Very Own Haggadah, is still in print, with over 2,000,000 copies sold!

3. Kar-Ben has received more Sydney Taylor Book Awards than any other publishing company. Our 2009 Honor Award winners are Benjamin and the Silver Goblet and Nachshon, Who Was Afraid to Swim.

3. Many Kar-Ben authors have hands-on experience in working with young readers. If you enjoy a book and want to enrich your children's or students' experience, you can invite the author to your next book event.

4. Kar-Ben Publishing, a division of Lerner Publishing Group, is – surprise! -- not headquartered on the East Coast. We’re located in the Warehouse District in downtown Minneapolis. Yes, we have 40,000+ Jews in Minnesota!

5. In addition to children's books, we also publish Jewish calendars. They come in six formats and are used in offices, schools, and organizations all over North America. Schools and organizations can also customize the calendars for use as fundraisers and promotions.

6. The first Sammy Spider title, Sammy Spider’s First Hanukkah, by Sylvia A. Rouss, illustrated by Katherine Janus Kahn, was published in 1993. That makes Sammy 17 years old! Post Bar Mitzvah, but still learning about Jewish life!

7. There is only well known Jewish holiday for which Kar-Ben has not (yet?) published a children’s book – Tisha B’Av. (If you've got a story idea or manuscript, here are our submission guidelines.)

Seven blogs we're nominating:
The Whole Megillah : A new blog about Jewish books for young readers
Ima on the Bima : An effervescent mom blogging about raising a family and being a rabbi
Homeshuling : A unique perspective about Jewish parenting, always entertaining and thought-provoking
Interfaith Family : Great resource for families, couples, and educators exploring Jewish life
Tami Lehman-Wilzig : About diverse customs and traditions in Jewish culture
The Book of Life : A podcast all about Jewish books!
Lerner Publishing Group : An inside look at the children's publishing world

Thanks again, People of the Books! It's wonderful to be recognized and tip our hat to fellow bloggers!