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.

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