This year I’m participating in the 2015 #Readukkah Challenge hosted by the Association of Jewish Libraries. The goal is to spread the word about wonderful Jewish books during the eight days of Hanukkah. So here they are: eight days of good reads on Jewish themes. Enjoy!
DAY TWO #READUKKAH CHALLENGE:
About this book:
Welcome to Hereville, home of the first-ever wisecracking, adventure-loving, sword-wielding Orthodox Jewish heroine. A delightful mix of fantasy, adventure, cultural traditions, and preteen commotion, this fun, quirky graphic novel series will captivate middle-school readers with its exciting visuals and entertaining new heroine.Spunky, strong-willed eleven-year-old Mirka Herschberg isn’t interested in knitting lessons from her stepmother, or how-to-find-a-husband advice from her sister, or you-better-not warnings from her brother. There’s only one thing she “does” want: to fight dragons!Granted, no dragons have been breathing fire around Hereville, the Orthodox Jewish community where Mirka lives, but that doesn’t stop the plucky girl from honing her skills. She fearlessly stands up to local bullies. She battles a very large, very menacing pig. And she boldly accepts a challenge from a mysterious witch, a challenge that could bring Mirka her heart’s desire: a dragon-slaying sword! All she has to do is find–and outwit–the giant troll who’s got it!
Why I think you should read it:
It captures a slice of Jewish life that is rarely depicted in so-called Jewish books. Mirka is a fun and funny heroine. Barry Deutsch is a master of the graphic novel format. This book wins in all ways!
*You will love this book and will want more. You are in luck since Barry has written two more books in the Hereville Series!
Rarely do legal contracts amuse, entertain, or titillate. But the contract I signed this week did all those things. Do you see how excited I look posing in front of my Angel Punk post-it note plot/character board? And the title of this post, you ask? Actual quote from the contract:
“WHEREAS, the Writer is an experienced writer of heroes, scientists, and adventurer…”
That line got me thinking about another line, the line working writers need to cross from hobby writer to professional writer. I spent many years as what I would call a hobby writer. I wrote when inspired. I wrote when I got dumped. I wrote when I felt all Zen. Words were a way to process my internal experiences and to understand my world.
I got very lucky with my first book. Paddle My Own Canoe was written out of grief and as a tribute after my grandmother died. I read it at her memorial service. The editor who published my grandmother’s memoir was in the audience. She approached me about publishing the poem, which we did the following year.
And thus I stepped over the line… I put aside the other professional plans that I laid out. My husband agreed that it was time to give writing the full-time chance it deserved. For me that meant, joining professional writing organizations, taking workshops to improve my craft, printing business cards, and writing on a regular schedule. But perhaps the most important step was claiming the title.
“What do you do?”
“I’m a writer.”
And now… with four books out and a contract for a YA novel that will be out next year, I wear that appellation pretty comfortably. I’m ready to take it up a notch.
“WHEREAS I am an experienced writer of heroes, scientists, and adventurers.”
OK. My reading choices are eclectic. I like it that way.
And I love skeleton horses named Skinny and dead girl/live guy romances that aren’t all goofy and self-indulgent a la Bella/Edward.
And regular boys who get all heroic on the world!
And my son says, “Ghostopolis is awesome! The Bone King is cool.”