It’s less than 3 weeks ’til Shavuot and it’s been 5 years of Raizy!

It’s the 5th anniversary of my picture book about Shavuos, A Dozen Daisies for Raizy, and I’d like to learn from teachers and librarians what activities they’ve used with the book and how their kids have responded to it. If you have pix of art projects or the like, that’s even better!

You can respond to me in the comments below or privately at beccaklempner@gmail.com.

So little time, so many books to write…

I’ve been busy recently with editing projects, creating a new website (for family campers), and dealing with the general craziness in the Klempner family. That means that I haven’t been doing my own writing very much in the last month. I sat down today to revise something I worked on a couple of weeks ago in my writers’ critique group, and it felt divine. Ahhhh…

Another thing that kept me busy for the past month was an author visit. I read A Dozen Daisies for Raizy just in time for Shavuot & we did a great art project with the students (here are a couple more Raizy tie-in project suggestions…1&2). As usual, the kids wanted to know if there were any more books written about Raizy. I had to explain (again) that in fact I’ve written two sequels, one of which has never been published, the other of which was revised with a different central character and longer format, then published as a short story in Mishpacha Jr. 

I miss Raizy. But rejection letters have demoralized me. I haven’t even tried to write a sequel for quite a while. I’m planning to write another novel this summer, but I think I’ll also try my hand (again) at a follow-up to Raizy. 

I’ve already started brainstorming and scribbling away in my little notebook.

Counting down (or is it up?) ’til Shavuos

This time of year is always a little interesting for me, since my one-and-so-far-only (yes, I’m still whining about that) book is seasonal, as it is set on erev Shavuos. I read my book at synagogue, have friends and acquaintances purchase it, do a school visit…that type of thing.

There aren’t many Shavuos books out there, which is one of the reasons I wrote the book. When A Dozen Daisies for Raizy finally came out (I think it holds the publisher’s record for longest stretch from manuscript sale to publication), it came out the same year as the Shavuot book in the Sammy Spider series. My first thought was “Oy!” but others told me that people about to purchase Sammy Spider (a very well-known commodity) might see my Shavuos book and then either buy mine instead or as well. I felt a little better.
Then, reviews started trickling in. Most of mine were good or at least okay–the kids, parents, teachers and librarians who’ve spoken to me have been much more enthusiastic–but there was ONE review that was SO BAD I wanted to cry. And when A Dozen Daisies for Raizy became available through Amazon, that was the review posted on the page for the book, because it was from the most prestigious source.
One of the things that was most hurtful was that the person who wrote the review compared my book unfavorably to another book, A Mountain of Blintzes.
Buy this book
This was like turning to your kid and saying, “You’re terrible, but your big sister…she’s terrific.” Right to her face.
The thing is…I really like A Mountain of Blintzes! But I almost couldn’t, because of the hurtfulness of the reviewer’s words. It’s the tragedy of saying Onaas HaDevarim (hurtful speech prohibited by the Torah). My anger at the reviewer almost carried over to anger against Barbara Diamond Goldin (author of …Blintzes) who I’m sure had NOTHING to do with the aforementioned hurtful statement.
Thankfully, I’m pretty much over this whole episode now. I’m actually sad for Barbara Diamond Goldin, because her funny, lovely book is tragically out of print. You can still find it in libraries and through online booksellers who deal in out-of-print merchandise. I urge you to borrow or purchase it during the upcoming holiday season.
And if you can borrow or buy A Dozen Daisies for Raizy, too…that’s even better.

In the beginning…

…there was a rejection letter. O.K., lots of rejection letters. I’ve published one children’s book (A Dozen Daisies for Raizy in 2008) and have spent years trying to sell another, unsuccessfully. After spending so much time writing and rewriting and workshopping my stories, I couldn’t just toss them out with the garbage. What should I do with them? Serialize and post on the web!

In this blog you’ll get daily (well, more likely twice-weekly) installments of stories. Most of the stories will have Jewish content and characters, but not all will. Some might be better than others. Feedback is always welcome.