Linda Glaser is the author of many children’s books. Her latest is Hoppy Hanukkah, a delightful holiday celebration for young readers. Her other acclaimed books include The Borrowed Hanukkah Latkes, Mrs. Greenberg’s Messy Hanukkah, and Bridge to America. I’m so happy to welcome Linda to the blog!
Tell me about your new book, Hoppy Hanukkah?
For years, I’ve had the complete joy of introducing preschoolers to Jewish holidays and values in religious school at our temple on Saturday mornings. I love that age group! After many years of holiday fun with young children, I wrote Hoppy Hanukkah to playfully introduce even more young ones to Hanukkah traditions. As I wrote it, I fantasized about reading it to my own grandchildren someday. Almost as gratifying, my older daughter gave Hoppy Hanukkah its “world premier” by reading it to her group of temple preschoolers in Minneapolis. She reported back that the children loved it and laughed in all the right places. That warmed my heart.
Several of your books have a Jewish theme. How much has Judaism shaped your writing?
More than anything else, belonging to a small yet vibrant temple community has shaped my Jewish themed writing. My first Jewish book, The Borrowed Hanukkah Latkes, was inspired by the third graders at our temple. Seeing how much they still enjoyed picture books, I wrote the story with them in mind. My next book Mrs. Greenberg’s Messy Hanukkah was inspired by latke making with the preschoolers. I love getting messy with kids! My middle grade historical novel Bridge to America is based on the early life of a temple elder, Phil, who grew up in a shtetl. I tried to imbue the book with his lively, life-affirming spirit. When the book finally came out, our temple held a “book mitzvah.” Phil and I both signed copies–a most memorable book signing! I have another book coming out this spring called Emma’s Poem, The Voice of the Statue of Liberty. It’s based on the life of Emma Lazarus, an outspoken and accomplished Jewish writer and humanitarian. Even as a young girl, I found it awe-inspiring that a Jewish woman writer with her visionary poem had shaped the hearts and minds of the American people by giving the Statue of Liberty a powerful voice for immigrants.
What is the best part about being a writer?
I love writing. Having my writing published gives me a way to share what I love and feel passionate about with others.
What is your favorite holiday?
Do I have to pick just one? On Sukkot, I love decorating the sukkah. On Simchat Torah, I love dancing around temple with the Torah. On Hanukkah I love lighting candles and eating latkes. On Purim… well, you get the idea. I love all the Jewish holidays.
What are some fun facts about you?
Ever since I was a kid, I dreamed of becoming a children’s book writer. For my 10th birthday, I asked for a fountain pen. Back then, I wrote lots of stories and poems—mostly with a regular ballpoint pen or a pencil. But once I got my fountain pen, whenever I wanted to really feel like a writer, I wrote with that pen. Now, I bring it on school visits to encourage children to hold onto their dreams.
Thanks, Linda! To learn more about Linda’s books, please visit www.LindaGlaserAuthor.com
Hoppy Hanukkah to all my readers!