Friday, December 11, 2020

Add eBook Design to My Resume!

This past week I completed a project with author Jeff Gottesfeld and illustrator Jonah Cohen. It's a free downloadable eBook. Jeff is an accomplished, award-winning author who graciously agreed to do a guest post on this blog:

All the way in March, the children's book publisher Candlewick Press (
full disclosure: that company is publishing my next picture book, TWENTY-ONE STEPS: GUARDING THE TOMB OF THE UNKNOWN SOLDIER in March, 2021, with illustrations by the immensely talented Matt Tavares) brought out a free, downloadable picture book for kids, explaining the Covid-19 crisis to them. I was impressed by how quickly it must have come together, and the good that could be done with a PDF download.

And it got me thinking. 

I have a pretty active Jewish life. Between my synagogue, family, and study, it was a big anchor for me. Then came COVID-19. And I realized that as much as my Jewish life was disrupted, it was worse for children in Jewish homes. So much of Jewish life is communal. The holidays, observances, festivals,'s always the more the merrier. The pandemic made the more the merrier the more the super-spreadering, or something. In any case, kids all over the world were stuck at home, including Jewish kids. They couldn't even mask up and go for a walk on their own. I figured it had to feel pretty joyless.

But the thing is, there is plenty of Jewish joy at home. It just has to be made. So I decided to see if I could enlist some talented Jewish friends and create a free, downloadable PDF book of our own. A coloring book, that would be positive and upbeat, whimsical and inspired. I talked to young artist Jonah Cohen, who went to high school with my de facto stepdaughter and is now at Rhode Island School of Design. Would you be interested, Jonah, in joining in a volunteer chesed project?  He said yes. I talked to my old Teaneck NJ junior high school chum Julie Greller, who's my webmaster. Would be you interested, Julie, in joining a volunteer chesed project, and design this book?  Julie said yes. 

Of course, everything takes longer than expected. Jonah had school, I had my writing life, and Julie had her designing life. But longer doesn't mean never. 
 And maybe it is a besherit that just as America and much of the world is mired in this December wave of COVID-19 that's got so many of us on lockdown again, and Hanukkah is starting on Thursday night, that When We Can't Go Out: Jewish Joy at Home is ready.

It's free to download here. Go and enjoy.

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