This is certainly our lucky week! We are starting it out with a cover reveal! And I’m excited because this book is from an author we’ve featured on Picture Books Help Kids Soar several times, Rebecca Gardyn Levington. We all loved BRAINSTORM and WHATEVER COMES TOMORROW – and I know you won’t be disappointed with the cover for AFIKOMAN, WHERE’D YOU GO?
3, 2, 1…
What do I love about this cover? EVERYTHING! So much excitement! I can feel the anticipation of the children! Fabulous diversity! And we know, just from looking at the cover, that this is going to be a story about searching for something. This is a cover that invites the child reader to grab the book and open it! And because I know all of us like to hear the story behind the story, I asked the author to stop by and share some details with us. Welcome, Rebecca!!!
REBECCA: Vivian, you have been such a great supporter of me and my books and have helped me with the cover reveals for both Brainstorm! and Whatever Comes Tomorrow, so I just had to come back to share the cover for my next book, Afikoman, Where’d You Go? A Passover Hide-And-Seek Adventure! It is illustrated by the super-talented Noa Kelner and releases February 13, 2024 from Penguin Random House/Rock Pond Books!
I’m super excited share this Passover holiday book with everyone because it is SO different from my other two published books (other than the fact that it rhymes, of course!). In this book, I finally get to show off more of my silly, zany side AND it has a fun refrain to boot!
Here is a bit more about the book:
Ask any Jewish child what their favorite part of the Passover seder is and they will undoubtedly say “searching for the afikoman!” This ritual, in which a piece of broken matzah is hidden for the kids to find after the meal, is always a huge hit!
AFIKOMAN, WHERE’D YOU GO? A Passover Hide-And-Seek Adventure brings this Passover tradition to life — literally. I describe it as Where’s Waldo meets The Gingerbread Man — a fast-paced hide-and-seek romp, starring a sneaky piece of matzah on the run and a group of cousins who will not quit until he’s brought back to the seder table.
Readers are invited to join the hunt by helping the narrator find the clever Afikoman hiding in the illustrations on each page. The text is sprinkled with Hebrew words and the back matter includes a glossary where readers can learn more about this fun Jewish tradition.
And here’s a bit about my inspiration for the book:
I tell my non-Jewish friends that Passover is like “Jewish Thanksgiving.” It’s a time when family members gather together, eat amazing food and remember how thankful we are for all we have. But, unlike Thanksgiving, the meal doesn’t come until AFTER we spend an hour or two at the seder, which is essentially another word for “a bunch of people sitting around a table discussing the story of how Moses led the Jewish people to freedom after being enslaved by the evil Pharoah.” The Passover story has many layers and, as an adult, the holiday can be very meaningful. But as a kid, I remember feeling like the seder just went on and on and on (and on!) and I couldn’t wait to get to the best parts:
1) THE FOOD! And
2) Searching for the afikoman!
After the meal, my sister and I (and other family friends) would tear through the house, upending couch cushions, throwing open cabinets, digging through drawers, desperate to find that hidden half piece of matzah like our lives depended on it! It was high stakes! We ALL knew that my Dad was going to give whoever emerged triumphant some cold hard CASH (Usually $1.00, but that was a LOT in those days!)
This memory was the impetus for writing this crazy story, along with a longtime desire to do a fractured fairytale version of The Gingerbread Man. After I’d written a draft, I thought: how fun would it be if I could also find a way to involve the reader in this crazy race around the house? That’s when I remembered my fondness for Where’s Waldo books as a kid and also my own boys’ love of all the Richard Scarry books, in which they searched through seas of detailed illustrations in order to find tiny little Goldbug. I’m so thrilled that Noa Kelner was chosen as the illustrator because her cleverness in hiding the Afikoman in the pages of this book is just brilliant!
I laughed out loud to myself through every revision and really enjoyed creating a refrain that hopefully will stick in readers’ heads (in a good way!). I hope kids have as much fun “playing” with this book as I did with writing it.
WOW – I loved hearing the backstory! It’s definitely a book that kids will enjoy! And we are so lucky because, it’s already
AVAILABLE FOR PREORDER NOW WHEREVER BOOKS ARE SOLD!
You can also: Pre-order a signed copy from Rebecca’s local indie: https://store.wordsbookstore.com/book/9780593617786 (Please add any personalization notes in the “comments” section at check out!)
And Rebecca requests that you please add Afikoman, Where’d You Go? To your TBR list on GoodReads: https://tinyurl.com/45yjet3p (this is something we should do for all new books that we love!)
More places to Pre-Order:
More about Rebecca:
Rebecca Gardyn Levington is a children’s book author, poet, and journalist with a particular penchant for penning both playful and poignant picture books and poems – primarily in rhyme. She is the author of BRAINSTORM! and WHATEVER COMES TOMORROW and has six additional rhyming picture books forthcoming, including AFIKOMAN, WHERE’D YOU GO? A Passover Hide-and-Seek Adventure (Penguin Random House/Rocky Pond Books, 2024) and I WILL ALWAYS BE… (HarperCollins, 2025). Rebecca’s award-winning poems and articles have appeared in numerous anthologies, newspapers, and magazines. She lives in New Jersey with her family. Find out more about Rebecca and sign up for her monthly newsletter, where she shares the tips and tricks about all the writing things, at www.RebeccaGardynLevington.com.
I hope you all have a wonderful week! Please come back tomorrow when we will be having cake and celebrating the book birthday of A DIVE INTO THE BLUE by Ellie Huynh, illustrated by Bao Luu, published by Beaming Books.
You know, I’m convinced that everything that Rebecca writes is fabulous! And I love this story behind the book. Looking forward to reading Afikoman, Where’d You Go? Cheers!
Fun Fun Fun!! Looking forward to reading this clever story Rebecca. Congrats.
What a fun story! Congrats, Rebecca, on another beautiful book!
Congratulations, Rebecca–and Noa! This looks like an amazing book. I look forward to reading it.
This sounds amazing! Congratulations!
I know kids will love this story! Congratulations Rebecca and Noa. Can’t wait to get a copy!
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Congrats, Rebeccca, on another amazing book!
Can’t wait to gift this book to my dear friend’s daughter!
So excited for this book. The cover is awesome and the premise is so fun.
You’re on a roll!! Congrats on another book! Such talent!
Congrats, Rebecca! I can’t wait to read your clever book! Thanks for bringing your story to the world.
So much fun! Congratulations on another wonderful book, Rebecca!
Congratulations, Rebecca! I have so many Afikomen memories, too! I look forward to reading your book.
REBECCA: WHAT A FUN way to teach about the Jewish culture! And with it being SO CLEVERLY made into a hide-and-seek game, the youngest listeners/readers will be TOTALLY ENTHRALLED. BRILLIANT! CONGRATS on YET ANOTHER WONDERFUL book!
Wow! This story is a super way to help kids understand Jewish holidays and culture! It will be a welcome addition to every classroom Library. I have just purchased WHATEVER COMES TOMORROW! I know I will enjoy this PB as well! Congratulations, Rebecca and Noa! 🙂