Perfect Picture Book Friday: KAYLA AND KUGEL’S HAPPY HANUKKAH Plus CRITIQUE GIVEAWAY

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, dear friends. Today’s book is definitely a perfect choice for this month since Hanukkah comes very early this year…it starts at sundown on Sunday, November 28.

KAYLA AND KUGEL’S HAPPY HANUKKAH

Written and illustrated by Ann Koffsky

Published by Apples and Honey Press (2020)

Ages: 2-5+

Themes: Hanukkah, family, ingenuity

Synopsis: From Amazon:

I’m Kayla and this is my dog, Kugel. We are getting ready for Hanukkah. KUGEL! We need the Hanukkah candles tonight, not the Shabbat candles. Oh, no Kugel! Just because the soldiers in the Hanukkah story made a mess doesn’t mean you have to.

Celebrate the story of Hanukkah with Kayla and her mischievous dog, Kugel. And don’t forget to light the menorah and play dreidel!

Why I Love This Book:

  1. I love the sweet humor and loving togetherness revealed in the text.
  2. I love the lively illustrations – I can feel the action on every page.
  3. I love holiday books – this one is a perfect choice for Hanukkah.

And guess what, dear friends!
Author/illustrator, Ann Koffsky is not only talented…she is generous as well…and she is offering a PICTURE BOOK CRITIQUE (up to 1000-word manuscript) as a giveaway to one lucky winner. Make sure you leave a comment to be entered…and please share this post on your social media for extra tickets in the giveaway hat. And remember, the best way to say thank you to an author is to buy their books, review their books, tell friends about their books, and ask your local library to purchase copies of their books.
Here’s a little bit more about Ann and her books:
Ann D. Koffsky is the author and illustrator of more than thirty books, including Creation Colors, Sarah Builds a School, the Kayla & Kugel series, Judah Maccabee Goes to the Doctor and Shabbat Shalom, Hey. Several of her books have been PJ library selections, and her book  Noah’s Swimathon received a Sydney Taylor notable designation from the Association of Jewish Libraries. 

Ann has also created 100+ greeting cards and products for Hallmark Cards, Costco, Great Arrow Graphics and Rite Lite Judaica. Her work has also been featured in The Washington Post, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Jewish Action Magazine, Mishpacha Magazine, and Hadassah Magazine.

Previously, she was also an editor and art director at Behrman House Publishers and an adjunct professor of art at Stern College for Women.
 Ann lives in West Hempstead, NY with her husband and three children.
You can find her Hanukkah book here: https://www.amazon.com/Kayla-Kugels-Happy-Hanukkah-Koffsky/dp/1681155605
Or here: https://store.behrmanhouse.com/index.php/kayla-and-kugel-celebrate-hanukkah.html
And you can print a free coloring page for it here: https://annkoffsky.com/2020/10/08/kayla-and-kugels-happy-hanukkah/

RELATED ACTIVITIES:

Photo courtesy: https://reformjudaism.org


WOW! Have you ever tasted challah? It’s one of the most delicious breads in the world. Here’s how one family used the baking activity to teach life skills.
And here’s a link to a great recipe from the New York Times: https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/7199-my-favorite-challah

I hope you all have a beautiful weekend. I’m participating in a webinar presented by the SCBWI of Israel: CRAFTING NONFICTION THAT GRABS KIDS’ IMAGINATION…a Hanukkah gift to all SCBWI members…and a very reasonable cost for nonmembers.

This webinar is free to ALL SCBWI members…you just need to register: https://israel.scbwi.org/vivian/
And anyone who isn’t an SCBWI member can attend for a nominal cost.

Patricia Toht: Will Write for Cookies PLUS Giveaway

WILL WRITE FOR COOKIES

Plate of Cookies

INSIGHT – INSPIRATION – INFORMATION

FOR WRITERS

TODAY’S GUEST

Head Shot

 

PATRICIA TOHT

Today’s guest is yet another of the wonderful writers I met when I first dipped my toes into kidlitland. So when I heard that her second picture book was about to launch, I knew that I wanted to have her stop by to chat with us.

I grabbed part of the text from Patty’s website to give you a peek into who she is…what an inspiration to all of us who wonder…is this writerly path the right road for me…and will I ever get published:

When I was in third grade, I had my first brush with “writing fame” when I wrote a patriotic poem that won a contest. The prize was free summer writing camp.

Was that what propelled me to becoming a writer? Nope! Sports camp was much more fun. Archery! Trampolines! Dodgeball on scooters!

I didn’t think seriously about writing until I was an adult. When I was 28, I decided that I wanted to open a children’s bookstore. With the support of my family, I did just that. And, BOOM! I was completely and forever in love with children’s books.

When the store closed, I turned my attention from selling books to writing them.

And aren’t we all glad that she did!!!!

Welcome, Patty! Thank you so much for visiting Picture Books Help Kids Soar. I’ve got some questions for you, so let’s get started.

ME: Who were your favorite authors/illustrators when you were a child?

PATTY: I learned to read quite young and loved rhyming books, especially Dr. Seuss. I was also one of those kids who peppered my parents with non-stop questions, so they purchased a series of books called TELL ME WHY, and I devoured them.

Tell Me Why (1)

When I started reading novels, I fell in love with specific books more than particular authors. My favorites included THE HUNDRED AND ONE DALMATIONS by Dodie Smith, CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY by Roald Dahl, and A WRINKLE IN TIME by Madeleine L’Engle.

101 Dalmatians

ME: What do you know now that you wish you knew when you first started writing?

PATTY: About ten years ago, I went through a spell of being frustrated with and discouraged by the “black hole” – that policy of publishers and agents not responding unless they’re interested in your work. It felt to me like turning my kids out into the world and not knowing what happened to them. I tried to quit writing, but my brain wouldn’t turn it off. I then made an important decision just write for writing’s sake. I focused on exploring the depths of my craft, learning how to make my work better. In the process I discovered that a well-written piece was more important to me than a sale. Surprisingly enough, that’s when the sales started to happen!

All Aboard the London Bus_CVR

ME: Where do you like to write – inside, outside, special room, laptop, pen and paper?

PATTY: At the idea stage, I’m all pen and paper (or napkins, sales receipts, paper bags…). But after that, I’m a laptop girl. I once had little writing nook under the stairs, which I loved, mostly because I could throw the doors open to a gorgeous yard. But in our current townhouse, my family complains that I make the entire house my office! I’ll write in a chair, on the couch, at the kitchen table, even in bed. And everywhere I go, a pile of books follows.

My Favorite Spot to Write

ME: When do you write – early morning, late in the day, middle of the night, on schedule, as the muse strikes?

PATTY: With a busy day job in a middle school LRC, it’s a constant battle for me to write more consistently. When I’m hot on an idea, I’m pretty frenzied, working whenever and wherever I can. I’m a night owl, so my sweet spot tends to be after 8pm.

The View from MFSTW

ME: Why do you write for children?

PATTY: I’ve had many jobs in my adult life. Looking back, I’ve discovered that nearly all of them focus on the intersection of children and books – I’ve worked in schools and libraries, and for a business that facilitated author and illustrator visits for schools. I also owned a children’s bookstore for seven years, which was magical. I feel like all of those paths have converged on the sweet spot of writing for children.

LRC Crew

I love this quote from Zoltán Kodály, a Hungarian composer: “Let us take our children seriously! Everything else follows from this – only the best is good enough for a child.” I believe he was referring to music education, but I feel the same applies for writing, and I am happy to try my best to provide great reading material for children.

ME: WOW…Patty…I love all of your insights! Thank you so much for sharing. I know that many of the things you said will resonate for all the writers out there.

To learn more about Patty, please visit her fabulous website: http://www.patriciatoht.com

And in addition to everything else she does, Patty is also a contributing writer to the GROG blog: https://groggorg.blogspot.com

With the holidays coming, it’s always nice to have a new treat recipe…here is a NO-BAKE one that is perfect to make with the kiddos.

No-Bake-Christmas-Tree-Cookies-www.thereciperebel.com-2-768x1152Photo courtesy: https://www.thereciperebel.com/bake-christmas-tree-cookies/

For ingredient list and instructions: https://www.thereciperebel.com/bake-christmas-tree-cookies/

And more awesome goodness…here’s one of Patty’s favorite holiday recipes:

Hooty Creek Cranberry Cookies

(from Mo at the Container Store)

 

2 ¼ cups flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

1 cup butter

2/3 cup brown sugar

2/3 cup white sugar

2 eggs

2 tsp vanilla

1 cup rolled oats

1 cup dried cranberries

1 cup white chocolate chips

1 cup chopped walnuts

 

Combine dry ingredients. Cream butter and sugar, add eggs and vanilla and mix well.

Mix in flour mixture and oats, then stir in cranberries, chips and nuts.

Drop by spoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet.

Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes.

 

Thank you so much, dear friends, for spending your precious time here. Don’t forget to leave a comment to be entered in the giveaway of a copy of Patty’s wonderful book.

Pick a Pine Tree Cover

Wouldn’t it be lovely to have a copy of PICK A PINE TREE to read during the holidays?

Have a safe and happy weekend.