Monday, February 9, 2015

Meet Barbara Bietz

Barbara was kind enough to be my third guest ever on my blog! Here's our Q&A:

First of all why a Jewish book blog?
My first book Like a Maccabee, was a Jewish children's book and when it was published I became aware of the incredible community of parents, teacher, librarians, readers, and more who are interested in books with Jewish content. My idea was to create a blog community that celebrated Jewish books for kids in an accessible way. I love interviewing authors, illustrators, editors, and others who can share back story that makes their work even more interesting! As an author, I also know the challenges of marketing a new book and I am happy to support authors by helping to spread the word about their work. On a more personal level, reading books about Jewish kids was very important to me as a young reader. My childhood and my Jewish identity were partly formed by reading All-of-a-Kind Family books. If the right book lands in a child's hands it can be life changing. To be part of a community that fosters that experience is amazing.

How do you choose the books to read?
I'm always reading! The interviews on my blog tend to happen organically. Sometimes I contact an author and sometimes authors or publishers reach out to me. I also meet many people at writer's conferences and workshops. The children's writing world is a warm and lovely place to be and there are always new people to meet.

What about this blogging process has surprised you the most?
Meeting and connecting with others who love children's books has been more fulfilling than I could have imagined. Because of my blog I feel like I have friends all over the world - like you!

What has inspired/encouraged you the most?
I am constantly inspired by the people I interview. When I meet someone who enjoyed my blog I'm so tickled. Writing can be isolating and having the blog has enabled me to reach out and connect with others who share my passions. I'm also really proud that I am able to share books that reflect all aspects of the Jewish experience.

What has discouraged/ticked you off, you the most?
TECHNOLOGY! Oy vey. As a creative person I was not prepared for the learning curve. I learn something new almost every time I post. In the end, I have conquered many technology fears so it's ultimately a good thing, despite being discouraging at times.

Barbara Bietz is the creator of the web site Jewish Books for Kids and a former chair of the Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee, which honors exceptional works about the Jewish experience. Barbara’s chapter book, Like a Maccabee, received the 2006 Midwest Independent Publishers Association Merit Award. Barbara's next book The Sundown Kid (August House) will be released in 2016. Her favorite part about being an author? Visiting schools, meeting young readers, and eating lunch in the cafeteria—especially when it’s grilled cheese day! Barbara lives with her family in Oak Park, California.

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