Saturday, February 15, 2020

Voting! Elections! Democracy! Tyranny!

Tucson Jo is a book written for this very moment. I encourage parents and teachers to introduce it to the young people around them. This middle grade novel is about an election. In this election a populist runs for mayor of Tucson, Arizona, in 1882. His opponent is a Jewish man who believes in the rule of law. Guns are used to intimidate. So is Antisemitism. Jo is the eldest daughter of the Jewish familyand all she wants is freedom, freedom to wear pants, for instance! But even Jo is fooled by her father's populist opponent, believing anarchy will mean freedom. But anarchy is not freedom and she soon discovers that. What is true freedom? An important question to ask, fundamental to our democracy.

With elections coming up in the United States, in 2020, I will be available for school/ Skype visits  to discuss civics, gun violence, feminism, and the importance of politics and voting in our lives.

Tucson Jo was a National Jewish Book Awards Finalist.

Friday, February 14, 2020

#IReadCanadian

So one day, or shall I say, once upon a time, a very excellent young fellow and writer whose name was Eric, Eric Walters, had an idea. Now Eric lived in a country that was big and beautiful and full of talent. But for some strange, even weird and bizarre reason, the people who lived in this magical country mostly read books that were written by writers from other countries! That made no sense to young Eric!
And that's when he had this idea. 
He would start a very bigbig just like the country he lived inmovement. And that movement would engage readers from coast to coast to coast and librarians would join, and teachers would join, and readers would join and writers would join and one day, February 19, they would ALL TOGETHER read CANADIAN. (Canada was the name of that magical country.)
And I happen to be one of those writers.
Carol Matas #IReadCanadian

So here I am reading Canadian
And here I am talking about being a Canadian writer

And special thanks to Anita Daher and Shaw for making these videos.

Friday, November 2, 2018

25th Anniversary Edition of Daniel's Story


Just out this fall from Scholastic Canada, a special 25th anniversary edition

 This edition also includes a chronology, a timeline, and a newly added question and answer with me.

Daniel barely remembers leading a normal life before the Nazis came to power in 1933. He can still picture once being happy and safe, but memories of those days are fading as he and his family face the dangers threatening Jews in Hitler's Germany in the late 1930's. No longer able to practice their religion, vote, own property, or even work, Daniel's family is forced from their home in Frankfurt and sent on a long and dangerous journey, first to the Lodz ghetto in Poland, and then to Auschwitz, the Nazi death camp.

Though many around him lose hope in the face of such terror, Daniel, supported by his courageous family, struggles for survival. He finds hope, life and even love in the midst of despair.


I will be available to give readings of Daniel's Story and to talk to student or adult audiences about ant-Semitism, racism, and why this story is still so important today. 

Friday, December 15, 2017

Cloning Miranda just released in updated reissue!

Hi Everyone,

I'm very happy to report that just as the news is heating up about all the issues surrounding the new cloning technology, especially gene splicing and gene editing, a new updated version of my cloning book has just been reissued by Fictive Press with a new title and new cover art. This novel combines all three of my earlier books (Cloning Miranda, The Second Clone and The Dark Clone) into one novel. I've also updated the science in the novel with all the latest technology referenced in the links below!

Check out these for some interesting reading about cloning:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/crispr-gene-drive-gates-foundation-biological-diversity-malaria-1.4449709

http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/gene-splicing-separates-man-from-chimp-researchers-1.641120

And check out my book, Cloning Miranda, for a thriller aimed at age 10 and up - all ages really- about what it might be like to discover that you are the first human clone.



Thursday, January 19, 2017

Interview about Tucson Jo with Tucson Tales Publication

Tucson Tales is a children's literature publication run by undergraduate students at the University of Arizona. They  showcase new and established writers. This is the interview they did with me about my middle-grades historical novel Tucson Jo. Click here for the entire interview.

The questions were not cookie cutter questions and really made me think. Here's an excerpt from the online interview:

Q. You often write about World War II and the Holocaust. Did you find it particularly challenging or beneficial looking at some of these anti-Semitic themes through the lens of the American Southwest?

A: That’s an interesting question. It’s always challenging to write about The Holocaust and/or anti-Semitism. I suppose what is so surprising to young people is how long anti-Semitism has been with us. They often have no idea that it dates back to the early days of the Church and that it was propagated by both Church and state as a way to scapegoat a particular religion and people. But I did find it compelling to write about the true story of how Strauss’s political rival tried to use it to defeat Strauss, even though there had been no real cases of anti-Semitism in Tucson up to that point. (It didn’t work!) Unfortunately anti-Semitism is ever present, and today we are seeing a frightening escalation in the United States and in Europe.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

WHO AM I? is out! And KIrkus gives it a great review!

Waiting for that first review is so nerve-wracking! So what a relief to read the Kirkus review of Who Am I?, my new sci-fi thriller for YA and middle grades.

"Girl-power heroines confronting bad guys and the nature of the self. Hitchcock-ian fun, full of deep questions to ponder."
(Click here for full Kirkus review.)

Kirkus seemed to like just about everything except the title! Since I personally came up with the title and thought it was so clever I was a little crushed but since everything else was good – I'm good too! Most importantly the reviewer saw what I was trying to dowrite a book about what it means to be a human being.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Back From The Future – Who Am I?


How do you update a science fiction novel?

When I wrote Cloning Miranda, The Second Clone and The Dark Clone in the late 1990s and early 2000s, they were set in the near future.

When Fictive Press agreed to republish them as one novel and bring them out for the first time in the U.S. this fall, I thought I should update them – at least in terms of cell phones and social media. But once I started to do that I realized that the science of cloning had also advanced over the last decade. And so a small little edit suddenly became an entire revision. And in order to make the book really up to date, I set in the the present. Yes, that's right. Because the present is, in fact, where all the cutting edge cloning work is happening – especially where gene splicing is concerned.

So can we still call this book science fiction? I think so. As far as I know there are no human clones. But there is already a huge market cloning pets that have died. Sadly, our dog died in December. It would never occur to me to clone her even if could afford the $100,000 bill! (And even if I could afford that, I'd rather give the money to charity.) No one could ever replace her.

But the book isn't about cloning, really. It's about what makes us human. And when I read science fiction, that's what really interests me. It's why I'm a proud Trekkie!!

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Just Kidding!

Well, I really wasn't kidding. We really thought we had our new cover. But then we changed our minds.
OKAY!
This is truly the final, final cover!
And Thursday I sent the final copyedit to my editor so we are getting very close to publication. Fall for sure.


Monday, May 30, 2016

Finally! We Have Our Cover.


Here is the final cover for Who Am I?


We must have done—and by "we," I mean my publisher Fictive Press—at least 50 different cover mock-ups.  I kid you not! A big thanks to Fictive Press for going the extra mile.

We tested the covers with students at Grant Park High and Laidlaw School here in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and as far away as the The Alfred & Adele Davis Academy in Atlanta, Georgia! In the end, this is our final choice.

A big thrill for me as a writer to be included in the deliberations. Usually, it's a take-it-or-leave-it attitude from publishers—and you have to take it! Sometimes you do get to offer feedback but usually it is a done deal by the time you see the cover. I must admit I've had a few meltdowns over the years when I first saw the cover for a new book. And the opposite. At some point, I will post some of my favourite covers.

Meanwhile the edit is ongoing and Fictive Press is aiming to have this book out as a fall release. So I'd better get back to work!

Monday, May 16, 2016

The Minds Series has just been reissued!!

Thrilled to report that The Minds Series is now out in beautiful new covers created by Asa Nodelman, designed by Tara Smilinski and photographed by Robert Wilson. Hopefully, like any good fantasy series, this one will be just as relevant to a new generation of readers as the last iteration. It was so much fun writing this series with my friend and co writer Perry Nodelman. In fact, it all started with Perry playing his usual role of first critic and editor of all my first drafts. Except when he critiqued Of Two Minds he had a much better idea of how to rewrite it than I did and in a rather sarcastic manner I believe I said something like, "If you're so smart why don't you do it."

So he did! At first Perry wrote the male character Coren and I wrote Lenora and we went back and forth like that draft after draft until I started getting annoyed with Coren who I thought was too weak and Perry started getting annoyed with Lenora who he thought was too bossy and at that point we started writing alternative drafts changing both characters and finally finding a happy medium.

The books are about a young woman and young man—one who can make anything she imagines real, and one who lives entirely in his imagination where reality is better than the physical world. The two are misfits in their worlds because neither likes or appreciates their gifts. So naturally their parents arrange for them to marry. Of course! Needless to say all does not go smoothly. Or even well. The two of them find themselves pitted against a particularly dangerous villain in the first book—and they can only survive—together—much to each other's dismay.


Thursday, May 12, 2016

The Hunt for the Best Cover Continues

A cover is so important—so we asked lots of young people and adults which cover they liked best. A big thank you to everyone who participated in our informal survey, including students at The Alfred & Adele Davis Academy #davis5 in Atlanta, Georgia, and at Grant Park High and Laidlaw schools in Winnipeg, Manitoba. A special thank you to Bonnie Brask for her outstanding photos and artwork on our test covers.

It was a fascinating exercise even though there was no consensus. The best part was hearing what young people had to say, why they liked or disliked a particular cover, what they thought the cover was telling them. For example, we were super interested to learn that most students didn't know about the DNA helix, and didn't recognize that it was being used as a motif on several different covers. Because of that new info, I am going to add an afterword about the DNA strand and have my publisher add it as a graphic element in the novel's layout. So a huge help just in those terms for the book itself.

Below are the last six cover choices we presented to the classes. Which cover do you prefer, and why?

I will be posting our final choice any day now...





Sunday, February 7, 2016

Book Covers For "Who am I?"

I am very lucky that Fictive Press has made me a partner vis a vis choosing and even helping to create the cover for my new book Who Am I? We have considered all sorts. Here are a couple:

   

But we have ended up with something else altogether. I will post it soon. It's such an important decision, but I am really happy with the one we have chosen.

Human Cloning!

So just as I am into the edit of my series about the first human clone this article appears. It is so close to what I have written I feel a little scared, vindicated, psychic, and discombobulated.

My updated and revised series has never been published  in the United States so for all you readers it'll be brand new.

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? http://jewishbooksforkids.com
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.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Meet my second guest ever - Deborah Kalb!

So I am thrilled to add Deborah to my guest list! She kindly hosted me over at her blog, and now I'd like to return the favour!
Deborah Kalb is a freelance writer, editor, and blogger. She spent about two decades working as a journalist in Washington, D.C., for news organizations including Gannett News Service, Congressional Quarterly, U.S. News & World Report, and The Hill, mostly covering Congress and politics. She is the co-author, with her father, Marvin Kalb, of Haunting Legacy: Vietnam and the American Presidency from Ford to Obama (Brookings, 2011), and she’s also the co-author or co-editor of two books published by CQ Press (The Presidents, First Ladies, and Vice Presidents; and State of the Union: Presidential Rhetoric from Woodrow Wilson to George W. Bush). She started her blog, Book Q&As with Deborah Kalb (found at deborahkalbbooks.blogspot.com), in October 2012, and has interviewed hundreds of authors—including Carol Matas!—about their books.

Here are some questions I ask Deborah- and her answers!

Q: How do you choose your authors?

A: I look through lists of upcoming books, I read book reviews, I ask friends if they know of anyone with a book coming out soon, and I keep an eye out in general for authors and books that seem interesting. Also, authors and their publicists often get in touch with me to ask if I’d like to interview them/their author. It’s a real pleasure to learn about so many great books before they’re published!

Introducing My First Ever Guest- Barbara Krasner

Barbara Krasner has been kind enough to host me on her blog, https://thewholemegillah.wordpress.com and I'd like to host her here so I'm diving in!

First a little bit about Barbara. When I say a little I mean- wow- she's amazing!

Barbara Krasner, http://www.barbarakrasner.com is a writer and historian. She is the author of two picture books and more than 200 articles for adults and young readers. Her literary work has appeared or is forthcoming in Nimrod, Paterson Literary Review, Jewish Women’s Literary Annual, Jewishfiction.net, Lilith, Poetica, and numerous other journals. She teaches expository and creative writing at William Paterson University. She holds a B.A. in German, M.B.A. in Marketing, M.F.A. in Writing for Children, and is now pursuing an M.A. in public history. She often writes about women and on Holocaust themes. She has most recently served on Association of Jewish Libraries’ Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee and is the editor and publisher of The Whole Megillah | The Writer’s Resource for Jewish Story. 

Blog Tour for Tucson Jo!


So I've been on a blog tour for Tucson Jo and really really enjoyed meeting the bloggers, answering their questions and sometimes being forced to think about things I hadn't considered because of the questions!

Here are the links:

 Book Q&As with Deborah Kalb

Jewish Books for Kids with author/blogger Barbara Bietz

The Canadian Balance with author/blogger Anna Levine

The Whole Megillah by author/historian Barbara Krasner

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Tucson Jo named a National Jewish Book Awards Finalist for Children's & YA Literature!

Firstly, I have to say that when the general email blast announcing the awards came through on my email I didn't even check to see if Tucson Jo had made the cut. I have never been honoured with this award, and didn't think that was about to change.

My daughter called five minutes later to ask if I had seen the news. That's when the screaming started. My publisher and best friend Morri Mostow of Fictive Press was out at an aerobics class so I had an agonizing couple of hours before I could share the news with her. And before she could share the official letter she had just received from the Board of Directors congratulating her.

For those of you who have followed my blog, you know that this book was special—although all my books are special to me—but this one in a different way. First of all it took over eight years to write— not continuously, of course, but on and off between other projects.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

19th Edition of Jesper from Edebe!

Wow! 19. That's quite the number. The 19th edition of Jesper  -my book about The Danish Resistance in World War 11 -
just arrived in the mail. The coolest part? The publisher is Edebe from Spain! So in Spanish translation...