What makes a quality children’s book?
I want a book that kids love, books that draw children in and make them crack up. The best picture books write words that truly are open, words that beg for pictures.
Do you worry about the future of books in the tech era?
Kids are very drawn to stories. There are different ways people use tech, but I know that children continue to love books. There is something about getting on your parent’s lap and cuddling up with a picture book that is a wonderful experience, and I hope it will continue even in the age of tech.
You recently opened your own publishing company, Intergalactic Afikoman, with books coming out in 2020. What spurred this decision?
I’ve dreamed of putting together a very small Jewish publishing company, and when the name Intergalactic Afikoman came to me, the tagline came, “out-of-this-world Jewish books for today’s Jewish kids.” I want intergalactic in the sense of the quality of the books, where kids aren’t just reading them because they’re Jewish books, but because they are as good as all of the secular books that kids read.
Any advice for aspiring writers?
For simple advice, write. Be creative and have fun with it, and don’t take rejections as a bad thing. They’re just a part of the process, and you’re going to get them — we all do, but the more you write and the more you submit the better you get at writing. Each editor, agent, and publishing house is looking for something different and unique, and you want to find the one who absolutely loves what you wrote, because that’s the right person for you.