Some interesting things have happened lately. I received a request for permission to reprint one of my favorite stories, The Magic Dreidels, in Russian. The book has been out-of-print for several years. I immediately wrote to the illustrator, my good friend Katya Krenina, to share the good news, although I suspected she had already heard. They’d need her permission to use her illustrations.
What makes this permission request extra-special is that the story is set in Russia. Katya is from the Ukrainian city of Lviv. That’s 50 miles up the road from Kolomyya, my grandma’s hometown. Katya and I have always had a lot in common. We enjoy the same kinds of stories. She was the perfect illustrator for this story and many others. Katya knew just how to create illustrations to make the story come alive. She added a samovar and coins from the days of the tsar. You can recognize the head of Nicholas II on them. So in one important sense, this story is coming home to the place it began. I can’t wait to see a copy.
As if that weren’t enough, another request came through today asking permission to reprint The Story of Esther, again in Russian. That’s another one of my favorites, mostly because of the terrific artwork Jill Weber created for it.
The source of these requests is the PJ Library. The PJ Library is a book club for Jewish families. Those who sign up receive children’s books on Jewish themes every month. It’s a great resource for families who live in areas where they may not have access to a significant Jewish library. The PJ Library has been expanding in Israel, Latin America, and now Russia. I’m thrilled at the thought of children all over the world enjoying my books. That’s why I write them.
Click HERE to learn more about the PJ Library and the fine work it’s doing all over the world.