Interview with Bonnie and Illustrator Sofia Moore

History writer and award-winning author Barbara Krasner writes Jewish-themed poetry, articles, nonfiction books, and novels for children and adults. She included this interview on her blog “The Whole Megillah.” (Excerpts, below.

The Whole Megillah (TWM): Welcome, Bonnie Lindauer and Sofia Moore! Bonnie, let’s start with you. What inspired you to write about Hannah G. Solomon?
Bonnie Lindauer (BL): As a member of the San Francisco section of the National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW), I’ve attended over several years the awards luncheon and listened to the accomplishments recited for each year’s winner of the Hannah G. Solomon award. The service to their communities that these women provide is truly amazing. I am so impressed by how the NCJW promotes and supports the social justice work that it does. Also, after I read a history of our SF section, I became more and more interested in the life of our founder, Hannah G. Solomon.

TWM: What were your greatest challenges in writing this book?
BL: The greatest challenge for me was having too much information about Hannah’s life and having to find ways to present only the most salient parts for children. I revised the manuscript at least seven times, each time cutting out sections and reorganizing it.

TWM: What were your greatest satisfactions?
BL: I suppose the greatest of all was having the manuscript accepted by Joni Sussman of Kar-Ben Publishing. But my elation about having it accepted soon faced the reality of still needing to do a bit more revising. Tied for the greatest satisfaction was seeing how the manuscript came to life with the sketches, and later, stunning illustrations by Sofia Moore. Finally, I continue to get satisfaction from readers who tell me they so enjoy the book, especially my NCJW colleagues who are so happy to finally have a book published about their founder. Now, the way is paved for someone to write an adult biography of Hannah G. Solomon.

TWM: Please describe your research process.
BL: As a retired academic research librarian, I’m sometimes disadvantaged by researching and collecting too much information. For this book, I was so fortunate to find her autobiography freely available on the web. Her autobiography is very detailed and gave me a sense of her personality and motivation. I highlighted sections of it that I knew I wanted to have in my book and took notes. I’m aware that sometimes a person writing an autobiography much later in life (she wrote it when she was 85), may not recall as precisely, or may have a different perspective on an earlier period, so I consulted other sources, primarily from the Jewish Women’s Archive and several magazine articles about her. I also researched the history of Chicago during the period she lived and was most active. I recall how helpful was a source I found about what it was like for immigrants living in the shoddy, poor section of Chicago where Hannah and other women from NCJW provided services. I was somewhat disappointed that the editorial staff at Kar-Ben did not include my selected list of sources in the back matter…

TWM: Thanks so much, Bonnie! Now, let’s turn to illustrator Sofia Moore. What strategies did you use to translate Bonnie’s text to illustration?
Sofia Moore (SM):
 Because this book is a biography I wanted the illustrations look as a continuation of the narrative with the ability to show important historical details. The research part was the most fun for me, I loved looking for the period fashion, architecture and details of Hanna’s everyday life. Bonnie did a great job pacing the story the way it was easy for me to start imagining how the images would follow the text and what should be in focus on each page.

TWM: What medium did you use?
SM:
 I painted on paper using ink and acrylic paints and then finished in Photoshop, adding small details and adjusting colors.

TWM: Please describe your research process.
SM:
 I created a Pinterest board where I collected images of late 1800s Chicago, architecture, clothing details, photographs of immigrant families of that time. Great source of
information came from Hannah’s autobiography, The Fabric of My Life, that I found online and gave me so many ideas of how to illustrate Hannah for children. Her big loving family,
passion to help other people, her strong leadership nature was great inspiration.

For complete interview see:

 

 

 

What Does a 12-year old Have to Say about the book?

Twelve-year-old Sofia Lavine wrote this review of “Hannah G. Solomon Dared to Make a Difference” :

“I was deeply inspired by the Hannah G Solomon Dared to make difference book by Bonnie Lindauer and Sofia Moore!

Reading the book made me believe that anything is possible, and change is something anyone can do. Hannah G. Solomon, being the main character, is such a great inspiration for people all around the world, especially for young girls like me. This world is not always on its brightest side. Women like Hannah, change that.

How this book was illustrated vividly showed fascinating moments of courage and action that I did not think were possible. Not only was this book inspiring, but it was also entertaining! The illustrations perfectly matched the words. Reading the book, I could easily follow the story line and just wanted to know what was going to happen next. I was amazed how with very few words the writer was able to present so much detail.

In addition, this book truly shows that women are not just to sit down and look pretty but are great individuals with the potential to change the world and make it the best it can be. It made me think of all great women in my life and appreciate them even more.

This book is perfect for all age divisions because it tells both kids and adults how much you can do to change the world if you are brave and have passion for justice. I think that the book should be taught and appreciated for its morals and inspiring stories.

This book is one of the best picture books I have ever read. For the people who have not read it yet, please do so. You will feel enriched and inspired to better the world.

Thank you, Bonnie Lindauer and Sofia Moore, for your great book! This will be a book I will never forget!

 

Outcome from Jewish Network Conference

As a result of my two-minute pitch at the Jewish Network Conference in May, I’ve been invited to make a presentation and book talk to children in 3rd to 5th grades at the Sutton Place Synagogue’s Jackson Religious School, New York City, on Feb. 2, 2022.  Really excited about this!  

 

 

 

Kirkus Review is good

 

I was so excited when my wonderful editor, Joni Sussman of Kar-Ben Publishing, notified me that “Hannah G. Solomon Dared to Make a Difference” was favorably reviewed in the important children’s book review source, Kirkus Reviews.  Here’s an excerpt from the review:

“…As an adult Hannah was the first Jewish woman admitted to the Chicago Women’s Club. She fought tirelessly for women’s advancements against male domination both within Orthodox Judaism and in the general society. From a conference of Jewish women that she organized came the National Council of Jewish Women, an organization that worked directly with people in need and pushed for new laws to address poverty, housing, and education. She also expanded her activism to the women’s suffrage movement. Lindauer presents Solomon’s groundbreaking accomplishments in clear, concise language with great admiration, stressing her persistence and determination…An interesting, informative account of a little-known woman of great achievement.”  https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/bonnie-lindauer/hannah-g-solomon-dared-to-make-a-difference/

 

Surprise Package arrived July 2nd

What a surprise when I found a box outside my door. I didn’t expect to find 12 copies of my debut picture book biography, since it isn’t released until Sept 1, 2021. It’s so different to hold, read and see the final product than just all the draft and preliminary illustrations along this two-year process!  The illustrator, Sofia Moore, did such a fabulous job. It’s SO true that the illustrations tell at least half of the story of a picture book. Thank you Kar-Ben, especially my editor, Joni Sussman.

Ways to Motivate Reluctant Readers

As a reading tutor for second graders for several years, I’ve learned that you need a lot of approaches to hook the reluctant reader. A few of my tried and true “tricks” included having them make up a story that I write down, they illustrate, and then read back to me; getting two or three kids together and we all take turns reading a 1/2 page or so; and asking the child to tell me the story from the illustrations and then pick out the hard words for which we then made flash cards.

I was so happy to discover a blog post from award-winning, former teacher Laura Candler where she shares 12 ways to motivate reluctant readers. Check it out here. 

2021 Jewish Book Council’s Network’s Conference

As part of the 2021 Jewish Book Council’s Network’s Conference, I had the opportunity on May 26th to present to a zoom audience of about 250 people a two-minute pitch for my book “Hannah G. Solomon Dared to Make a Difference.” It was so fascinating to hear so many other authors talk about their books. The conference attendees represent a variety of Jewish cultural and community organizations who invite authors for programs. Hopefully, I’ll be invited to one or more of these organizations as a presenter. Would love to make a classroom visit to share the activities I’ve created for my book.