Ann D. Koffsky is the author and illustrator of the new children's picture book Kayla and Kugel's Happy Hanukkah. Her many other books include Kayla and Kugel's Almost-Perfect Passover and Kayla and Kugel. She also is an editor at Behrman House Publishers. She lives in West Hempstead, New York.
Q: How did you come up with the idea for this new installment in your Kayla and Kugel series?
A: Well, they already celebrated Shabbat and Passover…Hanukkah seemed like the next natural extension of the series.
Q: What do you hope kids take away from the story?
A: For all the K&K books, I hope kids take away a positive feeling, I want the kids to feel like Jewish holidays are sweet and fun and warm.
Q: Do you usually focus on the text first or the illustrations--or do you work on them simultaneously?
A: Usually I do the text first, and then art. The exception to that was my book Creation Colors, which began as a series of paintings that I then created text to accompany.
Q: You're also an editor at Behrman House--how do you balance that with your own writing?
A: As a BH editor, I’ve gotten to work with some amazing creators, like Eric Kimmel and David Adler and Barbara Diamond Goldin—folks whose writing is SO solid. It inspires me, and gives me something to strive for in my own writing.
Q: What are you working on now?
A: I’ve got this fun board book I’m working on about a little rabbit whose trying, striving working really hard! to reach the mezuzah. Much jumping and hopping ensues.
Q: Anything else we should know?
A: I make Jewish themed coloring page for kids that folks can download off my website for free: annkoffsky.com. Your readers might enjoy those, (especially if they’ve got young kids who have been on Zoom a little too long!)
--Interview with Deborah Kalb