Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Q&A with Alice Blumenthal McGinty




Alice Blumenthal McGinty is the author of the new children's picture book My Israel and Me. Her many other books include The Water Lady. She lives in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois.


Q: Why did you decide to write My Israel and Me?


A: I was one of the lucky authors chosen to visit Israel through P.J. Library’s first Author Israel Adventure Program in 2018. We saw many places and met a great diversity of people who live in Israel, people of different backgrounds, races, and religions.


I was struck by how many different people feel a deep connection to Israel. They think of Israel as “My Israel.”


I found this very beautiful and I knew there was a book in the idea that everyone has their own special connection with this ancient and beautiful land. I wrote the first draft of the book on the airplane, coming back from that trip.


Q: What kind of research did you do to write the book, and did you learn anything especially surprising?


A: Most of the research was in the trip itself and meeting the diversity of people and visiting the different places, from cities to kibbutzim.


The most surprising thing I discovered were the cats. I hadn’t realized there were so many stray cats in Israel, and I appreciated that the shopkeepers fed them and took care of them.


Q: What do you think Rotem Teplow's illustrations add to the book?


A: Rotem Teplow’s amazing illustrations bring the people and places of Israel to life in the most warm, child-friendly way! I love them! The color, detail, and personality in every illustration really makes the book – and Israel – come to life for readers.


Q: What do you hope kids take away from the book?


A: I hope kids will come to love Israel by seeing it through the eyes of the many different people who live there and visit there.


Q: What are you working on now?


A: I’m always working on something – often many things! Recently, I’ve been playing with a manuscript that explores the idea of our connection with the wild, natural world.   


Q: Anything else we should know?


A: Thank you for the opportunity to talk with you! I appreciate that you are letting people know about My Israel and Me!


--Interview with Deborah Kalb

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