Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Q&A with Janie Emaus




Janie Emaus is the author of the new children's picture book Easter Eggs and Matzo Balls. Her other books include the picture book Latkes for Santa Claus. She lives in Southern California.


Q: What inspired you to write Easter Eggs and Matzo Balls, and how did you create your characters Michael and Anna?


A: Easter Eggs and Matzo Balls is my second blended holiday story, my first being Latkes for Santa Claus. I was inspired to write the Latkes story based on my own experience. I am Jewish and my husband is Catholic.


When our kids were little, we celebrated Hanukah and Christmas in December and Easter and Passover in the spring. I looked for books to help my children relate to our family, but I couldn’t find any fun books. So, I wrote one. After the success of Latkes, I realized how many families related to the book and decided to write the Easter/Passover story.

I made Michael and Anna stepsiblings with different religious backgrounds. That way they could help and learn from each other about Passover and Easter.


Q: What do you think Bryan Langdo's illustrations add to the story?


A: Bryan’s illustrations are amazing. They add a playful dimension to the story. Kids can see the funny way the Easter Bunny struggles to solve Michael’s dilemma. And point out actions that are not in the text.


Q: What do you see as the role of traditions in the story?


A: I believe that traditions, especially those specific to a family, are very important. Whether you’re hitting a piñata at a birthday party, saying prayers on a Friday Sabbath dinner, or making tamales on Christmas Eve. Passed down from generation to generation, they form a framework for a family.


In this story, the traditional Easter Egg hunt and searching for the matzo during the Passover Seder are events special to Michael and Anna. They form the framework for the story. Sharing these traditions with each other bond them in a way they will always remember.


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


A: I’d like kids to see the value and importance of family traditions. And to learn that although all families are not all alike, it doesn’t mean one is better than the other. Just different. Also, that sharing with your brother or sister is always better than doing something alone. And then of course, I hope they enjoy the Matzo Ball soup recipe in the back!


Q: What are you working on now?


A: Here’s a short blurb about the picture book I’m currently working on, Grandma for Share.


Edie has a big problem. She has too many grandmothers to pick one for “Dress like Grandma Day.” Ben has a big problem, too. He doesn't have any grandmother to dress up like. Edie offers Ben one of her grandmothers. But now she has two problems because Ben wants her to choose for him. After spending a day with each grandmother, Edie and Ben come up with the perfect solution.


--Interview with Deborah Kalb

1 comment:

  1. Awesome book for blended families or to read to any child for fun and finding out about these two holidays.