Saturday, January 20, 2024

Q&A with Amalia Hoffman




Amalia Hoffman is the author and illustrator of the new children's picture book Afikotective. Her other books include My Monsterpiece. She is based in the New York area. 


Q: The Kirkus Review of your new book called it a “charming romp to share in anticipation of Passover preparations.” What do you think of that description?


A: Oh, I was so pleased with this Kirkus verdict because the idea in writing Afikotective wasn’t just to do a book about Passover but to write a story that is fun and funny and will resonate with little kids’ sense of humor.


Afikotective and his helper, the Afiko Sniffer, look for the afikomen in all the wrong places, until Afikotective decides to fix his afiko-sniffer and finds the afikomen in the tool box.


Q: How did you develop your artistic style?


A: I was always in love with anything pop-up, like pop-up books and cards. But producing a pop-up book is very expensive, so I decided to produce books where elements look like they pop up off the page.


I started by cutting elements out of paper and positioning them on boards. In the beginning I created white pop-ups. Later, I added color to my figuring and the background. I started using lighting to see how the shadow will play a role in the final photograph. Then, I incorporated other elements such as string, yarn etc. For the cover, I painted a faux matzah.

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


A: If you noticed, I dedicated my book “To Seekers and finders everywhere.” This is what I hope kids will take away from the story. Always seek, always look harder, never give up and you’ll find what you’re looking for.


I also hope that Afikotective will entice kids to participate in the Passover seder and enjoy this wonderful tradition. At the end of the book, I included a project that families could incorporate into their own seder of making Afikotective badges for the kids that search for the afikomen.


Q: What are you working on now?


A: I am working on a picture book about peace. I have a board book about the Jewish holiday of Shavuot launching in May. I am also experimenting in a different illustration style, using paper tissue collage.


Q: Anything else we should know?


A: I feel very lucky to be able to do what I love to do. My passion and my work have always pulled me out of despair in tough times in my life.


--Interview with Deborah Kalb. Here's a previous Q&A with Amalia Hoffman.

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