Happy Easter and Passover, readers! We're thrilled that the wonderful Janie Emaus is back with us sharing her newest holiday release, Easter Eggs and Matzo Balls (illustrated by Bryan Langdo). Janie is the queen of blending holidays in picture books. Her newest release perfectly blends Easter and Passover together, and features a blended family, too, as they get ready to celebrate both holidays. Want to more about Janie, her newest book, plus want a chance to win your own copy of Easter Eggs and Matzo Balls? Read on...
Q: Hi, Janie #SeasonsOfKidLit is thrilled to have you back to talk about your newest book, Easter Eggs and Matzo Balls! We enjoyed your post in December (click here to read her interview) that highlighted your love for holiday-themed writing and blending religious celebrations. Can you share how the idea for your new book came about?
A: With the overwhelming response to my first book, Latkes for Santa Claus, I realized how many families, like mine, celebrate both Jewish and Christian holidays. The people I met at signings were excited to find a book that spoke to their family. So many parents wished a book like this was available when they were growing up. I knew right then I wanted to write another blended holiday story with these same characters. Since Easter and Passover both have “searching” traditions, it made sense to write about them. The goal with all my blended holiday stories, is to show the kid-friendly aspects of the celebrations.
I love the backstory about how your first book turned into a sequel!
Q: Easter Eggs and Matzo Balls is a humorous and endearing picture book, blending both Easter and Passover together. It features a young boy and his stepsister as they celebrate both holidays and even help each other search for Easter Eggs and the Afikoman. This sounds like so much fun! What elements of each holiday can we expect to see in your new book?
A: In this book, we visit stepsiblings Michael and Anna. Michael wants Anna’s first Easter to be a joyful experience. He asks the Easter Bunny to put something special for her inside the Golden Egg and sends him various suggestions. The reader is introduced to Passover items such as a Seder plate and an Afikoman bag in a fun, fanciful way as the Easter Bunny tries to stuff them inside the egg. From Bryan’s great illustrations the reader discovers the fun of an Easter Egg hunt and how looking for the matzo is Anna’s favorite part of the Seder.
Q: You also include a glossary of Easter and Passover terms and a fun recipe for families to make together. Can you share more about what was involved in coming up with a glossary for anyone who's looking to write a similar-styled book? Was this your idea or did your publisher suggest it?
A: My publisher suggested the glossary to explain the Passover and Easter terms as the story doesn’t get into the explanations. And I agreed wholeheartedly. In addition to teaching, a glossary shows small children their importance and how to use them. In fact, the hardest part was making the wording kid-friendly. It’s actually one of my favorite parts of the book.
Q: The illustrations by Bryan Langdo are so colorful and perfect for spring reading! What are some of your favorite spreads from your story and why?
A: One of my favorite spreads is where the Easter Bunny is trying to stuff the Passover placemat into the egg. It shows a balance of both holidays, which was very important to me. I also love the one where Michael is sleeping under a cozy blanket covered with The Star of David while the bunnies hop through his dreams. And my absolute favorite is where Michael is sitting on the piano bench with the matzo pushing it open. This one holds special meaning because my father often hid the matzo in the piano bench. And we have passed that traditional hiding place down through the generations.
Q: What takeaway do you hope readers of all ages will have from Easter Eggs & Matzo Balls?
A: I want readers to understand the importance of family traditions. And that there is not just one way to celebrate any specific holiday. Families come in all shapes and sizes and not one is better than the other, only different. And that difference is what makes this world such a wonderful place. And of course, I hope any reader unfamiliar with either Easter or Passover will learn a bit of knowledge about that holiday.
In conclusion, I wish everyone a very joyous celebration this Passover/Easter season and happy hunting, whether looking for Easter eggs or the matzo!
Thanks again for joining us, Janie! We can't wait to check out your book!
Spring into Storytime Giveaway!
Janie is offering a copy of her new picture book to one lucky reader!
Giveaway Details: To enter to win, leave a comment below and let Janie know why you're excited to read her new book!
The winner will be chosen on or about Tuesday, 4/2!
*Note: books will be shipped in the US only.
Bonus: Those who leave a comment on all posts will be eligible to win one (1) of two (2) 15-minute Zoom Ask Me Anything chats with Heather and Lynne Marie!
About Janie Emaus:
Janie Emaus believes when the world is falling apart, we’re just one laugh away from putting it together again. Her picture book, Latkes for Santa Claus was a finalist in the 2022 International Book Award. Easter Eggs and Matzo Balls is her second blended holiday picture book. She is also
the author of the novel, The Time Traveling Matchmaker. Her essays, stories and articles have been published in numerous magazines, anthologies, and websites. In 2016 she won an honorary mention in the Erma Bombeck Writing competition. But no award is more important than family.
For more about Janie, visit her at the below links:
To purchase Janie's books, or to leave a review for them, click here.