In advance of the 68th Annual National Jewish Book Awards ceremony on March 5th, 2019 (which you can buy tickets for here), Jewish Book Council is sharing short interviews with the winners in each category.
Erica S. Perl’s All Three Stooges, winner of the 2018 National Jewish Book Award for Children’s Literature, is about a boy, Noah, just trying to get through seventh grade and his bar mitzvah year. Then his best friend’s dad commits suicide. Here’s what the Children’s Literature panel judges had to say: “Believable, empathetic characters deliver grief, humor, and friendship in a moving plot immersed in positive Judaism.”
Which three Jewish writers, dead or alive, would you most like to have dinner with?
Sydney Taylor, Judy Blume, and E. L. Konigsburg.
What’s your favorite book that no one else has heard of?
E. L. Konigsburg’s Jenifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley, and Me, Elizabeth.
Which Jewish writers working today do you admire most?
Donna Gephart, Judith Viorst, Elana K. Arnold, Laurel Snyder, Emily Jenkins, and I am probably forgetting SEVERAL. Oops, did I only mention women? Alan Silberberg.
What are you reading right now?
I am reading Elissa Brent Weissman’s The Length of a String. Next up is Phillip Roth’s American Pastoral and Brandy Colbert’s Little and Lion. The last two books I finished were Jonathan Auxier’s Sweep (a National Jewish Book Award finalist) and Elizabeth Acevedo’s The Poet X—I loved both!
What are your greatest creative influences (other than books)?
I started taking improv because I like performing. It turns out that the goal of improv is not pleasing your audience but having a successful connection with your scene partners. I find this to be a good reminder to be your honest self and write from your heart.
What do you hope readers will take away from your book?
I hope that readers will come away with an awareness of the healing power of empathy and an appreciation of the gift of laughter.