Authors of “Hanukkah Veronica” talk about e book forward of Guide Fest studying






Wendy Brant and Julie Anne Cooper met via their jobs in the true property trade in 2019, however they bonded over a shared want to jot down youngsters’s books. Inspiration struck for his or her debut collaboration, Hanukkah Veronica: The Mitzvah Fairy (Lanier Press, 38 pages), when Cooper shared a narrative about her daughter, Lucy, with Brant. 

A number of years prior, Lucy got here house from college crying as a result of everybody in her class had a vacation companion whereas there have been no particular characters for Jewish youngsters in anticipation of Hanukkah. Not wanting her daughter to really feel not noted, Cooper gathered supplies from her craft room, created a comfortable doll named Hanukkah Veronica the Mitzvah Fairy — who carried out mitzvahs or acts of kindness — and introduced the present to Lucy the next morning. 

“Lucy was thrilled that she had one thing distinctive and particular,” says Cooper. “That 12 months she shared Hanukkah Veronica along with her class and taught all of them about Hanukkah and what a mitzvah was all about.”

Upon listening to Cooper’s story, Brant imagined infinite potentialities — from a e book to a luxurious doll to the celebration of cultures world wide — and the Bonta Mates e book sequence was born.

Prematurely of their studying on the Guide Pageant of the Marcus Jewish Group Heart of Atlanta this Sunday at midday, the 2 Atlanta space authors shared their ideas on their mission as storytellers, encouraging cross-cultural curiosity in youngsters, and the present of kindness.  

“Hanukkah Veronica”ArtsATL: Writing a e book for kids is deceptively easy. As first-time authors, what was your mission? 

Wendy Brant: This mission began in 2020, a unstable time when youngsters had pictures of anger and animosity from each nook. Covid and riots consumed the information and social media. There have been these in my life who appeared to have misplaced all hope. I’d inform my youngsters this was not actual, that this was merely a story that bought tickets at a second of nice stress as a result of pandemic. I assured my youngsters that most individuals are variety, that most individuals embrace different cultures. As well as, I advised them that even with all its issues, the world itself, our planet, is an extremely lovely place. A marvel.

ArtsATL: Giovanni Lombardi, who illustrated the e book, lives in Turin, Italy. How did your collaboration with him occur? 

Brant: I knew we needed to discover somebody sensible to convey this character to life. I searched on-line and ultimately I used to be drawn to Giovanni’s distinctive model. Julie Anne, my coauthor, is an excellent watercolor artist and has an distinctive eye for colour and design. It was the mixture of Julie Anne’s expertise and Giovanni’s understanding of the message that in the end led to the illustrations you see at this time. 

The phrase “Bonta” means kindness in Italian. I chosen that identify for the corporate to honor his contributions to the mission and spotlight my gratitude to our unimaginable Italian artist. 

ArtsATL: Hanukkah Veronica is the primary in a sequence of 5 books for kids. What characters and tales can readers anticipate going ahead? 

Brant: Bonta Mates intends to rejoice holidays and traditions from world wide. The primary 5 characters are Hanukkah Veronica, Halloween Hannah, Christmas Chloe, Kwanzaa Keisha and Diwali Deepa, with many extra to come back. Each character shares a message of kindness, and they’re all finest pals. As seen in our subsequent e book, Halloween Hannah, which takes place within the land of Bonta, each character celebrates with each other, and so they get pleasure from studying about one another’s cultures.  

“Hanukkah Veronica”ArtsATL: Encouraging youngsters to be curious in regards to the variety of vacation traditions is a noble purpose. Will you search steerage from specialists to boost your cultural sensitivity?  

Brant: We work very diligently to make sure our tales painting every vacation and tradition precisely and respectfully. Because of this dedication, every e book is written at the side of an knowledgeable advisor from that tradition.  

Behind every e book, there’s a historical past part which explains the origin of the vacation and the which means behind the normal symbols. Hanukkah Veronica was written with the assistance of Rabbi Levi Mentz from the Forsyth County Chabad, and we’re so grateful for his help and assist. For Halloween Hannah, we’re honored to be working with Halloween creator Lesley Bannatyne. 

ArtsATL: What have you ever discovered within the course of?  

Julie Anne Cooper: The historic analysis has been fascinating. Most of us have no idea the origins of many in style traditions and a lot of the info shared within the e book doesn’t appear to be widespread data. For instance, do you know that over 60 years in the past, youngsters started to lift cash for the United Nations Worldwide Kids’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) whereas trick-or-treating? It was so profitable that, in 1967, President Lyndon Johnson named October 31, Nationwide UNICEF Day.

ArtsATL: The unchecked merchandizing and materialism which have grow to be synonymous with Christmas are an unlucky distraction from the importance of the vacation. Did you have got any reservations about introducing a personality who comes bearing items for kids throughout Hanukkah?  

Cooper: Hanukkah Veronica performs mitzvahs within the e book; nonetheless, it’s not all the time a present. Usually it’s a candy word, or a easy gesture such because the shock of a recent baked cookie or serving to an elder neighbor with their trash cans. She might convey a present for the household to share, however the message behind the character shouldn’t be considered one of greed or materialism. It’s all about displaying kindness to those that you see each day.


Gail O’Neill is an ArtsATL editor-at-large. She hosts and coproduces Collective Information, a conversational sequence that’s broadcast on THEA Community, and steadily moderates creator talks for the Atlanta Historical past Heart.

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