Talking Jewish Picture Books with Katherine Locke

Photo from IG Live conversation on May 17, 2020

What a gift to kick off this week’s Jewish American Heritage Month conversations around kidlit with the award-winning author Katherine Locke! @bibliogato talked about everything from writing characters with a similar lens to our shared fears around reciting the Hanukkah story in public. Here are a few of my favorite bits of Katherine’s experience and wisdom:
▪️ A sense of Jewish identity rooted in the pursuit of justice, arguing and learning through narrative— which includes challenging our worldview
▪️ Their distinction between Judaism and Jewishness
▪️ The experience of editing an anthology during a wave of rising antisemitism that helped deconstruct Jews as a monolith while centering joy
▪️ Desire for a diversity of traditions, practices, observance, genre (e.g. historical, romance) represented, as well as a diversity of authors outside white, cishet Ashkenanzi backgrounds; 12-14% of American Jews are POC but hardly represented in authorship
▪️ How critical it is to talk about issues like race and Israel, especially when it feels taboo to address directly: “Not talking about it didn’t give me the skills to talk about it.”

Thank you for sharing your experiences with such honesty and vulnerability, @bibliogato!

For quick reference, I hope you’ll join me in supporting their recent and upcoming projects:
THIS IS OUR RAINBOW: 16 STORIES OF HER, HIM, THEM, US co-edited by @nicolemelleby (add to Goodreads!)
THIS REBEL HEART (add to Goodreads!)

(Conversation held on May 17, 2020 on IG Live @carolinepritchardwrites)

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