Wednesday, August 20, 2014


In my last post, I introduced a terrific picture book, GOLDIE TAKES A STAND: Golda Meier's First Crusade.

I've learned to know Author, Barbara Krasner through numerous Highlights Foundation Workshops. Barbara is a poet with a gift for writing story in verse. 
I appreciate her quiet spirit and her astonishing work ethic. This lady has a load of irons in the fire and she's already published three history books. And now for a few questions.

Barbara, this one little story from Golda Meir’s life is so revealing of her personality and leadership skills. But there must have been so many Golda stories you could have told. I’m curious about how you chose to highlight this story and this age.  Oh and how old was Golda when this story takes place?

In her autobiography, Golda didn't dwell on her childhood. I chose this particular story because it took place in Milwaukee and I wondered how many people knew she had lived in the United States. Golda was in the fourth grade at the Fourth Street School when she staged the fundraiser.

I certainly didn't know she lived in the U.S. so yes, that was one of the things I found enlightening. How long have you worked on this? What would you like to share about the publishing journey this picture book has been on?

I read the autobiography in August 2010 and wrote a draft in October that year, workshopping it in November at a Highlights Foundation picture book workshop with Candace Fleming and Eric Rohmann. I revised, revised, revised and pitched it to several publishers in April 2012. Joni Sussman of Kar-Ben offered me publication in June 2012. Some of the rejections I received mentioned (and didn't like) the use of first person. I admit it's unusual for a picture book, but Goldie demanded it. Her voice was so strong.

I agree.  Golda's voice is what I love about your story. Are you by chance working on any other versions of her life-maybe a longer version? 

No, I'm not.

:(  Well, that makes me a little sad. But I know you've got lots of other writing projects going on. Can you tell us about some of them? 

How much room do you have on this blog? I consider myself a history writer and am working on some picture book biographies, a Holocaust-related middle-grade narrative, Holocaust-related short stories for adults, and historical poetry for adults. 

I have a couple of YA historical novels (one in 1919 Poland and one in 1914 Newark, NJ) I'd like to market and I've been asked to write two Holocaust-related YA novels. 

I have a Holocaust picture book, Liesl's Ocean Rescue, coming out soon from Gihon River Press, a niche Holocaust publisher.

As I said, lots of irons in the fire. Congratulations on the second picture book.  I'm eager to read that, too.  (And would love to review it, here, of course!) Oh and I must note that you've already published three history books.  
Barb speaking at her high school Alma Mater in Kearny, NJ.
Please tell us a bit about your blog, The Whole Megillah and also about your other publishing/editing pursuits.

I began The Whole Megillah in May 2010 as a service to Jewish children's writers. In the spring of 2012, I expanded it to include writers of Jewish memoir, fiction, and poetry. On the blog, which I refuse to monetize, I feature interviews and agents, editors, authors, illustrators, and publicists as well as book reviews. I also offer contests, such as the semi-annual Picture Book Contest, judged usually by Joni Sussman at Kar-Ben. 

Under the umbrella of The Whole Megillah and for Highlights Foundation, I also organize and run workshops and conferences, such as the 2014 Seminar on Jewish Story that took place in May at Temple Emanu-El in New York City. 

I received the first annual Groner/Wikler Scholarship at the June 2014 Association of Jewish Libraries conference for dedication to Jewish children's literature. I work with authors of memoir and fiction to develop their manuscripts. My overall mission is to nurture Jewish writing.

Observing from the outside, so to speak, you seem to be doing that most effectively. Barb, I look forward to watching all your efforts emerge into finished projects. Although, I realize you'll never be finished because you'll always have quite a few more in the works! 

Thanks so much for joining me here. It's been a joy to host you and to read and introduce Goldie Takes A Stand.

More convo with Barb at Rosi Hollinbeck's blog.

And friends, don't forget to leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of the book.  If you commented on the previous post you'll get two chances. It's a great one for home or classroom.


  1. Thanks so much for this interview. Barbara is an amazing person. Also thanks for the shout out. Of course, please let someone else win the book. I have read it and absolutely love it.

  2. Very interesting to hear how Barb has immersed herself in this time period and is coming up with so many different projects. Hmm…that gives me some good ideas! thanks for hosting her, Joyce.

    1. Oh, glad you could get some ideas from Barb. She's truly inspiring.

  3. I've always enjoyed Jewish history so it is wonderful to get to know an author steeped in it.

    1. Vijaya I think you'd enjoy Barbara's blog and her website. I'll enter you in the contest!

  4. Barbara and Joyce,
    I enjoyed reading this interview and learning about books being written based on this period in history.

    Please enter me in the contest. Thanks.

    1. Linda, I hope you get a chance to meet Barbara at a writer event someday and also to hear her read her own writing. I'll enter you in the contest.