If you have little boys in your life – whether it’s a son, grandson, nephew, or anyone else – you’re probably very familiar with the concept of the disappearing yarmulka. Rivke Gerstenblit, seasoned writer and mother-of-boys decided to do something about the problem. Her new children’s book, Baruch and His Disappearing Yarmulka, tackles this challenge and teaches an easy solution in a fun way.
Rivke sat down with The Official ArtScroll blog to discuss her new book. Scroll passed the interview for your chance to win a free copy!
What made you think of the idea for Baruch and His Disappearing Yarmulke?
My three-year-old kept losing his yarmulke. I just put myself into his head; with and without yarmulke. After I wrote the book, I had two more boys and they also constantly lost their yarmulkes. It seems to be a universal problem.
How long did it take you to write this book?
Writing the initial book took very little time. Probably less than an hour. The best material I have written comes to me quickly. If I have to work on the initial draft too long, then the final work is just not as good. Perfecting the rhythm and obsessing over word choices took years. Not continuously, but I would go back to it and make small changes. I was quite busy with other things — like raising the children — and had no sense of urgency. There were years that I didn’t even look at it.
What made you decide to finally submit your manuscript?
My family, especially my parents, would always ask me when I was going to do something with my yarmulke book. And I always answered with some variation of “One day….” I don’t really know what I was waiting for. Then someone asked me about it in front of my ten year old daughter and she asked, “what book?!” So I read it to her and she started asking me (quite often) to submit it to a publisher. She was pretty persistent. I finally bit the bullet.
When and how did you get started as a writer?
When I was about five my older sister was putting me to bed and I suddenly recited the following rhyme, “I wash the windows, I wash the floors, and on the way I shut the doors.” That was my first piece. I passed my friend so many humorous (or so I thought) poems during class in that after graduation she gave me a booklet she had made of them. I started writing for a local magazine about six years ago, and shortly after that I started writing for Binah magazine. Between my cleaning poem and my professional writing career, I’ve been writing my entire life.
Why is the name of the main character Baruch?
My three-year-old son Baruch inspired this book. This just happened to be fourteen years ago. Baruch is currently seventeen,kein ayin hara.
Have you gotten any feedback on your book from readers?
My family and friends are always sending me pictures of their children reading the book. I love getting those pictures. I love when people tell me they go through the same thing with their sons and they needed a book just like this, and I love getting excited calls and texts from people I know. The support is amazing. I didn’t expect it. I didn’t think it would be a big deal for anyone other than myself, but I see that it is. I feel so touched hearing how much people enjoy my book.
What’s next? Any new books on the horizon?
My second children’s book about bedtime is scheduled for an upcoming release by ArtScroll – stay tuned for details and the release date!
Leave a comment on this post letting us know that you would like to win!
**Giveaway ends on Monday, February 9th at 11:59 pm eastern time. Winner will receive one copy of Baruch and His Disappearing Yarmulke. Prize can be shipped within the USA. Winner will be chosen randomly and notified via email. Valid email address must be provided to claim prize. Limit one entry per person.