When I was growing up I had several younger siblings and cousins. Rather than read stories to them, I often made up stories but I never actually wrote anything down. As an adult, I became a teacher and continued to tell my stories to the children in my classroom. I try to base my stories on their interests and I often read them my manuscripts and let them share their ideas about my work. I ask them what they liked about the story, what they didn’t like, how they would change the story, etc. I welcome their comments even if they are negative. If they like it, I know it’s ready to send to my publisher, but if they are bored, I don’t bother sending it.
I hope that Jewish children see the beauty of the Jewish holidays and appreciate our celebrations and values in my Sammy Spider books. Sammy Spider is an outsider that wants to be a part of our holidays. Sammy sees the beauty of it. We are very lucky because we have a yearly cycle of celebrations that serve to reaffirm our Jewishness almost every month. I have been told that my Sammy Spider stories instill in children and their parents a sense of excitement and joy about being Jewish.
Sammy Spider is very active and he has taken on a life of his own. For me, Sammy is real. I never know what his next adventure will be, but as long as Sammy continues to have an audience of children that love and enjoy him, I’ll continue to find something to write about.