Coming in August 2019 from Kar-Ben is Chelm for the Holidays, original stories set in the silly world of Chelm—one for each holiday! Celebrating Jewish holidays has never been sillier than in Chelm, the Village of Fools! While the Chelmites try to solve problems―like outsmarting bees to get Rosh Hashanah honey, and keeping menorah candles lit without enough oil―their foolishness causes even more chaos. Enjoy these tall tales, old and new, one for each of ten holidays throughout the Jewish year.
I’m registered with the Jewish Book Council Network and can come do storytelling at your school, JCC, book fair, or other event. Here are some of the programs I can offer.
Pick your holiday! Storyteller Valerie Estelle Frankel will bring classic folktales as well as some silly ones from Chelm that she wrote herself, themed to the holiday of your choice, or all of them to offer a spectrum of Jewish practice. Tu B’Shvat, Lag B’Omer, Purim, Passover – the choice is yours.
Creative Writing for Kids or Teens: A Workshop of Presentation
Kids can write too! I’ve helped middle grade kids write and publish their own full-length books, which can be a point of pride for them and their families for the rest of their lives. While writing takes time, I can start the kids off, showing them how to get started and what to do with their finished manuscripts once they’ve got it all set to go. There are also places to publish fanfiction and quicker stories. Write what you want and share it with the world!
Jewish Superheroes (recommended for kids or teens, all ages welcome)
Many know that Superman was invented by two New York Jews…but did you know the same is true of Batman, Spider-Man, The Hulk, Thor, Iron Man, Daredevil, the Fantastic Four, and the X-Men? While Spider-Man and Superman don’t call themselves Jewish, much of the imagery around them is very suggestive. There are also many proud real Jewish superheroes from Kitty Pryde and Magneto to the Thing, Miriam Marvel, Sabra, and so many more. Together we can explore Jews’ effect on the comics industry, from Mad Magazine to Stan Lee to the Jewish superheroes arriving today.
Jewish Science Fiction (recommended for adults or teens, all ages welcome)
Today’s top Jewish authors are writing science fiction and fantasy, and the products are astounding: there are Talmudic bear shapeshifters, Sephardi ghosts, travels through Gehenna. And yes, there are Jewish fantasy worlds like Chabon’s Summerland and Clare’s Shadowhunters. Science fiction goes back to the golden age with Asimov, Kornbluth, and Malamud, followed by today’s cyberpunk golems and alternate histories. Television’s Star Trek, Doctor Who, and Twilight Zone offered parables of the Holocaust and modern prejudice that remain strikingly applicable. Israeli science fiction and fantasy are strikingly different, based as they are in dystopia and magical realism.