IT ALL STARTED WITH A SMILE By Margie Blumberg Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year) had arrived and my great-uncle Morris had come over for lunch to celebrate. In addition to talking and eating, I hoped that this would also be a day for reminiscing, for I’d always wanted to know about the man in the photograph that had been displayed in the hallway for years. “Who was that man and what was he like?” I asked, as my great-uncle brought the large portrait closer.
With his glasses now up on his forehead, he was face-to-face with a man he hadn’t seen in 88 years—his own beloved grandfather Avram, whom he’d left at the train station in Russia so many years ago. That photograph, which I had always found mysterious, was making my Uncle Morris beam. For an instant, I could swear that Avram smiled back. And in that moment, a shofar story for the Jewish New Year—and a publishing company—was born.
After I interviewed Uncle Morris and wrote the story, Jim Catler and I began searching for a splendid artist to bring Avram's Gift to life. When we happened upon a book called Polar the Titanic Bear, we knew our quest was over. Happily, Laurie McGaw is as genuine and warm as she is talented, and we've become great friends. And her multi-talented daughter, Gwynne Phillips, sings our book-related songs!
Avram's Gift was published in 2003. MB Publishing eventually added a new title—a picture book called Sunny Bunnies,which was beautifully illustrated by June Goulding—and then the dream to publish other people's work came true with the release of Sean Vogel'sCeltic Run: A Jake McGreevy Novel.His series now has three titles. Book #3 was released in May: Paris Secrets.