The Whole Megillah (TWM): What was the impetus behind launching the new Apples & Honey Press imprint?
Dena Neusner (DN): As you know, Apples & Honey Press is a partnership between Behrman House and Jerusalem-based Gefen Publishing. Our mission at Behrman House is to educate and support children in celebrating their Jewish identity. We wanted to share with kids entertaining stories that would capture the feelings, values, and traditions of a meaningful Jewish life—and picture books are the perfect vehicle for that.
And when we learned that our friends at Gefen were exploring this direction as well, we knew that the time was right to work together and make it happen.
TWM: What is its mission? Target audience?
Ann Koffsky (AK): Our goal is to create compelling, fun, innovative, and beautifully-told stories about Jewish experiences and values, for children and their families. Our audience is children between the ages of 3-8 and their families, and anyone (of any age!) who wants to understand more about that rich tradition.
TWM: Can you kindly describe your initial list?
AK: It includes a dog named Kugel, an ambulance named Avi, stories of Israel, stories of Hanukkah, and some absolutely fabulous art that will blow your socks off.
DN: We launched the imprint in Fall 2015 and we’re off to a great start! In our very first season, we have a National Jewish Book Award finalist, a Sydney Taylor Notable Book, and a whole lot of good reviews.
Our Fall 2015 list included Hanukkah Cookies with Sprinkles, a Sydney Taylor Notable Book by David A. Adler, and Farmer Kobi’s Hanukkah Match, a National Jewish Book Award Finalist by Karen Rostoker-Gruber and Rabbi Ron Isaacs. We have two bible stories by Sylvia Rouss, King David & Akavish the Spider, and The Littlest Pair. Our very own Ann Koffsky wrote and illustrated the sweet Shabbat story Kayla and Kugel, and we published Avi the Ambulance Goes to School in cooperation with Israel’s emergency services organization. We couldn’t be more proud!
AK: And coming soon on our Spring 2016 list, we have an alef bet book by Jewish rock star Mama Doni, an ant’s eye view of the world from Sylvia Rouss, some Passover mayhem featuring Kayla and Kugel, and more!
TWM: How can an author and/or illustrator pitch to you?
DN: We want to hear from you! The best way to is to email your manuscript along with a cover letter that describes the intended audience for the book and your background (occupation, prior writing, etc.) to firstname.lastname@example.org. Or refer to the Behrman House submissions guidelines: www.behrmanhouse.com/submission-guidelines.
TWM: Is there anything else you’d like to share with The Whole Megillah readers?
DN: Apples & Honey Press is a small imprint with hands-on editors and a dedication to quality. We love to work with talented authors and illustrators to develop a promising manuscript into a truly memorable book. Our Behrman House roots provide a deep, 95-year history and commitment to Jewish identity and education, and our partner Gefen Publishing brings us a broader worldview with connections to Israel and Jewish communities around the globe. Learn more about us at www.applesandhoneypress.com.
About Ann Koffsky and Dena Neusner
Dena Neusner is the Executive Editor of Apples & Honey Press, where she leads the editorial team, manages the publication pipeline, acquires manuscripts, and works with top authors, illustrators, and designers. She has more than 20 years of experience as a children’s book editor.