In this dark and cold (and for some people, incredibly snowy!) time, it’s such a treat to host Amalia Hoffman, who brings vibrancy and color to the world through her books. It’s a pleasure to host Amalia today, in celebration of her newest picture book, My Monsterpiece (Yeehoo Press).
My inspiration for My Monsterpiece (Yeehoo Press) was the many years I worked with young children. I noticed that kids love to experiment with art. They explore many media and like to paint on paper plates, scarps of paper, and even grocery bags. This inspired me to create the illustrations for the book using kid-friendly art techniques and supplies. In some illustrations, I glued on yarn, glitter, buttons and even fruit loops. Kids love to get their hands messy. So I dipped my fingers in gooey blobs of paint. It was very therapeutic. A lot of the art in the book was painted with my fingers, rather than with brushes. I also spritzed paint with a toothbrush, letting the bits of color drop where they may. At the end of the day, my studio was a mess but I felt liberated!
I was inspired to create a book that will be funny and entertaining but will have a non-preachy message that when we free ourselves from bias and stereotyping, our word is more colorful and we can befriend each other even if we don’t look or behave in the same way.
My Monsterpiece involved a monstrous journey of over 2 years, from the time I started exploring the idea and “playing with it” in my mind to the time it actually sold to Yeehoo Press by agent, Anna Olswanger. I spent months just making a whole menagerie of monsters. I worked with crayons, color pencils, chalk, poster paints, and finger-paints. It was important to me that the monsters would be fresh and not over-done.
In creating My Monsterpiece, I was also inspired by my own childhood and I felt as if I had an opportunity to revisit the 4, 5, 6, and 7 years old Amalia.
Apparently, I was a very temperamental child. When I got angry with my mom and dad, I used to punish them by tearing the greeting cards I created for their birthdays and anniversaries. Years later, when I visited my parents who lived in Jerusalem, I found an envelope with all the bits of torn art that my father saved. When I created My Monsterpiece, I showed the kid’s frustration by creating one spread that feature the kid’s torn monsters.
I remember that when I was about 7, I entered a contest, sponsored by a children’s magazine, to draw a scary witch. Apparently, just like the kid in my book, mine didn’t scare anyone and I didn’t win. This is what happens to the kid in my story- all the attempts to create a scary monster fail and the child must come up with a new resolution to solve this artistic frustration.
For this book, I also created additional activities and coloring pages. You can download from my website, watch a video of me introducing the book with my puppet and watch a book trailer below.
Amalia Hoffman is an author, illustrator and storyteller. Her picture book, The Brave Cyclist: The True Story of a Holocaust Hero (Capstone Publishing, 2019, illustrated by Chiara Fedele) is a Junior Library Guild Gold Selection book. All Colors (Schiffer Publishing, 2019) made the list of best board books, 2019, chosen by School Library Journal. Dreidel Day (Lerner Publishing Group, 2018) is a PJ Library book and received the PJ Library Author Incentive Award.
She is also the author/illustrator of Astro Pea (Schiffer Publishing, 2019.)
Her picture book, My Monsterpiece is coming up from Yeehoo Press, March, 2021.
Hanukkah Nights (Lerner Publishing Group, 2022) received the first PJ Library Incentive Award for an author and illustrator.
Masha Munching is coming up from Yeehoo Press in Chinese on spring 2021 and in English in 2022.
Queen Esther and I was published in Highlights Magazine for Children (March, 2016.)
Amalia designed and illustrated an oversized book with pop-up elements for the production of Rose Bud at Israel’s children’s theater, The Train.
Other books include The Klezmer Bunch and Purim Goodies (Gefen Publishing House, 2007 and 2009.)
Amalia is a participating artist at ArtsWestchester, a cultural organization that pairs artists and writers with schools and community centers.
She holds a Masters degree in art and art education from New York University and a Bachelor of Fine Arts with honor from Pratt Institute.
Visit Amalia at www.amaliahoffman.com