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Amalia, congratulations on your new book, MY HANDS MAKE THE WORLD! 

You’re familiar with how this blog deals with story ideas, so I always want to know: what was the genesis of this book?

I was always fascinated with the story of the creation as it is told in the book of Genesis. Wow! A whole world created in 6 days! God had to work really hard to do that!

Creating a book for young children, I wondered how to explain this abstract concept. How did God do that? And what is God? I struggled with the idea for a while, until I stumbled upon the finger paint jars that I use while working with young children. They love to dip their hands in finger paints and smear them on any surface they could. In the biblical text, in the beginning the world was “Tohu va vohu” which, in Hebrew, means “Without form.” That gave me the idea of taking another approach to telling the story from children’s point of view. In MY HANDS MAKE THE WORLD, the first spread starts with, “In the beginning… My left hand dabbed. My right hand doodled.”  The image shows blotches and markings of paint, similar to what children do when they start using finger paints. The creation now is not in the hand of God, but rather in the hands of the creative young child.

Yes, children need something concrete and relatable to help them understand abstract concepts. And your images are so colorful and fun—it draws a child right in.

How do you hope young readers will respond to your book?

My hope is that a child reader will respond by enjoying the colorful yet simple illustrations that are created by finger paints, a medium that is mostly used by young children as they delve into making art.

I hope that MY HANDS MAKE THE WORLD will inspire readers to realize how wonderful and powerful their art is and how wonderful our World is.

I understand you traveled to Israel for your book launch!

I traveled to this place, called Beit Yanai, on the Mediterranean, where I spent my summers as a child. To me, it was the perfect place to launch this book.

Congratulations, Amalia, and thank you for stopping by!

Blog readers, a copy of MY HANDS MAKE THE WORLD will be awarded to one lucky person.

Leave a comment below and a random winner will be selected later this month.

Good luck!


Amalia grew up in Jerusalem, Israel. Her first drawing was black crayon smeared over the entire page. Her mom asked what it was and she said, “a chicken coop.”

“Where are the chickens?” her mother asked.

Amalia answered, “They are all asleep and it’s dark.”

Since then she has been drawing, painting, sculpting and cutting paper constructions. After graduating from Pratt Institute and NYU, she began showing my artwork in galleries and museums. Gene Moore, display director for Tiffany & Co., loved her paper constructions and invited Amalia to create displays for all his windows in New York.

Writing and illustrating children’s books is a window into a child’s fantasy and imagination. It’s also a wonderful way for Amalia to connect with her own childhood and early memories like the chicken coop drawing.

For more on her books, awards, accolades and storytelling, please visit amaliahoffman.com.

by Amalia Hoffman

I started writing and illustrating after I lost my parents. That was a painful time in my life. For a long period, I traveled back & forth to Israel to visit my family in Jerusalem—first at my parents’ home, then at the hospital. During these visits I also spent a lot of time walking around the amazing neighborhoods where I grew up. I found myself in memory lane. The olive trees brought back memories of climbing on the trees, gathering olives and playing imaginary games, the cypress trees were my favorites because I used to gather their pinecones & throw on my “enemies,” even the shelters reminded me how the neighborhood’s kids found these very convenient when playing hide & seek. In the old, narrow streets I discovered tiny bookstores that still stocked some of the books I read as a child. Suddenly, something happened…

I felt this urge to connect with my childhood and attempt to write children’s picture books. Since I’m an artist, I also decided to take a chance on illustrating my stories.

The first book I wrote and illustrated was PURIM GOODIES (Gefen Publishing.) It was an adaptation of a “Sholom Aliechem” tale that I read as a child.

Shortly after, I wrote THE KLEZMER BUNCH (Gefen Publishing) because Klezmer music was most popular in every Bar Mitzvah or wedding I attended and I just can’t listen to it and not jump up and dance. Then, I created DREIDEL DAY (Kar-Ben), remembering all these winter Hanukkah days when we played the dreidel games (I mostly lost and my older sister mostly won).

I went on to writing & illustrating books in different genres and also non- Jewish- themed books, but whatever I write, somehow I always discover that connection and ties to my childhood. I believe that once adult, each writer has this treasure box with jewels that might have been dormant for years, but now have popped out and are ready to be polished. By saying that, I don’t necessarily mean that children’s book authors write about their memories, but rather, that our own memories trigger stories because of the child in us.

In my book, MY MONSTERPIECE (Yeehoo Press, March 1st 2021), the protagonist is a child who tries to scare his family and friends by creating monsters; but doesn’t succeed.  I remembered a competition I entered in a children’s magazine to draw a scary witch. Mine obviously wasn’t scary enough because I didn’t win.

I also remembered tearing my artworks in frustration, so I actually included a spread of the protagonist’s torn art.

In my most recent picture book, MASHA MUNCHING (Yeehoo Press, March 1st, 2022), I drew from my memories of spending summers in the country where we laughed as the goats tried to nibble on our cloths and shoes.

The book is illustrated with paper cuts, similar to a technique that I used as a child for making greeting cards.

As children, my sisters and I created a puppet theater. We made the puppets from a mix of shredded newspapers and flour that mom cooked over the stove.

Now, I keep creating puppets that look like the protagonists in my books to engage children during my presentations.

Amalia grew up in Jerusalem, Israel. Her first drawing was black crayon smeared over the entire page. Her mom asked what it was and she said, “a chicken coop.”

“Where are the chickens?” her mother asked.

Amalia answered, “They are all asleep and it’s dark.”

Since then she has been drawing, painting, sculpting and cutting paper constructions. After graduating from Pratt Institute and NYU, she began showing my artwork in galleries and museums. Gene Moore, display director for Tiffany & Co., loved her paper constructions and invited Amalia to create displays for all his windows in New York.

Writing and illustrating children’s books is a window into a child’s fantasy and imagination. It’s also a wonderful way for Amalia to connect with her own childhood and early memories like the chicken coop drawing.

For more on her books, awards, accolades and storytelling, please visit amaliahoffman.com.

Amalia is giving away a copy of one of her books and a 30-minute Zoom. These are two separate prizes!

You’re eligible to win if you’re a registered Storystorm participant and you have commented once below.

Prizes will be distributed at the conclusion of Storystorm.

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My Books

Coming soon:


TIME FLIES
"7 ATE 9/PRIVATE I" BOOK #3
illus by Ross MacDonald
Little, Brown
April 26, 2022

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