Sometimes, we write to touch many lives, and sometimes, it’s enough just to connect with a few. When we were going through the process of moving to Israel, I couldn’t find any books out there to help my kids with the process. So I wrote Ezra’s Aliyah, about a boy whose family is going through the process that we ourselves were going through at the time.
Sure, we found books about kids going to Israel, like the board book, Ella’s Trip to Israel, and, for older kids, the somewhat chaotic Welcome to Israel!, but nothing that says, “You’re going to live here now” and describes the process a little bit, in a non-threatening way.
So that’s what I set out to do, and I think I did an okay job… maybe more than okay (I secretly hope so!). I wrote most of it before we left Toronto, but waited until we were here to actually publish it. I’m glad we did; I changed a few things, though the core of the story stayed the same.
I have to tell you, I don’t cry easily, but if I did, I would when I hear from people who are now going through the journey, who tell me how the book has helped them and their kids.
Here’s a random message that popped up on facebook the other day. I’ll leave out personal details, and just share the main part of the message:
I saw a blog post from someone about your book, Ezra's Aliyah, and I knew I had to buy it. …my older daughter hasn't really been happy about the prospect of moving.
I read her your book last night for the first time and she really connected with it. We paused a lot so she could relate her own experiences to Ezra, and when we were done she was really excited to move.
I think she still needs to wrap her head around some things but Ezra is really helping her out and she's excited to meet him when we get over there. (I hope I can find someone named Ezra who's her age).
Sometimes, we write our books hoping to reach lots and lots of kids… but sometimes, just one feels like enough.
Of course, it’s NOT enough, and that’s where marketing comes in, on related message boards, facebook groups, and anywhere else I can think of.
Every summer, hundreds of people move from North America to Israel (summer is the “aliyah season,” for some reason, perhaps because it’s a natural break in the calendar), and I really hope the book can help lots more families before that happens.