Debby Waldman's Blog

Books and Reviews

Miriam’s Secret (Orca, Fall 2017) is inspired by stories that Debby’s mother and aunts told her about what it was like growing up on a farm in rural upstate New York between World War I and World War II, the only Jewish family in the area. The novel begins when 11-year-old Miriam travels from her home in Brooklyn to stay with her grandparents on their farm while her parents travel to eastern Europe to bring relatives to America. No families or children live nearby; it’s just Miriam, her grandparents, and the hired men, all of whom are hoboes who jump off trains that pass alongside the farm. Miriam’s only friends are the kittens born in the barn just before she arrives — but she can’t stop thinking that there is someone in the barn, a human someone, someone watching her…

Abby's Race by Debby Waldman
Addy’s Race is the story of Addy Markley, a grade six student who has spent most of her life being told (by her mom) that she’s special because she wears hearing aids. Addy wants to be special because of something she’s accomplished — not because she has a hearing loss. When she joins the school running club, she discovers she has what it takes to be a champion — and what it takes to carve out her own identity.

Debby Waldman has written an honest and engaging story about friendship, finding one’s own strengths and refusing to be defined by how other people perceive one.

—Gillian O’Reilly, Canadian Children’s Book News

Author Debby Waldman has developed a main character who is truly believable. Addy has a somewhat caustic sense of humour, but she keeps her many thoughts to herself. Debby lets readers get to know Addy by allowing readers access to her constant diatribe of thoughts on every event in the story. Hilarious! After working with this age level for many years, it is clear to me that author Waldman understands young people very well. Addy’s Race is a story that will capture a young reader’s interest and keep it because the story is so true to the thoughts, feelings and experiences of kids in upper elementary and middle school.
— Elaine Fuhr, CM Magazine

Short-listed for 2012/13 Hackmatack Children’s Choice Book Award

Inspired by a Jewish folk tale about a man who thinks his house is too small, Room Enough for Daisy will appeal to anyone who has ever dealt with clutter. Daisy is a kid with clutter issues — she can’t bear to part with anything, even if she no longer needs or uses it. Her mom comes up with clever ways to show her that less is more. In the end, Daisy winds up with a few bumps and bruises, but she also does a mitzvah that may inspire readers to tidy up their own rooms!

…[T]he energetic illustrations are saturated with color and contrasted with white space that draws attention to the clutter and to Daisy’s accumulated bruises from bumping into her toys. The child comes to understand that less is more and to love the sense of space in her neater room. This title will be great for discussions about greed, entitlement, and charity. An accurate description of Mitzvah Day is included.

— Anne Beier, School Library Journal

Celebrated children’s picture book team Debby Waldman and Cindy Revell have once again joined forces on a story inspired by a Jewish folktale, co-authored this time by Edmonton children’s author Rita Feutl. … Waldman and Feutl imbue the story with a light tone, powerful message, and realistic characters. Revell’s illustrations, done in the same colourful, folk-art style as previous collaborations with Waldman (such as 2009′s Clever Rachel) are a treat for the eyes.
— Sarah Sorensen, Quill & Quire

Room Enough for Daisy does a good job of conveying the message of less is more. A quality book worth purchasing… Good literary merit.
— Southwestern Ohio and Neighboring Libraries

Room Enough for Daisy is bright and bold and perfectly engaging. … [T]he moral here is present but not overwhelming and the illustrations are colorful, bright and offer young readers lots to look at. This is a very good book for young children in every way.

Monica Stark, January Magazine

The story provide[s] plenty of topics for discussion, including how to donate and recycle unwanted items, learning to appreciate what you have and more is not always better.
— Kirkus Reviews

Named as one of Best Books of 2011 by January Magazine

Your Child’s Hearing Loss: A Guide for Parents, co-written with Jackson Roush, Ph.D., published by Plural. This revision of Debby and Jack’s 2005 book, “Your Child’s Hearing Loss: What Parents Need to Know,” updates information about hearing aids and cochlear implants, as well as stories from the families profiled in the original edition.

Clever Rachel, a new book by Debby Waldman

New book by Debby Waldman

Clever Rachel, a new twist on an old folk tale, published by Orca. As with Debby’s first picture book, “A Sack Full of Feathers,” “Clever Rachel” is illustrated by Cindy Revell, set in the eastern European village of Olkinik in the 19th century, and uses humor to share an important lesson. It also features a lot of riddles.

This book is absolutely charming and concisely written. It’s full of the kind of Jewish values parents want their children to absorb from a very young age: work hard, do your best, cooperate.                                    — Ellen Schur Brown, Cleveland Jewish News

Waldman maintains the beautiful flavour of the folktale, using simple and colourful language. … Her delightful use of Yiddish terms such as meshugganah, rugelach and kugel make the book fun to read and even more culturally relevant  for Jewish children.                                         — The Edmonton Jewish News

Exceptionally well done.                                                                                                                                    — Steven Friedman, j. The Jewish News Weekly of Northern California

[A] captivating retelling of an old Jewish folktale. Debby Waldman’s text is a pleasure to read aloud.

— Senta Ross, Canadian Children’s Book News

It’s a winner!                                                                                                                                                      — Roz Bessell, well-known Boston-area Hebrew tutor

(An) enchanting retelling of a Jewish folktale… The warm acrylic folk art illustrations do much to enhance this delightful story that provides a glimpse of rich Jewish culture.

— Carol Miller, Puget Sound Council for Reviewing Children’s Media

Short-listed for the 2011 Saskatchewan Young Readers Choice Shining Willow Award

Chosen for the 2010 PJ Library book list. The PJ library is a program of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation.

Chosen for the 2010 Edmonton Public Schools Best of the Best List

Named one of Year’s Best Picture Books, 2009, by Resource Links

Your Childs Hearing Loss, by Debby Waldman

Your Child's Hearing Loss, by Debby Waldman and Jackson Roush, Ph.D.

Reviews of Your Child’s Hearing Loss: What Parents Need to Know, by Debby Waldman and Jackson Roush, Ph.D.

This easy-to-understand memoir/resource guide will be extremely valuable to parents of children who’ve been diagnosed with hearing loss, both for its technical information as well as its emotional support…The book provides a concise guide to the medical specialists parents in Waldman’s situation should consult, and what each one does. … This book isn’t intended for parents of completely deaf children, but for those whose children suffer from hearing loss, it’s a godsend.
— Publishers Weekly

The words of advice to parents from adults with hearing loss since childhood was especially helpful; in particular, the young man who said “it’s not the end of the world.” Thank you for the inspiration; we need all we can get.
— Leigh Reeves, parent, Sanford, NC

This has got to be required reading for all parents who first discover that their child is hearing impaired or deaf. … What I found most interesting was the authors’ respect of families to choose ASL or any other form of communication such as English Sign, and even provide resources at the end of the book. This is truly a rarity these days. This book clearly and simply focuses on all the issues that truly matter to the parent with a child who is newly diagnosed with hearing loss. A must read.
—    Pearl Feder, LCSW, Editor, SayWhat Club newsletter, December 2006

Thank you for writing a fabulous book about hearing loss in kids. I’m
sure I will have finished it before we get back to pick up Alex’s
hearing aids on Thursday, and I’ll be well informed instead of
overwhelmed when they give us all our instruction.
— Catherine, parent, Edmonton, Ab.

…An excellent new resource for families. Your Child’s Hearing Loss provides parents with easy-to-understand information on how to determine whether or not their child has a hearing impairment — and teaches how to take a day-by-day approach to raising them.
—    Janet Les, Canadian Hard of Hearing Association, BC Parents’ Branch newsletter, September 2005

This volume offers parents what they need to know about hearing loss — from day-to-day practical solutions to technical information to emotional support.
—    Illinois Early Childhood Intervention Clearinghouse

To purchase a copy of Your Child’s Hearing Loss please visit: Amazon.caAmazon.com, your local bookstore, or your favorite on-line bookseller.

A Sack Full of Feathers, by Debby Waldman


Reviews of A Sack Full of Feathers, by Debby Waldman, illustrated by Cindy Revell

This delightful children’s picture book teaches people of all ages the valuable lesson of avoiding gossip and tale bearing. A story that has been passed down through the generations, it is beautifully written and illustrated, with both humor and wisdom.
—    Multicultural Review

The fun in this retelling of a Jewish folk tale is not in the lesson, but in the setting, the people, and the stories they tell.
—    Booklist

Book Signing for A Sack Full of Feathers

Book signing for A Sack Full of Feathers

The world in which the author and illustrator set this story is cozy and benign, a world of primary colors with dots and stripes, bluebirds in trees, contented cats, cottages of the sort young children draw themselves, delicious food with an emphasis on dessert,and the headscarves, brooms, and chickens that signal all the old countries of Eastern Europe.
—    Quill & Quire

…Entertaining…retelling of a traditional folk tale. Zippy page borders and spot illustrations with unusual shapes are among the design elements that give [Cindy Revell’s] textured acrylics some oomph. A cast of (mostly) spotted cats and a jaunty Yankel springing through the pages number among the memorable character depictions.
— Publishers Weekly

The traditional folktale instructing about the harm of gossip reappears once more in a new, charming picture book…It is refreshing to have the moral arrive through a youngster instead of the usual middle-aged sharpest tongue in the village.
— Jewish Book World

Children will enjoy this story as a read-aloud, and it can also be used by parents and teachers to impart an important life lesson.
—    CM Magazine

A vibrant storybook that tells a story that will entertain and educate young children about the harm of gossip
— Edmonton Jewish News

Short-listed for 2008 Saskatchewan Young Readers’ Choice Shining Willow Award

Named to 2007 Canadian Children’s Book Centre Best Books for Kids and Teens list (formerly Our Choice)

Short-listed for 2007 Ontario Library Association Blue Spruce Award

Short-listed for the 2007 R. Ross Annett Award in Children’s Literature

Chosen for the 2006-7 PJ Library book list. The PJ library is a program of
the Harold Grinspoon Foundation.

To purchase A Sack Full of Feathers, please visit Amazon.caAmazon.com, your local bookstore, or your favorite on-line bookseller.

Leave a Reply