When I heard about Natasha Wings's newest book, The Night Before Hanukkah, I wanted to be a part of her blog tour. I was excited that Hanukkah was added to the long list of The Night Before series, giving a fun read aloud for the holiday. In addition, because the original Night Before Christmas made its debut in my hometown, Troy, New York, I have always felt connected to the poem.
Natasha Wing is the author of the best-selling children's book series, The Night Before. Her books are modern takes on holidays based on The Night Before Christmas. The series was first started in 1999 and has grown to eighteen books. The latest title is The Night Before Hanukkah. Here is the story behind the story.
I've been writing The Night Before series since 1997 when I wrote the first one, The Night Before Easter which came out in 1999. At the time I thought I was just writing a cute bunny story and that'd be it. But my editor, Jane O'Connor of Fancy Nancy fame, saw the potential for doing a twist on other holidays so the series grew. My friends started joking that'd I'd run out of holidays and would have to write a Day After series!
Parents, teachers and kids suggested that I include Jewish holidays. Hanukkah came up several times and I wasn't sure at first what to do about writing a Night Before story for this holiday. First of all, I'm not Jewish. And secondly, there isn't just one night before the holiday, there are eight! So my editor and I figured out a way to address the multiple nights. I still felt a little odd about writing about a Jewish holiday and then it hit me. I grew up with a lot of Jewish friends in high school. I put out an email to my high school class's Facebook page and my buddies shared how they celebrate Hanukkah. The idea for using a birthday candle on the eighth night was inspired by Mike Stern who said that his busy family would typically run out of candles and then scramble to find one in their house. I included that scene to add humor to the story and also as a wink to busy families who are trying their best to respect traditions but acknowledging sometimes things don't go as planned so you have to roll with it.I also read a lot about Hanukkah. And my editor who is Jewish made sure I got things right.
Want to win a copy of Natasha's book? Sure, you do. Here's how -- share a Hanukkah fact, poem or story. Leave your information in the comment section of this post. Deadline December 25! Entries will be judged on originality and creativity -- even the facts! So use your imagination.
About Bestselling Author Natasha Wing
Natasha Wing graduated from Arizona State University in 1982 with a B.S. in Advertising. Wing lives in Fort Collins, Colorado, with her husband, Dan and their cat, Purrsia. They moved to Colorado for the outdoor life and Wing was “happy to find a thriving writing community and a library that is open seven days a week with excellent programs for writers.” She has been publishing for 22 years and is a frequent presenter at conferences and schools and loves to Skype with classrooms.