the MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults Author Blog

Barbara Krasner and GOLDIE TAKES A STAND!

Posted by Tami Brown on Thu, Sep 04, 2014 @ 10:09 AM

Welcome Barbara Krasner and Goldie Takes A Stand! Like me, Barbara is a member of the class of January '06 (Go class with no name!)  She teaches creative writing and children's lit at William Paterson University. Although she's written hundreds of articles for children's magazines, and has published about local history and genealogy, this is her first full length book for children. Congratulations Barbara and welcome to The Launch Pad!

Goldie Takes a Stand (2)Even at the age of nine, little Golda Meir was known for being a leader. As the president of the American Young Sisters Society, she organizes her friends to raise money to buy textbooks for immigrant classmates. A glimpse at the early life of Israel’s first female prime minister, who was born in Russia and grew up in Milwaukee, this story is based on a true episode in the early life of Golda Meir.

What was the spark that ignited this book? 

The spark that ignited this book happened between two Highlights Foundation retreats, I needed something to read. I was heading to Rhode Island and the annual reading of the Moses Seixas and George Washington letters of religious tolerance at Touro Synagogue in Newport. I thumbed the books on the shelves in the farmhouse and came across Golda Meir's autobiography. In my flea-bitten motel that night in Narragansett, I read about Golda's efforts to raise money to buy schoolbooks for her classmates. I knew I had my story. Her voice was so strong, I made the decision to use first person. 

What was the most difficult element to cut/change during the revision process and why? 

The most difficult element to change during the revision process with the editor was cutting Golda's sister and her father from the narrative. But that was okay, because my manuscript was way too long.

What nugget of craft advice has been especially helpful to you? 

Here is the nugget of craft advice that I've found especially helpful: You have to have the courage to admit what's not working in your manuscript. You don't really need other people to tell you. (You just hope no one else notices!)

Do you write in silence? If not, what’s your soundtrack? 

I do not write in silence. I tend to write with the television tuned into contemporary jazz - no words.

How did attending VCFA affect your writing life?

Attending VCFA affected my writing life in the following way: I came into the program as a lion and left with my tail wagging as a lamb. I didn't write for a full year after graduation. I continued to volunteer my services to the annual Jewish Children's Book Writers & Illustrators annual conference, though, and that kept me connected. Eventually, I began to write again--a complete revision of a historical novel I put under the bed before entering VCFA, which I'm shopping around at the moment.

Bkrasnerkhait p 210 exp

What advice would you give to a prospective VCFA student? 

The advice I would give to a prospective VCFA student is the following: Come in ready to roll up your sleeves and set your current works-in-progress aside. This is your time to experiment. I never for a moment thought my first children's book would be a picture book. But during my second semester, while my adviser read my novel-in-progress, that's what I wrote.

You can find out more about Barbara and her books at  or her blog  

Goldie Takes a Stand! Golda Meir's First Crusade was published by Kar-Ben, an imprint of Lerner Publishing Group. It's available now at a bookstore near you.

Topics: nonfiction, 2014 release, picture book, Lerner Publishing Group, Barbara Krasner, picture book biography, Kar-Ben

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