Monday, February 1, 2021

THE STORY BEHIND THE STORY of My Monsterpiece by Amalia Hoffman

 TITLE: My Monsterpiece

AUTHOR: Amalia Hoffman

ILLUSTRATOR: Amalia Hoffman

PUBLISHER: Yeehoo Press 

One way that we writers can dig up fresh ideas for children’s books is to actually revisit our own childhood. Our birthdays, family trips, siblings, first teacher, dreams and disappointments, are all wonderful sources— filed up with chockfull of premises.

Apparently, I was a very temperamental child. When I got angry with my mom and dad, I used to punish them by tearing the greeting cards I created for their birthdays and anniversaries.  Years later, when I visited my parents who lived in Jerusalem, I found an envelope with all the bits of torn art that my father saved. When I created My Monsterpiece, I showed the kid’s frustration by creating one spread that features the kid’s torn monsters.

I remember that when I was about 8, I entered a contest, sponsored by a children’s magazine, to draw a scary witch. Apparently, just like the kid in my book, my artwork didn’t scare anyone and I didn’t win.

In My Monsterpiece, I drew on my personal memories not only for writing the story but also for illustrating it. I wanted to create illustrations that really looked and felt as if a child created them. In order to do that, I again revisited my childhood. What were my favorite art supplies? How did I use colors?

Many of the illustrations were actually painted not with a brush, but by smearing paint with my fingers, as I did when I was 5 years old.

So dig up those old photo albums and you’ll find many ideas for your next children’s book!

Amalia Hoffman is an author, illustrator and storyteller.

Her picture book, The Brave Cyclist: The True Story of a Holocaust Hero (Capstone Publishing, 2019, illustrated by Chiara Fedele) is a Junior Library Guild Gold Selection book. 

All Colors (Schiffer Publishing, 2019) made the list of best board books, 2019, chosen by School Library Journal.

Dreidel Day (Lerner Publishing Group, 2018) is a PJ Library book and received the PJ Library Author Incentive Award.

She is also the author/illustrator of Astro Pea (Schiffer Publishing, 2019.)

Her picture book, My Monsterpiece is coming up from Yeehoo Press, March, 2021.

Hanukkah Nights (Lerner Publishing Group, 2022) received the first PJ Library Incentive Award for an author and illustrator.

Masha Munching is coming up from Yeehoo Press in spring 2021.

Queen Esther and I was published in Highlights Magazine for Children (March, 2016.)

Amalia designed and illustrated an oversized book with pop-up elements for the production of Rose Bud at Israel’s children’s theater, The Train.

Other books include The Klezmer Bunch and Purim Goodies (Gefen Publishing House, 2007 and 2009.) 

Amalia is a participating artist at ArtsWestchester, a cultural organization that pairs artists and writers with schools and community centers.

She holds a Masters degree in art and art education from New York University and a Bachelor of Fine Arts with honor from Pratt Institute.

Visit Amalia at and at

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