Rosenfeld, Dina 1962-
ROSENFELD, Dina 1962-
PERSONAL: Born November 6, 1962, in Pittsburgh, PA; daughter of Emil W. (a lawyer) and Rita (a teacher; maiden name, Perelman) Herman; married Shimon Rosenfeld (a lawyer), March 13, 1983; children: Eliyohu, Frumi, Dovid, Malka, Yosef, Mendel, Zalman. Education: Attended Beth Rivka Teachers' Seminary, 1979-81; attended Chatham College for Women, 1981-83. Religion: Jewish.
ADDRESSES: Home—555 Crown St., No. 2a, Brooklyn, NY 11213.
CAREER: Yeshiva Achei Tmimim, Pittsburgh, PA, preschool teacher, 1981-83; Beth Rivka Academy, Brooklyn, NY, preschool teacher, 1983-84; freelance writer and editor, 1984—.
The Very Best Place for a Penny, Merkos (Brooklyn, NY), 1984.
A Tree Full of Mitzvos, Merkos (Brooklyn, NY), 1985.
Tiny Treasures, Merkos (Brooklyn, NY), 1988.
A Chanukah Story for Night Number Three, Hachai (Brooklyn, NY), 1989.
All about Us, Hachai (Brooklyn, NY), 1989.
A Little Boy Named Avram, Hachai (Brooklyn, NY), 1989.
(Editor) Chana Sharfstein, The Little Leaf, Hachai (Brooklyn, NY), 1989.
Labels for Laibel, Hachai (Brooklyn, NY), 1990.
Kind Little Rivka, Hachai (Brooklyn, NY), 1991.
Hot on the Trail, Hachai (Brooklyn, NY), 1991.
Why the Moon Only Glows, Hachai (Brooklyn, NY), 1992.
Peanut Butter and Jelly for Shabbos, Hachai (Brooklyn, NY), 1995.
David the Little Shepherd, Hachai (Brooklyn, NY), 1996.
The Very Best Book, Hachai (Brooklyn, NY), 1997.
On the Ball, Hachai (Brooklyn, NY), 1998.
(Editor) Rikki Benenfeld, I Go to School, Hachai (Brooklyn, NY), 1998.
A Little Girl Named Miriam, Hachai (Brooklyn, NY), 2001.
(Editor) Ellen Emerman, Is It Shabbos Yet?, Hachai (Brooklyn, NY), 2001.
Get Well Soon, Hachai (Brooklyn, NY), 2001.
Where Does Food Come From?, Hachai (Brooklyn, NY), 2002.
Some of Rosenfeld's books have been translated into Russian, Portuguese, Italian, and German.
WORK IN PROGRESS: Avi's List: A Journal of Discovery about Smoking, a novel for middle school readers designed to educate them about the dangers of smoking.
SIDELIGHTS: Dina Rosenfeld once commented: "My books were born of necessity. As a preschool teacher in a Hebrew day school, I simply could not find age-appropriate materials for my three- to four-year-old students. The children loved stories from the Torah (the five books of Moses), with details from Jewish commentaries. However, so many more aspects of Jewish life, moral values, and holiday and Shabbat celebrations needed to be addressed.
"In Jewish philosophy, there's an important concept of elevating all objects to a higher level by performing mitzvos, good deeds, with them. Translating this to the level of a three-year-old, I wrote a book about a little penny that couldn't find the right place to live until he finally found happiness inside a charity box (The Very Best Place for a Penny).
"Again, using preschool curriculum as my guide, I wrote a book about parts of the body called All about Us. The Jewish twist is that each body part can be used to perform a mitzvah; for example, hands can be used to light candles for Shabbat, feet can run to the synagogue, a mouth is for smiling at a friend. The lack of quality literature in the traditional Jewish market continued to be my main motivation for writing these books. Instead of producing each to look or sound similar, I tried to fill the need for variety by working with different artists, different sizes and formats, and working in both poetry and prose.
"In the rhyming adventure of Labels for Laibel, the all-important topic of sharing is addressed with humor. When two brothers decide not to share anything, they learn that the world can only exist when people give freely to each other. In their next adventure, the two brothers go out of their way to do favors for a whole series of people they meet on a very hot, uncomfortable day (Hot on the Trail). Although the characters are Jewish, the values in these books are truly universal. The children in them are not perfect little people, but face the challenge of making moral choices.
"In a totally different series, "The Little Greats," I chose tales from Biblical times about great characters like Abraham, Rebecca, Miriam, and King David when they were small children. The intention was to enhance self-esteem in preschoolers, showing that they don't have to wait to grow up to make a difference. Even at a tender age, these great heroes and heroines of the Bible exhibited devotion, kindness, courage, and caring.
"When my oldest son was born, I left teaching and wrote at home. When he got old enough, I used him as my test audience. Now, he helps me use our new computer. He and his younger brothers and sisters continue to be my toughest critics. None of this would have happened without the blessings of the Lubavitcher Rebbe and the constant encouragement of my parents and my husband—as well as the very insightful editing of my mother. She first introduced me to classic children's literature and delights in the opportunity to combine artistic and literary quality with important Jewish content.
"It is gratifying that my books have recently been translated into Russian, Portuguese, Italian, and even German for children around the world to benefit from and enjoy. After all, a trip to the synagogue is once a week. A holiday celebration is once a year. But with an engaging Jewish book, a young child can learn to love and live Judaism every day at story time."