Deàk, Erzsi 1959-
DEÀK, Erzsi 1959-
Born February 23, 1959 in CA; married; children: three daughters.
Journalist, editor, and writer.
Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (member, board of advisors, and international coordinator).
(Editor, with Kristin Embry Litchman) Period Pieces: Stories for Girls, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2003.
Erzsi Deàk and Kristin Embry Litchman were inspired to compile Period Pieces: Stories for Girls one evening as they were clustered around a round table chatting with a group of women at a conference for the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. As they listened to the stories of landmark experiences, they realized that one of the most memorable landmarks in a woman's life is the arrival of her first period. This shift from girlhood to womanhood marks an often awkward, yet ultimately enriching transformation. According to co-editor Litchman in an online interview with Cynthia Leitich Smith for the Children's Literature Resources Web site, Deàk and Litchman looked at each other and exclaimed, "That would make a great book!" With the help of the Internet—Deàk lives in Paris, and Litchman lives in New Mexico—four years later, their anthology of twelve short stories was completed and published by HarperCollins. As Deàk told Smith: it was exciting to "see … our vision morph into the book it actually became."
Including narrations by contributors that include Johanna Hurwitz, Rita Williams-Garcia, and Jane Kurtz, Period Pieces recounts the unique circumstances surrounding first periods. The stories are both amusing and frank, as they describe the overwhelming mix of emotions, both good and bad, which surround this life-altering change. For some their first period is a time for joy and celebration as delighted mothers buy daughters gifts to celebrate the arrival of womanhood. However, for others this transition is another reminder of an absent mother's presence, and the occasion provokes confusion and sorrow. Barbara Auerbach, reviewing Period Pieces in School Library Journal, called the book "An honest, touching, sometimes hilarious collection." "Whether or not they have experienced the arrival of their first 'George,' 'Auntie,' or 'Dona Rosa,'" as Booklist reviewer Gillian Engberd euphemized, Period Pieces will, in the critic's view, be an aid to teen girls; the book's "funny and self-deprecating, frank and reassuring" stories "may encourage them to shed embarrassment and take ownership of their bodies."
Biographical and Critical Sources
Booklist, March 15, 2003, Gillian Engberd, review of Period Pieces: Stories for Girls, p. 1328.
Kirkus Reviews, December 15, 2002, review of Period Pieces, p. 1848.
Publishers Weekly, November 25, 2002, review of Period Pieces, p. 71.
School Library Journal, March, 2003, Barbara Auerbach, review of Period Pieces, p. 228.
Children's Literature Resources Web site, http://www.cynthialeitichsmith.com/ (February 5, 2004), interview with Deak.
Erzsi Deàk Home Page, http://www.erzsideak.com/ (February 5, 2004).