Friedman, D. Dina 1957-
Friedman, D. Dina 1957-
Born June 13, 1957, in Takoma Park, MD; daughter of Stanley (a writer and television producer) and Susan (a professor of mathematics) Friedman; married Shel
Horowitz (a writer and marketing consultant), October 9, 1983; children: Alana, Rafael. Education: Cornell University, A.B. (English), 1978; University of Connecticut, M.S.W., 1985. Religion: Jewish. Hobbies and other interests: Reading, political activism, hiking, gardening, cross-country skiing, music, performing arts events.
Home and office—P.O. Box 1164, Northampton, MA 01061. Office—Isenberg School of Management, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA 01003. E-mail—[email protected]
Educator and author. Accurate Writing and More, Hadley, MA, writing coach and marketing consultant. Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, MA, workshop coordinator in speaking, arguing, and writing program, 1997-2002; University of Massachusetts—Amherst, lecturer in School of Management, 2000—.
Voice of Youth Advocates Top-Shelf Fiction selection, 2006, and New York Public Library Best Books for the Teen Age selection, Association of Jewish Libraries No- table Book for Older Readers citation, American Library Association Best Books for Young Adults nominee, and Children's Book Council/National Council for the Social Studies Best Trade Book designation, all 2007, all for Escaping into the Night; Best Children's Book of the Year designation, Bank Street College of Education, 2007, for Playing Dad's Song.
Escaping into the Night (young-adult novel), Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2006.
Playing Dad's Song (middle-grade novel), Farrar, Straus (New York, NY), 2006.
D. Dina Friedman always knew that writing was her calling. "I've wanted to be a writer since I was eight, and before writing my novels, I wrote many poems and short stories," she noted on her home page. Her novels for young readers—Escaping into the Night is a work of historical fiction for young adults while Playing Dad's Song is geared for middle-grade readers—feature teens discovering their own identity, and learning what their Jewish heritage means to them.
Escaping into the Night is based on the actual historical events around a little-known Holocaust story. Fleeing the Warsaw ghetto, Halina travels to hidden ziemlankas—underground caves where a community of Jews are hiding. "Friedman realistically captures the terror of the situation, but, refreshingly, also depicts Halina experiencing her first kiss," noted a Publishers Weekly contributor. According to Hazel Rochman in Booklist, "Friedman never idealizes the refugees or their rescuers," instead presenting the moral dilemmas Halina and her friends go through in order to survive. "In Halina, Friedman has created a reluctant heroine who is also a believable adolescent," wrote Renee Steinberg in her School Library Journal review of Escaping into the Night, while a Kirkus Reviews contributor concluded that "Halina's experience demonstrates maturity and a resignation that life is worth living at any price."
Friedman grew up in New York City, the setting of Playing Dad's Song. Gus Moskowitz wishes he could change the past: make September 11th never happen, which means that his dad would still be alive. Mourning his father's death and jealous of his talented older sister, Gus struggles emotionally until he begins taking oboe lessons from a Holocaust survivor. Their relationship inspires Gus with the means by which he can honor his father in his own way. As a Kirkus Reviews contributor noted of the conclusion, "as Gus looks at the empty skyline, it's no longer a hole but a new beginning." "The honest personal drama brings the grief and loss of the terrorist attack home to the reader," wrote Rochman in a review of Playing Dad's Song.
Along with her writing, Friedman is involved in anti-poverty work, land-protection issues, and anti-war campaigns. "While writing is one of the central things in my life, equally important is working for a better world," she wrote on her home page. She also offered the following advice to young writers: "In my experience, the hardest thing about writing is to keep going and believe in yourself."
Biographical and Critical Sources
Booklist, January 1, 2006, Hazel Rochman, review of Escaping into the Night, p. 83; November 15, 2006, Hazel Rochman, review of Playing Dad's Song, p. 47.
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, February, 2006, Loretta Gaffney, review of Escaping into the Night, p. 263.
Kirkus Reviews, January 15, 2006, review of Escaping into the Night, p. 84; August 15, 2006, review of Playing Dad's Song, p. 840.
Publishers Weekly, February 13, 2006, review of Escaping into the Night, p. 90.
School Library Journal, March, 2006, Renee Steinberg, review of Escaping into the Night, p. 222; September, 2006, Miriam Lang Budin, review of Playing Dad's Song, p. 204.
Voice of Youth Advocates, April, 2006, Eileen Kuhl, review of Escaping into the Night, p. 42.
Children's Literature Network Web site,http://www.childrensliteraturenetwork.org/ (April 28, 2007), "D. Dina Friedman."
D. Dina Friedman Home Page,http://www.ddinafriedman.com (April 28, 2007).