Rosenthal, Betsy R. 1957–
Rosenthal, Betsy R. 1957–
Born April 28, 1957, in Baltimore, MD; married David M. Rosenthal (an entrepreneur) March 8, 1987; children: Adam, Sara, Joel. Education: University of Cali-
fornia, Berkeley, B.A. (with distinction), 1979; University of California, Los Angeles, J.D., 1984. Hobbies and other interests: Badminton, decorative furniture painting, reading, exercise, walking, traveling.
Attorney and writer. U.S. Department of Justice, trial attorney, 1984-85; Anti-Defamation League, Western States counsel, 1985-91; currently freelance writer.
California Bar Association, Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, Phi Beta Kappa, Gamma Phi Beta.
My House Is Singing, illustrated by Margaret Chodos-Irvine, Harcourt (Orlando, FL), 2004.
It's Not Worth Making a Tzimmes Over!, illustrated by Ruth Rivers, Albert Whitman (Morton Grove, IL), 2006.
Contributor of essays to numerous periodicals, including L.A. Times, Mothering, California Monthly, Santa Monica Outlook, Christian Science Monitor, SCWBI Bulletin, and Jewish Journal.
Betsy R. Rosenthal once worked as an attorney, but she left the practice of law to raise her children and return to something she had loved as a child: writing. Taking young children as her audience of choice, Rosenthal has produced several picture-book texts, and has had her work published in a number of well-known periodicals. Inspired by a real-life incident, she shares her Jewish culture in the multi-generational story It's Not Worth Making a Tzimmes Over!, which follows a girl and her grandmother as their efforts to bake a traditional challah for the Sabbath result in a monster loaf that balloons wildly out of control. In My House Is Singing, a collection of twenty-eight poems which are paired with artwork by Margaret Chocos-Irvine, Rosenthal describes a little girl's impression of the house that she calls home. Each poem captures a unique aspect of the house, from its overstuffed garage to the comfy rocking chair in the living room, all brought to life in Chodos-Irvine's large, colorful illustrations. "Little ones will delight in the accessible language and delicious personification of familiar things," remarked Gillian Engberg in a review of the work for Booklist. In the Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books a critic praised the work, noting that each of Rosenthal's "concise" verses contain "a quiet appreciation and wonderment that will prompt young audiences to reassess their own surroundings."
Rosenthal told SATA: "Ever since I learned to put words on a page, I've loved to write, mainly poetry, but also stories. Manipulating words, adding and subtracting them, and rearranging them gave me great pleasure. But since I always seemed to be game for a good argument and had the ability to argue persuasively, my parents labeled me as lawyer material and I ultimately followed that path. My favorite part of practicing law, however, was the research and writing, so after having children, I left the law work behind and returned to my first love—writing. So far, I've concentrated on writing children's books and personal essays for magazines, newspapers, and journals. Someday I hope to complete a novel or two.
"There are so many distractions to writing, like the birds chirping outside my window, the e-mail from my fourth cousin once removed, the leaning tower of laundry begging to be washed, and the unfiled papers threatening to take over the house, that I've found the greatest challenge to my writing career has been to keep my tush in the chair and let the stories flow.
"Hearing a reader say that my book is her very favorite makes all the revisions and rejections worthwhile, or at least less painful. However, I still have trouble keeping my butt glued to my desk chair."
Biographical and Critical Sources
Booklist, April 1, 2004, Gillian Engberg, review of My House Is Singing, p. 1367; March 15, 2006, Hazel Rochman, review of It's Not Worth Making a Tzimmes Over!, p. 53.
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, May, 2004, review of My House Is Singing.
Children's Bookwatch, May, 2006, Amy Lilien-Harper, review of It's Not Worth Making a Tzimmes Over!, p. 4.
Horn Book, March-April, 2004, Kitty Flynn, review of My House Is Singing, p. 195.
Kirkus Reviews, March 1, 2004, review of My House Is Singing, p. 228; March 1, 2006, review of It's Not Worth Making a Tzimmes Over!, p. 238.
School Library Journal, May, 2006, Amy Lilien-Harper, review of It's Not Worth Making a Tzimmes Over!, p. 103.
Jewish News Weekly of Northern California Online,http://www.jesishsf.com/ (June 2, 2006), Dan Pine, "Challah Fiasco Becomes Fodder for Kids' Book."