With our measly presents,
our holey shoes,
our used-up clothes,
and our same old dinner
every Friday night–
matzo ball soup and boiled chicken,
I’ve been thinking
the day after Christmas,
when our new neighbors,
who have a lot of kids, too,
invite me to stay for dinner.
Their kids got no presents at all,
have no shoes on their feet,
and there’s nothing in their house to eat
except potatoes and bread
without any butter.
Copyright © 2012 Betsy Rosenthal. From the book Looking for Me in this great big family. HMH Books for Young Readers. Reprinted by permission of the author.
This poem comes from my book, Looking For Me in this great big family. The book is a novel in verse that looks at the life of my mother, Edith, who was one of 12 siblings growing up in depression-era Baltimore. I was just notified that the book has won the Children’s Literature Council Myra Cohn Livingston Award for 2013. It’s also a Junior Library Guild Selection and a Sydney Taylor Notable Book for Older Readers.
Before she began writing children’s books, Betsy Rosenthal was out there fighting the bad guys as a lawyer for the Anti-Defamation League. She left that career behind to raise her three children and concentrate on her writing. She is the author of three picture books: My House Is Singing, It’s Not Worth Making a Tzimmes Over!, and Which Shoes Would You Choose? and has poems included in two Phonics Through Poetry anthologies. Her fourth picture book, A String of Ponies, is due out in 2015. Looking For Me… in this great big family, her first novel, is a Junior Library Guild Selection, has been designated a Sydney Taylor Notable Book for Older Readers and is the winner of the 2013 Children’s Literature Council Myra Cohn Livingston Award for Poetry.
Ms. Rosenthal has also had many essays published in national and local newspapers and magazines, and is a writer for WriteWisdom, Inc., a memoir writing business. In addition to her writing, she has a business helping high school students with their college application essays.
She lives with her husband and kids in Los Angeles. Her extended family is spread out all over the country, but she has so many local relatives that she’s convinced she’s related to every other person in L.A.
To learn more about Ms. Rosenthal, you can visit her at: www.BetsyRosenthal.com.