Sandy Eisenberg Sasso – The Writer
In the 1980s, while surveying children’s religious literature to find good books for her own children and for the students she taught, she was disappointed. No one was taking children’s innate spirituality seriously. In fact, most of what was written was limiting their imagination. So, she began writing about God and spirituality in ways that would both engage children and allow the ideas presented to grow with them. She was more interested in the questions and the conversation, than the answers. In 1992, her first children’s book, God’s Paintbrush, was published. It was an immediate success, selling over 100,000 copies. Many consider it a classic.
Subsequent children’s books have also received national acclaim. Publisher’s Weekly selected two of her books, But God Remembered and Noah’s Wife; The Story of Na’amah, as Best Books of the Year. Abuelita’s Secret Matzahs is the winner of the 2005 Sugarman Family Children’s Book Award and the 2006 Best Books of Indiana Award. Rabbi Sasso is the 2004 recipient of the Helen Keating Ott Award for Outstanding Contribution to Children’s Literature. And her latest children’s book—The Shemah in the Mezuzah—won the 2012 National Jewish Book Award for Best Illustrated Children’s Book.
Rabbi Sasso has also been a successful writer for adults. “It is my belief that difficult and complex ideas must be accessible to all, if we are to have an intelligent conversation about faith, meaning and purpose. What is required is not a simplification of ideas, but a simplification of language.” Sasso’s writings for adults appear in numerous collections and in her book Midrash – Reading the Bible with Question Marks. She reminds us; “I believe that opposites are best when matched, lover and power, justice and compassion, faith and doubt, seriousness and play. The Sacred is the “and” that brings those opposites into one harmonious whole.”