REST IN PEACE PAULA COHEN MARTIN…Your Memory and Books Will Live on.

Paula zl

The children’s writing world has lost another champion at the recent passing of Paula Cohen Martin. As sad as that is, it is sadder still that she died before she was able to bring her first picture book out into the world. Her stories and amazing illustrations will live on.

To honor her memory and help her book reach the population of the young children she loved, It is my honor to feature the book on today’s blog.

big dreams small fish

In the new country, Shirley and her family all have big dreams. Take the family store: Shirley has great ideas about how to make it more modern! Prettier! More profitable! She even thinks she can sell the one specialty no one seems to want to try: Mama’s homemade gefilte fish.

But her parents think she’s too young to help. And anyway they didn’t come to America for their little girl to work. “Go play with the cat!” they urge.

This doesn’t stop Shirley’s ideas, of course. And one day, when the rest of the family has to rush out leaving her in the store with sleepy Mrs. Gottlieb, Shirley seizes her chance!

BIG FISH, SMALL DREAMS is a love letter to the American Ashkenazi immigrant experience in the 20th century, no small part of which entailed girls finding their voices and their power in ways they had never before been able to do. Protagonist Shirley, with a good head on her shoulders, is one of those girls. Paula was eager to include Yiddish in her text and to make sure it was as authentic and historically accurate as her images. It is a delight to read and a wonderful way to remember her.

Here is a review from PUBLISHER’S WEEKLY:

 “This Yiddish-punctuated slice-of-life story, Cohen’s picture book debut, wears its nostalgia lightly; the narrator’s voice is as crisp as the illustrations’ black outlines. What really matters here is timeless: an indomitable protagonist and the loving family who dotes on her.” -Publishers Weekly

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8 thoughts on “REST IN PEACE PAULA COHEN MARTIN…Your Memory and Books Will Live on.

  1. Sweet Paula was in my critique group. She had received her advance book copies in the mail only two weeks earlier and was over the moon with excitement and pride (posted the unboxing video on her Facebook page). Believe it or not, by book aunch day on Tuesday the first printing has been totally sold out! We will so miss her.

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