Posted by: Kathy Temean | December 9, 2022

Book Giveaway: THE PEDDLER’S GIFT by Maxine Rose Schur

Maxine Rose Schur has a new picture book, THE PEDDLER’S GIFT, illustrated by Kimberly Bulcken Root and published by Lawley Publishing. Maxine has agreed to share a copy of the book to one lucky winner. All you have to do to get in the running is leave a comment. Reblog, tweet, or talk about it on Facebook with a link and you will get additional chances to win. Just let me know the other things you do to share the good news, so I can put in the right amount of tickets in my basket for you.

Sharing on Facebook, Twitter, reblogging really helps spread the word for a new book. Thanks for helping Maxine and Kimberly!

If you have signed up to follow my blog and it is delivered to you everyday, please let me know when you leave a comment and I will give you an extra ticket. Thanks!


When Shnook the peddler arrives in the sleepy town of Korovenko, young Leibush runs to meet him. Every peddler brings merriment to the village, but simple Shnook brings more laughs than any of them.

On this visit Shnook’s wares include beautiful, hand-carved dreidels. Leibush can’t take his eyes off them! When Leibush notices one mistakenly left behind, he makes excuses for keeping the dreidel. It isn’t until Leibush makes amends that he learns the peddler’s simple ways might just be a cover for a wealth of wisdom and forgiveness. And when Hanukkah comes, Shnook leaves Leibush a gift to last a lifetime.


When I was five I caught rheumatic fever, a disease that left me unable to walk for a year. As I was contagious, I couldn’t have playmates and anyone who came to our home, including my home teacher, had to wear a mask. This was the early 1950s. Our family had no television yet but with the help of my kind home teacher, I quickly learned to read.

I was happy for I didn’t feel at all deprived. Quite the contrary! Once I learned my alphabet I had the key to the world. I devoured books—first the Dick and Jane readers, then the funny pages of the newspaper and soon I was precociously reading the original Alice in Wonderland with the haunting JohnTenniel illustrations, Heidi and many other storybooks.

Decades later, as an adult I read an intriguing fact: “A great number of children’s book authors have had rheumatic fever in childhood.” Though I knew this meant mostly 19th century authors since cases of rheumatic fever have been very rare since the 1960s, the sentence confirmed what a blessing my illness was. Confined to my bed and with a great deal of daily solitude, my imagination could take flight. Surrounded by hills of books, I had the world to explore and just as important, I learned to use my imagination to entertain myself.

When I grew up I yearned to make my own books that would bring alive for others the pretend people in my mind.

As a high school student I fell in love with drama because it was a way I could actually be an imagined character. I majored in theatre arts in college and later when I lived in Wellington, New Zealand, I realized my dream by becoming a professional television and stage actress. When my first son was born I realized that acting in a repertory company was not practical for a new mom and I turned my passion back to writing.

I most wanted to write about an extraordinary year and a half trip around the world my husband and I had taken. With little money but great daring, we traveled in Latin America, Europe and across Asia to Australia where at last we boarded an immigrant ship to New Zealand. Along this great journey, we had memorable experiences and exciting adventures in countries I had known little or nothing about such as Guatemala, Turkey Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India.

I began writing of my adventures living with a fisherman and his family in a small village in southern Turkey. I wrote of their way of life, their culture and what they most cared about. To my surprise, my stories were published in small books by the New Zealand Department of Education and to my delight, they were illustrated by one of England’s most renowned children’s book illustrators, Victor Ambrus. When I saw that my tentative attempts at writing were successful I was on fire! I wrote more stories for children, several about my childhood in San Francisco, all the while I was taking a writing class and reading loads of children’s books.  In New Zealand  my first two picture books were published and I became the children’s book reviewer for the “New Zealand Listener and “Australia-New Zealand Bookworld.” Reviewing was a wonderful job for me because I was privileged to interview not only the great New Zealand children’s book author, Margaret Mahy, but also Dr. Seuss.

Returning to the U.S. in 1977 I took a dream job with Addison-Wesley Publishing Company. They hired me on a two-year contract as a full time children’s writer! I had no idea such a dream job existed. I wrote original stories, articles and poems for a 6th grade language arts reader. Each day I couldn’t wait to get to work. Because we had to work to deadlines I learned to not wait for inspiration but to just write. And, because we often had word lists to adhere to, I learned to edit my work to distill a story’s essence. I learned so much at this job from the other super-creative writers and they’ve become my friends to this day.

When the contract ended, I began to write more for educational publishers and with one of my colleagues from Addison-Wesley we founded a children’s educational software company to create fun games for Tomy Toys and to consult on games for Activision, Atari and the Children’s Television Workshop. It was an exciting time.

But soon I turned my attention to writing more books for young people. I wrote the biography of WWII resistance fighter and poet, Hannah Szenes and later I was greatly encouraged by Phyllis Fogelman, the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Dial Books for Young Readers (Penguin/Random House). She was so supportive of my writing that she bought five of my books before they were even completed.

Today, more than twenty books later, I’m still in love with writing. However I don’t know where I get my inspiration. Many of my books seemed to just emerge via a sentence that comes to me from I don’t know where. This is what happened with my book When I Left my Village. Yet sometimes  I do know. For example, one night as I was falling asleep I had a vision of elegant hares in top hats and tails like Fred Astaire going up a flight of stairs. That vision became my alphabet book,  Pigs Dancing Jigs and the letter H—you guessed it— is Hares Climbing Stairs.

I love to write very silly stories with broad humor such as Gullible Gus—an outlandish trio of tall tales or There’s a Babirusa in my Bathtub! goofy, funny poems about little-known animals. But I also write serious, even tragic stories such as my biography of Hannah Szenes or Sacred Shadows, my YA novel loosely based on my mother’s experiences growing up in Poland and that deals with the virulent anti-Semitism there before WWII.

Writing can be scary because when you first have an idea, you are never quite sure you can bring it to fruition. I teach a workshop on writing children’s books and I know from my students how frustrating this can be. Another frustrating aspect of course is publishing. It’s difficult to get published by the big monolithic publishers these days as you need an agent to get your work seen and getting an agent is not easy. I’ve learned over the decades to never give up on getting published. I’ve had one manuscript rejected 60 times and then five year later, on one day I got three acceptances for it! Gullible Gus was named a Junior Library Guild Selection but it took me 25 years to get it published.

Other books have taken me 5, 10, even 15 years and then when they were at last published, they went on to win awards. When I interviewed Dr. Seuss he told me his first book was rejected 27 times. The secret I tell my students is to never give up. If you believe in your story, revise it the best you can and keep submitting it. Above all, remember what a dear writer friend of mine once told me: “The joy is in the writing.”  This is so true because the process of writing clarifies for you what you are thinking, what you love and who you are. While you write, the troubles of the world drop away and you plunge headlong into the world only you can create.

What a gift writing is!


Maxine Rose Schur is a children’s book author and travel essayist. She is the author of the middle grade novel, The Circlemaker which Publisher’s Weekly said “maintains edge-of-the -seat tension until the very last page.” Her books have won numerous awards. Her tall tale book, Gullible Gus, is a rollicking tall tale which was named a Junior Library Guild selection.

Maxine is also the author of the award-winning travel memoir, Places in Time, a collection of evocative essays that recount her adventurous journey around the world.

Maxine’s most recent books are Marielle in Paris, a picture book about a brave fashion designer mouse, the suspenseful middle grade novel, The Word Dancer, which celebrates the beauty and power of words, and Brave with Beauty, a picture book about the remarkable 14th century Timurid Queen Goharshad and her extraordinary courage in promoting the arts from her throne in Herat, Afghanistan

In her workshops, Maxine Rose Schur teaches a one-week intensive, individualized children’s book writing workshop in Paris and also teaches writing the juvenile novel at the San Francisco Writing Salon.


Kimberly Bulcken Root is an award-winning illustrator of children’s books. Kimberly is a graduate of Parsons School of Design. She made her picture book debut with A Bed for the Wind. Her illustrations have appeared in The Nation, Forbes, and The Wall Street Journal. She and her husband, the illustrator Barry Root, live in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

She has illustrated over thirty books for children, including:

Birdie’s Lighthouse; Hugh Can Do; When the Whippoorwill Calls; The Toll-bridge Troll; Granny, Will Your Dog Bite and Other Mountain Rhymes; Boots and His Brothers: A Norwegian Tale; If I’d Known Then What I Know Now; The Year of the Ranch; Birdie’s Lighthouse; Junk Pile!; Bronco Busters; The Storytelling Princess; The Birds of Killingworth; Maxx Airborne and the Legends of Rucker Park; and Dadblamed Union Army Cow, to name a few.

She and her husband, illustrator Barry Root, live with their children in Quarryfield, Pennsylvania.

Maxine, thank you for sharing your book and journey with us. There is so to love about this story. A reader does not have to be Jewish to enjoy this Hanukkah story, since the themes are universal to all of mankind. Children will recognize that Leibush pocketing a dreidel accidental left behind by the peddler is not right and will be happy when Leibush conscience is troubled by taking the dreidel and sets out to return it. I love that the stolen dreidel eventually becomes a Hanukkah gift. Kimberly’s illustrations are gorgeous. Absolutely, perfect for this book. Good luck with the book.

Talk tomorrow,



  1. Love love love your stories and your journey.


  2. <

    div dir=”ltr”>The book sounds adorab


  3. You’re journey is amazing! So true about authors of earlier days…Robert Louis Stevenson comes to mind and I am so fond of his work! I just have to share with you, I was meant to read your story this morning as I have been having health issues myself which have forced me to be bed ridden. Unhappy of course. Your post has given me inspiration this morning and I want to thank you for that! I love your story here along with the others you’ve written. Marelle in Paris also sounds so adorable! I wish you much success in your warrior journey!


  4. “Once I learned my alphabet I had the key to the world.”~ M.R.Schnur Oh how those words resonated with me, and how the illustrations drew me in and warmed my heart. Beautiful story!


  5. Loved hearing about your writing journey ❤️ Congratulations on the new book.


  6. Thanks, Maxine, for sharing your personal, inspiring story.


  7. Lovely! The story just pulls me in and the illustrations really set the stage! Congratulations, Kimberly and Maxine!

    I follow by email and tweeted this post.


  8. So glad I read your AMAZING Journey. This was the advice I needed to here. As a Jewish writer I love reading books about small village life in Europe. Love the Peddlers Name. Will repost on FB and Twitter.


  9. What a lovely looking story with gorgeous illustrations! Congrats, Kimberly and Maxine! Thanks for sharing the writing journey.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


%d bloggers like this: