Book born on Facebook is perfect Chanukah, Christmas gift
Kandi M. Siegel was scrolling along on her Facebook page when she noticed a post from her longtime friend and fellow educator, Maxine Lauer, who had retired from Suntree Elementary School and had started her own business, Chips Galore Cookies and More.
“Bubby the Baker!” posted a mutual friend, Susan Rothenberg, using the Yiddish word for grandmother, which also describes Lauer.
“That's a perfect title for a book and I want to write it. Mind if I use it?” Siegel posted, to an enthusiastic yes response. Thus was born Siegel's seventh book, targeted to preschoolers and first graders about Lauer and a bakery storefront from Siegel's imagination, detailing all the decorative treats and having word fun with each name.
Fans of Siegel's books and Lauer's treats can enjoy both at the Chanukah Bazaar from 9 a.m. to noon Sunday, Dec. 4 at Temple Israel in Viera. The event is open to all faiths and is a popular shopping destination for religious items reflected in the Bible's Old Testament, known in the Jewish faith simply as the Holy Scriptures.
It is the place where Siegel and Lauer coincidentally worship. Siegel was recently lauded there as a children's author, with beloved Rabbi Patricia Hickman reading aloud from Bubby's pages.
“I have never felt so honored in my life,” Siegel said.
If the book was born on Facebook, it was raised at Starbucks, on U.S. 1 south of Suntree, Siegel's favorite place in the world to write while she sips. She met up with a third Facebook friend, Quest Elementary School art teacher Karen Monahan, who learned of the book project on the shared comment thread and wanted to be the illustrator, to which Siegel quickly agreed.
“She was my children's art teacher when they went to Suntree Elementary and our children grew up together,” Siegel said.
Siegel graduated from the University of Central Florida with a degree in Elementary Education and was a special needs teacher until 2008 when she was sidelined by an injury.
“I loved that job more than life itself,” Siegel said. She then turned to her other love, writing.
Her book, "My Summer Triumph," about her experience being bullied at age 12 while away at summer camp, won a recent BRAG Medallion Award. Geared to pre-teens and teens, it tells of how with the help of another camper, she endured to inspire others. She is currently working on her next project, a chapter book called “Befriending Lonnie.”
Siegel's next book signing will be from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 28 at the Suntree/Viera Library, 902 Jordan Blass Drive in Suntree.
For more information on Siegel, go to kandimsiegel.com.