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About Yona Zeldis McDonough
She is also an award-winning children's book author with 26 children's books to her credit. THE DOLL SHOP DOWNSTAIRS received a starred review from Jewish Book World saying that it "will become a classic." In another starred review Kirkus called the sequel, THE CATS IN THE DOLL SHOP, "a quiet treasure." THE DOLL WITH THE YELLOW STAR won the 2006 Once Upon a World Award presented by the Simon Wiesenthal Center. Yona has also written several books in the popular WHO WAS series, including WHO WAS HARRIET TUBMAN? which has sold over 400,000 copies and is the most popular title in the series. Her newest book for children, THE BICYCLE SPY, will be out from Scholastic in September 2016. Set in war-torn France, it tells the story of a brave boy who helps save a Jewish friend by riding his bicycle and delivering messages to Resistance members.
For over a dozen years, Yona has been the Fiction Editor at Lilith Magazine. She works independently to help aspiring writers polish their manuscripts. To arrange a book club visit, inquire about editorial services or just to say hi, please contact Yona via her website: www.yonazeldismcdonough.com or on the Facebook fan pages for her novels, which she hopes you'll "like."
When I was young, I didn't think about becoming a writer. In fact, I was determined to become a ballerina, because I studied ballet for many years, and by the time I was in high school, I was taking seven ballet classes a week. But I was always a big reader. I grew up in Brooklyn, New York, and I used to frequent all the different libraries in my neighborhood on a regular basis. I would look for books by authors I loved. I read my favorite books--ANNE OF GREEN GABLES, A LITTLE PRINCESS, A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN--over and over again. I probably read each of those books twenty times in all. I read lots of other things too: I loved comic books and magazines, like Mad and Seventeen. But when you are reader, you just need to read. Sometimes you read books that change your life, like OF MICE AND MEN, which I read--and adored-- when I was in sixth grade. Other times, you read the latest adventures of Betty and Veronica. You'll read a three-day old newspaper some days or the back of the cereal box if that's all that there is available, because readers just need to read. So I kept reading, and I kept dancing too, though by the time I was a senior in high school, it was pretty clear to me that I was neither talented nor driven enough to become a professional ballet dancer and I stopped taking lessons and went off to college instead.
As a student at Vassar College, I never once took a writing course. I was not accepted into the poetry workshop I applied to, so I avoided all other writing classes, and instead focused on literature, language and art history, which was my declared major. I was so taken with the field that I decided to pursue my studies on a graduate level. I enrolled in a PhD program at Columbia University where I have to confess that I was miserable. I didn't like the teachers, the students or the classes. I found graduate school the antithesis of undergraduate education; while the latter encouraged experimentation, growth, expansion, the former seemed to demand a kind of narrowing of focus and a rigidity that was simply at odds with my soul. It was like business school without the reward of a well-paying job at the end. Everyone carried a briefcase. I too bought a briefcase, but since I mostly used it to tote my lunch and the NYT crossword puzzle, it didn't do much for my success as a grad student. But I have to thank the program at Columbia for being so very inhospitable, because it helped nudge me out of academia, where I so patently did not belong, and into a different kind of life. I was allowed to take classes in other departments, and by now I was recovered from my earlier rejection so I decided to take a fiction writing class--also, the class was open to anyone; I didn't have to submit work to be accepted. This class was my 'aha!' moment. The light bulb went off for me when I took that class. Suddenly, I understood what I wanted to do with my life. Now I just had to find a way to make a living while I did it.
I finished out the year at Columbia, got a job in which I had no interest whatsoever, and began to look for any kind of freelance writing that I could find. In the beginning, I wrote for very little money or even for free: I wrote for neighborhood newspapers, the alumni magazine of my college. I wrote brochures, book reviews, newsletters--anything and everything that anyone would ask me to write. I did this for a long time and eventually, it worked. I was able to be a little choosier about what I wrote, and for whom I wrote it. And I was able to use my clips to persuade editors to actually assign me articles and stories, instead of my having to write them and hope I could get then published. But all the while I was also writing the kind of fiction--short stories, a novel--that had interested me when I was still a student at Columbia. And eventually I began to publish this work too.
I presently live in Brooklyn, NY with my husband and our two children and two small, yappy dogs. I have been setting my recent novels in my own backyard so to speak; Brooklyn has been fertile ground in all sorts of ways.
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Then Marcel learns two big secrets, and he realizes there are worse things about the war than a canceled race. When he later discovers that his friend's entire family is in imminent danger, Marcel knows he can help -- but it will involve taking a risky bicycle ride to pass along covert information. And when nothing ends up going according to plan, it's up to him to keep pedaling and think quickly... because his friend, her family, and his own future hang in the balance.
Oscar Kornblatt has been a first violinist with the New York City Ballet for so many years that he scarcely notices the throngs of eager young dancers who fill the ranks of the corps de ballet. But Ginny Valentine catches his eye, and when he comes to know her he becomes utterly enchanted by her. One night when Ruth, his quietly independent wife, is away, he brings Ginny back to his Upper West Side apartment and the two become lovers.
While the affair doesn’t last, Oscar’s attachment to Ginny continues to flourish. He invites her to join his family for Thanksgiving dinner, where she meets and falls in love with Oscar’s eldest son, Gabriel, home from San Francisco for the holiday. Gabriel, married to a beautiful, highly unstable woman, finds himself falling under Ginny’s spell. As the bonds of the family begin to erode, Ruth takes drastic and shocking measures to salvage what is most precious to her: her baby granddaughter, Isobel.
Set against the glamorous, exciting world of the New York City Ballet, The Four Temperaments explores the ways in which love and marriage are tested. Through its unforgettable cast of characters, this novel reveals how the demands of the flesh can suddenly, almost inexplicably, turn lives upside down. With the assurance and virtuosity of a seasoned storyteller, Yona Zeldis McDonough presents the powerfully sexy story of two adulterous affairs and imbues them with an irresistible emotional undercurrent.
Many girls in elementary and middle school fall in love with the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. What they don't always realize is that Wilder's books are autobiographical. This narrative biography describes more of the details of the young Laura's real life as a young pioneer homesteading with her family on many adventurous journeys. This biography, complete with charming illustrations, points out the differences between the fictional series as well as the many similarities.Yona Zeldis McDonough's Little Author in the Big Woods is a fascinating story of a much-celebrated writer.
After suffering a sudden, traumatic loss, historical novelist Susannah Gilmore decides to uproot her life—and the lives of her two children—and leave their beloved Brooklyn for the little town of Eastwood, New Hampshire.
While the trio adjusts to their new surroundings, Susannah is captivated by an unexpected find in her late parents’ home: an unsigned love note addressed to her mother, in handwriting that is most definitely not her father’s.
Reeling from the thought that she never really knew her mother, Susannah finds mysteries everywhere she looks: in her daughter’s friendship with an older neighbor, in a charismatic local man to whom she’s powerfully drawn, and in an eighteenth century crime she’s researching for her next book. Compelled to dig into her mother’s past, Susannah discovers even more secrets, ones that surpass any fiction she could ever put to paper...
Thirty-five-year-old Miranda is not an impulsive person. She’s been at Domestic Goddess magazine for eight years, she has great friends, and she’s finally moving on after a breakup. Having a baby isn’t even on her radar—until the day she discovers an abandoned newborn on the platform of a Brooklyn subway station. Rushing the little girl to the closest police station, Miranda hopes and prays she’ll be all right and that a loving family will step forward to take her.
Yet Miranda can’t seem to get the baby off her mind and keeps coming up with excuses to go check on her, until finally a family court judge asks whether she’d like to be the baby’s foster parent—maybe even adopt her. To her own surprise, Miranda jumps at the chance. But nothing could have prepared her for the ecstasy of new-mother love—or the heartbreak she faces when the baby’s father surfaces....
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“Well-written characters and fascinating plot twists will appeal to book groups and fans of women’s fiction.”—Library Journal
“McDonough does a fabulous job showing that being blind-sided isn’t always a bad thing. Sometimes, even the best surprises come out of it. Every facet of the book is compelling, but readers might particularly enjoy the dynamics between the heroine and the two male protagonists. The story’s effortless fluidity will have readers questioning how this inspired-by-real-events premise unfolds.”—Romantic Times
"With a deft, sure touch, Yona Zeldis McDonough explores the ways families are formed and how love can take you by surprise. An absorbing and soul-stirring novel."—Christina Baker Kline, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Orphan Train
"Abounding with warmth and charm, You Were Meant for Me, is a profoundly moving novel which explores the intensity of love and the fallout of heartbreak. It will capture your attention from the very first page and never let go."—Emily Liebert, author of When We Fall
A tender story about the power of love in the face of loss
Nine-year-old Claudine doesn't want to leave her much-loved home in France to go live in America, not without her parents. But she knows about the shortages, about the yellow stars Jews must wear, and about Adolf Hitler. And she knows that there are some things she needs to do even when she doesn't want to. It's wartime, and there is much that is different now. There are more things that Claudine will lose to this terrible war. But not everything that is lost must be lost forever. Here is a moving story about lost and found lives, and the healing power of love.
Gretchen, Angelica’s sister, is dealing with a failed marriage and her moody teenage daughter Justine. One brother is a callous businessman while the other is struggling with his search for love and a career. Her mother is in a battle of wills with the wedding planner, while her father, a recovering alcoholic, struggles to confront his ex-wife’s lavish new life in the Long Island manor of her dreams. And her grandmother Lenore has decided it’s high time to take charge and set her grandchildren on their proper paths.
Then an impulsive act by Justine puts the entire wedding at risk and brings the simmering family tensions to the boiling point. Before vows are exchanged, this day will change more than one life forever…
From her troubled family beginnings to the infamous $13 million auction held at Christie's in New York City, All the Available Light paints an unforgettable portrait of Marilyn as you've never seen her before.
This extremely rare cover photo was taken c. 1954, on the set of The Seven Year Itch.
To some she's a collectible, to others she's trash. In The Barbie Chronicles, twenty-three writers join together to scrutinize Barbie's forty years of hateful, lovely disastrous, glorious influence on us all. No other tiny shoulders have ever, had to carry the weight of such affection and derision and no other book has ever paid this notorious little place of plastic her due. Whether you adore her or abhor her, The Barbie Chronicles will have you looking at her in ways you never imagined.