Meet Lauren Ranalli. She was in the market for the perfect Chanukah book for her child, but couldn’t find exactly what she was looking for. So, she wrote it herself!

She stopped by our Creator Corner, and this is what she had to say:

What is your earliest memory of writing?

My first real memory of writing is probably from about age 7. My older sister and I wrote a book of poems for my parents’ anniversary gift. I started keeping journals at about age 11 which served as a regular writing exercise. I really enjoy dialogue and in high school, I was awarded second place in a playwriting contest. And my freshman year of college I took an incredible expository writing class that allowed me to respond to a wide variety of writing prompts. And then you had to sit through a live critique from your peers in the class. So that was a great lesson in not getting too attached to any one particular piece of work- or if you DO feel strongly about something then dig in and make it better.

How did you get started in your writing career?

I wrote my first children’s book shortly after my oldest child was born. My husband and I are an interfaith couple. My family is Jewish and he is Catholic. Our oldest child has a December birthday and back when he was born in 2011 we received several Christmas books as gifts. I went out with the intention to buy Chanukah books and found that most of what’s out there fall into two ends of a spectrum. On one side you have “Curious George Celebrates Chanukah”, and on the other side, you have “A History of Chanukah and the Maccabees”, neither of which really resonated with me and my own family traditions and cultural experience. A few months after I tried to go book shopping I was driving to work and the story of “The Great Latke Cook Off” just came to me- the entire book downloaded in my head during that 25-minute drive. I wrote it up and sent it to myself as an email, not knowing what I would do with it. It wasn’t until this year that I decided to revisit the story and put it out there for families to enjoy.

What comes to you first: title, character or setting?

I hadn’t thought of this before, but with all 3 books that I have written the title has come to me first. All three of them I have been able to write in one sitting, with follow-up edits of course. But the stories have come to me in one complete thought. I guess if I have to struggle with a story too much it might not be the right story for me to tell.

What is your latest book about?

“The Great Latke Cook Off” is a Chanukah story about family tradition, friendly competition, and delicious recipes. It is told from the perspective of a young boy and it takes you through a family cooking competition over the 8 nights of Chanukah. While it has a Jewish holiday as a backdrop, I think it can be enjoyed by families of all backgrounds.

Where can people find you and all of your amazing projects?

I hope people will visit my website and follow me on social media for information about my current book, as well as two other titles in the works. I just started the illustration process for my second book, “Snow Day at the Zoo”.

Instagram: @lauren.ranalli_author

Facebook: @Lauren Ranalli, author

Twitter: @LRanalli_author

Thank you so much, Lauren. That was great!

How to Write a Children’s Book in 7 Days or Less is now on SkillShare! Those who are new to SkillShare can get a two months of premium service for free when signing up via this link —

Originally published at on October 11, 2018.

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