This week we have been celebrating the release of Jessica Hickman's title Alligator Seder. This cute little board book is her debut book in the world of children's literature. Read through our interview with the debut author and learn about her process and why she thought alligators have Seders!

What was your favorite book when you were a child?
Yertle the Turtle - Dr. Seuss

What’s your favorite line from a book?
“A person’s a person no matter how small.” Horton Hears a Who - Dr Seuss

Who are your top three favorite authors or illustrators?
1) Sandra Boynton
2) Shel Silverstein
3) Eric Carle

Why did you want to become an author or illustrator?
I have always had a strong love of words and poetry, but this interest increased tenfold when I began to have children. We bonded, snuggled, and learned over an ever-growing collection of books and the opportunity to personally contribute to such a meaningful experience became a goal of mine.

Do you have any advice for future authors or illustrators?
Be true to your own voice, perspective, and sense of humor.

Where did you get the inspiration for your latest or upcoming Kar-Ben book?
My upcoming Kar-Ben book, Alligator Seder, was inspired by my hometown of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, which lies right near the heart of the Florida Everglades. Alligators were common guests at golf courses, swimming pools, and backyards… so when writing this book, I thought-- “why not at a seder?”

What is the most interesting thing you learned in the process of writing or illustrating your book?
The most wonderful thing I learned in the process of writing this book was how excited my children were to be part of the process. At the age of only 3, my book-loving son enthusiastically gave his opinions about rhymes, characters, and the overall story arc. As it turns out, writing a book for toddlers is much easier when you have your target audience just a few feet away!

How do you hope your book will impact the Jewish life of a child?
My sincere hope is that Alligator Seder will help to introduce young children to Jewish concepts from Passover in a comical and clever way. This particular book is meant for the youngest of readers and I would love nothing more than to help pique their interest in learning more about such a special holiday.

What are you working on now?
I am currently working on a fun and silly book of Jewish puns.

What are some fun facts about you?
I recently launched my own Jewish apparel line, Chai Tide Apparel, which can be found online and in gift shops across the country. I design and create modern, trendy Jewish clothing for Jews of all denominations for holidays, life events, and beyond.