Childrens book reviews by StorySnoops, judge a book by more than its cover, serving fresh scoops of new books for you every day
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Archive for the ‘BBAW’ Category

BBAW Interview Swap! Meet Simcha Lazarus, of SFF Chat

Monday, September 13th, 2010

This is an exciting day during Book Blogger Appreciation Week!  Today we swap interviews with other book bloggers, and the StorySnoops were honored to be paired up with Simcha Lazarus, of SFF Chat. She lives in Israel, and also runs an online bookstore.  Read on…

Thanks for taking the time to talk with us today, Simcha!

1. Tell us about yourself, and how you got started as a book blogger.

I came into this world on a snowy winter day in Jerusalem… OK, just kidding. But this really is a bit of a tough question. Hmm… well, I’m the thirty year old mother of four children, ages two to nine. My husband and I moved to Israel in 2003 with our two young children.  I love reading and talking about books and over this past year I’ve discovered a love for blogging as well.

The blog came about somewhat accidentally after I started a website in order to sell second-hand books, here in Israel. The blog was really meant just as a way to help drive traffic to my site and I only intended to post once a week or so but once I got started blogging I was hooked. Now I have to force myself to work on my website because blogging is so much more fun.

2. You are in a small town in a desert in Israel…how did this play a part in you getting started in the cyber-world?  Do you have difficulty getting access to books?

While I didn’t actually expect to develop a whole online social life through blogging, this has definitely been one of the amazing perks. I do at times feel a bit isolated, living in the middle of nowhere and working from home, so being able to connect through the Internet with other bloggers with similar interests as myself has been really wonderful.

Access to books is really not a problem. There are quite a few second-hand bookstores that sell books in English, in Jerusalem (where I shop) and books that I can’t find I can easily order through The Book Depository. I also have plenty of my own books from my bookstore inventory.

3. How long has your family been in Israel?

My husband and I moved to Israel in 2003 with our two young children. I had actually been born in Israel and lived here until the age of seven, when my parents decided to move back to America, though I always dreamed of returning to Israel to live.

4. Do you run the partner site,, on your own?  How did that project begin?

I had been working at a bookstore when I suddenly decided that I wanted to have a bookstore of my own. So I bought a bunch of books from ebay, shipped them to Israel and took a class on how to start a website. The class I took was actually for building an informational website, so that is the kind of site I built. This led me into writing book reviews, which I had not intended to do at all when I began this project. So yes, the website is solely mine though now that I’m talking about it I’m reminded of the fact that it’s been ages since I actually updated it…

5. What is it about Sci Fi and Fantasy that appeals to you?

I really read more fantasy than scifi though I have been making an effort lately to familiarize myself more with the scifi genre. As for what about fantasy appeals to me, I guess I just love losing myself in a world of magic and adventure where anything is possible.

6. Was The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe your first favorite book?  What else did you read as a child?

I have to admit that my first favorite books, as a reader, were the Sweet Valley Twins and The Babysitters Club series. I used to devour these. My friends and Iwere even inspired to start our own babysitters club. Though shortly after, my reading turned towards speculative fiction with The Indian in the Cupboard and My Teacher is an Alien series. But it was The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe that really sparked my imagination and had me searching for more books of magic and fantasy

7. Do you do all of your reading in English?

Although my Hebrew is decent enough to converse in I can’t read comfortably in Hebrew for entertainment- so yes, I pretty much only read in English.

8. What is your favorite thing about blogging?

My favorite part of blogging is definitely the connections that I have made with other book lovers, bloggers and authors.

9. Do you find it difficult to review or blog about books that you don’t particularly like?

Not really. I actually enjoy having an outlet for sharing my feelings about books that disappointed me.

10. Our site deals with fiction for children aged 9-18 and we are frequently asked for recommendations from parents.  What are your favorite recommendations in the Sci-Fi and Fantasy genres for young people?

When I was younger I loved anything by Diana Wynne Jones, Lloyd Alexander, Patricia Wrede and Tamara Pierce. As a teenager I fell in love with Piers Anthony’s world of Xanth and David Eddings’s epic fantasy series, and these are all books that I would still recommend.

I don’t read too much YA anymore but I have read a few books over the past year that I very much enjoyed, including Graceling by Kristin Cashore, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead.

11. What do you like to read to your children?

To my youngest, I like reading Dr. Suess books because the words are always fun to say and Alexandra Day’s Carl books because they don’t have any words at all, so they don’t get repetitive. I’m currently reading Sideways Stories From Wayside School to my nine year old, which we are both really enjoying.

Thank you Simcha, it has been a pleasure meeting you!  And now you can click here to see Simcha’s interview with Eden.

-Eden, Tiffany, Jen and Shannon

Please join StorySnoops in support of the American Library Association’s Banned Books Week, September 25th-October 2nd.  We are so excited to announce that our site will be running an interview series all week.  Our guests will include blogging librarians Abby the Librarian, Mighty Little Librarian and Ms. Yingling Reads, plus Reading Is Fundamental President and CEO Carol Rasco. And don’t miss three of our favorite authors who have graciously agreed to share their thoughts: Ellen Hopkins, Meg Cabot andJudy Blume! Stay tuned!