My new headshot!

About Dori

Dori Weinstein grew up in Queens, New York. She is a graduate of Binghamton University (SUNY Binghamton) and Teachers College, Columbia University. Dori taught in public schools in New York City as well as the Talmud Torah Jewish Day School in St. Paul, Minnesota. She currently travels around the country visiting Jewish day schools and religious schools where she shares her love of writing, reading, and all things YaYa & YoYo. She lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota with her husband Gary. They have three grown children. When she’s not writing or traveling, Dori enjoys walking, running, and biking around the beautiful lakes in the Twin Cities.

The Story Behind YaYa and YoYo

2011–with my very first “book-baby!”

Both as a parent and a teacher, I was looking for middle-grade Jewish-themed books that were contemporary, entertaining, and relatable for all children regardless of their background or affiliation. While I found lots of historical fiction and non-fiction options, I was searching for books that celebrated all that is wonderful, positive, and fun about Judaism in today’s world and not just about the Holocaust or life in the shtetl. Inspired by my childhood author-hero, Judy Blume, as well as All of a Kind Family, my favorite book series when I was growing up, I decided to take matters into my own hands. I planned, drafted, and started writing, setting aside my plans to someday return to my own classroom. And so, YaYa and YoYo were “born and my life as an author took off.

2021–10 years and 4 books!

When completed, the 12-book series will cover a full calendar year, intertwining Jewish holidays, life-cycle events and other experiences with one or more Jewish values into the stories. The series follows tween twins Ellie and Joel Silver (YaYa and YoYo) as they try to balance living a Jewish life in a secular world. The books have been enthusiastically received, enjoyed, and used as a teaching tool at Reform, Conservative, Orthodox, and community schools.

Read an extended version on my blog.