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 teaches Hebrew to preschoolers and 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.
The Story Behind YaYa and YoYo
When my first two kids were in the 1st and 4th grades, I set out to find some good, older-kid Jewish books for them. I found lots of wonderful picture books about holidays for preschoolers as well as many middle-grade books in the genres of historical fiction and non-fiction books. I was looking for contemporary fiction that my kids would love, that also celebrated all that is wonderful about being Jewish, but I was unable to find just what I was seeking. 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 having my own classroom. I came up with the model of doing a book series; twelve books, each taking place in a different calendar month, focusing on either a Jewish holiday, life cycle event or other Jewish experience, while intertwining one or more Jewish values into the story. And so, YaYa and YoYo were “born.”
Read an extended version on my blog.