Anna Caplan loves reading with her 4- and 1-year-old daughters. “We’re obsessed with Ladybug magazine,” she says. “Magazines hold a special place in our house. They’re different from books: There are poems, puzzles, songs. We curl up on the sofa and read through them, coming back to them over and over. We keep our copies.”
The family also loves books from PJ Library, such as “The Night World.”
“I want to see more, and I want to see children’s literature that reflects the cultural and racial diversity of the Jewish community and subverts gender stereotypes, ‘girl’ things versus ‘boy’ things. The kind of stuff I look for in books that are secular, I want to see more of in Jewish kid literature,” Caplan says.
So the Harvard grad (she’s in Baltimore now) was inspired to crowdfund her own magazine with a Jewish bent, called Honeycake after the Rosh Hashanah dessert.
“I was looking for a Jewish word in English that conveyed a feeling of sweetness. I want people to experience sweet Jewish moments as families,” she says.
Caplan has already met her Kickstarter goal (though she’s still accepting donations), and the first issue will debut around Hanukkah. The 24-page magazine is geared toward readers ages 2 through 6 and will spotlight stories, poems, comics, songs, STEM activities, kids’ art and recipes. It will come out six times per year.
“I want Jewish things to be everyday things; I want stories and poems to reflect that idea,” Caplan says. (Yes, she accepts reader submissions! Send them to email@example.com.)
Caplan, a preschool music educator, hit her initial $10,000 Kickstarter goal within 25 hours, but don’t worry: There’s still time to donate toward a new goal of $18,000. Money received before June 6 will go toward distributing copies of the magazine to 180 synagogues, schools and JCCs across the country.
Learn more about the project here.