FOR THE PAST DECADE, children’s author Ann D. Koffsky has served as a lifeguard at a Jewish day camp. Her experience teaching campers to swim led to the creation of “Noah’s Swim-a-Thon,” a children’s book in the PJ Library Egg Matza (5 to 6 years) age group.
According to Koffsky, the impetus for writing her book came after having met a PJ Library professional at a conference she attended.
“She mentioned in passing that PJ was interested in seeing more camp books,” Koffsky recalls. “That got my wheels turning. Since I have gone to or worked at a Jewish camp for a good portion of my life, I started to think about what Jewish stories could be told in that environment.”
HOPES FOR NOAH’S SWIM-A-THON
Ann Koffsky told PJ Library she hopes to accomplish two things with her story about Noah. One of those things relates directly to swimming itself; the other relates to Tzedakah.
“I hope it will help kids understand that learning to swim is a process and, with perseverance and bravery, everyone can learn to do it,” Koffsky says of her book.
“My advice for day campers learning to swim is this: For most kids, learning to swim for the first time can be a little scary, but bravery means doing something even when you’re a little scared. So be brave, and take the plunge!”
Koffsky’s Jewish moment writing Noah’s Swim-a-Thon relates to Tzedakah.
She explains, “One of my favorite Jewish concepts is the idea that we are supposed to take from the everyday world, and use it for something spiritual. I think the idea of taking swimming and using it as a vehicle for giving Tzedakah, charity, illustrates this concept beautifully.”
Koffsky also hopes her book sparks discussions. “It would be great if it would start conversations in a family,” she says, “about what other things can be transformed from the mundane to the meaningful.”
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