• Cultivating stories, tending imaginations

    SHARON REISS BAKER

  • CHILDREN'S BOOKS

    Despite being small and frail, Sadie Rose is strong in other ways. She never forgets to check the chicken coops so the foxes can’t get in. She notices when the farm animals are sick. And she always has a new idea when it’s needed. Even so, her neighbors worry that she’s not strong enough for life on a farm. But when there’s a calamity and friends and family can no longer celebrate the Sabbath in their neighbor’s parlor, Sadie Rose comes up with an idea that proves that there are “all kinds of strong.”
     

    A 5 Star Book

     

    "This is a wonderful story about a physically challenged eight year old girl who helps her family, neighbors, and community. She shows that there are many ways to be a strong young girl. This book is a good introduction to the Jewish farming history of Eastern Connecticut. The illustrations are beautiful throughout. Children (and grandchildren) will enjoy this story when they are in their early years in elementary school. Highly recommended!"

     

    Growing up on the Lower East Side, Lionel knows only a tiny tenement apartment and a few crowded streets. He scribbles drawings on every available scrap of paper but doesn’t think much of them—until he takes a momentous streetcar journey to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. There, he finds that the world is a wider and more exciting place than he could have imagined. With gentle humor and fondness, Sharon Reiss Baker tells a story based on her own family history. Evocative paintings by Beth Peck help capture both the safe familiarity of home and the glorious liberation of discovering the world beyond it.

     

    From Kirkus Reviews

    “Baker spins a gentle tale, based on a shard of her family history, about looking at art, and what can be seen there…A lovely way to see how the whole world can open like a flower if you know how to see.”
  • MEET THE AUTHOR

    Sharon Reiss Baker

    Sharon Reiss Baker’s first story, published when she was nine in a fourth grade class anthology, starred a spider-eating baby. Over a decade later, she received her B.A. from Harvard University and then did graduate work in education at Lesley University and the University of Miami. She taught elementary and middle school for many years in many different places, including Connecticut, Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, and Puerto Rico, and collected plots, characters, and settings for future children’s books in each location.

    Sharon and her husband live outside Philadelphia.

  • NEWS

    July 30, 2014
    Miriam Steinberg-Egeth

    Each month, about 5,000 Phila­delphia-area children receive a free Jewish-themed book in the mail courtesy of PJ Library.

    This year, some of them are getting works by two local authors. Sharon Baker’s newly published All Kinds of Strong, about a frail girl in rural Connecticut who helps her community, will arrive in the mailboxes of 15,000 6-year-olds around the country in September. And Tamar Fox’s No Baths at Camp, about the joys of Jewish camping, landed in the hands of that same group of youngsters in June.  More

  • REVIEWS

    Praise for A Nickel a Trolley a Treasure House

    School Library Journal

    An accelerator for innovation in schools and public libraries

    Grade 2–5—Lionel lives on Manhattan's Lower East Side in the early 1900s. His older brothers make deliveries, peddle chestnuts and ices, and shine shoes to help out. His sister works in their mother's dress shop, but the nine-year-old spends his time drawing and sketching on the backs of envelopes and shopping lists. His parents, Jewish immigrants, hope he'll outgrow this "useless habit," but his teacher nurtures the young artist by treating him to a trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Before the outing, he worries needlessly about the nickel trolley fare, searching the sidewalks for found money. While the ride itself is thrilling, the museum is like a "palace" with "polished stone floors" and breathtaking works framed in gold. The dark-hued artwork is brightened occasionally by such objects as the yellow trolley, multicolored marbles, a flower cart, or a lady's dress. Details like a horse and carriage, organ grinder, and fishmonger bring the period to life, though many of the characters' faces look confusingly alike. Most pictures are full spread with text in a vertical frame to one side. The narration is both accessible and engaging. Share this nostalgic story before a trip to an art museum or to enrich social-studies units on New York.—Barbara Auerbach, New York City Public Schools

    Kirkus Reviews

    Book reviews and recommendations

    Baker spins a gentle tale, based on a shard of her family history, about looking at art, and what can be seen there…A lovely way to see how the whole world can open like a flower if you know how to see.

    Jewish Book World

    Promoting the reading, writing and publishing of quality Jewish books

    A child of an immigrant family in the early days of the century who spends his time drawing is under-appreciated in this delightful picture book. Although his parents complain that there’s “not much use for it” Lionel persists in sketching and drawing on every possible scrap of paper and in every free moment he has. His ally is his oldest sister, Rose, who works in their mother’s dress shop. It is she who provides him with cardboard and string from the shop and encourages his efforts. The other person who encourages his art is his teacher, Miss Morrissey, who has plans for the two of them—plans which involve a trip on a trolley. After worrying about the trolley fare, Lionel finds himself at the Metropolitan Museum of Art! What a feast for a child such as he, and for the reader as well, for Peck’s illustrations are also art, painted loosely in wonderful muted colors evocative of the period. The book is marvelously designed as well. Enjoy.

    American Library Association


    In this content-driven era of education, there is still a place for high-quality books about art. The following titles would be a welcome addition to many curricular areas, including a study of cultures across the world or next-door. In addition, picture-book biographies of artists can provide a model for young writers or budding illustrators. Even books with art activities can demonstrate not only our differences but also our similarities over time and between cultures. Using these recent fiction and informational choices, students can experience art and begin to understand its place in history, culture, and time.

    Pragmatic Mom

    Education Matters.  A Mashup Covering Parenting, Children's Literature and Education

    Sharon Reiss Baker shares a family memory about Lionel, who as a boy at the turn of the century in Lower East Side Manhattan, drew on any scrap of paper he could find. One lucky day, Lionel finds a nickel that he spends on precious paper from the stationer’s shop. He shows his teacher his drawings and she takes him on a trip to visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The trip is magical for Lionel. Never has he been inside this world and it changes his life such that he decides to become an artist against his family’s wishes. And he succeeds.
    This is a true story about a young boy who is shown a world of possibilities by his kind teacher. And to think opening up a world of possibilities takes only a nickel, a trolley and a treasure house. And an exceptional teacher! Don’t forget that part!
  • ILLUSTRATORS

    Beth Peck

    When I walk into a school, I am always delighted by the art on the walls and in the display cases. My appreciation of things made extends from elementary school walls to museum walls. I have this joy and appreciation for the talents that extend through all ages and work in all media. So I guess what I am trying to say is: I walk into my studio or home and see the framed pictures my daughters made when they were in elementary school and I think they are so beautiful, they take my breath away.
    When I see the breadth and scope of storytelling and picture-making that goes on in the art of creating books, I am proud to be a small part of this art form.

    Kris Wiltse

    For over 25 years I've created illustrations for the publishing, editorial and packaging industries nationwide. ...
    Much of my art and illustration focuses on the natural world. Trees, water, animals and human relationships are common subjects. And because I enjoy spending time outdoors, I often sketch and paint on location. Many of these works are shown and sold at galleries, cafes and restaurants.
    Before starting my illustration career I received a BA in painting from Western Washington University, Bellingham. I continued my studies in illustration at the School of Visual Concepts, Seattle, where I eventually taught figure drawing,basic drawing and illustration.

  • CONNECT

    Email

    sharonreissbaker[at]yahoo[dot]com