Author-Illustrator Spotlight: Amalia Hoffman

© Amalia Hoffman

Sept. 9, 2021

Today we are pleased to feature author-illustrator Amalia Hoffman and her book, MY MONSTERPIECE (Yeehoo Press 2021). Enter to win a copy!

Welcome, Amalia!

Tell us about yourself and how you came to write and illustrate for children.

I am an author, illustrator and a storyteller. I present my stories in schools, libraries, community centers and bookstore. Often, I dress up in costumes and am accompanied by puppets that look like characters in my stories.

For years, I had my own business decorating fancy store windows in New York City. I designed props and installed them to create eye-catching displays. I saw kids on the other side of the glass, staring at whatever I created and always thought that it would be super cool if I could turn my displays into stories.

I grew up in Jerusalem, Israel and now live in Larchmont New York.

When I was a little girl, I shared a room with my two sisters. My father read us a bedtime story but he was always too tired after work and fell asleep in the middle. So we never found out what happened at the end. When I grew up, I started writing my own books so now I always know what happens at the end.

© Amalia Hoffman

Congrats on your recent picture book, My Monsterpiece. Tell us about it and what inspired you. 

My Monsterpiece is a humorous celebration of imagination and creativity that invites kids to create their own monster masterpieces with everyday materials. It’s the story of a frustrated kid who tries to create the scariest monster, only to realize that everyone thinks his creations aren’t scary at all. It takes some thinking outside of the box to reveal surprising lessons about fears and stereotyping.

© Amalia Hoffman

My inspiration for the book sprouted from my experience creating art with young kids.

I decided to create my monsters for the book with art supplies that kids actually use. Children are very free in their creative process. They’ll doodle on any torn paper, the kitchen table, wall — anything!   Well, I didn’t doodle on my table or wall, but I did paint on a supermarket shopping bag, crumbled bits of paper, and even paper plates. In some illustrations, I glued on yarn, glitter, buttons and even fruit loops. Kids love to get their hands messy. So I dipped my fingers in gooey blobs of paint. A lot of the art in the book was painted with my fingers, rather then with brushes. I also spritzed paint with a toothbrush, letting the bits of color drop where they may. At the end of the day, my studio was a mess but I felt liberated!

© Amalia Hoffman

Apparently, I was a very temperamental child. When I got angry with my parents, I used to punish them by tearing the greeting cards I created for their birthdays and anniversaries. Years later, when I visited my parents, I found an envelope with all the bits of torn art that my father saved. When I created My Monsterpiece, I showed the kid’s frustration by creating one spread that feature the kid’s torn monsters.

I remember that when I was about 8, I entered a contest, sponsored by a children’s magazine, to draw a scary witch. Apparently, mine wasn’t scary enough because I didn’t win...

Was your initial road to publication long and winding, short and sweet, or something in between?

© Amalia Hoffman

When I started my career, I joined SCBWI and a couple of months later; I flew to LA for my first SCBWI conference. That was amazing! I won first place at the portfolio showcase in the category of Fantasy. I was in the clouds and thought that everyone would grab me. I did get an agent to show my work around but she couldn’t really place me. 

Then someone said to me, “If you want to be in this profession, you have to have elephant’s skin. How true! I sent out my dummies and got lots of rejections. But I kept my elephant’s skin on and kept going. Eventually, I sold a couple of books and also won awards. So I would say that my road to publication was a bumpy one. Lots of tumbling but also climbing.

What projects are you working on now?

I’m working on a hilarious picture book about a goat that got tired of eating plain farm food and went to a French restaurant. It will be published by Yeehoo Press on March 1st, 2022. Also, I’m completing two Jewish-themed board books that will be published in 2022. I just started working on a nonfiction picture book.

What is your favorite illustration medium/process?

I don’t really have one particular style. I like the process of coming up with what I feel is the right style for each particular book.  I love collage; working with colorful tissue paper, paper cutouts, pastels, acrylics, and pencils. 

What advice would you give to other aspiring author-illustrators?

Don’t freak out when you get rejections. Keep that elephant skin on! Stay true to yourself. Don’t try to imitate other people's styles because you think they’re more popular. Write stuff you feel passionate about. Join SCBWI and make friends with other authors and illustrators.

What is one thing most people don't know about you?

I don’t have any pets but I have a stuffed bear called Dubi who sleeps in my bed.

I’m fluent in Hebrew and speak a little French and Arabic.

© Amalia Hoffman

Where can people find you online?

Twitter: @AmaliaHoffman

Facebook: @Amalia.Hoffman.5


Amalia Hoffman is an author, illustrator, and storyteller.

Her picture book, MY MONSTERPIECE launched from Yeehoo Press, March, 2021. The Chinese edition is available throughout China. It is the first place winner of the 2021 Next Generation Children’s Picture Book (0-5 Years.) She is also the author of THE BRAVE CYCLIST: THE TRUE STORY OF A HOLOCAUST HERO (Capstone Publishing, 2019, illustrated by Chiara Fedele); ALL COLORS (Schiffer Publishing, 2019), DREIDEL DAY  (Lerner Publishing Group, 2018)  HANUKKAH NIGHTS  (Lerner Publishing Group, 2022); MY HANDS MAKE THE WORLD (PJ Library May 2022); MASHA MUNCHING (Yeehoo Press, 2021, 2022), THE KLEZMER BUNCH AND PURIM GOODIES (Gefen Publishing House, 2007 and 2009.) 

Amalia is a participating artist at ArtsWestchester, a cultural organization that pairs artists and writers with schools and community centers.

She holds a Masters's degree in art and art education from New York University and a Bachelor of Fine Arts with honor from Pratt Institute. Visit Amalia at

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  1. This book is so clever and I love the theme/lesson behind the idea of creating scary monsters. Congratulations on all your hard work and beautiful book that so many readers, including myself, will enjoy over and over.

  2. This looks amazing!! So fun to hear all about the story behind the story!

  3. What kid wouldn't have a ton of fun with this book? Such a great idea. Thanks

  4. Book looks great, think my twins will love it!

  5. This looks like such a fun & colorful book!


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