Hanukkah Veronica, The Mitzvah Fairy
Book FestivalOpinion

Hanukkah Veronica, The Mitzvah Fairy

Authors Brant and Cooper bring the notions of culture and goodness to life in children’s books.

After 35 years with the Atlanta newspapers, Marcia currently serves as Retail VP for the Buckhead Business Association, where she delivers news and trends (laced with a little gossip).

“Hanukkah Veronica, The Mitzvah Fairy," by Julie Anne Cooper and Wendy Brant.
“Hanukkah Veronica, The Mitzvah Fairy," by Julie Anne Cooper and Wendy Brant.

Co-authors Julie Anne Cooper and Wendy Brant will appear at the Atlanta Jewish Book Festival on Nov. 13 to introduce their Bonta Friends children’s book series. Through messages of kindness and love, kids are introduced to a variety of cultures with characters who personify the spirit of giving within a celebration of diversity.

The education element at the books’ end offers a short, well-researched history lesson including details on how the holiday began, evolved and the meaning behind symbols. An expert in each culture works with the team to ensure authenticity and accuracy. Rabbi Levi Mentz, of Chabad at Forsyth, assisted with “Hanukkah Veronica.”

The co-authors met in the real estate industry in 2019. At a holiday party, Cooper surprised Brant with a beautiful original watercolor picture she painted as a gift. From this simple act of kindness, this mitzvah, a deeper friendship was born. They discovered a similar passion…the desire to write children’s books. From that moment, the Bonta Friends project took flight. Together, with artist Giovanni Lombardi, they brought to life their first book featuring the lovable character: “Hanukkah Veronica, The Mitzvah Fairy.”

The Bonta Friends series will include these future titles: “Halloween Hannah,” “Christmas Chloe,” “Diwali Deepa,” and “Kwanzaa Keisha.” Each new story highlights different customs in a fun, engaging way.

The first Bonta Friends book and doll (optional) in the series is “Hanukkah Veronica: The Mitzvah Fairy,” which is summarized as: “One winter, Lucy was longing for a holiday companion. When Hanukkah Veronica arrives at her home, Lucy not only makes a friend, but also learns the power of kindness. Hanukkah Veronica reminds us all how just a little bit of magic goes a very long way.” The “Hanukkah Veronica” book is sold separately or can come in a gift set with a soft huggable plush doll. The book opens with a quote from Anne Frank: “You can always give something, even if it is only kindness.”

Cooper moved to Atlanta from Alabama where she met her husband and married into the Jewish faith. She currently resides in North Atlanta with her three children. Hanukkah Veronica is the companion rag doll created by Julie Anne, an artist, when her daughter, then only five, longed for a holiday companion.

Brant was born in Montreal, Canada. She was raised in the Jewish faith and has long admired many of the world’s holiday traditions. She and her husband, Rob, and their three children became Atlantans in 2010.

Whether it is improving her culinary skills, designing unique products, or completing a brand-new children’s book, she is happiest creating. “Our international characters will highlight the beauty of Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Diwali, and Halloween, through these heart-warming stories,” says Brant.

In terms of timing, Brant told the AJT, “The last few years have been a challenge, and many people have struggled in a variety of ways, physically and mentally. As adults, in our personal lives, and even in governments, we have been approaching our issues with anger and fear. We have been focusing not on what we have in common, but more on differences. A negative perspective has encouraged some to look for the bad in everything, as opposed to celebrating how far we have come, or the millions of stories of love and kindness that surround us daily.”

Cooper explained, “Our slogan is truly ‘The Best of Our World.’ Every country, every culture, and every person has made mistakes. We at Bonta Friends believe in an outlook that celebrates the good…stories highlighting the beauty of kindness and reminding us how every mitzvah, every act of love, no matter the religion, race, country or creed, has the power to transform lives.”

Wendy Brant & Julie Anne Cooper,
Hanukkah Veronica, The Mitzvah Fairy
Sunday. November 13, 2022 at 12:00 PM at the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta
(In Person)

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