After achieving international recognition last year for her writing, Manhasset author Pauli Rose Libsohn is returning with a whopping 10-book set for release throughout 2021, including three adapted from stories originally written by her mother Mitzi.
Following spending much of her literary career in poetry and memoir, Libsohn has a new character in store for readers. The inspiration came, she says, while working on her 2020 book “The Ballet with Encores,” where she initially included a brief section about herself as a child.
“While I was writing it, I said to myself, all these experiences would be fantastic if I created children’s books with these stories, and that’s how the Penelope series was born,” Libsohn said.
Six books about Penelope will be released in the fall, with each book mostly autobiographical, she says.
“The Penelope series is really about myself as a little girl, and having all these wonderful experiences, and they’re fantastic,” Libsohn said.
One additional story was intended to be a seventh Penelope book, Libsohn said, but required a different kind of character, resulting in “Julie’s Big Day,” with a six-year-old being given a car for her birthday. Part of the inspiration also came from Rallye Motors in Manhasset, where Libsohn has worked for decades.
“I thought it would be a terrific story, how a little girl goes to a car dealership that you close to pink ballasts and gets herself a car for her sixth birthday,” she said. “That’s how that was born.”
Also while working on “Ballet,” Libsohn said she was looking through her mother Mitzi’s papers when she found three children’s stories, which she remembered hearing about in college.
“She had hundreds of pieces of paper in her files, and they were three children’s stories that she had written,” Libsohn said. “And she actually read them to me when I was in college. One day, she said to me, ‘Sit down, I want to read you a story.’ And she did, and I thought it was adorable. But after that, she put it away. And I forgot all about them until I looked through her files.”
Libsohn adapted the three stories, “Grandfather,” “A Letter for Molly,” and “Runaway,” for publication, and all three were printed earlier this year.
Even after many years of literary accomplishments, Libsohn said her mother would be “unbelieving” to see her work published.
“She never thought, she’d never dreamed that they would be printed,” she said. “I don’t think she even thought that they were worthy enough of being published, she never thought of it. I think that she would be absolutely ecstatic to know that they are published and that children of all ages are enjoying these books.”
Libsohn’s work is available at Amazon.com.