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Author's latest book featured at book fair (Released: 11/8/95)

by Luis Mocete, Office of University Communications.

STORRS, Conn. -- A Gothic setting and Jewish tradition are the foundation of Michele Palmer s latest children's book, The Hanukkah Ghosts.

The tale captures both the flavor of England and the spirit of the holiday s mysteries and miracles, according to glowing reviews the book has received.

It has the suspense of a Gothic novel combined with Jewish themes, including the question of Jewish identity and the Holocaust, said Palmer, an oral historian at the University of Connecticut's Center for Oral History.

Palmer will be one of 27 children s book authors and illustrators featured at the 1995 Connecticut Book Fair Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at UConn's West Hartford campus. She will autograph books at the fair Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.

The story is set at Wimsley Hall in the moors of England, where Susan, a 12-year-old from Connecticut, is visiting her great-aunt during Hanukkah week. During the stay Susan confronts her own fears and losses by encountering the ghosts of people who lived on the British estate during World War II.

The children's novel is Palmer s second published by Holiday House with a Hanukkah theme. Her picture book, The Miracle of the Potato Latkes, was named one of the 10 best children s books of 1994 by The Hartford Courant.

Hanukkah has always been my favorite holiday, she said. It is a time of miracles, and as one of the characters in The Hanukkah Ghosts says, 'out of darkness can come the brightest light.'

Palmer is once again using the pen name Malka Penn because it provides a connection to her childhood, she said. Malka, means queen in Hebrew and Penn is for her home state of Pennsylvania.

Book sales from the fourth annual fair will benefit UConn s Northeast Children s Literature Collections. The collections include more than 14,000 classic and modern children s books and a growing archive of original art and manuscript materials from contemporary authors and illustrators.

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