Interview and Giveaway with Author Erica S. Perl, A Sydney Taylor Honor Award Winner!

The Mixed-Up Files is  thrilled to be a part of the Sydney Taylor Book Blog Tour:

Named in memory of Sydney Taylor, author of the classic All-of-a-Kind Family series, the STB award recognizes books for children and teens that exemplify high literary standards while authentically portraying the Jewish experience.


Huge congratulations to author Erica S. Perl for her Sydney Taylor Honor Award

in the Older Readers category for her book,


All Three Stooges  (Knopf BFYR) 


An unforgettable coming-of-age story about comedy, loss, and friendship for fans of Jennifer L. Holm and Gary D. Schmidt.

Spoiler alert: This book is not about the Three Stooges. It’s about Noah and Dash, two seventh graders who are best friends and comedy junkies. That is, they were best friends, until Dash’s father died suddenly and Dash shut Noah out. Which Noah deserved, according to Noa, the girl who, annoyingly, shares both his name and his bar mitzvah day.

Now Noah’s confusion, frustration, and determination to get through to Dash are threatening to destroy more than just their friendship. But what choice does he have? As Noah sees it, sometimes you need to risk losing everything, even your sense of humor, to prove that gone doesn’t have to mean “gone for good.”

Equal parts funny, honest, and deeply affecting, All Three Stooges is a book that will stay with readers long after the laughter subsides.



“Perl has created a moving coming-of-age journey steeped in Jewish traditions and comedic history, elegantly balancing humor with an honest look at the impact of suicide. Noah’s genuine voice and tricky situation will have readers pulling for him.”–Publishers Weekly

“This novel is excellent on multiple fronts. A satisfying story that will appeal to all middle grade readers.”–SLJ

“Watching Noah repeatedly sliding on a banana peel (even, once, literally) gives readers plenty of occasions to wince, to chortle, and ultimately, to applaud.”–Booklist

“A welcome portrayal of a very difficult situation’s impact on someone not ready to deal with it—and there are plenty of funny moments to make it all easier to take.”–Horn Book


We are delighted to welcome to Erica  to the Mixed-Up Files blog:

Erica, Your book looks delightful. Can you tell us how you came up with this idea? Does it relate to anything growing up, etc?

 All Three Stooges is about two comedy-obsessed seventh grade boys, Noah and Dash. I started writing this book when my younger child was preparing to become a bat mitzvah. When she was little, her best friend’s father died by suicide. So, I knew very early on that Dash’s dad would take his own life and that his death would affect Noah as well as Dash. This allowed me to tell the story through Noah’s perspective and show him making a series of misguided choices in a desperate attempt to reconnect with Dash. Noah, whose comfort zone is being a funny guy, has to learn empathy and how to be a mensch through a painful trial-and-error process.


Tell us a little about the story and how your characters evolved. They seem so funny and real.  

I researched the book by hanging out at my temple’s mid-week religious school, taking notes and trying to be a fly on the wall. I also drove the Hebrew school carpool a lot. And I volunteered at a grief camp for kids, and interviewed several teens who had lost loved ones to suicide. It was important to capture their pain, but also to capture the levity that is a defining quality of most kids this age – even those who are grieving.


Your book deals with some pretty heavy topics, but does so with a bit of comedy. Do you feel its important to balance the emotions of the book? 

Absolutely. In writing All Three Stooges, I needed to make sure it never felt like I was trivializing loss or pain. But at the same time, I deeply believe in the power of laughter to connect people and to heal. At grief camp, our tradition is to start off by giving the kids cans of seltzer and letting them shake them up, then explode them on themselves and others. That release – of fizzy water as well as laughter – gives them permission to also let out the darker bottled up emotions. That was precisely the balance I wanted to strike in this book (and why I made seltzer Dash’s dad’s favorite beverage).


I have to ask, are you a Three Stooges fan? 

 Not exactly. BUT I do have favorite Stooges clips. And I discovered after the book came out that I had a relative named Paul “Mousie” Gardner who was one of many original Stooges in their vaudeville days (before the Three Stooges went on to stardom in Hollywood).


What does it mean to you to win the Sydney Taylor Honor Award? 

It means the world to me. When I was little, All of a Kind Family was one of the first books I read about a Jewish family (the other was The Carp in the Bathtub). As a writer and a reader, I care deeply about the importance of accurately showing the Jewish experience to the world, so to see a Sydney Taylor silver medal on All Three Stooges makes my heart soar.


The Sydney Taylor Book Award is sponsored by the Association of Jewish Libraries 

More information about the award  and a list of all of the winners can be found here: The Sydney Taylor Book Site

Learn about all of the Sydney Taylor Book Award winners by reading about them on the other Blog Tour sites listed here


But wait, there’s more, Erica has graciously offered to do a giveaway of her book. Please post your  comments about the book or congratulations to Erica below to be entered for a chance to win a free autographed copy of  All Three Stooges 


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Jennifer Swanson
Science ROCKS! And so do Jennifer Swanson's books. She is the award-winning author of over 40 nonfiction books for kids. Jennifer Swanson’s love of science began when she started a science club in her garage at the age of 7. While no longer working from the garage, you can find Jennifer at her favorite place to explore the world around her.
Jennifer is also the creator and administrator of #STEMTuesday and #STEAMTeam2020
  1. Congratulations on winning this award–Sydney Taylor is a beloved name to generations of readers. And I want to extend my compliments on your choice of title, which is sure to draw in readers looking for a book they’ll trust to have a certain sensibility that will match their own. Reading that title, they’ll trust that you “get it”.

  2. Congratulations on winning the book award!

  3. Thank you for such a great interview. I look forward to reading this book and adding it to our library collection.

  4. Congratulations on winning the book award! I love your seltzer experience, what lucky kids to have you help them with the grieving process.

  5. You don’t have to enter me in the drawing, but I just wanted to say that this interview was a delight to read. Thanks to Erica for writing an amazing book and to The Mixed Up Files for being part of the Blog Tour!

  6. Erica, congratulations on your award! We are having a book drive at work next month and I plan to buy several copies of your book.