BY NATHAN DUKE
This Mother’s Day, a former Briarwood resident is honoring her late mother by fulfilling her dream of releasing a children’s book full of her haikus.
Amy Losak—who grew up in Briarwood and now lives in Tea Neck—said that the poetry picture book for children titled H Is for Haiku: A Treasury of Haiku From A to Z was released by Penny Candy Books on April 10. The book features haikus by her mother, Sydell Rosenberg, that were written from the 1960s up until her mother’s death in 1996.
“She really contributed to the literary life of Queens,” Losak said of her mother. “These are her poems. Some are decades old and were published in journals. A number of the poems were published throughout her career. She always wanted to publish a kid’s book, and I was recently able to help fulfill that dream.”
Losak—who works as a publicist—said that she, her father, Sam Rosenberg, and mother moved from Manhattan to Briarwood in the early 1960s. Rosenberg taught at Kew Gardens’ PS 99 as a substitute teacher and was a charter member of the Haiku Society of America when it was founded in 1968.
Losak said that the book of her mother’s work is an alphabet book for young readers that celebrates the small joys of life.
“It’s about celebrating life’s small moments that we may overlook because we’re too distracted to notice,” she said. “The beauty of haiku is to stop, linger a little bit and look around you with a sense of appreciation. It could be a weed sprouting from a pavement crack. It could be a sparrow that seems to blend in with a leaf on a branch. It could be anything really. That’s what her poems are about.”
Losak said that the book is currently available on Amazon and can be ordered to local book stores. She collaborated on the book with illustrator Sawsan Chalabi.
“She has a really animated style and her work is vivid and brings out the gentle playfulness and joy of the poems,” Losak said. “You can tell that Sawsan really put her heart into underscoring the joy in these poems.”
Losak said that her mother had long wanted to publish a book for children, but never got around to doing so.
“This has been a really long journey to bring my mother’s poetry book for kids into the world,” she said. “This was something that she wanted to do back in the 1980s, maybe even as far back as the 1970s—and some of the poems date back to the 1960s. Sadly, when she passed away in 1996, she had this dream of publishing a book for kids that she never realized. Her family wanted to finally fulfill her dream for her. I finally mobilized and was very fortunate to connect with this publisher.”
Reach editor-in-chief Nathan Duke via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (718) 357-7400, ext. 122.