Children’s Books

When I lived in New Zealand my first stories were published by the New Zealand Department of Education, the BBC children’s television show, PLAYSCHOOL and as my first two picture books. Soon I became the children’s book reviewer for “Australia/New Zealand Bookworld.” Returning to the U.S. I took a wonderful job as a full-time children’s writer for Addison-Wesley Publishing and later founded my own children’s educational software company. 
Today, I’m still dreaming up new children’s stories. It’s a lifelong passion.

School Visits: Explore my exciting programs for children.

Upcoming Books:

The Circlemaker, middle-grade novel, 2023 Lawley Publishers

A Tale of Bread and Thread, picture book 2023 Lawley Publishers

Star Brother, YA novel, 2024 Snowy Wings Publishing

The Word Dancer

Snowy Wings Publishing 2023
Ages 8-12
Hardback: ISBN 9781958051023
Paperback: ISBN 9781958051030

When the Ugsome traitors take over the kingdom of Wisland, Wynnfrith must flee the court with the little crown prince. Their flight becomes a treacherous journey that pits Wynnfrith against the cruel Ugsomes. She thinks herself fearful yet her determination to keep Prince Oliver safe impels her trials bravely.

From the mysterious Word Dancer, Wynnfrith learns the importance of using both head and heart to ignite the full power of words.

With imaginative fantasy, fresh dialogue and original verse, this suspenseful tale is laced with humor and wordplay for The Word Dancer is at heart, a celebration of the power and beauty of words.

Schur takes young readers on a fantasy adventure through the Kingdom of Wisland and beyond as twelve-year old orphan, Wynnfrith, in a time of war, must keep five-year-old Prince Oliver safe from the king’s enemies. At the story’s heart is the fascinating figure of The Word Dancer, a magical man who always sees the truth within turbulent situations and bestows a single word of importance to be interpreted by both head and heart. As Wynnfrith and Oliver journey through the kingdom, meeting a variety of friends, foes, and even the Word Dancer, they discover the importance of language and the power of words.
Wyynfrith’s quest
moves quickly on the page and will captivate young readers and ignite their sense of adventure. The importance of language becomes paramount to Wynnfrith’s journey, as Schur crafts the story to emphasize the great influence that words can have on how we perceive and are perceived.

Editor’s Pick: As the children face their trials, including moral lessons sprinkled throughout, Schur weaves into the plot strong themes of inner-strength and righteousness, universal ideals that play pivotal roles in Wynnfrith’s personal growth and offer encouragement to readers. Knowledge and respect for the written word also is presented as something of a power. A map of the Kingdom of Wisland is conveniently provided for young readers to help visualize the vast land. Middle-grade readers looking for a bit of whimsy and adventure will enjoy this quick-paced fantasy that presents reading itself as part of a hero’s growth. Publishers Weekly-BookLife

The Word Dancer offers poetry expertly integrated into a riveting children’s story so fluidly that it dictates the pace of the story. What stands out the most with this interesting mix of poetry and prose is the lyrical descriptions used for almost everything of interest. The result is a visually attractive story that is intent on holding a child’s attention throughout. The Word Dancer exudes the promise of a delightful reading experience waiting to happen.Readers’ Favorite

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When Zissel Got Rich

Illustrated by Cristina de Liso
Lawley Publishing 2023
Ages 4-7
ISBN- 978-1-958302-15-6.

Zissel had everything her heart desired…but didn’t know it. When Zissel got rich, she craved expensive jewelry but the more jewelry she bought, the sadder she became. In this wildly comic story, Maxine Rose Schur creates a fun yet heart-warming Jewish folk tale that proves we might already have all we would ever need and want.

Maxine Rose Schur writes with a welcoming tone that uses humor to introduce the reader to Jewish traditions. The illustrations by Cristina de Liso are hilarious and match the storyline to perfection.Readers’ Favorite

Finley finds his Fortune

Illustrated by Olga Alaimo
Lawley Publishing 2022
Ages 4-7

ISBN -978-1-956357-55-4

When the three sons of a poor widow go into the woods to seek their fortune, the first two meet with misfortune but when the third son, Finley, sets out, he uses his intelligence, observation, imagination and industry to change his fortune, creating a bountiful life for himself, his new family and his mother. Finley Finds his Fortune is a lively story with themes of gratitude, ingenuity and love. It’s a story to be enjoyed as much for its delightful storytelling as its wise and heartwarming message.

Finley Finds His Fortune by Maxine Rose Schur is a heartwarming fable about which values endure in a world where everyone strives to “find their fortune.” Both the artwork and story, while remaining unique, reminded me of the coziness of the timeless books that I grew up with. Olga Alaimo’s illustrations are expressive and are sure to capture the eyes of little ones during story time. This story is well worth adding to your collection. – Readers’ Favorite

Child of the Sea

Illustrated by Milanka Reardon
Lawley Publishing 2022
Ages 4-8

ISBN 978-1-952209-76-5

When a fisherman finds a baby girl in his net, he and his wife our overjoyed. Their wish for a child has come true! But as the years go by, Merella, their beloved daughter, has a secret longing― a longing that will lead the fisherman and his wife to a heartrending decision.

In this original folk story, you’ll be touched by this poetic fable that weaves themes of yearning, fate, and abiding love. Coupled with Milanka Reardon’s exquisite illustrations, Child of the Sea delivers a lively, lyrical tale that confirms the universal need to belong and the liberating power of love.

A beautiful tale of being true to oneself, but also of giving those we love the space to be themselves. The final image is a beautiful tribute to the love that remains, when we are all allowed to be who we are. Like many folktales, it is a bit melancholy, but also full of love and heart.Maria Marshall-Perfect Picture Book Friday

Pigs Dancing Jigs

Illustrated by Patricia Grush-Dewitt & Robin Dewitt
Lawley Publishing 2021
Ages 3-6

All the animals from A to Z
Are just as busy as they can be
If you want to see all they do
Then this book is just for you

Here’s an alphabet book to delight young and old with animals as familiar to children as the cow and duck, and as unfamiliar as the impala and the zorilla. Rhyming words coupled with beautiful, detailed illustrations enhance the learning of the alphabet while also teaching about a variety of animals from around the world.

Kids and grown-ups alike will have more fun than a barrel of monkeys searching for the hidden letters in the art.

Readers’ Favorite -5 Stars Award
2021 Foreword INDIES Finalist

There are many alphabet books available, but Maxine Rose Schur’s rollicking rhyming book, Pigs Dancing Jigs, rises to the top of the list. The illustrations are intricate, and each illustration features at least one hidden letter, sometimes many. Each page is a work of art. The activities that the animals engage in are diverse and humorous. Every time you read Pigs Dancing Jigs, you will notice something new. I believe this one will be read over and over, and kids will be able to memorize it and “read” the book themselves. –Readers’ Favorite

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Brave with Beauty

Illustrated by Patricia Grush, Robin Dewitt, Golsa Yaghoobi
Sambasivan & Parikh Publishing 2019
Ages 7-10
ISBN 978-1-949528-97-8

Making the world more beautiful: A remarkable life of courage
Through one woman’s passion, Afghanistan was once a haven of learning and surpassing beauty. This is the extraordinary story of Queen Goharshad, a 15th-century monarch, who many historians now believe was one of the most powerful women in world history. Ruling from the Timurid artistic and cultural center of Herat in western Afghanistan, Queen Goharshad ushered in a period when poetry, music, calligraphy, painting, and the sciences flourished as never before. This story is a celebration of a remarkable woman—talented, generous, benevolent, and brave—whose achievements are an inspiration for young readers to use their strengths to make the world a more beautiful place.

A Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People
2020 Best Picture Book- Northern California Book Reviewers Association

Brave with Beauty on the Book of Life Podcast

A pleasant, romanticized introduction to an impressive person, place, and time for young readers beginning to like stories about real people.School Library Journal

Beautiful, detailed artwork, showcasing the true-life efforts of a talented, noble, and compassionate ruler who strove to leave her world a better place than when she found it. Brave with Beauty is educational, inspirational, and highly recommended, especially for school and public library nonfiction picture book collections. Midwest Book Review

This wonderful story of Queen Goharshad, who was a 15th-century monarch, is inspiring. Parents and teachers can open discussions about art, music, cultures, and the history of Afghanistan. The book’s back pages have a glossary, an author’s note, and an educator’s guide. The lovely illustrations show the beauty and history of the story.Kristi’s Book Nook

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Marielle in Paris

Illustrated by Jeanne B. de Sainte Marie
Pomegranate Books, 2017

Ages: 3-7

Marielle is a fashion designer mouse who draws inspiration from her gorgeous Paris. She’s a mouse with moxie! When her fabulous dresses disappear, Marielle must conquer her fear of heights and fly high above Paris to find them—fast!

2018 Northern Lights Book Award for Best Picture Book in all categories 
2017 Foreword Indies Finalist

Lined in delicate pencil, de Sainte Marie’s paintings faithfully reproduce a variety of Parisian sites. Readers will enjoy the creativity Marielle brings to her designs, and the final pages invite them to locate the sources of her inspiration in de Sainte Marie’s images.Publisher’s Weekly

Marielle in Paris is a simply delightful picture book for children ages 5 to 8. The collaborative work of children’s author Maxine Rose Schur and impressively skilled illustrator Jeanne B. de Sainte Marie. Marielle in Paris is decidedly and unreservedly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections where it is certain to become an enduringly popular addition. Midwest Book Review

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Gullible Gus

Illustrated by Andrew Glass
Lawley Publishing 2020
Clarion Books, Houghton Mifflin 2009

Ages 6-10
ISBN 978061892710-4

Poor Cowboy Gus! He believes everything the other cowboys tell him, so he gets teased all the time. To cure his terrible case of gullibility, Gus visits Fibrock, a town full of liars. There he encounters Hokum Malarkey, who tells him three outrageous stories—while relieving him of all his money. But Gus doesn’t mind. If he can honestly say the words “I don’t believe it,” he’ll be cured forever.

With extravagant humor and lively language, Maxine Schur presents three tall tales within a frame story, each one just right for the chapter-book audience. Andrew Glass’s hilarious illustrations perfectly depict the hapless hero and the other larger-than-life characters that populate these wild and woolly adventures.

2009 Junior Library Guild Selection
2010 Mom’s Choice Award
2009 Foreword Reviews Book of the Year

This darn good yarn will have kids galloping through the pages. –Kirkus Review

Andrew Glass provides a fine set of color drawings for this excellent chapter book. Midwest Book Review

Schur’s wildly extravagant humor makes these tales jump right up and tickle the reader’s funny bone. The funniest book on the shelf. Parenting on the Peninsula

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There’s a Babirusa in My Bathtub!

Illustrated by Michael S. Maydak
Ages 4-9
Lawley Publishing 2021
Dawn Publications 2009

ISBN 1-58013-114-X

Have you ever
bathed with a babirusa,
dove with a dugong
met a matamata, or
jumped with a jerboa?

No? Then this is the book for you!

You’ll encounter real, little-known animals with habits as curious as their names.  “There’s a Babirusa in My Bathtub!” is a bestiary of amazing facts and poetic fancy.  From Mexico to Madagascar, you’ll discover a wondrous assortment of unsung animals.  Not famous — but fabulous!

Mom’s Choice Award
ForeWord Review’s Book of the Year (Silver)
iParenting Media Award

This unique book introduces thirteen little-known animals. Fanciful poems inspire children to want to know more and the book delivers.National Wildlife Federation

Startling facts, silly poems and the thrill of a hidden picture hunt make this warmly illustrated smorgasbord of strangeness a sly and slippery segue from fiction to non-fiction.Just One More

Because it both reinforces the basics of reading and develops a passionate interest in nature, There’s a Babirusa in My Bathtub is not to be missed.Wayne S. Walker Stories for Children Magazine

Maxine Rose Schur uses creativity to connect narrative and expository text throughout There’s a Babirusa in My Bathtub! Her use of poetry spawns the imagination of children about little-known animals. The book awakens the natural curiosity of children and inspires them to deeper levels of understanding in both reading and science. And for teachers she provides activities that reinforce phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, comprehension and vocabulary development.Diana H. Brown, Director, National Reading Initiative, Performance Learning Systems

A variety of witty, lively poems makes learning about these unsung animals fun—and fun to imitate by writing similar poems about well-known animals. Teachers and parents will appreciate the series of exercises in the back of the book that focus on the basics of reading: fluency, phonics, phonemic awareness, comprehension and vocabulary.  iParenting

This unique book will appeal to all animal lovers, who will enjoy both the catchy poems as well as the additional factual information provided on each animal and its habitat. It’s an especially good book for teachers and parents who are homeschooling their children since it encompasses both science and language arts through the combination of poetry and short factual essays on each animal.What Kids Think

A group of 7- to 10-year-olds enjoyed both the poems and learning about these exotic creatures, which appeal to children’s love of everything weird, grotesque and dangerous!  Toy Directory Monthly

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The Story of Ruth by Maxine Rose Schur. Children's Book Cover. Illustrated by Gwen Connelly.

The Story of Ruth

Retold by Maxine Rose Schur,
Illustrated by Gwen Connelly
Kar Ben Publishing 2005
Ages 4-8

ISBN 1-58013-114-X

Here is the story of Ruth as you have never heard it before.  Told with poetry and depth, this retelling by Maxine Rose Schur evokes the authenticity of its time and place and captures a beautiful love story as well as the strength of two legendary women. A treat for children ages four to eight.

Maxine Rose Schur’s beautiful retelling makes the story of Ruth accessible to children, with a book well suited to being read silently and allowed.  The story of Ruth is written in modern English and sprinkled with words to give the language the rhythms and sounds of an older text, without presenting difficulty for the reader. Schur handles the levirate marriage deftly. this masterful rendition of the ancient story of Ruth and Naomi will help make it accessible to younger readers, and will be enjoyed by adults and children.  Highly recommended for grades 1 to 5.”American Jewish Library Newsletter

With evocative phrasing and a strong and sure emphasis on loyalty and girl power, Schur (The Peddler’s Gift ) offers a fresh take on this Bible story.Publishers Weekly

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The Marvelous Maze

Illustrated by Patricia Dewitt-Grush & Robin Dewitt
Lawley Publishing 2020

Stemmer House, 1995
Ages 4-8

ISBN 0-88045-132-7

An original Renaissance fairy tale in which a clever but arrogant young prince orders a intricate garden maze built, and declares that the first princess to find her way out will be his bride. Many lovely princesses try but fail. Then the plain and plump 44th princess arrives and slyly teaches the prince about the importance of kindness, the beauty of nature and the power of love. A richly romantic tale exquisitely illustrated by Robin de Witt and Patricia de Witt Grush.

Wonderful story… a diamond jewel among picture books.
The Kemper County Messenger

Maxine Rose Schur wraps a powerful message within a charming allegory Book Review Center, Spalding University

The heroine who finds love despite her lack of glamour is admirable.The Horn Book

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The Peddler’s Gift

Illustrated by Kimberly Bulcken Root
Lawley Publishing 2022

Dial Books, Penguin USA 1999
Ages 4-8

ISBN 0-8037-1978-7

An original Russian-Jewish folk story. The wistful and moving tale of a boy who steals a toy from a foolish peddler only to discover he’s not so foolish after all.

Winner Sydney Taylor Award
Smithsonian Notable Book of the Century
Bay Area Book Reviewers Association Award Nominee
A Bank Street College of Education Best Children’s Book
New York Public Library List of 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing

IRA Notable Book for a Global Society

The combination of Schur’s poetic prose and Kimberly Bulcken Root’s gorgeous illustrations make The Peddler’s Gift a beautiful book to read, to look at, and to think about. Education World

Fine storytelling, rhythmic and controlled. The Horn Book

This nuanced portrait of shtetl life opens a window onto a lost world. Smithsonian Magazine

A season standout! The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The author has a talent for developing complex themes with a luminous clarity of language.American Jewish Library Newsletter

This gentle story is written with a fine folkloric tone that evokes both the richness and simplicity of a time long past.School Library Journal

Schur writes with poetic grace… with color and depth, making a painful incident poignant and underscoring some of life’s elusive lessons.San Francisco Chronicle

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Hannah Szenes: A Song of Light

The Jewish Publication Society, 1987,
revised and reprinted in paperback 1999
Ages: 11-16
ISBN 0827606621

Written with the support of Hannah Szene’s family, friends and fellow paratroopers, this is a powerful, poignant biography of the acclaimed poet and World War II resistance fighter, Hannah Szenes. The book eloquently captures the spirit of the young woman who lived and died for her ideals.

1987 National Jewish Book Award Finalist

Heart-piercing and soul-searingInternational Jewish Herald

A compelling biographyThe Los Angeles Times

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Sacred Shadows

Dial Books for Young Readers
Penguin hardcover 1997, paperback 2005
Ages: 11-16
ISBN: 978-0803722958

When her German hometown becomes part of Poland after World War I, Lena, a young German Jew, struggles to come to terms with the anti-Semitism and anti-German hatred that is growing around her. When Lena meets Janusz, a young idealist at the forefront of a new movement, Lena begins to see the truth about the changes in her country and she must make a choice that will alter their future forever.

1998 National Jewish Book Award Finalist 
1998 Notable Book for a Global Society by the International Reading Association 
1998 Notable Book in the Field of Social Studies  
1998 Notable Book for a Global Society by the International Reading Association 
1998 Society of School Librarians International Book Award, (Honor Book) 
1998 Young Hoosiers Award Nominee 

Exquisitely renderedThe Horn Book

A moving story, exquisitely told… a novel with the ring of authenticity as well as artistry The Contra Costa Times

The magic of this book lies in the remarkable writing style of the author whose depiction of time and place is so vivid that you walk the streets and recognize the people. A moving, beautifully written account of a little-known timeChildren’s Literature.

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The Circlemaker

(Historical novel for 4th through 6th grade)
Lawley Publishing 2023,
Dial Books, Penguin USA, 1994,
4th through 6th grade
ISBN 0-8037-1354-1

Based on meticulous historical research, The Circlemaker tells the exciting story of a boy fleeing the forced conscription of Jewish children in Russia in the year 1854.

1994 American Booksellers “Pick of the Lists”
1996-97 Mark Twain Award nominee
Winner of the 1994 Louis B. Dessauer Award
Winner of the Society of Children’s Book Writers Work-in-Progress Grant. 

“Atmospheric and suspenseful… maintaining an edge-of-the-seat tension until the very last words.”Publishers Weekly (starred review)

An exciting story of terror and disguise, of leaving home and outwitting the enemy.”- Booklist

Taut and tender…pages seem to turn themselves.- San Francisco Chronicle

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When I Left my Village

Illustrated by Brian Pinkney
Dial Books/Penguin-Random House 1995
Ages 8-11
ISBN 0803715617

Sequel to DAY OF DELIGHT, this is the wrenching story of an Ethiopian Jewish family’s perilous escape to the Sudan in the mid-1980s and their miraculous airlift rescue by the Israelis. Beautifully illustrated by Caldecott Award winner, Brian Pinkney.

1994 American Booksellers “Pick of the Lists”
1996 Notable Book in the Field of Social Studies
1996 Bay Area Book Reviewers Award Nominee
Winner of the 1996 Sugarman Family Award
Winner of the 1996 Sydney Taylor Award

“…writing with pathos deepened by memorable imagery. A trenchant sequel to the acclaimed Day of Delight ” – Publishers Weekly

“The narrative is both dramatic and lyrical: evocative images fill the book. With great artistry, Schur weaves history, adventure, and family drama into a polished narrative.” – Kirkus Reviews, (pointered review)

“Provocative and emotional… a riveting family story.”The Horn Book

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Day of Delight

Illustrated by Brian Pinkney
Dial Books/Penguin-Random House 1995
Ages 5-8
ISBN 9780803714137

Depicting a culture that is quickly vanishing, the story of the Ethiopian Jews is told through the eyes of a young boy as his family and friends prepare for the sabbath or “day of delight.”The spare, poetic text evokes an Ethiopian Jewish village as seen through the eyes of a villager boy on one Sabbath day. Illustrated by Caldecott Award winner, Brian Pinkney.

A 1994 “American Booksellers Pick of the Lists”
Winner of the 1994 Parent’s Choice Award
1994 Sydney Taylor Award nominee
Smithsonian “Best Children’s Book of 1994”
Narrated for Audiobook by Gregory Hines

” An economical evocation of an entire way of life… Fascinating”
Publishers Weekly, (starred review)

” A gem.” – School Library Journal

“Simple and tenderly told. A beautifully crafted book” The Horn Book

Samantha’s Surprise

Mattel-American Girls
Illustrations by Dan Andreason
Ages 5-10
ISBN 0-937295-86-8

Samantha has big plans for a wonderful Christmas but after Uncle Gard announces he’s bringing the elegant Cornelia home for the holidays, things start to go wrong. Everyone is too busy to help Samantha with her Christmas plans and Samantha blames Cornelia for ruining the holidays. But Christmas morning brings surprises, awareness, and a change of heart.

Film: Samantha: An American Girl Holiday
Warner Bros/American Girl, 2004
Produced by Julia Roberts
Based on the Samantha stories by Maxine Rose Schur, Susan Adler, and Valerie Tripp

The Witch at the Wellington Library

Viking/Sevenseas, New Zealand
Illustrations by Clare Bowes
Ages 4-7
: 9780854670666

What happens when an ugly witch takes up residence in the library? Boo-tiful things! The witch does cause some hilarious mischief with the library patrons but she is an artist as well. Her lovely paintings fascinate the community and despite her frightful appearance she finds fame… and love.

Full of suspense, surprise and humor, The Witch at the Wellington Library will delight readers not only at Halloween but throughout the year.

Weka Won’t Learn

Viking/Sevenseas, New Zealand
Illustrations by Vanya Lowry
Ages 4-6
: 9780854670475

Entertaining and educational stories for children about New Zealand’s flightless birds – the weka, the rifleman, the fantail, the morepork, the kiwi, the tūī, the kākāriki and the kākāpō.

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