Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Brenda A. Ferber  

Pen Name: None


Audience: Adult; Young Adult; Children;

Born: 1967 in Skokie, Illinois

-- Website --
-- Brenda A. Ferber on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Ferber was born in Skokie and grew up in Highland Park. She now lives and works in Deerfield.

Biographical and Professional Information

Brenda Ferber graduated from the University of Michigan. She started out writing stories that were accepted by ''Ladybug'' magazine. In 2004, she submitted her first novel, then called ''Cara's Kitchen'', to the Sydney Taylor Manuscript Competition, which she won. The manuscript was accepted for publication by Farrar Straus & Giroux, which published the book as ''Julia's Kitchen'' in 2006.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

Julia's Kitchen
ISBN: 0374399328

Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR). 2006

Cara Segal is a born worrier. She figures her worrying works like a whisper in God's ear – if Cara's concerned about car crashes, kidnappings, or murders, she lets God know, and he always
spares her. But Cara never thought to worry about a fire. And one night while she's sleeping at a friend's house, her house catches fire, and her mother and younger sister are both killed.
Throughout shiva, the initial Jewish mourning period, Cara can't help wondering about God's role in the tragedy. And what is her father's role in her life now? He walks around like a ghost
and refuses to talk about the fire. Cara longs for her family and her home, where sweet smells filled the house as Cara's mom filled orders for her catering business, Julia's Kitchen. Then one
day a call comes in for a cookie order, and Cara gets a wild idea. Maybe by bringing back Julia's Kitchen, she can find a way to reconnect with everything she's lost.

Complete with a glossary of Hebrew and Yiddish terms and a recipe for chocolate chip cookies, this debut novel is a joyous tribute to the resiliency of the human spirit.

Julia's Kitchen is a 2007 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year.

Jemma Hartman, Camper Extraordinaire
ISBN: 0374336725

Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR). 2009

Jemma Hartman knows that her first summer at beautiful Camp Star Lake is going to be amazing. There will be swimming, sailing, and overnight trips – not to mention her best friend, Tammy, who moved away a year ago. But when Tammy’s cousin, Brooke, decides to come to camp as well, Jemma’s perfect summer starts to crumble. Brooke never laughs at Jemma’s jokes, and she thinks she rules the cabin. She even convinces Tammy to be her sailing partner, sticking Jemma with the camp weirdo. Jemma just can’t understand why Tammy wants to spend all her time with Brooke. And is it really possible to make new friends but keep the old, like the song says, or does Jemma simply need to let go?

Recalling the camp she attended as a child, Brenda A. Ferber offers an endearing look at friendships lost and found.

The Yuckiest, Stinkiest, Best Valentine Ever
ISBN: 0803735057

Dial Books. 2012

Even boys will fall in love with this valentine!

Leon has a crush. A let-her-cut-in-line-at-the-water-fountain kind of crush. And he's got the perfect valentine. But this valentine has no intention of getting caught up in any romantic conspiracy. "Love is yucky, kid! Valentine's Day is all about CANDY!" the card yells at Leon, before leaping out the window and running away, leaving Leon to chase it across town, collecting interested kids along the way.

Here is a hilarious take on the holiday that boys love to hate, the most complex holiday of them all. Saying "I love you" has never been so yucky or so sweet.


The Yuckiest, Stinkiest, Best Valentine's Day Ever

  • Kirkus Starred Review
  • Julia's Kitchen

  • Sydney Taylor Book Award Winner under the title ''Cara's Kitchen'', 2004
  • As a result, the title was changed and it went on to be published as ''Julia's Kitchen''
  • VOYA Top Shelf Fiction for Middle School Readers, 2006
  • Junior Library Guild Selection, 2006
  • Bank Street Best Children's Book of the Year, 2007
  • Kirkus Starred Review

    Speaking Engagements

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