Bev Katz Rosenbaum

Bev Katz Rosenbaum is the author of several works of fiction. She has worked in-house as an editor for book publishers and magazines and has taught writing at the college level. Currently she juggles writing children's books with freelance editing. Bev lives in Toronto.


Rosenbaum wrote quirky middle-grade novel Who Is Tanksy? No, not with spray paint...

How were you similar to 14-year-old main character Tanya, your book's graffiti artist, when you were a teen, and how were you different from her? Great question! Like Tanya, I was always a bit of a quiet rebel—always questioned why things had to be done certain ways and stood up for the things I believed in. But I didn't have Tanya's utter fearlessness! Sometimes you write the character you wish you were. By the way, my kids see a lot of me in Tanya's mom! There are definitely bits of me in both those characters.
Tanya definitely has a rebellious nature. Have you ever stood for or against a major cause or issue, as a teen or now in adulthood? I wrote Who Is Tanksy? as a direct result of watching the 2016 U.S. election campaign unfold. I knew I wanted to write about a school election with some parallels to that one, and I hoped the book would start some conversations about how we want to treat people, and how we talk to and about people. Aside from writing the book, over the past few years, I've taken part in protests for various causes—women's rights, the environment, refugees.
What is your best advice to students who experience the discomfort of being the new kid in school, like Tanya? Ugh, being the new person anywhere, anytime, is the worst. Know that every single person on earth is in this situation at some point, and also that people aren't noticing your awkwardness—or what you perceive as your awkwardness—as much as you think they are. Most people only notice what's happening in their own little sphere.
When you see graffiti in your community, do you view it as artistic expression or as vandalism? It depends on the context. Graffiti on private property is never okay. I love all the commissioned and totally legal street art being done in big cities all over the world. There's been an explosion of it in my city, Toronto. Personally, I'm okay with graffiti done on abandoned ravine bridges and places like that, even though it's technically illegal. It's not hurting anybody—unless it's hate speech—and personally, I like seeing it on my ravine walks! 
Do you ever break society's "rules" in large or small ways. If so, how? I'm not generally a lawbreaker, but I might break a law if I felt the law wasn't right. I can't think of an example right now! As far as my personal life goes, I don't much care what people think of my choices. I follow my own code, listen to my own heart. 
What changes or improvements would you like to see in the world? Are you able to use your writing as a vehicle to affect such change? Yes, these days I'm definitely trying to use my writing in service of causes I believe in. As I said before, with Who is Tanksy?, I aimed to make readers think about what kind of world we want to live in. The school in the book is a microcosm of the world we find ourselves living in today. The book I'm shopping now is about a girl with a difficult home life. It's about addiction and mental illness, and I hope it will help destigmatize those things and make readers in my main character's shoes feel less alone.
"I appreciate Who Is Tanksy?'s theme, because it shows students who struggle to find a voice when adults in power refuse to listen." —LitPick Student Review



Bev Katz Rosenbaum