Joshua S. Levy understands the reality of living multiple lives. Levy, 37, is a director in the commercial and criminal litigation group at Gibbons P.C., a law firm in Newark.
Outside of his 9-to-5 job, Levy writes middle-grade fiction.
The Milford resident’s latest book, The Jake Show (HarperCollins, May 23), tells the story of Jake Lightman, a Jewish teenager starting seventh grade at his fifth new school since his parents’ divorce. Torn between the worlds of his Orthodox mother and secular father, TV-obsessed Jake dreams up realities in his head in order to escape his constantly shifting world. When his new friends invite him to summer camp, Jake must create an elaborate lie so that both of his parents will let him go.
As a Jewish kid with divorced parents, Levy says he had to navigate similar realities. Growing up, Levy says there weren’t many books that highlighted his experiences or featured children from Orthodox backgrounds. Levy feels “so privileged to be able to tell this story, both for [himself] and to kids who might see themselves in aspects of it, too.”
But Levy also believes The Jake Show is a story for everyone. “A kid who is caught between the different worlds of his different family members—that framework is universal,” he says.
Part of Levy’s inspiration comes from his time as a counselor at Jewish summer camps and as a middle school teacher, prior to attending law school.
Levy says that middle school is a dynamic time for children who are finding their voices, developing confidence, and learning how to accept differences between themselves and others.
He is also the author of a three-part sci-fi series, the final installment of which is coming out in August, and two more books coming out next summer. Levy says he hopes that his stories help children work through their own experiences.
Every person is going through something important, Levy says. When the last page is turned, “I don’t want the reader to walk away thinking there is a right or wrong way to be.”
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