Frankenstein’s Matzah: An Interview with Author K. Marcus

Frankenstein’s Matzah, written by K. Marcus and illustrated by Sam Loman, follows the antics of Vee Frankenstein–the great, great, great grand-descendant of Victor Frankenstein–who wants to win the school science fair by bringing a matzah to life! Vee (we think!) is the first nonbinary main character featured in a Jewish picture book. Keshet sat down with the author K. Marcus to learn more.

April 4, 2024

By Keshet

What inspired you to write this book? 

KM: I had been thinking about mashing up different genres and I’ve always been interested in science and the story of Frankenstein. I’m also always thinking Jewishly. Somehow, I started to connect the Frankenstein story with the Passover story. They really aligned quite nicely in terms of the different themes and structures.


Tell us more about the parallel themes of the Frankenstein and Passover stories!

KM: The questions that Vee has when they create this matzah that actually comes to life, those are some deep ethical questions. In their enthusiasm to do the experiment, they didn’t really think about those. But bringing something to life that has a consciousness, that can talk, that has a personality, brings up a lot. For me, that challenge aligned perfectly with the four questions of the Passover seder. 

I also felt like the science aligned. I wanted to include kitchen science that people can just do, they don’t need to get any other materials to do the experiments. They have everything at home and at their seder table: the salt, the ingredients for chicken soup! 


How did you decide to make the main character, Vee, nonbinary? 

KM: In my community now, we have a lot of trans and nonbinary kids. I had been doing some deep thinking about kids and gender identity and I really wanted to just show someone who is living their best life. Frankenstein’s Matzah is not a story about coming out or about Vee being different or coming to love themselves. They are just doing their thing.

As a kid, it would have been nice to have had a variety of different book characters. But it was a different time. I want kids to be able to see themselves, or to see their friend or even, for those who do not know someone nonbinary, just see that Vee is a kid and they like science and they’re Jewish and they’re having a great time. And they have a loving mom and grandpa and younger sibling who’s creative in their own right. I thought that was really important.

I think if my book can get out into the world in places that are not as open as my community, then maybe seeing a kid who’s a scientist might be a little crack. And readers can peek through and say, “Oh, this kid isn’t that different from me.”


What Jewish message do you want to convey with this story?

KM: This book is really all about Jewish joy for me. I wasn’t seeing as many funny Jewish picture book stories as I thought there should be. I wanted to convey that you can have a good time at a seder and that there is a lot more going on than kids might realize. Judaism can be fun and interesting and Jewish books can also be funny and enjoyable.

My Judaism is very open and that’s kind of how I wanted it to be in the book too. It’s really important for all people to be seen. I wanted all kids to know that there are people out there thinking about them.


Purchase Frankenstein’s Matzah here!