To Joey – Stay Curious!


Last Saturday my son Joey had his Bar Mitzvah – a culmination of years of preparation. He did amazingly and I’m so proud of him.

As some of you may know Joey is the inspiration behind the animagus kangaroo character in P.A.W.S., so I thought it might be fun to share with you the speech I made at the ceremony.

Speech – Debbie Manber Kupfer – Joey’s Bar Mitzvah, May 14. 2016

Nearly 14 years ago I said hello to you for the first time, Joey. You spent the first months of your life sitting in my pouch watching the world go by, much like a baby kangaroo.

Ever curious, ever bouncy, you grew into the young man you are today, towering over me (though inside, of course you’re still my baby).

I’m so proud of you, Joey. You work so hard, you care so much. You never take on anything without putting your whole soul into it. Whether it’s working on a new creation in Minecraft, writing a story, creating a new puzzle, rehearsing for show choir, and of course the months of work you’ve put into preparing for this Bar Mitzvah.

Four years ago when I was writing P.A.W.S. we spent a day together in the St. Louis Zoo. I told you the whole story and you listened, absorbing all the details while together we created your character in the book. Joey Marks, the Australian animagus exchange student can change into a kangaroo (which I don’t think you can do yet, though you do like to bounce around!) But apart from that little detail he shares so many of your characteristics. He’s smart, curious, bouncy, enthusiastic. He loves board games, magic tricks, and puzzles. And he’s always ready for the next adventure. Just like you!

So, as you get ready for the next adventure Joey, remember to slow down a little, occasionally. Stop, look around you. Observe and above all stay curious and watch for the magic; it’s out there!


Joey is the co-author of Paws 4 Logic – a collection of puzzles suitable for all of ages.


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