Literacy week at the Shulamith School for Girls in Cedarhurst drew a range of word-centric speakers last week, including The Jewish Star’s Celia Weintrob, children’s authors Malky Weinstock and Miriam Agular, Mishpacha’s Family First Managing Editor Bassi Gruen, Five Towns Jewish Towns Publisher Larry Gordon, and a Shulamith parent employed by Judaica Press.
Weinstock, author of the “Yael” series, visited first and second grade classrooms where she spoke of Yael’s motto related to hachanasat orchim — “When you have a guest, act your best!”
Agular, lower division secretary and author of Adventures of Mr. Smith in Yahoopitzville, spoke to Lower and Middle Division students about what is involved in writing a book and getting it published. Through a creative hands-on activity, she encouraged the girls to explore their creativity and hone their teamwork skills.
Chaim Schneider, parent of seventh grader, Lani, returned to Shulamlith for the fourth year with his fifth grade workshop, “From Concept to Consumer.” Schneider works for Judaica Press and offered an insiders look at how a publication moves from a writer’s idea to a book awaiting its readers on the shelves of a store or library. The girls had a chance to create their own cover illustrations and compare them to the actual covers of Judaica Press books.
Weintrob of The Jewish Star spoke to sixth graders about the news. She pointed out that what makes something news is that it’s new, and she provided a history of newspapers and reporting. Weintrob told the girls that we seem to have come full circle from the 1800s, when penny papers published sensational stories that were pure fabrications, to the 1900s when the Ochs family established guidelines to ensure the veracity of the news printed in papers, to today’s world where the internet and social media have contributed to the phenomenon of “Fake News.”
Gordon of the Times spoke with seventh and eighth graders about various aspects of publishing a newspaper. He encouraged the girls to read.
Finally, Gruen of Mishpacha joined the event from Israel, leading them through “The Making of a Magazine.” She related how stories are selected and prepared for publication. In her interactive workshop, students were able to offer their own ideas for feature stories and how they might be presented in the magazine.