Here at ArtScroll’s acquisition desk, we’re used to getting large numbers of submissions. Lately, though, we’ve seen mail coming in that looks different from the usual manuscripts. These submissions are written on lined paper with crisply sharpened pencils or carefully drawn in crayons or colored markers. They are short, they are fun – and they are utterly charming.
Welcome to Children’s Jewish Book Month’s “Write, Draw, and Win!” contest, sponsored by ArtScroll.
As the world’s largest English-language publisher of Jewish books, ArtScroll takes its commitment to Torah literacy very seriously. Realizing that a love of books, of reading, and of a Torah perspective on life begins very early, we have long been publishing high-quality Jewish books for children, from beautifully illustrated easy readers and wonderful “read-to-me” books for the little ones to well-received middle grade and young adult fiction and non-fiction.
Encouraging our children to read – and encouraging them to read books invested with Torah values – has become more vital than ever. In a world increasingly made up of flickering digital images, reading books develop children’s attention spans, their analytical skills and, of course, their imaginations. Study after study has shown that children who read books do better in school.
And because books have a marked impact on a child’s worldview, it is vitally important to offer children books that reflect Jewish values.
A year ago, in recognition of the importance of introducing our youth to authentic Torah literature, ArtScroll initiated the concept “May is…Children’s Jewish Book Month” with a poster campaign and special sale on all children’s books. The idea was enthusiastically embraced by educators, librarians and parents. This year the project has been expanded to include a writing and drawing contest for students from first to eighth grades. Children submit short essays or drawings on topics connected to Jewish books, with winners in different categories and age groups.
Over seventy Jewish schools nationwide have registered for the contest, and the kids’ submissions are flowing in. Principals and teachers, realizing the importance of getting children interested in Jewish books, have enthusiastically endorsed the idea.
Top winners – and their schools – will receive $500 gift certificates from ArtScroll. But in this contest everyone is a winner, as we get our children involved and excited about reading Jewish books.
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