The contest—held this year in Memphis and New York—is an annual education and awareness initiative created by B’nai B’rith International that asks high school students to write and illustrate a children’s book that discusses the topics of tolerance and diversity. The contest winners receive a college scholarship and publication of the book. To date, B’nai B’rith has published 17 winning books from seven cities.
B’nai B’rith distributed 600 books among three sites—two in New York and one in Detroit—for the TODAY Show’s 18th Annual Holiday Toy and Gift Drive. B’nai B’rith staff also presented copies of this year’s New York winning book, “The Mystery Gift,” on live television for the TODAY Show’s gift drive. You can view the distribution here, in the first section of this clip.
“The Mystery Gift,” written and illustrated by Gidget Irizarry, takes place in a classroom where students learn about various celebrations, from Christmas, Chanukah and Kwanzaa to the Hindu holiday Dwali, the pre-Christmas Las Posadas holiday celebrated in Mexico and more.
B’nai B’rith also donated copies of “The Mystery Gift” to PS 186 Elementary School in Brooklyn, enough for each teacher/classroom at the school. Upon receipt of the books, the school’s principal commented in a letter: “We are a multicultural school and a story like the one told in The Mystery Gift is one all our children can relate to...Thank you once again for your generosity and for helping us spread holiday cheer!”
For more information on the B’nai B’rith Diverse Minds Youth Writing Challenge and to read about this year’s winners, click here.