The B'nai B'rith Diverse Minds Youth Writing Challenge awards season is under way, and the Delmarva contest winners have been awarded. This was the second year for the contest on Delmarva, which was generously sponsored by Delmarva Power.
The Diverse Minds Youth Writing Challenge is an education and awareness initiative created by B'nai B'rith International as one of its programs that promote tolerance and communicate a message of equality among all citizens, regardless of race, religion, national origin, gender or sexual orientation.
Our goal is to destroy prejudices and strengthen the future of our youth through enlightenment, inspiration and education.
See social media highlights from the contest, below:
After Charter School of Wilmington student Monica Keszler was named winner of the B'nai B'rith International Diverse Minds Youth Writing Challenge for the Delmarva region on May 27, she signed copies of her winning book, "Kira Kiwi, How Will School Be?"
In the coming weeks, Keszler will visit libraries in her northern Delaware community, sharing her story, reading to younger students and signing copies for those in attendance.
More details about the book tour can be found below, courtesy of an article in DelawareOnline.com:
High school student Monica Keszler will read her award-winning book, “Kira Kiwi, How Will School Be?” at 9:30 a.m. at the Elsmere Library at 30 Spruce Ave., New Castle County Executive Thomas P. Gordon announced Friday.
Readings also are set for 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Kirkwood Highway Library at 6000 Kirkwood Highway and 2 p.m. July 29 at the Woodlawn Library, 2020 W. Ninth St. in Wilmington.
“We are excited to have a young, talented author like Monica Keszler conduct a reading in our libraries,” Gordon said in a statement.
Keszler, a Charter School of Wilmington student, created her book as part of the B’nai B’rith International Diverse Minds Youth Writing Challenge in the Delmarva Peninsula. Ninth- through 12th-graders in Delaware and 10 Maryland counties entered by writing and illustrating books about tolerance and diversity for readers up to fifth grade.
Keszler’s was announced as the first-place winner in May. She won a $5,000 scholarship, her book’s publication and $500 stipends for her school and classroom materials for the teacher who oversaw its creation.
Her book – about a flightless kiwi who moves to a school full of birds that fly – is being given to schools, libraries, community groups and the “Today” show’s holiday toy drive. It is available for free download in the iBooks Store.
Congratulations to Monica Keszler, who was awarded first place in the 2013-14 Delmarva Peninsula Diverse Minds Youth Writing Challenge.
Her winning entry, "Kira Kiwi, How Will School Be?" embodies the purpose of the challenge: promoting tolerance and articulating a message of equality among all citizens, regardless of race, religion, national origin, gender or sexual orientation.
The finished product was a tale of overcoming anxiety and the unknown, arriving at the conclusion that diversity should be celebrated so that everyone can realize his or her own strengths. For her efforts, Keszler received a $5,000 college scholarship and held her first official book signing at the Delmarva Power Conference Center.
Here is a gallery of photos from the awards ceremony:
Zack Varrato was casual about winning a $1,000 college scholarship, but that’s to be expected from the easygoing Sussex Technical High School sophomore.
B’nai B’rith International, a nonprofit Jewish human rights group, awarded Varrato the third-prize scholarship for its Diverse Minds Youth Writing Challenge on May 27.
The contest challenged high-schoolers throughout Delaware, as well as students in 10 counties in Maryland, to write and illustrate a children’s book about diversity and tolerance. The first-prize book will be published by Self Publishing Inc. and distributed in local schools and libraries.
While Varrato describes himself as outgoing rather than mellow, he identifies with the main character’s diverse group of friends.
“I’m from a diverse family,” he said. “I have a sister who is adopted, an uncle who is blind, an uncle who is gay. I’ve been raised to accept those differences.”
“For the younger kids, they have to realize others have to be accepted,” he said. “For the older kids, they have to include themselves in groups and it’s OK they’re different.”
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