September 21 @ 6:00 pm
South Florida Writers Association
We cordially invite you to the next installment of the South Florida Writers Association’s Authors Showcase Series in collaboration with Books & Books @ Suniland in Pinecrest, featuring authors Mort Laitner & Keitha Burnett.
Mort Laitner’s first picture book, The Hanukkah Bunny takes the reader to the Catskill Mountains in the fifties and the sixties, (remember the Concord and Grossinger’s) to present day life in South Florida, where the author’s life intersects with the lives of rabbits. One of those bunnies becomes fixated with a dreidel and a menorah and teaches children of all ages the meaning of the Hanukkah. This award-winning, inspirational tale makes a great Hanukkah present. Whether you read it to them or they read it to you, “The Hanukkah Bunny” offers a great way for your children or grandchildren to enjoy a contemporary tale with a message of awe, love, and dedication.”
This is Laitner’s third Jewish-themed book,(“A Hebraic Obsession” and “The Greatest Gift–Award-Winning Stories Filled With Life Lessons“) He is also the producer and script writer of the film the “Stairs”. Laitner stressed that, “On any of the eight nights, after lighting the menorah, eating latkes, singing songs, spinning the dreidel and handing out the gelt, your family will enjoy this funny, educational and inspirational story about a bunny who was captivated by Hanukkah.
This book chronicles the challenges of operating a non-profit independent charter school. It details the most critical year in the school’s history. This educational institution, in particular, serves a population where ninety-nine percent of the students receive free or reduced lunch in one of the largest school districts in America. The school must earn a passing grade amidst constant changes made in the state-wide assessment. One questionable policy implemented during this time decreased the number of students needed in each grade level for a school to receive a grade. The number was pruned from 29 to 10 despite the fact that statistically, a population should hover around 25-30 to increase the reliability and validity of the results. Ironically, policies are quickly put in place to prevent any school from dropping more than two letters grades, however, there were no policies put in place to account for schools that are ranked at the bottom, but show substantial gains.
Should the elementary school be unsuccessful, its fate would negatively impact the middle/high school since they share the same facility and resources. The middle/high school was one of the first secondary charter schools in its region to be accredited by the Southern Association of Schools and Colleges.
Whether traditional or charter school, the overall purpose of this book is to highlight systemic problems that directly and indirectly affect students, parents, educators, and the community at-large, especially in low-income areas which leaves educational policy disjointed, incremental, and ineffective.
About the Authors:
Mort Laitner is a short story writer, a teacher, and an attorney. He is the author of 13 books and on the Board of Directors of the South Florida Writers Association where he is in charge of the annual Mango Writers Conference. Morton practiced public health law with the Miami-Dade County Health Department for 35 years until his retirement. In the beginning of his career Mort practiced Family Law with the Baton Rouge Legal Aid Society and Legal Services of Greater Miami. Morton has taught at the University of Miami, School of Medicine, St. Thomas University and Miami-Dade College. He presently teaches Law and Ethics at the Masters Level at Barry University and Florida International University. During his career, Mort has received coverage on CBS Nightly News, in Life Magazine, in Money Magazine, and in the New York Times.