A Literary Celebration

January 6, 2023

The beginning of December saw the return of LitFest @ Nightingale, a series of events celebrating the written word which encompassed Authors Night, Book Fair, and several in-person and virtual literary events. To kick off the festivities, several Upper School students journeyed to see “Maus Now: Art Spiegelman in Conversation with Hillary Chute” at the 92Y.

Lower School students welcomed children’s book author and historian Emma Otheguy to assembly. “Her books emphasize the deep connections between Latin America and the United States and aim to share these stories of bridges and convergences with everyday kids,” Lower School Librarian Megan Westman shared. During the assembly, Emma read from her book, A Sled for Gabo, which sparked a discussion about the moments one could experience when making new friends in a community. Following assembly, Emma led Class III students through a workshop where they thought of important historical figures and created newspaper headlines and letters from the perspective of those historical figures. Emma also met with Class IV students in the afternoon to explore the central themes in her latest book,Sofía Acosta Makes a Scene which addresses sibling rivalry, immigration history, suburban life, and ballet. “Sofía develops into an outspoken advocate as she discovers her family’s immigration story and her own voice, so this presentation is ideal for immigration units and classes exploring change-making and activism,” Ms. Westman said.

Author Melissa Dassori visited Class V for a writing workshop based on her book J.R. Silver Writes Her World, which is a coming-of-age middle grade story set in New York City about a sixth-grader who writes stories that magically come true. After presenting the story itself and story inspiration to students, Melissa shared her experience becoming a writer and her career since. Students also took part in a writing activity inspired by events in her book, where they used The New Yorker-like magazine covers to inspire and craft short stories.

“We loved seeing the whole Nightingale community participate in LitFest,” Upper School book club leaders Jane B. ’23 and Abby G. ’23 shared. “The Upper School Book Club took part first with our meeting to discuss J.D. Salinger’s Franny and Zoey, and then with the selection of our next read: Amor Towles' A Gentleman in Moscow. Club members read it over winter break after attending Authors Night and hearing Towles speak about his writing process. The library advisory board also participated in LitFest, with members marking their recommended reads at the Book Fair.”

At the culmination of the fest, students from every division had the opportunity to peruse the stocked shelves of Nightingale’s Book Fair in the auditorium. Students and parents visited the fair, flipped through potential buys, and decided on the stories they wanted to read.

“The Book Fair was amazing,” Lucy W. ’27 reflected. “There was such a variety of books and authors, so I was able to find books that I wanted, as well as looking at genres that I don't always read. I also enjoyed how the Book Fair was open for multiple days, so I was able to go back and continue looking for books.”