Brighton Beach

Local author of ‘B Is For Brighton Beach’ is all about giving back

Brooklyn BookBeat

August 24, 2015 Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Author Mikhail Salita. Photo courtesy of Larry Dell
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“B Is For Brighton Beach” is a recently published children’s book with a story and a back-story. On one level, the book, a loving tribute to Brighton Beach written by Mikhail Salita and lavishly illustrated by Elena Stekacheva, is a clever, engaging way for pre-K students to learn the alphabet and prepare for reading. But on another level it’s the story of a Brooklyn resident who emigrated from Ukraine about 25 years ago and has embraced his new home and is making important contributions to early childhood education.

“My book [is] an alphabetical journey of Brighton Beach with a social studies component. Children, parents, grandparents, teachers and others can learn about the beautiful, bustling, beachfront neighborhood of Brighton Beach from a young child’s point of view,” said Salita. “And tourists and visitors can take advantage of the map and explore Brighton Beach from A to Z.”

Teaching children is a passion for Salita. He has two Master’s degrees, one in library science from Pratt Institute and the other in early childhood education from Touro College. For the last six years he’s worked as a pre-K teacher. That background as well as training as a filmmaker informs the process he uses as an author.

For every letter in the alphabet, he creates a script and a story and an alliterative sentence that describes the action on the page. The result is that every passage overflows with excitement and information, which means children remain engaged. Learning the alphabet takes place effortlessly as children return again and again to the clever wordplay and colorful illustrations. And it’s not only children who are enchanted; the whole community is embracing his effort.

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“Brighton Beach is wonderful place to shop, dine, relax and enjoy the beach and ocean and ‘B Is For Brighton Beach’ is a great way for children to learn to read and for their parents to be introduced to the area,” said Yelena Mahknin, executive director of the Brighton Beach Business Improvement District. “I’m encouraging educators and city officials to help get this book into every pre-K classroom and library in the city.”

Activities planned for the book include readings at local libraries and schools once the school year begins, and also at community events.

Next up for Salita is another alphabet book, this time with an international theme. “O is for Odessa” will focus on the city of his birth providing an introduction to that city for U.S. children and educators. A planned Russian language version will hopefully be distributed in the Ukraine so Salita can do for those children what he’s already doing for children in Brooklyn and across the country.

For more information or to purchase “B Is For Brighton Beach” contact: Mikhail Salita at [email protected]

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