HUC-JIR Hosts "Let's Pretend" with Cincinnati Children's Author Linda Leopold Strauss

Arts and Entertainment

March 20, 2014

Imagination and make-believe are the themes to be explored at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institutes of Religion (HUC-JIR) special event for families on Sunday, April 6, from 1:00 2:30 p.m.  "Let's Pretend with Linda Leopold Strauss" is an activity-filled afternoon featuring the multi-award winning Cincinnati children's author.  Her newest and tenth book, BEST FRIENDS PRETEND! (Scholastic/Cartwheel, 2014) was just released in January.  Suggested for children up to 8 years-old, the afternoon includes story-time with the author and three hands-on activities led by artist Sarah Jane Bellamy, a K-12 art department head for more than forty years. And there's more a "Let's Pretend" Costume Parade, refreshments and a book sale. The event is presented in partnership with PJ Library Cincinnati. There is no admission charge and everyone is welcome to attend.  "Let's Pretend with Linda Leopold Strauss" takes place in Mayerson Hall, located at 3101 Clifton Avenue, on the campus of HUC-JIR in Clifton.  For more information, phone 513-487-3098, email or visit

Linda Leopold Strauss's newest book for children, BEST FRIENDS PRETEND! (Scholastic/Cartwheel, 2014), is a rhyming romp into all the things that girls love to do--from flying into space to being mermaid princesses. Geared toward ages 2-5 years, this board book, with engaging illustrations by Lynn Munsinger, has received praise for its ability to inspire young imaginations. Two additional books by Strauss will be featured at the "Let's Pretend" event PRESCHOOL DAY HOORAY! (Scholastic/Cartwheel, 2010), and THE PRINCESS GOWN (Houghton Mifflin, 2008).  Strauss's book, THE ELIJAH DOOR: A PASSOVER TALE (Holiday House 2012) was named a PJ Library book in 2013.  Read more about the author and her books at her website,

Bellamy, who conducts education programs for the Taft and several other museums, is providing three art experiences for girls and boys. For BEST FRIENDS PRETEND!, children will create their own make-believe character using model magic clay.  For PRESCHOOL DAY HOORAY!, children will imagine what school will be like next year and then create their own story in a provided hand-made book.  For THE PRINCESS GOWN, patterns will be provided, so girls can create their own unique fashion design and boys can create a super hero outfit.  Bellamy will also explore the three choices young artists have when they make a mistake - 1. Throw a temper tantrum, 2. Call for Mommy or Daddy, or 3. Be an artist and solve the problem. 

PJ Library is a Jewish family engagement program implemented in communities throughout North America. They mail free, high-quality Jewish children's literature and music to families across the country on a monthly basis. Cincinnati families raising Jewish children from six months of age through eight years are welcome to sign up on the PJ Library website,  


Linda Leopold Strauss began her writing career more than thirty years ago. She has previously published nine books for children and stories in numerous children's magazines (including Cricket, Spider, Ladybug, Hopscotch, Astrapi and School). Her books include BEST FRIENDS PRETEND (Scholastic/Cartwheel, 2014), THE ELIJAH DOOR (Holiday House, 2012), PRESCHOOL DAY HOORAY! (Scholastic/Cartwheel, 2010), DROP EVERYTHING AND WRITE! (E&E Publishing, 2010), THE PRINCESS GOWN (Houghton-Mifflin, 2008), and A FAIRY CALLED HILARY (Holiday House, 1999).  Her work includes fiction and non-fiction for a wide variety of ages and has been translated into French, Italian, Swedish and German.  She regularly visits schools and libraries to engage with young readers and has taught writing to students from kindergarten-age to adults. 

The Skirball Museum at Hebrew Union College Jewish Institutes of ReligionThe HUC-JIR Skirball Museum in Cincinnati houses a permanent collection of Jewish archaeological artifacts from The Nelson Glueck School of Biblical Archaeology in Jerusalem and Jewish ceremonial and ritual objects. Additional exhibits depict Torah study, American Judaism with an emphasis on Cincinnati and HUC-JIR, aspects of the Holocaust and modern Israel. Museum hours are Tuesday & Thursday, 11:00 am 4:00 pm; Sunday from 1:00 5:00 pm.  For more information, visit HUC-JIR on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and the website.