Summer Publishing: Young Authors and Guest Artists

Summer Publishing

Our Writing Lab stayed busy and full of creative young minds over the summer, with the resulting work published in three illustrated chapbooks as extraordinary as the writers themselves. We were ecstatic and so very pleased to make the acquaintance of new friends from VoxPrima, an organization that offers PictuWriting workshops in Barcelona, Spain, and had the opportunity to work with Illustrator Cristina Spanò, designer Ana Varela, and publisher Manu Vidal. Their summer travels included an impromptu residency at 826 Valencia, and in addition to our annual summer programming, their team lead a PictuWriting workshop in our space, then designed and illustrated a very special chapbook entitled The Mystery of the Missing Pizza.

Our 8th annual Exploring Words Summer Camp, serving 35 elementary school students from our after-school tutoring program, met daily for five weeks, studying an integrated program of science and creative writing. Their polished work was published in Stars Explode Like Popcorn, also illustrated by Cristina Spanò.

Highlights of some things students learned are as follows:

Poems can be about anything
Poems can be funny, weird, or serious
Plot is all the events
Climax is most exciting
Stars explode like popcorn!
Fire equals heat + fuel + oxygen
Constellations are in the galaxy
Earthquake safety: stay away from trees

Finally, the Young Authors’ Workshop took place again this August, bringing together 23 high-school students in an intensive 2-week writing camp. Students spent 6 hours a day in our writing lab, pouring their souls onto the page, learning from each other, and participating in workshops and seminars led by guest authors and publishing professionals including Cliff Mayotte from Voice of Witness, as well as local writers Erica Lorraine Scheidt, Kathryn Ma, and Namwali Serpel. We were blown away by the depth, resonance, and self-awareness the writers expressed.

A few exceptional excerpts from the chapbook Reaching for this Name:

When I met you, you mispronounced my name, adding extra syllables and I reveled in the newness of their sound.

Some tell me we’re going extinct, some ask if it’s natural, some tell me they are jealous.

She talks about the ugliness water holds. She isn’t ready to see the ocean yet.

There are no dinosaur-monsters. No famous encounters. Just Me.


Thank you for your continued support of our free student programming! You’ll find all three publications on the shelves next time you stop by the Pirate Store!



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