As students head off for summer and a well-deserved break from all that homework, we’re stocking our shelves and reflecting on the 15 illuminating collections of student writing 826 published this semester. From science fiction musings on a future overrun by robots to a review of hip-hop history lesson Hamilton, student writers from across San Francisco let their voices be heard on topics that matter to them most.
Our Young Authors’ Book Project took place this year at Burton High School, where seniors on the brink of graduation wrote short fiction and personal narratives about adapting. After reading Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, students considered the consequences of science and technology going ‘too far,’ and what it feels like to be misunderstood and judged. The resulting collection, titled We Are Here, Walking toward the Unknown, features illustration by Matt Leunig, and book design by Laura Bagnato. We also worked onsite at Downtown High School in partnership with the ACT theater for the fifth consecutive year, guiding students in grades 9–12 in the writing of monologues and plays on the themes of resistance, resilience, and revolution. The resulting work was performed by the students, after receiving professional acting coaching, at the Strand Theatre to standing room only, and published in the chapbook Rise Up!
While visiting the 826 Writers’ Rooms onsite at our partner schools, student journalists at Mission High produced Issue 6 of Mission Magazine, tackling topics of immigration, racism, and the how the current political climate is affecting both. Similarly, eighth graders at Everett Middle School investigated, interviewed, and speculated for the Straight Up News on the daunting question: What will happen to undocumented students if Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and the DREAMer programs are repealed? While seventh graders attempted to define themselves in a mere 17 syllables for a chapbook of Haikus titled Redwoods Standing Tall. And finally, our young friends at Buena Vista Horace Mann worked one-on-one with tutors to imagine new schools, share unexpected recipes, and celebrate the love and kindness they see in the world for a book titled You Always Need Pancakes in the Morning.
In our own Writing Lab behind the Pirate Supply Store, students in after-school and evening tutoring each crafted a chapbook of writing. Elementary school students who come to 826 in the afternoons for homework support and creative writing tutoring published volume 20 of our bilingual series Look Closer / Mira de cerca, illustrated by Jessica Lin, sharing stories of family, travels, hobbies and accomplishments, as well as historical musings on what really happened to the Titanic and the Lost City of Atlantis. Middle school students from our Pathways program collected their work into the third volume of Acompáñame / Walk with Me, where they crafted legends, nature poems, and meditations on ‘Being Thirteen Years Old.’ Finally, journalists age 8–13 put out two issues of the Valencia Bay-farer this Spring, sharing their unique perspective on current events ranging from the Women’s March to the fight for civil rights in the bathroom, to the surging popularity of EDM and Dubstep.
You can find all these publications and more for sale in both the Pirate Supply Store and King Carl’s Emporium, and online at our webstore! All proceeds go toward funding our free student programming, enabling even more students to share their stories and amplify their voices. And you can read our student’s stories online in our Student Writing Gallery!