Young Authors’ Book Project kicks off with John O’Connell High

For this year’s Young Authors’ Book Project, we are excited to partner with teachers Eric Rose and Kelley Leathers and fifty juniors from John O’Connell High School.

For the next three months, students at John O’Connell High School will work alongside a team of 826 tutors to craft, write, and revise their pieces for this year’s book: a collection of essays on their relationships to the American Dream. 2009 was a tough year for everyone and families struggled with all sorts of catastrophes. Students are writing about their ideas of the American Dream changing in the face of new political, environmental, and socio-economic realities. The students’ reflections and descriptions show how these changes affect their own hopes and dreams for the future. Past book projects have included a collection of illustrated children’s stories, a compilation of student essays about immigration, and reflections on the Golden Rule.

Not only will the dedicated and talented students of John O’Connell supply the content, but they will also become key players in the design, layout, and editorial processes through involvement in our Editorial Board. The final product of the students’ work will be professionally printed and distributed nationwide.

This year, 826 is also pleased to collaborate with California College of the Arts, which has developed a special class designed to support the book project and explore how nonprofits work with a school district. A group of twenty creative writing MFA candidates and undergraduates have been tutoring the students every week alongside our ever-dedicated volunteers.

The fifty soon-to-be published authors visited 826 two weeks ago to kick off the project. They have been busy writing three times a week with the help of their teachers and tutors. Some of the students’ essays have already surpassed nine pages!

We are truly excited to work with Ms. Leathers’s and Mr. Rose’s classes as they begin to explore and investigate their own complex relationships with the American Dream. Stay tuned for the release of the book in May.

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