I just lied to you, but we won’t get to that until later. Last Friday, we had what I can only call a Super Marvelous Book Release Party, for our equally Super Marvelous new book, written for children, by children. We packed a hundred and fifty students, about ten teachers, a slew of parents, and a bunch of 826michigan peeps into the cafeteria at Erickson Elementary in Ypsilanti.
1. Everyone Wore Their Pajamas (Except the Fifth Graders, Who Were Probably Too Cool to do That) and Had Cookies and Milk
Pretty cute, right? Usually pajamas in school is the stuff nightmares are made of. I will say, at the very least, it felt strange to get up, shower, and then get BACK INTO my pajamas to start my work day. And by “strange,” I mean AWESOME. And so, I’ve been wearing my pajamas to work every day since.* It’s so freeing!
A bunch of adults took turns with the microphone, and I had an epiphany: I LOVE talking into microphones. I’m not much of a public speaker, but holy cow, you put a microphone in my hands, I will talk into it. Coming this fall: 826michigan Tutoring Open Mic! (Please note that there was no asterisk after that sentence.)
2. We Had an Unveling, and This is What the Crowd Looked Like Just Before
3. There Was an Unveiling, and When the Veil Came Off, This is What the Table Looked Like
This book is really, REALLY pretty. Like, WOW DID WE REALLY MAKE THIS pretty. Don’t you agree?
4. Everyone Spent a Few Minutes Looking Up Their Stories and Reading Them on the Spot
The excitement in the room was a little overwhelming, smile inducing, and certainly adorable. We had about ten students read their stories. There was a lot of clapping and cheering. Do you wonder what it looks like when you hand a student a gorgeous book that his or her story is in? Something like this:
5. This is the Part Where I Stretched the Truth a Little…But It’s Just One File, I Swear
Publishing student work is CRUCIAL to what we do. I wish I could show everyone reading this, first hand, what it looks like when you publish a student’s writing. Chapbooks, zines, catalogs…it doesn’t matter what it is. It doesn’t have to be hardcover and gorgeous (although it’s great when it is!). Students respond to our publishing program because they know we are taking their voices and what they have to say very seriously, and want to bring their words to as wide an audience as possible. It builds confidence in writing, in my experience, almost instantaneously.
This year, we have been lucky to publish several incredible books of student work, including the 826michigan OMNIBUS, Volume 2, Just Making Some Rhymes and Shooting Hoops, and Talking Back, Giving Thanks, and Why It Never Pays to Drink the Haterade. All told, our publishing program reached over FIVE HUNDRED STUDENTS this year (yes, 2010, the year that’s only halfway through).
Want to support increased confidence in writing through publication? Make a donation to 826michigan, or stop by the Liberty Street Robot Supply & Repair and pick up one of our student publications!
* Denotes a lie, or at the very least, a stretching of the truth