Our Latest Book Release!

June 16, 2011 | 826 Blog Post

Yesterday, with great excitement and a reasonable amount of fanfare (Bagels! Juice!), we released this year’s coveted in-school publication. The book, titled 2020: Visions of the [Near] Future, comes from our year-long collaboration with Clemente Development Center, a high school located in Ypsilanti (although part of the Ann Arbor school district) that offers an alternative education program.

Designed by our publications intern, Calvin Rye, to call the book “stunning” would probably be an understatement:

I’ll admit it: This project turned out to be quite challenging at times, but we could not be more pleased with the final result, or more proud of the students we worked with. They weren’t always happy to see us, and they didn’t always want to listen to what we had to say, but they opened up over the course of this school year in beautiful and profound ways, and we are thrilled that we got to be a part of it.

As its title implies, 2020 is a collection of short stories about how these high school students envision their lives in the year 2020. Of course, 2020 is just nine years away. To people “my” age, that’s around the corner; that’s the blink of an eye. To teens, though, that’s more than half the time they’ve been on this planet. The students’ expectations for the future vary widely — from hovercrafts, personal robots, and babies talking to, well, things looking pretty similar to how they do now.

This collection touches on just about every aspect of the future, including the environment, neighborhoods, the education system, our government, and beyond. The students involved in this publication have a LOT to say, some of it funny, some of it sad, but all of it moving and interesting. Don’t take my word for it, though. Stop into the Liberty Street Robot Supply & Repair and pick up a copy of the book, or order it online here.

We here at 826michigan never get sick of seeing the looks on students’ faces when they see their work in print. I think it is fair to say that many of these students could be categorized as “too cool for school” (in some cases literally), and yet this happened:

Of course, huge projects like this one do not happen without a slew of people to thank. MANY THANKS to our in-school residents for Clemente: Anna Belew, Gabriel Carlson, Ned Randolph, and Renuka Uthappa. Thanks also to Cyril Bennouna, Hillary Bok, and Jen Trigger Marzullo, who worked one-on-one with the students in the final stages of editing. A huge HUZZAH, to Calvin Rye, our designer, who made a book so lovely, inside and out, that it exceeded our every expectation. The BIGGEST HIGH FIVE in the world to Katie Jones, our talented AmeriCorps member and in-school on-site coordinator, without whom this publication would not have been possible. And finally, THANK YOU THANK YOU to Terry Carpenter, one of our very favorite teachers, for inviting us into his classroom yet again.

We are also enormously grateful to the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation’s Youth Council for believing in this project and making a grant to support it. And piles and piles of gratitude heaped on our brave and intelligent students, who had the tenacity to share their hopes and fears for the future with the world at large.

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