This anthology contains poems, memoirs, stories, and essays written by over 100 Chicago students ages 6-18 on the theme of discovery.826CHI Compendium, Volume VIcontains some of our favorite pieces of student writing from across all of our programming from the past two years. Featuring a foreword by Chicago’s Youth Poet Laureate, E’mon Lauren, and three introductions by 826CHI student writers,826CHI Compendium VImarks our most youth-centered, youth-led publication to-date.
This particular volume is organized chronologically by age, beginning with stories from 1st graders and ending with the words of high school seniors. Split into three distinct age groups (1st through 4th grade, 5th through 8th grade, and 9th through 12th grade), this anthology contains three introductions by 826CHI student writers from each age bracket. By organizing the book by age, we can see the creative trajectory of a young writer and observe how young Chicagoans are discovering themselves, their voices, and their world through the written word.
As Chicago Youth Poet Laureate E’mon Lauren states so poignantly in her foreword, “These writers, poets, authors, artists have put their journey on the page and allowed themselves to be the timelines of their own experience.” Within these pages, you’ll meet a star named Cheeseburger, a dragon who serves as the embodiment of wonder itself, a treatise on how to show love, a girl who flies away with a storm of bees, and a restaurant that brings people together. You’ll hear Alondra, 7th grade, promise to “send you the light / the light you need/ to stay bright,” and hear Samantha, 10th grade, ask her penpal, “What does hope mean to you?” These young writers endure a constant state of change but keep returning to their notebooks. In the words of Olivia, 11th grade, “Words, like stars, are immortal.” These young people write through beauty and write through pain and, in the process, discover themselves.