Here at Shout Mouse, we are knee deep in our summer writing workshops. Teen writers at Reach Incorporated and the Latin American Youth Center (LAYC) Latino Youth Leadership Council are engaged in unique and equally exciting projects, both designed to further our mission of amplifying marginalized voices.
Reach teen authors are back for their fifth summer of writing picture books. As in previous years, we spent the first week brainstorming ideas. With the mission of writing entertaining, educational, and and inclusive stories, the authors came up with dozens of ideas over two workshops before narrowing down to the stories that excited them the most.
On our second day of workshop, we hosted guest speakers from Teaching for Change, a DC-based nonprofit organization that promotes social justice education. Guest speakers engaged with writers about what it means to write an inclusive children’s book. Learn more about their recommendations for what makes a diverse book here. Teaching for Change also reviews Shout Mouse books on Social Justice Books, a curated selection of multicultural and social justice books for children, young adults, and educators across the country.
With one week of workshop finished, the authors have three more weeks to write their stories and make plans with illustrators. Every year, the Reach teen authors have created unique, thoughtful, and funny picture books, and we are very excited to see what they will come up with this year.
Also this past week, we started writing workshops for a new project with our new partners at LAYC. Students from the LAYC Latino Youth Leadership Council are working on a graphic memoir collection that aims to change the narrative about Latino immigrants in this country.
Over the next few weeks, these 14 students from 6 different countries will write and illustrate stories from their own lives connected by the common theme of immigration. The authors have decided the project will explore both challenges and triumphs. The writers hope that the book can both give American-born readers a better understanding of their lives and motivations as well as inspire and support other young immigrants. When asked who they wanted to read their book, the authors responded that they hoped the book could reach not only young people in DC, but readers in their home countries, and American policy makers who have the power to improve the lives of many immigrants.
In the first week of workshops, we learned a lot about the process of creating a comic from graphic illustrators Jason Rodriguez, Liz Laribee, Santiago Casares, and Evan Keeling. Authors also took their first steps in deciding what stories they wanted to tell and began experimenting with how to draw themselves and important moments in their lives. One month from now, the authors will put their finishing touches on their comics and compile them into Shout Mouse’s first ever graphic memoir collection.
We can’t wait to share more news about both of these projects with you. Now, back to workshop!
–Eva Shapiro, Shout Mouse intern