A Partnership Deepens in Boston

When we launched the VCFA Young Writers Network as a pilot project in 2015, 826 Boston was the first nonprofit partner to come on board. At the big kickoff, VCFA Writing for Children & Young Adults alumna (and current faculty) Kekla Magoon spoke with 9th graders at the O’Bryant High School in Roxbury about her book How It Went Down and their own writing about identity, social justice, and the American Dream.

Workshops Galore

Since then, VCFA writers have led a multitude of lively and engaging workshops with 826 Boston, including:

  • Aliens and Elephants, Playgrounds and Castles: An introduction to character and setting for 6-8 years olds with Alicia Potter and Helen Kampion that led to imaginative stories and artwork. [See Genevieve the Giraffe’s tree-festooned pirate ship below.]
  • Cooking Up Character: Jenn Barnes and Sarah Cassell whipped up a session for 6th through 9th graders, who crafted recipes for characters (e.g., 3 cups attitude, 2 cups loyalty) that led to deep—and surprising—insights.
  • Delicious dialogue, fantastical beasts, and speculative twists: For three years running, our authors have designed playful workshops with deep craft lessons for kids of all ages–and each year, their workshops have been a huge hit.

Our First Extended Residency in Boston

In 2019, we brought our relationship with 826 Boston to the next level, co-hosting a multi-day residency at the Boston Teachers Union School. Visiting writer Erin Moulton spent three days visiting classrooms and leading workshops for fourth and eighth graders in the school’s on-site Writers Room. Eighth graders mined real-world experiences for contemporary fiction, while fourth graders designed heroes and villains, exploring backstories for clues about character.

We love our friends at 826 Boston and can’t wait to plan more school residencies like this one!

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