Youth authors from three community-based organizations who have partnered with the NC State College of Education’s and Friday Institute for Educational Innovation’s Literacy and Community Initiative (LCI) are celebrating the release of new books.
In January, students of Bull City YouthBuild, an organization that helps students earn high school equivalency while learning hands-on job skills in the construction industry, released their third book, See Unbroken Pieces Through the Shadows. The book includes poetry, essays, memoirs and letters, and highlights the students’ experiences dealing with issues like poverty, discrimination and obstacles they faced graduating from high school.
“The students are very honest about advocating for change in their community, so their narratives center on this,” said Assistant Professor of English Language Arts Education and LCI Founding Director Crystal Chen Lee, Ed.D. . “It’s a really powerful book.”
CORRAL Riding Academy — the LCI’s newest partner and a nonprofit that pairs rescued horses with girls in high-risk situations while providing physical and emotional support — will also be releasing their first book in April. This book, A Leg Up, follows a similar format while allowing the student authors to share their life experiences while using writing as a way to not only heal, but also lead their communities.
Students from Juntos, who have previously published two books, have been focused on a different project this year. Instead of writing another book this semester, students participating in Juntos have spent the past several months working on a peer-reviewed article, which they recently submitted for publication to Fringes, the journal of the North Carolina English Language Arts Association.
The six books published through the LCI are currently available for purchase online. The proceeds from the sales go back to the writing projects with the three community partners.
“The student authors have very powerful words that really give us insights about how to change the community. We invite the whole community to learn from them through these books.”