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Grades 8–10
Memoir, Narrative

Reuben & Giselle

Reuben & Giselle, 826CHI

REUBEN is an African American male who is talented at basketball. His dreams and hopes are to be in the NBA. He knows that it will be hard, but he also knows that he can achieve it by working hard and staying focused. He wishes to be successful, fulfill his dreams, and make his family proud.

GISELLE is a fourteen-year-old who lives in Chicago and attends eighth grade. She enjoys eating, cleaning, and sleeping. She loves Mexican food. She’s from Durango and Zacatecas. She wishes to travel the world. Giselle enjoys modeling, shopping, and makeup. She is a purple belt in
Taekwondo and would love to attempt boxing. She loves to party and dance to norteñas, corridos, huapangos, cumbia, and zapatiados. When she is older, she would like to live in Durango. She wants to be a lawyer and a successful person.

What Your Students Will Produce

From This Resource

by Maria Villareal, 826CHI

Grades 8–12
Projects
P.S. You Sound Like Someone I Can Trust

by Maria Villareal, 826CHI

Narrative

Students will exchange letters with students from different classes or schools. By listening to others’ stories and sharing stories of…

From This Publication

826CHI and the students of the 2017 Young Authors Book Project present their new book, P.S. You Sound Like Someone I Can Trust. Within this compilation of letters between 8th graders at Emiliano Zapata Academy and 10th graders at Amundsen high school, 62 teens reflect on their identities, share their hopes and anxieties about the future, open up about loved ones’ deaths, and swap K-Pop and Netflix recommendations.

See more Writing at this level

Grade 8
Writing
The Deadly Ivory Trade and What It’s Really Costing Us

by Piya, 826 Valencia

Informational
Persuasive

A demand to the public stop to buying ivory that seeks to explain the devastating effects of poaching on elephant and rhino populations.

Grade 8
Writing
The Sugar Trap: We Just Can’t Get Enough

by Jack, 826 Valencia

Informational
Persuasive
STEM

An argument against the overconsumption of sugar outlines the ways its effects are anything but sweet.

Grades 6–8
Writing
Rap for Stan Lee

by Luis, 826LA

Media
Poetry

A rap song dedicated to the Marvel comic writer Stan Lee and his inspired creations like the Hulk, Deadpool, Iron Man, and The Fantastic Four.

Grades 7–9
Writing
Fruit Woman Saves the Day

by Pia, 826NYC

Fantasy/SciFi
Narrative
STEM

A student reimagines food justice: Fruit Woman must convince Junk Food Man and Cheesecake Boy to eat their fruits and vegetables.

Grades 6–8
Writing
Happy

by Evelyn Escamilla, 826 Valencia

Poetry

This poem uses metaphors and similes to describe happiness.

Grade 8
Writing
Memoir

by Laila, 826CHI

Memoir
Narrative

A memoir about losing a parent—and a community’s support.

Grades 8–9
Writing
Shout-Out Poem

by Anjum, 826CHI

Poetry

A shout-out poem to some things missed (Hyderabad) and celebrated (Mom).

Grade 8
Writing
Chicago is My Voice

by Kiara, 826CHI

Narrative

In this personal narrative, a student explores growing up young and black in Chicago.

Grade 9
Writing
Note to Self

by Gilbert, 826LA

Memoir
Narrative

One teen writes a letter to his 14-year-old self, citing his past fears but looking towards his present, a brighter future.

Grade 10
Writing
Six Poems in Search of My Border

by Jasmine J, 826 Valencia

Poetry

A student reflects on her origins to deconstruct social borders and seize her boundless future.

Grades 6–8
Writing
Dear Jackie Chan

by Luis, 826LA

Narrative

This student writes a letter to a hero with a sweet double kick: Jackie Chan!

Grades 6–8
Writing
Bryan

by Elsy, 826LA

Media
Narrative
Poetry

Song lyrics about memories of cake and pizza, friendship, and giving 1,000 opinions.

Grade 8
Writing
Burning Love

by Lola, 826 Valencia

Poetry

A poem that portrays the arc of a love story told through the gift of a cigarette lighter.

Grades 8–10
Writing
Henry & Matthew & Santiago

by Henry, Matthew, & Santiago, 826CHI

Memoir
Narrative

A compilation of letters written by three students across one city filled with thoughts on books, sports, music, family, and musings on Valentine’s Day.

Grade 9
Writing
Used To Be Booty, Now I’m Good

by Rey, Grade 9, 826 MSP

Fantasy/SciFi
Narrative

Aliens give this student superpowers to help him fulfill his greatest dream.

Grade 9
Writing
Strength, Bravery, Selflessness, and Dedication

by Sammie, Grade 9, 826 MSP

Narrative
Persuasive

In this letter from the Essential Words lesson, a freshman at South High School in Minneapolis thanks care workers for supporting our local and national communities during this global pandemic.

Grade 10
Writing
All Humans Are Equal: A Call for Immigration Reform

by Cindy, 826LA

Informational
Persuasive

A student compellingly argues that immigrants deserve respect and to be free of discrimination.

Grades 8–10
Writing
David & Daniel

by David & Daniel, 826CHI

Memoir
Narrative

In this heartfelt exchange of letters, two students bond over food, videos games, and some scary adventures.

Grade 10
Writing
Are You White?

by Isabella, 826NYC

Poetry

This poet rejects judgement based on the color of one’s skin.

Grade 10
Writing
Check, Please!, Drop-out, and Happy Endings

by Aphra, 826CHI

Informational
Media
Persuasive

A student considers realistic happy endings and the representation of LGBTQIA youth through the analysis of two webcomics.

Grade 9
Writing
My Language

by Fahima Dahir, 826 MSP

Poetry

A poem about the strength and limitations of language and shared culture.

Grade 8
Writing
20 Years From Now

by Salome Maldonando, 826CHI

Poetry

A poem about unrequited love.

Grade 10
Writing
I Write

by Sabrin, 826 MSP

Poetry

The written word is a powerful tool, and this poem shares a few reasons why the author continues to write.

Grade 8
Writing
Finding Out I Have a Brother

by Natalie, 826CHI

Narrative

Weaving together Spanish and English, a student shares the discovery of a family secret.

Grade 8
Writing
Lessons of a Lifetime

by Jiaxi, 826CHI

Memoir
Narrative

A student’s worldview is forever altered after a lesson on the Segregation Era and Jim Crow.

Grade 8
Writing
My Home, My Life

by Iliana, 826CHI

Narrative

A student searches for answers in their community.

Grade 10
Writing
Black Power

by Anthony, 826DC

Poetry

This poem gives insight to what it's like growing up Black in America.

Grades 10–11
Writing
Sunny Smiles

by Sergio M, 826 Valencia

Narrative
Poetry

A smile isn’t always what it seems.

Grades 7–9
Writing
New Sport: Pencils

by Jason, 826michigan

Informational

Making bottle flipping look like child's play, this piece outlines rules for the new, competitive Fantasy Sport "Pencils".

Grade 8
Writing
Where I’m From

by David, 826CHI

Narrative

A student writes about the smell, taste, and pace of their neighborhood.

Grade 8
Writing
Alex Nieto: The Unsung Hero of the Everett Community

by Jason, 826 Valencia

Informational

A student reports on the death of a college student from Bernal Heights, San Francisco, who neighbors believe was killed due to racial profiling.

Grade 8
Writing
The Sun Radiates With Light

by Cora B., Grade 8

Narrative

This narrative uses nature imagery, to help the reader walk through a day in the speaker's shoes

Grades 8–12
Writing
It Might Not Always Disappear

by Sian Laing

Narrative

When Instagram becomes an unsightly battlefield.

Grade 8
Writing
All I Want

by Jabari, Grade 8, 826 Valencia

Poetry

A poem about wanting more from life.

Grades 9–12
Writing
What Becomes of the Brokenhearted

by Ryker, 826michigan

Informational
Narrative

Liner notes that showcase the meaning and musicality of the Jimmy Ruffin song “What Becomes of the Brokenhearted.”

Grade 8
Writing
Protest for the People of Color / Protesta para la Gente de Color

by Roger, 826 Valencia

Informational
Persuasive

An essay in English and Spanish that traces connections between two movements in modern American history for the rights of people of color.

Grade 9
Writing
The Great Under

by Kyla Edwards, 826 New Orleans

Fantasy/SciFi
Narrative

This creative short story explores a snapshot of what a future New Orleans might look like amid climate change.

Grades 6–8
Writing
Listen

by Khloe Fewster, 826 Valencia

Poetry

This poem uses repetition to give advice for when you're feeling unsure of yourself.

Grades 9–10
Writing
Where I’m From

by Charles, 826 MSP

Poetry

A student reflects on his life, stemming from the life of his father.

Grades 10–11
Writing
In Between

by Joanne H, 826 Valencia

Poetry

In this poem, a student’s experiences in two countries meld together as she seeks out her true home.

Grade 10
Writing
Woman

by Jahruwach Hamilton, 826NYC

Poetry

In this rousing poem, a student asserts her strength and worth as a woman.

Grade 10
Writing
Managing to Find Joy

by Luciana, Grade 10, 826 MSP

Narrative
Persuasive

In this letter from the Essential Words lesson, a sophomore at South High School in Minneapolis gives thanks to Children’s Hospital employees.

Grades 5–8
Writing
The Great Achievement

by Marco, 826LA

Narrative
Playwriting

A screenplay about a plane crash and an epic journey to Mexico, with a twist!

Grade 8
Writing
Voices

by Isabel, 826 Boston

Poetry

From the forthcoming anthology, Poets in Revolt!, this poem features a student battling with the voices constricting her freedom.

Grades 7–8
Writing
Hoverboard Failure

by Kevin, 826NYC

Fantasy/SciFi
Narrative

An informational briefing on a horrible incident in the year 5176 that changed the hoverboarding industry forever.

Grades 6–8
Writing
Laughter Means You’re Alive

by 826NYC students

Poetry

This collaborative poem explores the many sides and senses of laughter.

Grade 8
Writing
I Remember

by Vivian, 826CHI

Memoir
Narrative

A narrative about loving to run—and learning to never quit!

Grade 9
Writing
You Deserve More

by Sabrin, Grade 9, 826 MSP

Narrative
Persuasive

In this letter from the Essential Words lesson, 9th grader Sabrin discusses how she feels both happy and sad, and thanks nurses nationwide for bringing her peace through their work.

Grade 8
Writing
What walking the red road means to me is

by Mariah Valenzuela, Minneapolis, MN

Poetry

From the forthcoming anthology, Poets in Revolt!, this poet uses her voice to speak up for those who have been silenced in the indigenous community.

Grade 8
Writing
The Terrific Tale of Transferring

by Angel, 826CHI

Memoir
Narrative

A student writes about the transformative experience of changing schools.

Grade 8
Writing
3 and 1: The Golden State Warriors Came Close

by Emmanuel J., 826NYC

Informational

An avid basketball fan discusses the rise of the Golden State Warriors through its individual players.

Grades 7–12
Writing
My Family Interview

by Johnny Vasquez, 826 MSP

Narrative

A family interview reveals a mother's painful past and shines a light on her persistence.

Grade 8
Writing
Optimism

by Mya, 826CHI

Memoir
Narrative

A piece packed with vivid description about taking risks at an ice rink.

Grades 7–8
Writing
BLM

by Chelsea, 826NYC

Poetry

An acrostic poem about the Black Lives Matter movement.

Grade 8
Writing
Completing the Pokédex

by Andy, 826CHI

Memoir
Narrative

In this memoir, a few friends bond over a rare Pokémon Go catch.

Grade 8
Writing
2.719 Million People

by Sebastian Cendejas, 826CHI

Informational
Narrative

A student reflects on how much Chicago means to them.

Grade 8
Writing
Ode to My Grandfather

Amara, 826 New Orleans

Poetry

An ode celebrating an important figure in this student’s life.

Grades 9–10
Writing
Thoughts Onto Paper

by Pretty S, 826 Valencia

Memoir
Narrative

Glimpse into the mind of a student who considers artistic influences in her life.

Grades 10–11
Writing
When Mean Girls Attack

by Tammy Fong, 826NYC

Memoir
Narrative

A soccer-filled, feud-fueled memoir.

Grade 10
Writing
Matricide: Addressing Climate Change

by Maggie Munday Odom, Kailua, HI

Poetry

This poem personifies Earth as a mother coping with the brutalities of climate change.

Grade 9
Writing
Gone

by Kalyn Jackson, 826 New Orleans

Fantasy/SciFi
Narrative

Through this short story, Kalyn explores ideas of home and change in an altered world.

Grades 6–8
Writing
The Crane in the Constellations
by Cartoon Network

by Alondra, 826CHI

Fantasy/SciFi
Narrative

An epic story of a princess who seeks acceptance among the stars.

Grades 8–9
Writing
Booking an Adventure

by William, 826LA

Memoir
Narrative

A teen discovers the power of books to transport him to another world, and shares his excitement about becoming a published author.

Grade 8
Writing
It’s All About the Teamwork

by Victor, 826CHI

Memoir
Narrative

An epic memoir about an epic volleyball match! Who will win: the teachers or the students?

Grade 8
Writing
Friends Should Be Forever

by Sharon, 826CHI

Memoir
Narrative

A memoir about finding true friendship.

Grades 7–8
Writing
Just Glitter and Be Questioning

by Eva, 826 Valencia

Narrative

A student celebrates the journey of discovering whom to love.

Grades 7–8
Writing
My Volleyball Blues

by Lesly, 826 Valencia

Poetry

A sports poem about the losing blues.

Grades 6–8
Writing
Dear Mom

by Jin, 826LA

Narrative

This student says thank you to her Mom, her hero, for a life full love and beef noodles!

Grades 9–10
Writing
Dandelion

by Elizabeth W, 826 Valencia

Poetry

Even though we may look different, we remain united with one another.

Grades 7–8
Writing
Irritating Noise

by Curtis, 826michigan

Poetry

A rhyming (inverse) ode to a very irritating noise.

Grade 8
Writing
Meanwhile at the Creek…

by Gabriela T., 826 Valencia

Media
Narrative

In this resolution inspired by the "Include Someone" lesson and Cartoon Network storyboard, we learn that inclusive leaders take action—they don't wait for others to make a difference.

Grade 8
Writing
When People Come to See Me

by Arielle B., Grade 8

Poetry

This poem invites readers to remember that people are often going through more than choose to show.

Grades 9–10
Writing
Beat of the Drum

by Aniah, 826 MSP

Poetry

A student is lifted up by the dance of her ancestors.

Grades 9–10
Writing
The Rez Girls Are Powerful!

by Navayah, 826 MSP

Fantasy/SciFi
Narrative

Through redefining a label, a student reclaims a piece of their identity.

Grade 8
Writing
Christmas

by Jeff, 826CHI

Narrative

In this piece, a student describes Christmas as a holiday best spent together.

Grades 8–9
Writing
Jazmine & Vanessa

by Jazmine & Vanessa, 826CHI

Memoir
Narrative

Over a series of letters, two compassionate and resilient students develop a deep friendship sealed in writing.

Grade 8
Writing
Where I’m From

by Cayden, 826DC

Narrative

This poem lists all of the pieces that make up the writer's whole.

Grades 9–12
Writing
Technology Gives Me a Way In

by Jonas K., 826 National

Narrative
Persuasive

A student explores the paradox of how technology is used amongst teenagers.

Grade 9
Writing
Here, Queer, Yet Not Really

by Mercury, 826CHI

Informational
Media
Persuasive

A student explores the representation of LGBTQIA+ minorities and youth in US pop culture.

Grade 8
Writing
How to Know if You’re Awake

by Tylor, 826NYC

Informational

A lean but essential checklist for readers to determine if they are awake.

Grades 9–12
Writing
A Glitch in the System

by Soraya, 826NYC

Poetry

This student’s powerful piece reveals the essence of racial injustice.

Grades 7–8
Writing
Manifesto

by Djeneba, 826michigan

Poetry

A student’s manifesto!

Grades 7–8
Writing
Who I Am

by Duanté, 826 Valencia

Narrative

A personal narrative about race and identity.

Grades 8–9
Writing
Kneel Down for What You Believe In

by Caroline, 826 Valencia

Informational
Persuasive

A student explores U.S. soccer player Megan Rapinoe’s decision to kneel in protest during the national anthem.

Grade 8
Writing
Co-ed Teams, Yes or No?

by Ella, 826 Valencia

Persuasive

A persuasive argument for co-ed teams in the face of gender stereotypes, supported by results from primary research conducted by the author.

Grades 7–8
Writing
My Persuasive Letter

by Renée, 826NYC

Persuasive

A persuasive letter detailing to the recipient the pointlessness of writing a persuasive letter. A helpful example for reluctant writers.

Grades 9–10
Writing
Retrospect

by Kevin G, 826 Valencia

Narrative

This narrative calls us to see the world through the perspectives of others.

Grades 9–12
Writing
Giving Shelter

by Steysi Hailee, 826LA

Narrative

A student reflects on a small moment and single sacrifice that transformed her outlook on giving.

Grade 8
Writing
Women United: Stand Together Against Being Critiqued

by Elizabeth W., 826 Valencia

Informational
Persuasive

A persuasive piece for women and girls to unite and cultivate a culture of body image positivity.

Grade 10
Writing
What Is Freedom?

by Regina, 826LA

Poetry

From the forthcoming anthology, Poets in Revolt!, this poem expresses the realization that a cage is not the only obstacle to a bird's freedom.

Grade 10
Writing
I Can Only Imagine

by Tala, Grade 10, 826 MSP

Narrative
Persuasive

In this letter from the Essential Words lesson, 10th grader Tala asks essential workers what motivates them to keep going during these difficult times, offering her own views on hope for the future.

Grades 7–8
Writing
jalapeño + love

by Calvin, 826michigan

Narrative

A student professes love—to a jalapeño!

Grades 8–9
Writing
The Saga Continues

by Calvin, 826michigan

Narrative

A laugh-out-loud personal narrative about a crush. Has your heart ever beat so fast it might get a speeding ticket and a $500 fine?

Grades 8–10
Writing
Bryanna & Kayla

by Byanna & Kayla, 826CHI

Memoir
Narrative

Two students across one city bond by writing letters to each other about the people they love most.

Grades 10–11
Writing
Bigger Than You Think

by Sharoya Bracey, 826NYC

Memoir
Narrative

In this memoir, the narrator recounts the struggle of being the bigger person in a very small space.

Grade 8
Writing
Where I’m From and What I Want

by Dayana Alvarado, 826CHI

Memoir
Narrative

A student shares finding home in two places: Mexico and Chicago.

Grade 10
Writing
She, He, Them

by Savannah, 826NYC

Narrative
Poetry

Using dialogue and detailed description, this poet investigates whose voices are heard and whose voices are left behind when injustice occurs.

Grade 8
Writing
My Latino Self

by Arianny, 826 Boston

Poetry

A poem that celebrates being Latino

Grade 8
Writing
When I Laughed the Hardest

by Diego, 826CHI

Memoir
Narrative

On the funniest day of this student’s life…

Grade 10
Writing
I Will Be a Lifesaver

by Yazmine-Gizelle, 826DC

Poetry

This poem uses a fundamental poetry technique, repetition, to share the writer's future plans.

Grades 9–12
Writing
Haunting Picture

by Jazlyn Moses, 826 National

Narrative
Persuasive

One student explores their online persona and the lasting importance of conscientious social media practices.

Grade 8
Writing
We Are All Family

by Rafael, 826CHI

Memoir
Narrative

A student remembers an afternoon adventure around town and explores what Chicago and community mean to him.

Grades 7–8
Writing
School Blues

by Jamie, 826 Valencia

Poetry

A metaphorical poem about frustrations, from homework to homelessness.

Grades 8–10
Writing
Christopher & Bryan & Jahir

by Christopher, Bryan, & Jahir, 826CHI

Memoir
Narrative

In an exchange of letters, three students across one city share stories about where they came from and the places that matter most.

Grades 8–12
Writing
A Challenge

by Shayne Williams

Narrative

Discover what one student experiences when they tuck their phone away for a whole day.

Grade 8
Writing
Wage Gap: Who Does It Affect?

by Xaria, 826 Valencia

Informational
Persuasive

An argument against the wage gap that prevails in the U.S. and across the globe.

Grade 8
Writing
Changing the Lunch Menu for the Better!

by Kaitlyn, 826NYC

Informational
Persuasive

A middle school student firmly protests the flavor and quality of her school’s lunches.

Grades 9–12
Writing
Stupid Blue Screen

by Vanessa Ramon-Ibarra, 826DC

Narrative
Poetry

Living in the digital world can create unwanted attachments, as one student laments.

Grade 8
Writing
I See

by Itzel Medina Luna, 826 Valencia

Poetry

In this poem from the forthcoming anthology, Poets in Revolt!, a student walks through her neighborhood searching for hidden stories.

Grade 8
Writing
Chaos in Antarctica! Millions of Penguins Dead!

by Luke, 826 Valencia

Informational
Persuasive

An essay shared in English and Spanish discusses the effects of global warming on penguins and their source of nutrients, krill.