At a Western Massachusetts Writing Project meeting last week, we were given free sample editions of The Best of Teen Writing 2011, which is an anthology from the Alliance for Young Artists and Writers. It’s just page after page of wonderful writing, and the stories and essays and poems give such a great insight into not just the abilities of these young writers, but also their worlds. Loss and tragedy do filter through a bit too much in many of the stories, but I suspect those raw emotions are most powerful and most easily harnessed by the teens.
Each year, the Alliance accepts submissions from young people and then works it ways through the writing to come up with some of the best writing around. The stories here are from young authors who won medals in The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. If they published this without the moniker of “teen writing,” you would assume they were professional and published authors — that’s how polished and inventive and wonderful the writing is.
I haven’t gotten through the entire anthology yet, but I will. You should, too, and if you teach middle school or high school and you are looking to inspire some of your own students as writers, hand them a copy of this. It’s full of possibilities and inspiration. (One note of caution: there is profanity in here, so one option is to pick and choose the stories to share with your students.)
Peace (in the pages),