The Telling Room is a leader in YOUTH PUBLISHING, an emerging niche of the publishing industry and a unique and inspiring model in the field of literary arts education and creative youth development. Through our first decade of youth publishing we published over 3,000 authors, and more than 30,000 Telling Room books are in circulation. We have pioneered several innovative publication projects, and also reach youth through our online publication engine, “Stories,” which serves writers aged 6-18 from around the world, a statewide writing contest, and a literary magazine, for teens by teens. Our publications and events support The Telling Room's suite of youth writing programs and sends youth voices out to audiences across Maine, the U.S., and around the world.
THE TELLING ROOM produces carefully edited, beautifully designed, and locally printed books of our students’ stories, poems, and personal narratives. Currently, we publish between 15-20 titles a year. Since the printing of our first book in 2007, I Remember Warm Rain, we have published nearly 150 anthologies, single-authored titles, and project “chapbooks," including the Maine Literary Award-winner The Story I Want to Tell, and a special anthology by students in the national award-winning Young Writers & Leader's program, A Season for Building Houses.
To purchase Telling Room books, visit our store.
Book publishing has become a powerful part of The Telling Room. Students feel its impact when they first see their names in their books and transform from writers to published authors during public readings in front of real audiences. Teachers discover how much further their students will go with their own writing when they use Telling Room books with students, and invite authors from our Ambassadors Program to visit their classrooms.
Our young authors have created a buzz as their stories travel far outside their homes in Maine: they have appeared in many newspapers and magazines (including Poets & Writers, Fast Company, and the Boston Globe), on television and radio programs, and at renowned literary events, educational conferences, and have garnered attention at national award ceremonies such as Scholastic's National Arts & Writing Awards.
Two authors, Richard Akera and Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Richard Russo, talk about their writing lives, following the publication of their Telling Room book, The Story I Want to Tell:
WRITING AND PUBLISHING PROGRAMS
The writing we publish in book form comes out of Telling Room programs. Five of these programs allow participants to go beyond their writing work and be involved in the different steps of the publishing process, from drafting, to revising, designing, and presenting their work in bound books to a public audience. Each of these programs makes publishing a goal from the get-go, and ensures its students will leave the program with a book in their hands, one that they feel they had a big stake in helping to create. These programs are:
Overall, book publishing at The Telling Room helps to fulfill our organization’s mission. The opportunities that exist within Telling Room book publishing and through our writing and publishing programs give students self-confidence, strengthen their literacy skills, and provide them with real audiences so that they know their voices matter. Our books allow our students to impact their communities by connecting them with their readers and propelling them toward future success in school and life. It’s exciting to think about what might happen in book publishing next!
READ WHILE YOU WAIT
When books are published, we sell and/or distribute them online, to schools, bookstores, and libraries, and at events and conferences. Sometimes we have some books left over, and the “Read While You Wait” project is a newly funded initiative to help us distribute “remaindered” stock, plus some new titles, to offices and shops where people might read them while they wait, and then leave the books behind for the next people to enjoy at medical offices, laundromats, salons, coffee shops, transportation depots, etc. “Read While You Wait” is a great way to get our books out into the communities where our authors come from, and to introduce these communities to The Telling Room in general. You can help make this project a success by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with the names of businesses or orgs that might stock our books in their waiting rooms!
Telling Room authors have won dozens of Scholastic Gold Keys!
Aside from publishing books of student writing through our writing and publishing programs, we encourage the publication of student work in a number of other ways:
* Writers ages 6-18 from anywhere in the world can submit their work to our online publication, Stories, which features writing categorized by genre, as well as multimedia projects. Kid writing from all 50 states and most countries in the world are represented here.
* We also hold a Writing Contest, on an annual theme, offering Maine students the chance to have their work printed in one of our books, and the winner also takes home a cash prize.
* Our literary magazine! We Gen Z is by teens for teens, and is another place where kids in Maine, ages 12-18 or grades 7-12, can submit their writing and artwork.
* We submit student work each year to the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards and the Maine Literary Awards as a way to publish and recognize student writing at the local and national levels, and we are always looking for other creative ways to display and share our writers' work.
* Finally, we keep a current list of Places to Publish for young writers who wish to be published outside of The Telling Room as well.
"Our voices deserve to be heard. They also need to be. No one knows us better than we know ourselves, and we can write and share our own stories." - Siri Pierce, 16, Telling Room Author