May 25, 2021
On May 6, the newest addition to the 826 Boston library—How We May Appear—was celebrated virtually by students and members of the community. In this book—the first from 826 Boston’s Youth Literary Advisory Board (YLAB)—readers will discover more than 30 poems, essays, and narratives on self-identity from students all across Boston.
The creation of this book began just weeks before the world shut down due to the pandemic. The inaugural members of 826 Boston’s YLAB saw this as an opportunity, rather than a setback. As they write in the book’s introduction: “We wanted everyone to still be heard during these difficult times…it made us realize just how important our group is. In a time where youth feel silenced and unheard, we recognized the impact we would have.”
YLAB members opened up submissions to young people from across the city, and encouraged students to respond to questions they had created, including how the pandemic was affecting their lives.
“How We May Appear is a celebration of Boston’s most brilliant young writers, who managed to survive a global pandemic while producing a book that reflects their generation,” said Nakia Hill, 826 Boston’s Writers’ Room Director. “After reading these stories, the world will understand that our young people are not confused about who they are now or who they want to be in the future. This book offers us a better understanding of how the Gen-Z generation sees themselves.”
YLAB members wanted a youth voice as the foreword author of their book. They reached out to Amanda Gorman in August 2020, seeing in her—the first youth poet laureate of the United States—an inspirational voice. Amanda Gorman writes in the foreword: “Reading the collection from my sunlit apartment in Los Angeles, it is hard not to be struck with the vision that these authors present: a vibrant and youthful Boston, with its tongue of many languages, and heart of many songs. Let this book be a beacon both for Boston and far beyond.”
Thank you to all the students, friends, team members, partners, artists, journalists, and family members that helped make this book happen. How does it feel to be a published author? For YLAB member Kaylany, it’s hard to believe. Eliza—one of the event’s student emcees—agreed. “It doesn’t feel real until you actually see your name in it.”
You can purchase your own copy of How We May Appear through 826 Boston’s online store.