826 National: Background information when reading Uses for Boys

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Uses for Boys

by Erica Lorraine Scheidt

Uses for Boys by Erica Lorraine Scheidt
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • Paperback:
    Jan 2013, 240 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Tamara Smith

Buy This Book

About this Book

Beyond the Book:
826 National

Print Review

Erica Lorraine Scheidt is a long-time volunteer for the non-profit organization, 826 Valencia, headquartered in San Francisco. Her latest effort involves teaching a writing workshop for teens, called Chapter One. In the workshop teens focus on crafting the first chapters of their novels. Here is the description of the workshop:

Calling all novelists and would-be novelists! In this four-week workshop, you will write first chapters and key scenes from your upcoming novel, as well as a synopsis and outline. Each participant will choose a favorite novel to use as a guide and as a group, we'll closely examine our favorite novels for language, form, and structure, as well as character, plot, and conflict. We will steal good ideas mercilessly and write until our pencils break. We'll share and provide peer critiques and then write and revise some more. If you have an idea, a start, or just the desire, this is the workshop for you.

Doesn't it sound utterly interesting? I want to go! But…what is 826 exactly?

The flagship center where Schiedt works, 826 Valencia, is named after its street location. The 826 centers were created in 2002 by author Dave Eggers and educator Ninive Calegari. Their vision was to find a way to connect talented, working writers with over-worked teachers and their deserving but under-served students. The organization's mission is based on the foundational idea that one-on-one interactive learning allows kids to make great leaps in their skills and sense of self. It is also based on the belief that writing is a cornerstone for future success. Even if authors like Dave Eggers and Erica Scheidt are part of the program, one needn't be an established author to volunteer.

The space that Eggers and Calegari initially found was zoned for retail, so they had to get creative. As they say, "After briefly considering a hot dog stand, we looked at the ship-like surfaces of the stripped-down space, a former gym, and decided to open a pirate store instead." All 826 centers have a specialty store set up at the front and hold workshops in the back. For example, the Boston one boasts the Bigfoot Research Institute while the Chicago branch has The Boring Store, which sells surveillance gear, including carrier pigeon supplies! The stores raise funds for 826's six core programs:

  • After-School Tutoring – 826 centers offer one-on-one after-school tutoring at least four days a week.
 Tutors, who specialize in most subjects, typically work with students on their homework first, and then spend a half hour reading together. Students then write for an hour. There are 1100 tutors in the San Francisco center alone.
  • Field Trips – Entire school classes take field trips to the 826 centers for two-hour interactive writing workshops. Workshops like their signature Storytelling and Bookmaking program consist of students collaboratively creating an original story. Kids go home with an actual book as well as a strong sense of plot and character.

  • In-School Projects – 826 volunteers visit local public schools throughout the school year. They are like in-school tutors, as they work one-on-one with students on writing projects such as school paper articles, oral histories, or college entrance essays.
  • Young Authors' Publishing Project – 826 matches well-known authors with a designated school for a semester. They work together on students' writing, which is then collected and professionally published. Professional editors and writers volunteer throughout the process. The volunteer authors write the introductions to the published books, and also host public readings.
  • Workshops – Free workshops are offered at 826 centers in cartooning, bookmaking, playwriting, and producing a 'zine. Subjects vary, but their connecting thread is that they are creative endeavors not typically offered in the school curriculum. The workshops are project-based and taught by professionals. In essence they are mentor programs for students who may not otherwise get to explore these subjects.
  • Scholarships – 826 offers financial assistance to needy college-bound students through ScholarMatch, a service that matches students who need financial aid with potential donors. Many centers, like 826 Valencia and 826 Boston, also offer their own annual student scholarships.

In 2011-2012 826 served over 31,000 students, had over 1000 publishing projects, almost 200 projects in over 80 schools, and just over 350 writing workshops. 826 now has centers in Boston, Chicago, D.C., LA, Ann Arbor, NYC, Seattle, in addition to its original center in San Francisco.

To find out more about the 826 centers, click on the video below:



Article by Tamara Smith

This article is from the February 20, 2013 issue of BookBrowse Recommends. Click here to go to this issue.

This article is available to non-members for a limited time. You can also read these articles for free. For full access become a member today.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Amber Shadows
    The Amber Shadows
    by Lucy Ribchester
    The Amber Shadows sweeps readers into the realm of World War II-era Britain where Honor "Honey" ...
  • Book Jacket: Midwinter Break
    Midwinter Break
    by Bernard MacLaverty
    Northern Ireland's Bernard MacLaverty is the author of five novels and multiple short story ...
  • Book Jacket: The Ninth Hour
    The Ninth Hour
    by Alice McDermott
    In a pivotal scene in The Ninth Hour, young Sally encounters an increasingly loathsome series of ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
Being Mortal by Atul Gawande

An eye-opening and riveting look at how how medicine can not only improve life but also the process of its ending.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Love and Other Consolation Prizes
    by Jamie Ford

    Inspired by a true story, about a boy whose life is transformed at Seattle's epic 1909 World's Fair.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The Twelve-Mile Straight
    by Eleanor Henderson

    An audacious epic set in rural Georgia during the years of the Depression and Prohibition.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win If the Creek Don't Rise

If the Creek Don't Rise

A debut novel bursting with heart, honesty, and homegrown grit.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

Y Can't M A S P O O A S E

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.