Student Publications

Brave Histories & Hopeful Futures

Cover of "Brave Histories & Hopeful Futures: Voices of a Refugee Community." This aqua cover features the outline of a sun over a group of seven people with varying skin tones, hair, shapes and genders, including a person with long braided hair, a person with a beard, a person wearing a turban, and a person wearing a hijab.

Brave Histories & Hopeful Futures: Voices of a Refugee Community was produced through a collaboration between Refugee Hope Partners (RHP) and NC State University’s Literacy and Community Initiative (LCI). During the 2021-2022 school year, RHP students gathered on Saturday mornings to participate in writing workshops led by LCI. The students explored ideas relating to identity, experience, community and change. Through poetry, prose, narratives and letters, the students captured their brave histories and hopeful futures. This book details experiences of escaping dangerous countries, reflects on what it means to belong and calls for action against inequity. Brave Histories & Hopeful Futures: Voices of a Refugee Community serves as a way to share individual and collective voices of strength.

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About the Project

In spring 2021, LCI piloted our program with Refugee Hope Partners, and by fall of 2021, we commenced a full rollout. Meeting in the community center at the heart of their apartment complex, we worked on writing poetry, narratives, letters and stories on Saturday mornings. Together we explored identity, experience, beliefs and made calls to action. Through writing and sharing their stories, the nearly 20 students who participated grew closer and stronger. 

The Voices of Our People: Nuestras VerdadesCover of the book "The Voices of Our People: Nuestras Verdades." The cover is black and features an arm holding up a microphone. The arm and hand is made up of different country's flags.

Following the publication of their first book, The Roots of Our People: From One World to Another, Juntos, the authors of the Hispanic Literacy Group from Juntos NC spent a year sharing their pieces through reading events across the Raleigh-Wake County area to increase awareness and advocate for the Hispanic immigrant population in our community and the greater immigrant community in our nation. They utilized these moments to lead and empower youth, while also standing up for those that cannot yet find their voice to stand up for themselves. This book follows their explorations with their relationship to their community but also advocates for the challenges and issues that they and their families face. This bilingual text is proudly and boldly written in the form of blackout poetry, interviews, autoethnographies, letters and poems. Collectively, these pieces demonstrate the power of our voices and our truths.

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The Roots of Our People: From One World to Another

The cover of "The Roots of Our People: From One World to Another, Juntos." The cover is black and features a fist, wrist and part of an arm held up. The hand and arm is made out of the colors of different countries' flags. Young authors based out of Garner Magnet High School wrote and published bilingual memoirs, poems, letters, vignettes and essays to illustrate their roots of where they’re from, explore the dualities of their identities, and demonstrate the strength of the Latino community. In resounding individual and collective voices, these authors describe how they embrace the roots of their people while they pursue higher education, advance new opportunities and advocate for the immigrant community in America.

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A yellow square with the multicolored words "#Pass The Mic Youth." Next to the title is a Black arm and hand holding up a pink and purple microphone.

Listen here:
Aldo, Andrea, Briza, Kevin, Luis. (2019). “Micdrop: Juntos means Together.”
#PassTheMicYouth, NC State University

Strong and Unbroken

The cover of "Strong and Unbroken." The cover is black and features the full body outlines of 10 students of different shapes, colors and sizes. Behind the group is a large faint arrow pointing upwards. This book holds the narratives of youth who are strong and unbroken despite forces that have held them back along the journey. Following Dr. Martin Luther King’s advice, they share how they have found ways to empower themselves and provide light to their communities.

About the project

The 2018-2019 cohort of Bull City YouthBuild students in Durham, North Carolina, engaged in the publication process to help them reflect on their past lives as they look towards their positive futures. Not only did they construct a house together for their community in Durham, but also they constructed strong narratives to give voice to their stories.

Their journeys were not always easy, but their narratives reveal strength, perseverance and determination for holding fast to their unbroken lives. Through writing, publishing and sharing, the students were able to share themselves with their words.

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Blueprints: Building Lives and Redesigning Futures

Image of the cover of "Blueprints: Rebuilding Lives and Redesigning Futures." Features the skyline of Durham, North Carolina, in bright blue with an outline of different buildings. Behind the outline is a yellow graphic blueprint.

On October 26, 1967, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered a speech to teens at Barratt Junior High School in Philadelphia, PA. Unlike his national addresses, this speech entitled “What is your life’s blueprint?” offered personal advice to youth during a crucial part in their lives. In a high school auditorium, he urged them to draft a life’s blueprint and allow the blueprint to shape and guide the way which they construct their lives. In this collection of narratives and essays, Bull City YouthBuild students of Durham, North Carolina, adopted Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech on its 50th anniversary, not only setting upon the extended metaphor of blueprints to rebuild their lives, but also using actual blueprints to build a house together in Durham.

About the project

In January 2018, the Triangle Literacy Council released Blueprints: Rebuilding Lives and Redesigning Futures, a collection of works by the first cohort of students of the Bull City YouthBuild. Student Press Initiative published the book with the help of NC State College of Education.

Buy this book in the Lulu shop here.

See Unbroken Pieces Through the ShadowsAn image of the cover of "See Unbroken Pieces Through the Shadows." Features a pencil drawing of the back of a student holding a diploma and wearing a mortarboard. The student overlooks the outline of a city--Durham, North Carolina.

In this book, you will find poetry, essays, memoirs and letters written by the 2019 cohort of Bull City YouthBuild students. Their words are honest and true. Together, they wrote about their experiences growing up within a system that has traditionally tried to hold them back and the ways in which they have persevered. Through the writing project sponsored by the Literacy and Community Initiative, the Bull City YouthBuild students wrote together as they reflected on their past in designing their futures. They drew on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s advice as they worked to be the best of whatever they are. The stories of these youth do not reveal an easy journey. However, their words show strength, power and resilience in facing this struggle. As you read their narratives, you will find youth who stand unbroken, even through the shadows.

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Focus: Gateway to Success

Image of the book cover "Focus: Gateway to Success." The dark blue cover features a white and black sketch of a van that says "Bull City YouthBuild" on the side of it. The van is driving underneath a sign that says "Durham Downtown Exit only" and a sign that says "Success in Progress."Focus: Gateway to Success highlights the insight, brilliance and humor of the participants in Bull City YouthBuild (BCYB).

In collaboration with NC State University’s Literacy and Community Initiative (LCI), these engaged youth share their writing to counterstory the stereotypes they’ve experienced as young people in Durham, North Carolina. Through prose and poetry, the authors focus on the struggles they have already overcome and their hopes for the future.

Honest, compelling and pointed, the ideas shared by the authors challenge conceptions about what it means to be young, urban and engaged.

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A Leg UpBook cover for A Leg Up by the Corral Riding Academy. This purple cover features the sketch of a horse head in profile next to half of the face of a girl with long hair.

In A Leg Up, the student authors at CORRAL Riding Academy explore their stories in their first published book. Through writing, the authors have put words to their experiences and shared their reflections on life, community and identity. As they consider these concepts, they demonstrate the power of the written word to transform, heal and inspire.

About the project

In 2019, LCI partnered with CORRAL Riding Academy, a faith-motivated nonprofit that prepares adolescent girls in high-risk situations with skills, resources, and opportunities so they can gain access to bright futures. They do this through a long-term, holistic program of equine therapy and education.

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Healing Starts with a StoryBook cover of "Healing Starts with a Story." The cover is aqua and features the black graphic outline of a horse's head and mane with the outline of a girl inside of the head.

In Healing Starts with a Story, the young women at CORRAL Riding Academy explore questions related to their identities and experiences. Through a collaborative partnership with NC State University’s Literacy and Community Initiative, the young women participated in a year-long writing workshop, which resulted in this powerful collection. As they reflected on their past experiences, present challenges, and future dreams, the CORRAL authors revealed themselves to the world through their words. This book is a collection of their innermost thoughts, the lessons they have learned in life, and their aspirations for the future. Together, the girls pursue a journey of healing, which starts with a story.

About the project

Healing Starts with a Story was written in the midst of the pandemic as the girls at CORRAL Riding Academy wrestled with making meaning out of life’s many difficulties.

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Growing at CORRALImage of the book cover for "Growing at CORRAL: Our Stories of Empowerment and Transformation." A turquoise cover with the side profile of a girl on a horse standing on its hind legs. There is a pink lightning bolt below the horse and a pink cloud overhead.

In Growing at CORRAL: Our Stories of Empowerment and Transformation, the youth writers at CORRAL Riding Academy reflect on and share about the unique experiences, people and memories that have shaped them. Utilizing various genres, they explored how the changes and challenges they have faced in life have ultimately led them to grow. Through a collaborative partnership with NC State University’s Literacy and Community Initiative, these young authors participated in a year-long writing program that culminated in the publication of this collection. Their effort, creativity and commitment to their communities are weaved throughout these pieces. As they share their journeys of empowerment and transformation with the world, they open up the possibility for others to do the same.

Buy this book on Amazon here.