This April and May, we invited eight classrooms from Acorn Woodland Elementary to come write stories at Chapter 510's writing center. Students 1st grade through 4th came up with collaborative stories and wrote individual endings that were all original enough to impress our new and very grumpy Prime Minister of the Bureau of Far Off Ideas.
We could not believe this since none of the stories that we, the adult staff and volunteers (many of us trained writers with fancy degrees and agents and everything), deliver to her corner office ever get approved.
But these students came in with ideas so far off and amazing, it was impossible for our PM to not fall in love with each and every one. I mean how could you not want to publish a book about a future Oakland threatened by a giant hamster!? Or a duck in major need of a makeover!? Or a magical, migrating, talking park!? Or a wolf and a dog on a long journey to Disneyland!?
After the stories were approved and illustrated by volunteer artists, Chapter 510 published eight new titles and made over 200 original books. You can visit and even check out these titles including The Moonday Problem, The JC Penney Mistake, and our Spanish title Los Animales No Van a Disneylandia at the 81st Street Library where they are in official circulation.
If you are an educator and would like to bring your classroom in to write a book with us in the fall or spring, register here, and we will work with you on a good time and date to come in. Please note that approval from the Prime Minister is not guaranteed, but what we can promise is that 1) your students will write a book 2) you will learn how a magical bureaucracy is made, and 3) you will leave knowing some very important Oakland history (Did you know about the Great Compromise of 2015? Didn't think so!).
A big thank you goes out to our volunteers, teachers & chaperones for making our first round of field trips happen. We cannot wait to host many, many more.
A very special thank you to Christine Pepperdine and Tammy Berdichevsky for the book design and making, and to Elizabeth Gould for helping at each and every field trip as our second classroom lead.
Photo credit: Jon Sun of Studio Kibo & Christine Pepperdine
Illustrators featured: Talia Frank, Hannah Rubin, and Breena Nuñez
About Our Field Trips:
Chapter 510 Field Trips are collaborative storytelling and book writing sessions for local classrooms. Field trips take place on weekdays at our writing center, and each student leaves the trip with a book they have helped write and make.
Each group is tasked with creating an original story collectively, with the help of our volunteers and our elusive boss, the Prime Minister of the Bureau of Far Off Ideas.
How does it work? Students, along with their teachers and chaperones join us here at the writing center, where we collaboratively choose a setting, characters, and set up a journey. Together, we craft the beginning and middle of our story.
For the second half of the trip, each student is asked to create their own ending to the story. All the while, a volunteer illustrator works to bring the story to life through sketches.
The completed stories are sent to the very judgmental Prime Minister for approval. Stories that are creative, unique, and imaginative rough get the Prime Minister’s stamp of approval!
Each ending is then bound in an illustrated book with the complete story and sent to the school for each student to take home.
If you are interested in signing your classroom up for a free field trip this fall or spring, register here.