Posts Tagged ‘KIPP Scribes’

Photos from The Whole Fiasco Launch Party at the Decatur Book Festival

Written on September 15, 2011 at 4:04 pm, by Lain Shakespeare

The Whole Fiasco has arrived, and boy are we excited!

Isaiah and the Whole Fiasco by the KIPP Scribes and the Wren's Nest

The KIPP Scribes officially launched their book of important family stories over Labor Day Weekend at the Decatur Book Festival. CORE was kind enough to donate their space for the party, and Jason Travis was awesome enough to document it all.

The Whole Fiasco by the KIPP Scribes and the Wren's Nest

Many thanks to all the students, family members, and volunteers who were there to celebrate the book launch.

We’re especially indebted to KIPP STRIVE teachers John and Vanessa, the KIPP STRIVE staff, and the Kim King Foundation for making this program possible.

The Whole Fiasco by the KIPP Scribes and the Wren's Nest

The Whole Fiasco by the KIPP Scribes and the Wren's Nest

Kwesi and the Whole Fiasco by the KIPP Scribes and the Wren's Nest

Check out all the photos on our Facebook Page. Oh! And if you missed the launch party, purchase your copy of The Whole Fiasco in our store.

The KIPP Scribes Present — The Whole Fiasco

Written on August 26, 2011 at 2:12 pm, by Lain Shakespeare

I’m very excited to announce the release of The Whole Fiasco, the latest bound collection of stories from the KIPP Scribes. Details of the launch party are below.

The KIPP Scribes are 5th and 6th graders from our neighborhood charter school, KIPP STRIVE. Aatallah, captured below by Jason Travis, is one of the Scribes.

Aatallah, one of the KIPP Scribes who wrote The Whole Fiasco

Each week for three months Aatallah met 1-on-1 with a professional writer to record an important family story. She interviewed her mother and wrote “A Generous Decision,” about the time her mom invited a family without a home to share their small apartment.

She learned how to identify a great story, how to perform an effective interview, and how to craft creative nonfiction. Aatallah wrote six or seven drafts of “A Generous Decision” to get it just right.

Aatallah and Bret working on The Whole Fiasco for the KIPP Scribes

Last year we found that the KIPP Scribes Program fundamentally changes the students’ relationship with the written word. Watching Aatallah develop as a writer and storyteller over three months was an astonishing transformation. And she’s just one of twenty-three new writers featured in The Whole Fiasco.

This year we partnered with Storycorps to allow some of the Scribes to record an interview with their chosen family member. The stories will be recorded in The Whole Fiasco, and their interviews will be archived at the Smithsonian’s National Musuem of African American History & Culture.

Saturday September 3rd from 11 am – 12 pm we’ll celebrate the release of The Whole Fiasco at the Decatur Book Festival. We’ll have books for sale, a few readings from the writers, and a lot of autographs upon request at CORE Dance Studio. It will be a very important day for these young writers. Will you join us?

The Whole Fiasco by the KIPP Scribes

If you can’t make it to the party, here’s how you can help —

Buy a copy of the book. It’ll be available in our store starting September 3rd.

Tell someone about this program. We need your help to spread the word.

Many thanks to the Kim King Foundation and the Fulton County Arts Council for funding the KIPP Scribes Program. Tremendous thanks to the many volunteers who gave so much of their time and themselves to the KIPP Scribes. We couldn’t do it without you.

For More — About the KIPP Scribes Program, Photo Update from the 2011 Scribes, Pictures from the Don’t Forget That Day Launch Party

Photo Update from the 2011 KIPP Scribes

Written on April 25, 2011 at 1:01 pm, by Lain Shakespeare

The other day our favorite photographer Jason Travis caught up with the KIPP Scribes. A handful of his photos are below. I think they’re pretty dope.

The Scribes have met 1-on-1 with professional writers each Tuesday since February. They’ll finish up tomorrow, then wait patiently while we design their book of creative nonfiction in time for the Decatur Book Festival.

Many thanks to the Fulton County Arts Council and the Kim King Foundation for their continued support of this program. Like so many other arts organizations in our community, we very literally could not have developed or maintained this program’s awesomeness without you. Also thank you to our spectacular volunteers. We couldn’t do this without you either.

Mohammed, one of the KIPP Scribes

Kimberly and Mohammed.

Amari, one of the KIPP Scribes.

Amari and Amanda.

Sakyra, one of the KIPP Scribes

Sakyra and Rebekah.

Lyric, one of the KIPP Scribes

Amber and Lyric.

Noah, one of the KIPP Scribes.

Noah and Tim.

Richelle, one of the KIPP Scribes.

Christina and Richelle.

Samuel, one of the KIPP Scribes.

Samuel and A.J.

Misha, one of the KIPP Scribes.

Gray and Misha.


Volunteers Needed to Mentor the KIPP Scribes for a New Book

Written on January 5, 2011 at 12:19 pm, by Melissa Swindell

Are you a writer of some sort? Would you like to help a 5th or 6th grader become a published author? Do you know someone who would?

The Wren’s Nest is helping the KIPP Scribes record family stories for a new book, and we need your help.

Here’s how it works:

Once a week starting in February, you’ll meet 1-on-1 with a 5th grader at KIPP STRIVE Academy to help identify, record, and craft an important family story. It will look something like this:

Carleigh and D'Mecia writing Don't Forget That Day by the KIPP Scribes at KIPP STRIVE in Atlanta, Georgia for the Wren's Nest

Then, we’ll compile the stories together for a handsome publication. Finally, we’ll all have a party for the book’s debut at the Decatur Book Festival.

Sounds like fun, right? We need 30 of you, so don’t be shy.

Here’s what you need to do to help:

1. Attend an orientation session later this month.
2. Commit to 15 hours of service over a three month period.
3. Be available on Tuesdays between 3 and 4 pm.
4. Have some sort of writing experience. You needn’t be Tolstoy, mind you. If you think you may qualify, chances are you probably do. Last year we welcomed writers, lawyers, teachers, and workaday folks like me.

Sign up by emailing Amber (, our spectacular Program Director, before January 25th. That’s real soon! Do you have questions? Amber can answer those too.

Need more convincing?

We had a blast making last year’s book Don’t Forget That Day. Look no further than the launch party photos.

If you must look further, see, for example, Brooke saying nice things about last year’s program. Or Kimberly doing the same. Or Jamie, who chronicled his experience specifically for your benefit.

Even if this program isn’t for you, I bet you know someone who would love it. And chances are, they are totally clueless. Please forward this post along if you’d be so kind.

Photos from the Launch of Don’t Forget That Day

Written on September 25, 2010 at 12:04 pm, by Lain Shakespeare

Check out the pictures from the launch party for Don’t Forget That Day. As usual, Jason Travis did a real bang-up job.

Don’t Forget That Day is available here online or at Little Shop of Stories in Decatur.

Thanks to the Kim King Foundation for funding our little project! Now that we’ve all had our naps, I’m ready to say it — maybe we should do it again next year!

Don’t Forget That Day Debuts Saturday, September 4th — Join Us!

Written on August 18, 2010 at 4:36 pm, by Amelia

Big news: our first collaboration with the students of KIPP STRIVE Academy (aka the KIPP Scribes!) is officially off to the printers.  It’s really happening!

(The lovely cover, designed by none other than Lauren Lee at Lampe-Farley.)

For three months in the Spring and a little bit in the Summer, 17 generous professional writers donated their time to help improve the writing skills of 17 5th graders at our neighborhood charter school. Each student learned how to craft a story from a family member.

The resulting book of stories, Don’t Forget That Day, will debut to fanfare, trumpets, and fireworks* at the Decatur Book Festival this Labor Day Weekend. Pretty neat, right?

Neater still: we want you to be a part of it.  This entire process has been the result of collaboration and it would be silly to celebrate without everyone who helped us make this happen. That means you, internet friends.

We’ll be hosting a book launch party Saturday, September 4th from 11am – 12pm at Several Dancers Core on the Decatur Square.  You’re invited, as are your friends and anyone y’all want to impress.  There will be treats, excitement, and good vibes.  We can’t wait.

(A glimpse of the interior.  Stunning, no?)

And while this is a big deal to us, it is a HUGE deal to the students.  Please help us make this their special day.  The more folks there to revel in their awesome accomplishment, the better.  (Plus, this will likely be one of the last times they’ll be able to talk to their fans without being swarmed, so it behooves you to take advantage.)

We hope to see you there!  Any questions about the event?  Let us know in the comments. Thanks again to the Kim King Foundation for making this all possible.

Previously: Call for KIPP STRIVE Volunteers, The Program Begins, Halftime Report

*1/3 true.

Modern Family Depicts Our KIPP STRIVE Project

Written on May 20, 2010 at 1:02 pm, by Amelia

Did y’all see Modern Family last night?

The story-line where Luke interviews Al Bundy (I suspect) totally mirrors the interview process of our KIPPsters and their respective Al Bundys.

Why, these are exactly the kind of stories we’re trying to preserve!

This old clip — my Dad’s favorite from That ’70s Show — may also provide a glimpse into the challenges of our KIPPsters’ interviews, especially the succinct way Kelso sums up his dad’s experiences.

YouTube Preview Image

Both clips serves as great lessons in Why We Have Adults Checking Things Over And, As A Result, Often Saying Things Like “This might be made up.” Hooray!

KIPP STRIVE Halftime Report

Written on May 19, 2010 at 11:35 am, by Amelia

Our (still unnamed; any ideas, people?) writing program with KIPP STRIVE Academy has progressed swimmingly.

While we’re taking a break right now (that pesky school schedule is really putting a damper on things), the students have conducted their interviews, written their accounts, and are currently polishing their second drafts.

We can’t show you any of their work yet, but we were lucky enough to have our (talented photographer) friend Ajay Pillarisetti document our last meeting.

This is Amanda and her student, Misha.  Amanda is the senior editor of Atlanta Magazine and the meanest person I know.  Can’t you just see it in her eyes?

Here KIPPster Rani is telling his partner, Jon, to focus on the work at hand. Jon is probably talking about birds again.

I can’t say anything glib here — I love this photo too much.  Way to be my kryptonite, Naima and Kimberly.

Matt and his partner, Mohammed, compare notes on how awesome the Kim King Foundation is for sponsoring this project.  Well, maybe they’re talking about Mohammed’s story, but probably not.

We won’t meet again with the students until July.  In the meantime Lain and I will be working on the nuts and bolts of the publication.  We’ve been so encouraged so far, by both our volunteers and students (and especially the KIPP STRIVE staff), it’s hard to have to wait so many weeks to meet again.

While we’re waiting, what should we call this program?  Ideas that have been bandied about:

Gumshoes, Shoo Flys, Raconteurs, Correspondents, Fabulists, Bird Dogs, any combination of anything.

KIPP STRIVE and the Wren’s Nest — The Fun Has Begun

Written on April 14, 2010 at 4:15 pm, by Amelia

Yesterday was the very first day of the new writing program we’re doing with KIPP STRIVE Academy, and dare I say it went beautifully.  But before I get into that, some details to fill you in about what’s happened since we first introduced the program.

• We’re lucky enough to have friends in some high (internet) places, so the word spread quickly about the opportunity.  (See: phew!)  We’ve ended up with 16 volunteers to pair with 16 fifth grade students.

• Most volunteers are writers by profession, with a huge variety of specialties represented.  Journalists, novelists, legal writers, jacks-of-all-trades — you name it, we’ve got it.

• We had a couple of orientation sessions to meet the KIPP STRIVE staff members (Hi John!  Hi Ed!) we’ll be working with and to answer questions about the program.  Since Lain and I were involved, beer was served.

• Oh, and most importantly, the Kim King Foundation has graciously funded our entire project.  How cool is that?

Which brings us to yesterday.  The writers arrived at KIPP STRIVE — located at the old J. C. Harris Elementary building, fittingly enough — excited and confused about how to enter the building.

The answer to that question was, for the record, “through the door.”

Once we got over that hurdle, everyone received their space-age visitor pass and hopped over to meet the students.

For the tenure of the program, each adult/mentor/volunteer (still working on the language there) will be paired up with a student, and through these partnerships a beautiful story will emerge.  Or at least a story with correct grammar.  Needless to say, meeting partners was a big deal.

And y’all, boy howdy are the KIPP STRIVE kids awesome.  We had been reassured all the students would be enthusiastic, well-behaved, and eager to write, but “charming as all get up” totally should have been included.

At least one of our volunteers was pleased with the experience:

We did some little getting-to-know-you activities as documented by volunteer Jamie over at Chronicle’s blog.  Among other things, we found out that one student’s nickname is “Chalupa” and that the song “TiK ToK” by Ke$ha had few supporters in the room.

All in all, a successful meet-and-greet.  Nobody cried, and I don’t think there was one disappointed person on either side (though feel free to correct me, dream-crushers).

So yay!  Hopefully this means that I won’t spend next Tuesday with so much nervous energy I can’t pick up the phone on the first try.  No promises, though.

And, of course, thank you so much to all of our volunteers — we very literally could not do it without you.

New Writing and Publishing Project with KIPP STRIVE — Volunteers Needed!

Written on February 19, 2010 at 10:03 am, by Lain Shakespeare

I’m pleased to announce that next month the Wren’s Nest Publishing Company is starting a new program with the help of the Decatur Book Festival.

It’s like StoryCorps826 Valencia + the kids in our neighborhood.  Y’all with me?

KIPP STRIVE Academy is the new APS charter school just around the corner in the old J.C. Harris Elementary building.  Starting in late March, each week the Wren’s Nest Publishing Company will bring volunteers with significant writing experience to work 1-on-1 with about 25 KIPP STRIVE 5th graders. The goal is to help improve and broaden their writing skills.

We’ll be working on a creative nonfiction project — the students will identify a great story told to them by a significant adult in their life, be it a parent, grandparent, neighbor, whomever.  Volunteers will guide the students, helping them craft the story to the best of their abilities.

The stories will be compiled for a book to be released at the Decatur Book Festival.  We’ll have a big book release party to celebrate at the DBF.

Our mission boils down to the fact that everyday people have remarkable stories, and that these stories deserve to be heard. We’ve got an opportunity to tell the stories of our community, and you have the opportunity to help these students find their voices.

StoryCorps and 826 Valencia in particular have been inspirations in demonstrating the power of story and the power of 1-on-1 tutoring.  See for yourself —

We’re looking for enthusiastic volunteers to join us in this venture, starting… now.  Interested?

Check out the details below and then email Amelia ( with “Writing! Woo!” in the subject line before March 12th. She’ll send you a (very brief) application form.

  • Orientation sessions (2 hours maximum; beers to follow) will begin in mid-March
  • Tutoring sessions will be held Tuesday afternoons from 3 – 4 pm, April – early June
  • Volunteers must be willing to commit to 10 hours of service over a 2 month span.
  • Volunteers must have experience in some sort of writing (you need not have written a book, mind you! We’re merely looking for good writers. If you think you qualify, you probably do. Amelia, for example, wrote a lot of literature papers in college and now writes this blog. She counts!)

Finally, we would deeply appreciate it if you would forward this opportunity to anyone you feel would be great for this project, but isn’t smart enough to regularly read our blog.  Assembling 20 – 25 volunteers is no small feat, but with your help, we feel up to the task.