Letter from the Executive Director
Dear MOI community,
As we come to the end of a long and busy month (complete with a polar vortex!), at MOI we are getting ready to build some worlds through words. Our high school students are working on writing speculative fiction, we are hosting a food writing workshop at our center for youth of all ages, and our free Storytelling & Bookmaking Field Trips are open for 2nd-4th grade classes.
If you are getting some cabin fever and want to work side by side with Twin Cities youth to create, play, and build with words, sign up to join our crew as a volunteer!
Read on to learn more about what we are building this new year, and hope to sea you soon!
Porthole into Programming!
For many of us, the word “dystopia” marks a sci-fi future the likes of Orwell and Huxley wrote about. But during a time when pipelines snake across sacred sites and Indigenous people experience homelessness on ancestral land, UMN American Indian Studies professor Neil McKay has pointed out that for the Native community, dystopia is now.
With this in mind, the 9th and 10th grade Native American students in our Young Authors’ Book Project are embarking into the world of fiction, specifically speculative fiction and historical fiction. These two genres are especially important for marginalized communities. Speculative fiction, with the interweaving of fantasy and sci-fi amid the modern world, allows us to imagine worlds – maybe better worlds – beyond where we might be right now. Historical fiction roots us in the past, or maybe helps us to rewrite it.
But writing about these ideas can be hard, and can touch on things that are deeply personal. To help our students prepare, we held a panel discussion on January 22 in the classroom with our teaching artist Tall Paul and Dara Beevas and Alyssa Bluhm of Wise Ink, our publishing partner. The panel talked about ideas like when you know you’re ready to share that personal story, or why it’s important to share in order to connect, relate and learn from others.
The beautiful poems and stories that our students have put together will be published in mid-May and will feature the work of illustrator Marlena Myles, a local Dakota artist. Keep an eye out for our upcoming book release party in May!
- Cristeta Boarini, MOI Program Director
In the News
The lineup for the Loft Wordplay Festival for May 11-12 has been announced. MOI will be one of the featured organizations at the festival, and we can’t wait for the “biggest celebration of readers, writers, and great books that Minnesota has ever seen.”
Do you know a second, third, or fourth grade teacher? Storytelling & Bookmaking Field Trip sign-ups are open for spring semester! Classes join us for two hours of creative fun as they create an original story for our mysterious captain. Every student leaves with a bound, illustrated book of their own.
Teachers can sign up using this form. Spread the word!
South High students will be hosting a Lit Night in the Writer’s Room to promote the Maze literary magazine on February 11th. This event will feature student readings and is run by the student editorial board. Contact Writers' Room coordinator Sam@moi-msp.org if you'd like to attend!
Thanks to these donors who supported us this month!