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Young authors release new book with reading and signing at Wealthy Theatre

The Grand Rapids Creative Youth Center kids published their fourth anthology, The Book of Explosions: Tiny Purple Thunderlights. The young authors celebrated with a public reading and book signing at the Wealthy Theatre Wednesday night.
CYC student author with copy of The Book of Explosions IV: Tiny Purple Thunderlights

CYC student author with copy of The Book of Explosions IV: Tiny Purple Thunderlights /SideCar Studios

Sketch Writing Workshop at the CYC!

Have you ever wondered what it's like to write a play? Now's your chance to find out! Join the Creative Youth Center for a Sketch Writing Workshop with local writer and improv comedian, Amy Gascon. Participants will learn the ins and outs of sketch writing, choose their own topics, and write scenes that will be performed by local actors at the Wealthy Street Theatre this fall! Space is limited--sign up today!

Dates: June 15-25, Mon.-Thurs.

Time: 3:00-5:30pm

Location: Creative Youth Center (413 Eastern Ave. SE)

Grade Level: Entering 4th-6th

Cost: $135.00

For more information and to register, visit the Creative Youth Center's website.

Meghan McAfee and Rachael Hamilton with CYC kids before the book reading

Meghan McAfee and Rachael Hamilton with CYC kids before the book reading /SideCar Studios

Kid authors signing books after the reading

Kid authors signing books after the reading /SideCar Studios

About twenty-five Grand Rapids Creative Youth Center young authors attended their annual celebration and release of The Book of Explosions IV: Tiny Purple Thunderlights at the Wealthy Theatre Wednesday, May 20.

The young authors sat in the first few rows of the theatre, giggling when the opening video cut to B-roll footage of them writing and playing at the non-profit headquarters. 

"That just warmed my heart. I was giggling because they were giggling," said Kristin Brace, Executive Director of the CYC.

Brace opened the event with a welcome and a long list of thanks to all the people who make the non-profit's mission--to prepare kids for life's adventures by supporting their writing and amplifying their voices--possible. The young authors applauded joyously especially for staff members Meghan McAfee and Rachael Hamilton who were seated up front with them. McAfee played a major role in coordinating the event among the many other things she does for the organization.

"I think community events where everyone is welcome to share in our kids' success are powerful reminders that we're all in this together. When we're all working toward the same thing--empowering our youth, walking alongside them as they learn and grow, showing them again and again that their voices matter--we can affect positive change. The sense of joy and pride last night was overwhelming," Brace said.

Hamilton, CYC Program Manager, ushered her Afterschool Adventure kids to the stage first. A few weeks ago, this citizen journalist observed the student authors practice reading in front of an audience at the CYC. On that day, almost half of the students vowed they would not read in front of a big audience at the Wealthy Theatre, but Hamilton was proud to report after the event that every single student had bravely presented, including Omaria W. who giggled while she read, cracking herself up and winning the hearts of the audience.  

Next, Workshop Leader Andrika Lyons of the Harrison Park Media Team and the Press Club at the Cook Arts Center, led her young journalists--who had focused on writing about bullying this year--to the stage. Lyons crowned one of her students, Tori, queen for the week and the audience affirmed by chanting, "All Hail Queen Tori!" Finally, Workshop Leader Alex Fluegal of The Heat at Alger Middle School read a piece on behalf of one of her students who was unable to attend.

Guests were invited to purchase a copy of the fresh-off-the-press book and to donate to the CYC. The young authors were available to sign books in the lobby at the end of the program. 

Hamilton's favorite part of the event was seeing people lined up to get their books signed by the kids and watching them get their pictures taken "like the rockstars they are."

Furniture City Creamery provided ice cream for the pizza party, a much deserved celebration back at the CYC after the event. 

Copies of The Book of Explosions IV: Tiny Purple Thunderlights can be purchased for $9.00 at the CYC or Schuler Books & Music.  


Disclosure: Lindsay McHolme is an Executive Board Member at the Grand Rapids Creative Youth Center.

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