Every year, 826LA partners with a Los Angeles school for the Young Authors' Book Project (YABP), which culminates in the publication of a beautifully written, impeccably designed anthology by high school students. A Ring of Sunshine Around the Moon is the 2012 release about the uncertainty of growing up. Trained volunteer tutors are central to 826LA's approach. Sustained, intensive individualized attention leads to leaps in student engagement and learning. Andy Molnar, the teacher of the eleventh-grade students who contributed writing to this project, says, "Regular one-on-one discussions about writing are so much more efficiently instructive than any lesson I can devise, and certainly more profound than my notes on the page...Young and/or struggling writers need to dialogue with an expert...The YABP provides students with this need."
Teacher Andy Molnar and 826LA devised a project that would parallel his students' reading of J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye. Over the course of ten weeks, students met with 826LA tutors to brainstorm, draft, and revise a narrative mirroring some aspect of Salinger's opus--a rant like Holden's, for example, or a reflection on some idyllic past. From there, the student editorial board considered the entirety of the class's work to first determine an over-arching theme. They decided that ultimately they were reflecting on the often difficult experiences of growing up. They put forward the solar eclipse as a metaphor: while they are inevitable and dark (though transient), one may choose to see the beauty in these situations, the titular ring of sunshine around the moon. The students worked with design studio Parallel-Play to make this book beautiful, and Sappi Fine Paper generously donated a grant to make the publication possible.