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The Wicker Park Secret Agent Supply Co. – Spy store

Spotted by Locals, October 28, 2016

A good spy knows not to reveal their true identity, but The Wicker Park Secret Agent Supply Co. is quick to reveal their true motives.

If you don’t strike up a conversation with the staff, which I highly recommend you do, you won’t know that the simple storefront of funky stationery, spy gadgets and books is actually a front for some not-so-covert operations.Read More

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food & health podcast by Chicago Tribune's Louisa Chu & WBEZ's Monica Eng, October 29, 2016

Monica and Louisa talk kids, food, writing, quitting soda, paw paws, Cheeto Chicken Fries and why you should grow an elderberry bush next year on the latest Chewing. Plus Dave Eggers explains why he included a scene about Monica breastfeeding other people’s kids in his movie.Read More

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826CHI Releases Compendium Volume 5

Third Coast Review, October 21, 2016

At exactly 5 p.m. on October 18th I hustled out of my office so I could get across town in time to attend a reading. Most of the readings I go to start much later in the evening, but this was a particularly special occasion because the featured authors were children celebrating the release of 826CHI’s Compendium Volume 5.

826CHI is a non-profit organization in Wicker Park that provides free after-school tutoring, weekend writing workshops, in-schools tutoring, and help for English language learners. In addition to all the free classes and tutoring, 826CHI publishes student work. And every two years they release an anthology of the very best student writing.Read More

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The 20 Coolest Urban Adventures In Chicago

Thrillist, August 9, 2016

A store for secret agents
1276 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Fresh out of 007-style secret disguises, spy glasses, and voice modulators? Then it might be time to pay a visit to the spy suppliers at Wicker Park Secret Agent Supply Co., formerly known as The Boring Store. This little shop is actually a front for the nonprofit 826 National writing workshop that teaches and encourages kids aged 6-18 to hone their creative writing skills. Double bonus: Secret Service earbuds.Read More

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The Monster Gasped - A reading by Brentano 4th & 5th Graders with 826CHI

City Lit Books, June 7, 2016

The Monster Gasped is an anthology of monster stories written by 57 fourth- and fifth-graders from Brentano, a Chicago Public School just west of the Kennedy Expressway in Logan Square. The students created the book with the help of volunteers from 826CHI, a Wicker Park-based nonprofit dedicated to inspiring students ages 6 to 18 to cultivate their writing skills. The group is a local offshoot of 826 National, founded in 2002 by author Dave Eggers and educator Nínive Calegari.Read More

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826CHI and CPS students publish a monster of an anthology

Chicago Reader, June 3, 2016

When we last checked in with Mr. Harlan's fifth-graders at Brentano Math and Science Academy in Logan Square back in December, they were putting the finishing touches on the monster stories they'd been working on all semester under the editorial guidance of volunteers from 826CHI, a nonprofit writing and tutoring center in Wicker Park. Now they, and a few fourth-graders, are published authors who will be making their public debuts at the Printers Row Book Festival, reading from the new anthology of their stories, The Monster Gasped, OMG!
Read More

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‘The Monster Gasped’ collects monster stories by Logan Square middle schoolers

Chicago Tribune, May 26, 2016

Illustrator Ryan Troy Ford lives in Logan Square, home to vibrant street murals, lively arts festivals and Chicago's heavily tattooed creative class.

But it's the work of Vanessa Benavides, a fourth-grader at Lorenz Brentano Math and Science Academy, that's recently blowing his mind.

"There's this mermaid who swims around and finds herself in a cave with an evil woman whose dress is made of fire and the mermaid defeats her with love," Ford said. "A strong female lead who defeats evil with love? (Expletive) yeah. I was all about that."Read More

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Nothing To Fear

F Newsmagazine, May 19, 2016

Fear takes different forms throughout our lives, but it never truly goes away. Sometimes it takes the imagination and sincerity of a child to face it, to realize there is no shame in acknowledging it’s there. This is what 57 fourth and fifth graders from Logan Square’s Brentano Math and Science Academy have done, in the form of a book project titled “The Monster Gasped, OMG!” Not only have they written about fear, but also loneliness, adventure, compassion, and the simple frustration of being misunderstood in this compilation of science fiction, adventure, and monster stories. Under the direction of the organization 826CHI, and alongside the creative vision of 24 local illustrators (including three School of the Art Institute of Chicago alumni), this compilation has been printed and bound — a beautifully-crafted “how-to” for navigating life and its myriad fears.Read More

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Logan Square Students’ Monster Book Terribly Terrific

DNA Info Chicago, May 6, 2016

LOGAN SQUARE — A monster anthology crafted by a group of fifth graders in Logan Square, complete with professional illustrations, is nearly ready for its debut.

You might describe it as frighteningly good.

The fifth graders from Logan Square's Brentano Math and Science Academy have been working on their 217-page book alongside the professionals and volunteers at 826CHI since September and will be celebrating its release at the Printer's Row Lit Fest June 11.Read More

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Logan Square Fifth-Graders Publish Sci-Fi Monster Book

DNA Info - January 27, 2016

LOGAN SQUARE — Expressing your fears is easier when it’s done through someone else’s voice.

That’s why the fifth-graders at Brentano Math and Science Academy in Logan Square created a monster to do the talking for them. Mark Harlan’s fifth-grade class has been working in partnership with Wicker Park-based nonprofit 826CHI to develop an encyclopedia of monsters that reflect their own individual fears and desires.Read More

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