At 826CHI, we are proud to publish our students’ writing. Each student is challenged to produce their finest pieces, knowing that their words will have the opportunity to be read, laughed at, wept over, or deeply pondered by their family, friends and folks they may not, themselves, know.

student holding up published work

In-House Publishing

By the power of a very awesome binding machine, we are able to assemble many of the students’ pieces into handsome books in-house. When not laying out, cutting up, and binding at 826CHI, we send some very special collections of writing to a professional printer with gigantic machines and the ability to do things like foil stamping in order to put together a well-bounded beauty.

Book Releases

Book releases are community events, and student authors have been seen popping up annually at Chicago’s Printers Row Lit Fest, among other places around the city.

The 826CHI Compendium

One of our annual publications is the Compendium. It features work created by students during our various programs, as well as at-large submissions from student writers throughout the Chicago area. Interested in submitting? Learn more here.

Scroll below to learn about some of our other publications (while keeping in mind that what you see is just a fraction of what we publish. Literally hundreds and hundreds of other student books, large and small, have been produced here too!) These books can be purchased at the greatest store on the planet or checked out of your local Chicago library.

Online Publishing

Can’t wait for your box of 826CHI books to arrive? You can also enjoy our students’ most recent writings by visiting the Writing Gallery.

The 826CHI Library

  • The 826CHI Compendium Vol. 4

    The Compendium, Volume IV

    Published once every two years at 826CHI, The Compendium is an anthology of writing across 826CHI programs – Field Trips, In-Schools, Workshops, After-School Tutoring & Writing, and Publications. This book includes a selection of 826CHI’s strongest writing and embodies the creative, project-based mission of inspiring students to become confident writers.
    This fourth volume, created in conjunction with DePaul University and their Big Shoulders Press, is arranged as an atlas, inspiring readers and writers alike to explore every place they can. The Compendium encompasses journeys in outer space, foreign countries (made-up or otherwise), the future, the past, our great city, and our extraordinary brains.

  • Even a Lion Can Get Lost in the Jungle

    Even a Lion Can Get Lost in the Jungle

    Even a Lion Can Get Lost in the Jungle, our 2014 Young Authors' Book Project, features narrative journalism from 7th and 8th students at the Harvard School of Excellence in Chicago's South Side Englewood neighborhood. To combat the media's negative portrayal of Englewood, we asked these students to tell us about the positive forces in their community that have shaped their identities. This book is filled with portraits of positivity in these students' communities: from an aspiring rapper who stays in school to increase his vocabulary to multiple teachers who have gone above and beyond to show their students how much they care. The stories are heartwarming, heartbreaking, and begging to be heard.

  • The 826CHI Compendium Vol. 3

    The 826CHI Compendium Vol. 3

    Inside the pages of this Compendium, one will stumble upon odes to beloved pets, best practices for sandwich-eating, firsthand accounts of celebrity encounters, and a ne'er-before-seen form of poetry.

    Also in this volume is "Who Wants Love?" a marvelous exploration of affection that has become an 826CHI classic. This piece has been read aloud at three wedding ceremonies AND inside the White House (really). This Compendium entices readers to devour it all in one sitting. Or to savor a single story before bedtime. Or to randomly open to what just may become your new, all-time favorite piece.

  • The 826CHI Compendium Vol. 2

    The 826CHI Compendium
    Vol. 2

    Our most recent Compendium collects writing from across our full range of programming, in addition to at-large submissions from other outstanding young writers throughout the Chicago area. The book showcases the work of 42 student writers ages 6 to 18 and the group work of 11 classes, with a foreword by local author/instructor/all-round rockstar Joe Meno. Looking for some great back-to-school reading? We can't recommend it highly enough! The book features such selections as the tale of a terrible day involving too much ham, an account of two friends engaging in the genteel art of squirrel hunting, a haunting poem about Arthur Rimbaud, and a timely lesson on teaching Rod Blagojevich how to eat chocolate.

  • The 826CHI Compendium Vol. 1

    The 826CHI Compendium
    Vol. 1

    This inaugural anthology highlights student writing created during 826CHI’s diverse programming. This collection of varying literary genres includes writing from more than 50 individual students – kindergartners through recent high school graduates -- and the group work of 10 classes. This epic publication includes stories about an inflammable super dog, a fear of milk and hammerhead sharks, and the Kafkaesque transformation of a sweet little girl named Jessica, among others. Overseeing the production was 826CHI’s Student Editorial Board, who reviewed student work, selected pieces and offered creative input for the overall look and the organization of the publication.

  • Right in Front of Us

    Right in Front of Us

    Ninth-grade students at a Aspira College Prep spent a semester working on this powerful collection of personal essays about their lives. In the foreword, author Alex Kotlowitz (There Are No Children Here) writes: “These tales will surprise you. They take twists and turns that are unexpected, that are jarring, that feel, well, so real. You’ll sense these kids’ defiance, their hurt, their exuberance, their yearning to be heard.”

  • A Sunday Afternoon Hotdog Meal

    A Sunday Afternoon
    Hotdog Meal

    More than 200 second- through sixth-graders from schools all over the city wrote this riveting, uncannily informative, and often hilarious guide to Chicago. If you’re looking for information on great places to eat, best practices for taking public transportation, or where to take a date (when you’re nine), this guide is for you. This book can be enjoyed by those who are Second City natives and those who’ve only dreamed of being one.

  • The My World Project II

    The My World Project II

    The second volume in the MY WORLD SERIES where, in the summer months, 826CHI high school students, under the guidance of National Geographic contract photographer Mike Hettwer infiltrate the city with cameras in order to document their "world."

  • The My World Project

    The My World Project

    826CHI unleashed ten ambitious middle and high schoolers on the city of Chicago with their own digital cameras and an assignment to document "their world." Under the guidance and support of National Geographic contributing photographer Mike Hettwer, they learned the basics of composition, contrast, layering, and how to get a dentist to let you photograph him. The students then set to writing captions and stories to accompany their amazing photographs.

  • Thanks and Have Fun Running the Country: Kids’ Letters To President Obama

    Thanks and Have Fun Running the Country:
    Kids' Letters To President Obama

    A few days after the election of Barack Obama, 826 students around the country were asked to provide advice and guidance to their new President. In this collection, arriving at inauguration time, there's loads of advice for President Obama, often hilarious, sometimes heartfelt and occasionally downright practical. Kids from all over the country reach out to the 44th President, speaking to the issues closest to their hearts, relating their life stories, and asking for help. Topics include the economy, education, war, global warming, race relations in America and immigration. The book also includes letters about snow cones, puppies, microwavable burritos, dinosaur projects, multiplication and the ghost of Abraham Lincoln, reportedly haunting a White House bedroom.